Thursday Movie Picks: Great Final Films of an Actor

A weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves
Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before getting a challenging theme for the Thursday Movie Picks series and this week's is the challenge I've been dreading. The thing is that I haven't seen a lot of final films and those I've seen, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner being the only exception, are far from being great. The reason why today I'm going with three final films of actors I'm yet to see but that are on my watchlist as I've heard nothing but great things about them.

The Crow (1994), Brandon Lee


Giant (1956), James Dean


Thoroughbreds (2017), Anton Yelchin

10 comments :

  1. I found many films and thought of final films of actors that are less than stellar. I just watched Airport '75 which is the final film of Gloria Swanson. I would advise to watch this campy film first and then watch Airplane..it's a hoot. Giant is a good film and one I have to watch again. I have not seen The Crow but how I remember the shock waves when Brandon Lee died I have not seen the film with Anton who died needlessly because of a faulty car.

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    1. Thank you for the suggestion. I'll watch Airport '75 when I get the chance.

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  2. While I prefer East of Eden of Dean's three starring roles Giant is a big sprawling epic with excellent direction and performances from Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Dean is strong in the early part of the film but somewhat less so in the later scenes. He's not bad he just didn't seem to have as firm a handle on the character at that point.

    I didn't like The Crow but then its not really my sort of film. Add in the tragic circumstances of Lee's death and it became morbid.

    Haven't seen Thoroughbreds but this is the second mention I've seen today so I'll have to investigate a bit more.

    Ya the great in the theme title make it a bit more challenging since most stars final films unfortunately turn out to be less than their best. But with a little digging and finally clamping down and giving my third pic a look (the length had put me off) I was able to find a common thread that tied mine together.

    To Be or Not To Be (1942)-In German occupied Warsaw during World War II a Polish theatrical troupe headed by husband and wife stars Joseph & Maria Tura (Jack Benny & Carole Lombard) set out to prevent a German spy from revealing key members of the Polish underground to the Nazis by means both desperate and humorous.

    Ernst Lubitsch directed masterpiece was Lombard’s final film. America entered the war just before the film’s premiere and Carole was the first star to go on a bond tour (to her native Indiana) and perished in a plane crash, along with her mother, on the return journey. A line her character spoke “What can happen in a plane?” was excised before the film debuted.

    The Misfits (1961)-In Reno for a divorce Roslyn Taber (Marilyn Monroe) meets aging cowboy Gay Langland (Clark Gable), WWII aviator Guido Racanelli (Eli Wallach) and broken down rodeo rider Perce Howland (Montgomery Clift). Lonely and feeling lost Roslyn accepts Guido's invitation to stay at his desert home with the trio and the four wrestle with life’s questions.

    Directed by John Huston and written for Marilyn by her then husband Arthur Miller this somber film was the final one for both Gable and Monroe. Gable, who performed some of his own stunt work died 12 days after the film wrapped. Marilyn started the trouble plagued “Something’s Gotta Give” but died before its completion and the picture scrapped.

    The Iceman Cometh (1973)-In 1912 New York’s Last Chance Saloon a group of chronic alcoholics are momentarily shaken from their hopeless ennui by the arrival of Hickey (Lee Marvin) one of their number now sober urging them to abandon their pipe dreams and face reality. It does not go well. Powerful with a powerhouse cast (beside Marvin-Jeff Bridges, Robert Ryan, Fredric March, Moses Gunn, Bradford Dillman among others) full book adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play couldn't be better presented (it’s directed by John Frankenheimer) but it's so long (four hours!) and full of doom and gloom it’s a hard one to embrace.

    This was the last film for both Robert Ryan (who died before the film’s premiere) and Fredric March who retired on the film’s completion and passed away shortly afterwards.

    Advise & Consent (1962)-Secretary of State nominee Robert Leffingwell (Henry Fonda) is being investigated by a Senate committee headed by Senator Brig Anderson (Don Murray) before his appointment. When serious allegations are leveled against Leffingwell engineered by Senior Senator Seab Cooley (Charles Laughton) pressure is applied to Anderson in the form of exposure of a long hidden secret to influence the outcome. Otto Preminger directed, star-studded (Gene Tierney, Walter Pidgeon, Lew Ayres, Franchot Tone, Burgess Meredith, Betty White etc.) political drama is still timely.

    This was Charles Laughton final feature (passing away within six months of completion), by happenstance he co-starred with each of the other stars excepting Ryan in one of their films (Lombard-They Knew What They Wanted, Gable-Mutiny on the Bounty, Fredric March-Les Miserables and Monroe-O Henry’s Full House).

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    1. I've read about your first you picks from someone else too this week. I'll definitely check out The Misfits as I like both Gable and Monroe. It's kinda sad that they share their final film but at least it seems to be a good one.

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  3. I've seen all 3 of these films, great choices.

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  4. I still haven't seen the Crow movie, but I did hear about the tragic accident that happened with Brandon Lee that caused his death.

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    1. I remember when my mother first told me about it when I was younger and I just couldn't believe something like that could happen.

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  5. Thoroughbreds! I've seen The Crow and I know I'm in the minority but I didn't care for it. I could've done without the rape flashbacks/scenes. Removing those would've made it a far better film.

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    1. I hate when movies have such scenes but add nothing.

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