Quote of the Week

GL: Who else did you have trouble with?

TC: With Marlon [Brando] on The Wild One [53]. When I shook up a bottle of beer and let the foam go into his face, he didn’t like that. But he would be up-front about it. When I worked with him on One-Eyed Jacks, he told me, “I hope you’re not going to throw any more beer at me.” Marlon was great, but Karl Malden was kind of skittish. In our scene when he kicked me, he kicked me a lot, so I said, “Marlon, if this guy kicks me again I’m gonna clobber him.” But he kept doing it. He had a touch of Richard Widmark in him. Widmark stomped me bad in a Western we made in Arizona, The Last Wagon [56]. He stomped me while I was down, kept going at it for five minutes, just because I reacted when he mock-stabbed me in the scene. He apologized later, but I wouldn’t accept it.

Grover Lewis, “Cracked Actor: Timothy Carey”, Film Comment Jan/Feb 2004; interview conducted in 1992

One-Eyed Jacks

Quote of the Week

Born in Brooklyn, in 1929, Carey went to acting school and was a full-on believer of always being “in the moment” – a tendency that led to sudden, sometimes enraging improvisation (that beer he throws in Marlon Brando‘s face in “The Wild One” was not planned). But Kubrick saw something, and rescued Carey from years of bit parts to cast him first as the gunman in “The Killing,” and then as one of the railroaded soldiers in “Paths of Glory.”

It was a good match. Kubrick understood the importance of actors but didn’t have the slightest understanding of how they did what they did, or even how to guide them. It was one of the director’s few artistic failings, and it could lead to hundreds of frustrating takes or over-the-top performances. But some actors – like Malcolm McDowell, like Peter Sellers – saw this as a freedom.

So did Carey. His most memorable scene in “Paths of Glory,” in fact – with the sentenced soldier moaning “I don’t want to die” – was made up on the spot.

There’s something of a John Turturro in the young Carey, and those two movies with Kubrick suggested the kind of long collaboration that Turturro would later have with Spike Lee, or the Coen Brothers. And, in fact, Carey later had a part in “One-Eyed Jacks,” a film Kubrick had been signed to direct, before star Marlon Brando took over. But Kubrick went on to other projects, and he and Carey never worked again.

Stephen Whitty, “The World’s Wildest Actor”; The New Jersey Star-Ledger (October 21, 2008)

One-Eyed Jacks

Quote of the Week

You remember Timothy Carey, don’t you? Didn’t you see The Wild One? He’s the crazy guy who shook up the beer and squirted it in Marlon Brando‘s face. Did you see East of Eden? He was the surly bouncer at the brothel where James Dean‘s mother worked. Poor Tim mumbled his lines so badly that Elia Kazan had to have Albert Dekker re-dub all his dialogue. Tim thought Kazan missed the whole point. “That’s the way pimps talk,” he explained. How about The Killing, by Stanley Kubrick? He was the racist rifleman who shoots the horse at the racetrack to create a diversion for the heist. You must have seen Paths of Glory, another great Kubrick film – Carey is one of the three court-martialed soldiers sentenced to execution.

All his characterizations seem to inspire a common reaction: “What the hell’s the matter with this guy?” Tim Carey had a uniquely twisted screen presence that many great directors tried, and often failed, to harness. He was the only man that Kazan ever physically attacked on the set. Brando cast him in One-Eyed Jacks, and ended up stabbing him with a pen in exasperation. Carey didn’t seem to care; he went on being Tim Carey. When new friends, like the maverick actor/director John Cassavetes, came to Carey’s house for the first time, he made them wear a bulky, padded suit. He then turned his attack dog loose on them. “It’s not you,” Carey would howl. “He just hates that suit.”

