*I borrowed these images from @mytr3asurebox. See the original post for awesome gifs showcasing Dean’s incredible performance in Rio Bravo!*
Dean Martin’s brilliantly profound insight on acting: “Think that you’re thinkin’.” 🤩
My favorite performers to watch are natural actors. They may not lose themselves in a role and fully transform - but they bring out real reactions and deep emotions from a very personal place, making their work more interesting, relatable, and moving.
I’ve recently discovered that Dean was quite an effective natural actor. I adore him in several films - but his performance in Rio Bravo is my favorite. (As fun as his cool, unflappable characters are, I’ll take vulnerable, tender-hearted Dude any day.) It’s his rangiest role, the fullest showcase of all he can do (he even gets to sing a little!) - and his best work. 🌟
While I’m gushing…Casting Dean as Dude was a stroke of genius - because it takes his well-known image and turns it on its head.
Here’s what I mean: What are the top 2 traits you’d expect in a Dean Martin character? I’d say romance (or at least smooth womanizing) and comical alcohol consumption.
In Rio Bravo, Dude is an impulsive romantic - but his romance is a past one that happened off-screen, pre-movie. He doesn’t even so much as flirt with anyone during the picture itself.
And Dude drinks, but it isn’t played for laughs. Instead, we see him struggle with the heartbreaking reality that can result from such drinking. He’s dependent, his self-confidence is shaky, and he’s very, very vulnerable.
Dude truly subverts expectations, and Dean himself more than rises to that challenge - with his heart on his sleeve and real, deep emotions that shine in his eyes and play across his face so naturally, it’s as if he’s living the part.
I think it was an award-worthy performance. 🤩
(PS - more recommendations: To see him play a “Dean Martin type” - with a dreamy yet realistic Southern accent! - while showing sparks of something deeper, watch Some Came Running. And to see him play a slightly vulnerable, Dude-like character who gets to engage in a little on-screen romance, watch Bandolero!.)
So, what do you think? What are your favorite Dean Martin performances? 🌟
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Pearl Bailey as Marge in The Landlord (1970). Pearl was born in Newport News, Virginia, grew up in Washington DC, and had 19 acting credits, from 1947 to a 1989 tv movie. Her other notable credits include Carmen Jones, Porgy and Bess, St Louis Blues, a voice in Disney's The Fox and the Hound, and two episodes of Silver Spoons. Pearly Mae (her given name) is better known as a singer, dancer, and personality. She appeared 23 times on The Ed Sullivan Show 1949-68. She was the recipient of Ed's hugs and kisses after many of her show stopping performances, doing much unspoken to advance civil rights.
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