Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012)

Showing his range in Marty (1955).

“The trick is not to become somebody else. You become somebody else when youre in front of the camera or when youre on stage. There are some people who carry it all the time. That, to me, is not acting. What youve gotta do is find out what the writer wrote about and put it into your mind. This is acting. Not going out and researching what the writer has already written. This is crazy!

Playing with knives in From Here to Eternity (1953). 

“The greatest compliment I ever had in my life was one day, I was talking to Montgomery Clift. We were sitting all by ourselves in an empty studio, and we saw a door open. And a man and a woman walked in. We paid no attention. We went right on talking. And suddenly I was engulfed in these huge arms. And the voice said, Youre the son of a bitch I wrote about when I wrote that book. [From Here to Eternity] And it was James Jones himself. And he said to me, Keep at it, kid. I love what youre doing. ” (interview with Dan Lybarger)

Playing with pitchforks in Violent Saturday (1955).

“Spencer Tracy was the first actor Ive seen who could just look down into the dirt and command a scene. He played a setup with Robert Ryan that way. Hes looking down at the road, and then he looks at Ryan at just the precise, right minute. I tell you, Rob couldve stood on his head and zipped open his fly and the scene wouldve still been Mr. Tracys.

Showing one of his badass faces.

“I hate hippies and dopeheads. Just hate them. Im glad we sent them off to war. They came back with a sense of responsibility and respect. We should have grabbed the women, given them a bath, put a chastity belt on them, and put them in secretary school.

Giving Lee Marvin the business in Emperor of the North (1973).

“Where can we find the great actors we had yesteryear, guys like Spencer Tracy and Gary Cooper and Edward G. Robinson? You know, I was talking to Lee Marvin the other day and we agreed that we were the last of a breed. Were the last who had the opportunity of working with these fine actors. I feel very humble. It makes me feel that Ive got to try that bit harder.

Keeping cool on the set of The Wild Bunch (1969).

“Everything I do has a moral to it. Yes, Ive been in films that have had shootings. I made The Wild Bunch, which was the beginning of the splattering of blood and everything else. But there was a moral behind it.

My favorite Ernest Borgnine films: The Mob (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953), Vera Cruz (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Violent Saturday (1955), The Vikings (1958), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Ice Station Zebra (1868), The Wild Bunch (1969), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Emperor of the North (1973)

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