Eddie Muller and Daniel Faris, Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of “Adults Only” Cinema (St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 1996)

Eddie Muller and Marisa at Noir City Portland, 2014

Meeting Eddie Muller, “the Czar of Noir,” at Noir City Portland at the Hollywood Theatre, 09/19/2014

Quote of the Week

THE KILLING

Carey was called ‘Kubrick’s good luck charm’ by one critic, but just made two blinding appearances in his films, as a doomed private in Paths of Glory and the ace sharpshooter in The Killing. Their relationship ended when Kubrick left One Eyed Jacks with Brando taking over and the pen-stabbing not far away. The scene here with TC holding a puppy is particularly intense and weird, while his interaction with the African-American parking lot attendant is almost too much to stomach. Carey was upset when Kubrick fled to England and left him behind. A shame, he would have been amazing in Strangelove.

Dale Shaw, “Five Reasons to Love Timothy Carey”; Sabotage Times, 5 June 2012

The Killing

Pic of the Day: “One-Eyed Jacks” transparency

Whoa everybody, I apologize for being away most of this week! I got sidelined with a bad cold. Today, though, I am back with something really special. I promise to post a better scan of this as soon as I figure out how to scan transparencies (apparently I have to make a folded paper doohickey… well anyway). For now, I’m using the pic that accompanied the eBay auction I got this from. It’s an original transparency of a behind-the-scenes shot from One-Eyed Jacks (1961), featuring Timothy and his director/star, Marlon Brando. And they’re laughing!

One-Eyed Jacks

Poor Margarita Cordova can be seen on the left. I owe a really good high-quality scan of this to my pal Toby of 50 Westerns From the 50s, who brought this auction to my attention, for the book he’s writing on the filming of Jacks. This is another one of those rarities of Careyana that brings a smile to my face. Hope you feel the same.

 

Timothy Carey, 65, A Character Actor

On this date twenty years ago, Timothy passed away. It’s hard to believe it’s been twenty years already. However, though his corporeal form has left us, his spirit remains, as vital and larger-than-life as ever. For someone I never actually met, he certainly has essentially taken over my life. And I’m perfectly fine with that. Here is his obituary, as it appeared in the New York Times on May 17, 1994.

Timothy Carey, 65, A Character Actor

Timothy Carey, a character actor whose films ranged from Paths of Glory and One-Eyed Jacks to 1960’s beach movies, died on Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 65.

His son Romeo announced the death on Sunday and said the cause was a stroke.

Timothy Carey’s acting career began with a part in Billy Wilder‘s 1951 movie The Big Carnival [aka Ace in the Hole] and included more than 50 feature films and many television roles.

He often played a villain. Two of his most recognized roles were in Stanley Kubrick films, The Killing (1956) and Paths of Glory (1957). He acted in One-Eyed Jacks (1961) with Marlon Brando and in John CassavetesKilling of a Chinese Bookie (1976).

He also appeared in Bikini Beach (1964) and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965).

Mr. Carey wrote and directed himself in The World’s Greatest Sinner, in 1962.

In addition to his son Romeo, he is survived by his wife, Doris, and five other children, Mario, Velencia, Silvana, Dagmar and Germain.

Visiting Tim.

Me visiting Tim, 2011.

Timothy and his mother, Ida Agoglia Carey

And since it’s Mother’s Day, here’s Tim and his mom.

Quote of the Week

Timothy Agoglia Carey lived and died an underground legend.

The heavy-lidded, conspicuously tall actor crafted one of the most disjointed, overlooked and under-appreciated film careers in cinema history.

He was a man who refused to compromise, didn’t check his spelling, and never, ever listened to a goddamn word anybody said to him.

He wrote, produced and directed a play called THE INSECT TRAINER, which revolved around the power and the importance of farting.

He brought John Cassavetes over to his house, put him in a dog attack suit and let three rottweilers jump on him, while yelling words of encouragement from the next room, “It’s not you they hate, it’s the suit!”

Richard Widmark beat him up on the set of 1956’s THE LAST WAGON. Not to be outdone, in 1961 Carey was kicked in the ribs by Karl Malden and stabbed with a pen by Marlon Brando during the making of ONE-EYED JACKS.

He was one of the few actors Stanley Kubrick ever trusted to improvise a scene.

He faked his own kidnapping and ransom note during the filming of PATHS OF GLORY, just to get some press.

He led a life of strange brilliance. Carey’s passion for life blazed a trail of wide-eyed wonder that has been followed by such contemporary icons as Crispin Glover and Andy Kaufman.

Through all of this, and much, much more, he always remained true to the world he most definitely helped create and flourish: the underground.

– Sam McAbee, “Timothy Carey: Saint of the Underground”; Cashiers du Cinemart #12 (2001)

Paths of Glory lobby card

 

Pic of the Day: “One-Eyed Jacks” promotional still

Today we observe the 90th birthday anniversary of the legendary Marlon Brando. Timothy appeared with him twice, in The Wild One (1953) and One-Eyed Jacks (1961). Here is a rarely seen promo still from that latter film that I received from friend of the blog Toby Roan, author of the forthcoming A Million Feet of Film: The Making of One-Eyed Jacks. In a scene not appearing in the final cut of the film, the dead body of ne’er-do-well Howard Tetley is carried away by Rio, the man who shot him (Brando), Chico (Larry Duran) and Sheriff Dad Longworth (Karl Malden).

One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

 

“You know, I was always a hound for publicity,” Tim said in the Psychotronic interview. “They were doing the Academy Awards and Brando was up for it. Well, I knew him from The Wild One, I knew he was going to get it (for On the Waterfront), so I was getting dressed up for it and I was going to go up there and get it before he got there, but some guy from Western Costume who was dressing me up talked me out of it.” I think most of us secretly – or perhaps not so secretly – wish he had gone ahead with his dastardly plan. Sending afterlife birthday greetings to you, Mr. Brando!

Quote of the Week

Carey’s true nature, belying his odious on-screen behavior, came out in the easygoing way he talked about the many leads he’s worked with, actors who’ve routinely – and literally – kicked him around. He was given the cold shoulder by Robert Ryan on Alaska Seas (1954), “cursed and stomped on” by Richard Widmark during The Last Wagon (1956), and kicked in the ribs by Karl Malden during the filming of Marlon Brando‘s One-Eyed Jacks (1961) – to name only a few instances! When asked to reflect on these incidents, a sad fondness crept into Carey’s voice as he had nothing but praise for the many actors whose resentfulness instilled in him a real martyrdom rather than bitterness: “I’ve been fired from several shows. I’m not proud of it, but I do hold the all-time record.”

Ara Corbett, “Rebels With a Cause: The Timothy Carey-John Cassavetes Partnership”; Filmfax magazine #56 (May/June 1996)

One-Eyed Jacks

Karl Malden literally kicks Timothy’s ass in a scene that didn’t make the final cut of One-Eyed Jacks

Video of the Week: “The Wild One”

In honor of the legendary Lee Marvin‘s 90th birthday anniversary, we present the famous fight scene from The Wild One (1953), directed by Laslo Benedek. Timothy, uncredited as an enthusiastic member of Chino’s gang, sits on his motorcycle observing Chino as he eggs on Johnny (Marlon Brando). Later on during the fight, he splashes the contents of a bottle of beer over Chino while urging him to get up and finish Johnny off. This has been referred to in some quarters as the “throwing beer on Brando” incident.

Actually, as you can see, Marvin is the only one who actually gets beer thrown on him. Tim gestures a little too wildly with bottle in hand, and Brando gets a few drops on him. As Timothy mentioned in the James Dean article, “I played the scene with enthusiasm, but Brando didn’t seem to appreciate it. He finally turned to director Laslo Benedek and said, ‘Get that guy off the set. He makes me nervous.’” When Brando directed Tim years later in One-Eyed Jacks (1961), he told him, “Just don’t throw beer on me again, OK?” Tim replied, “If I do, Marlon, it’ll be good beer; it’ll be German beer.”