I was just wondering, how come Spencer Tracy has been forgotten by general population? Why isn't here up there with the greats like Brando and Olivier?
Also, wasn't Tracy at least AS good of a screen actor AS Brando was, and he stepped in front of the camera way before Marlon?
While the great Marlon Brando, no doubt, has done some marvelous work that can only be considered an epitome of a great acting, I personally think Tracy has more amazing performances to his account than Brando. But then again, I don't agree with a lot of Brando's nominations.
As big a fan of brando as i'am i just recently got tuned into Spencer tracy.The guys incredible he reminds me of brando.Just the way he does what he does he makes it look soo fucking easy.Also like brando he doesn't act he just is being the character.
After seeing a few of his films i couldnt understand why i didnt hear more about this guy.I'm a big fan of actors from the golden era of hollywood .I think its because actors today in general .Don't care much about their history they think that actors like tracy are irrelevent because they came up in a different time period.
Even though most actors from back then are still relevent now and their work is timeless.Something that newer generations can't seem to accomplish.The golden era was filled with top quality actors .That same kind of quality acting that tracy had;isn't what matters anymore.
Tooniave ,you seem to know alot about spencer tracy i was wondering if you could help me with something.I was reading up a bit on tracy and when it came to his talents as and actor.People were saying that he had talent that "impressionists couldn't imitate " i was wondering if you could clarify that for me ?
What about his acting made it impossible for people to imitate him?
I preferred Tracy over Brando because he NEVER had to go extreme character like Brando would sometimes do. Tracy was also CONSISTENTLY great in the beginning to his death.
Tracy was pretty much himself in everything he did, BUT you believed him EVERY TIME!
There are times, moreso in his post Godfather career and even sometimes pre Godfather career when you can watch Brando and go "oh, he's acting!" With Tracy, I never could catch him acting.
I remember there was this interview with a bunch of actors like Rod Steiger, Robert Duvall, Eli Wallach, and many others. They were being interviewed by the same guy but separately. One thing that was commonly brought up as an example of great acting to them was Spencer Tracy. Two of these actors had worked with Brando already.k
I think it's because he was genuinely himself yet was somehow varied in his performances. He was an average joe with no distinct way of talking (a la Cary Grant, Sean Connery, or Joe Pesci) and he never had any consistent goofy quirks throughout his film acting career like mumbling (Brando), talking without punctuation (Walken), Hoo-hahing (Pacino), scrunching the lips and trying to crush an imaginary grapefruit with the head and shoulders (DeNiro), etc.
@ truthteller : As much as i like brando ever since i got turned on tracy.I'm more intrigued by him.I know brando would watch spencer tracy and cary grant.So he was influenced by tracy which too me would make tracy the better actor.Still what brando did was dress up .He would become someone else completely .From what i've seen of tracy's work he's just himself.
The only difference is he's different in every role he does.Even though your watching the same person everytime ;theres a difference.With each role you did and because he was so convincing .You totally were just caught with what he was doing.
It was like you were able to look past the fact that he was just him.I feel the greatest actors are the ones who can convince themselves whole heartedly that what they are doing is real.Not the ones who at all play too the audience.Also the actors that like brando can be a part not act it.This is something both tracy and brando had in spades.They both learnt to just be the characters they were portraying.Is this the same impression you got from spencer tracy truthteller ?
"I think it's because he was genuinely himself yet was somehow varied in his performances. He was an average joe with no distinct way of talking " I could see that .My question is what sets him above the rest .Like for example ryan gosling is and exeptionally good actor.Everbody knows he's even admitted that he just plays himself.Now from watching spencer tracy's performances its clear who holds precedent .Tracy makes gosling and actors like him look elementary.Theres obviously got to be more too it than just being and average joe.As well as being genuiely himself.I've seen a bio of tracy on youtube and people that worked with him.Like elisabeth tayler ,robert wagner ,etc have all said.The guy couldnt be imitated also he didn't act .Also he acted with effortlessness like he was just being .He also underplayed the roles he did (whatever the hell that means).
What about him sets him above the rest and makes what he does unable to be duplicated by wannabes ?.I've never had heard a actor being described as not being able to be imitated its something new to me .
Ryan Gosling is NOT a good actor! If he wasn't good looking he wouldn't be around as much as he was. Okay, I haven't seen the Notebook nor Blue Valentine which are supposed to be his best performances, but I've seen everything else and he's shit.
Gangster Squad was terrible. He tried to copy Marlon Brando when he was Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and tried to do the high pitch voice but didn't have the voice in other scenes. And Drive was overrated. All he did was mug. It was everything around him that made him look good ie. Cars, scorpion jacket, cool gloves, 80s soundtrack, Bryan Cranston, etc.
But back to Spencer Tracy. He, like Cary Grant and even Clark Gable, didn't try to be anyone else. They never wore any extreme makeup or took up different accents. They were themselves but in different situations.
In watching their acting, their own personality was what sets them apart from everyone else. They knew they, themselves, were enough and knew how to own it. They knew they didn't have to do anything more. Everything they said was CONVERSATIONAL.
Being conversational is the major ingredient that most actors these days are lacking. Most actors think they have to do something interesting in order to be interesting.
Spencer Tracy never had to do anything interesting. He was a great listener and you could see it when the camera was on him when he was NOT talking. And when he spoke, it was COVERSATIONAL.
But what separates Tracy from Grant and Gable is his simplicity and how it was more than enough to make him believable in whatever he did.
Tracy didn't have an awesome accent like Cary Grant and nor did he have a cool mustache and famous one liners (Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn) like Clark Gable. That's why you see impressionists do Gable and Grant impersonations but never Tracy.
And with regards to "underplaying roles," I think it means that he never had to do anything interesting and that he knew how to let the rest of the movie take care of who he was.
For example, "Inherit the Wind." He's a lawyer who's originally from the South.
Tracy didn't have to do a Southern accent nor a Chicagoan accent (where his character was currently practicing law). He sounded like he did in all of his movies. We know he's originally from the South and now from Chicago because the movie says he is.
He also didn't have to act any differently from himself to establish that he was a lawyer.
We know he's a lawyer when it's announced that his character is the defense attorney and the moment he steps off of the bus.
And we never question him being a lawyer because the rest of the movie says he's the lawyer.
Or a more modern example of this is Morgan Freeman as God in "Bruce Almighty."
Do we ever question that he's God? Nope! He says he's God and the rest of the movie establishes that he is.
He didn't have to do anything differently except wear a white suit.
Ok ,do you you think anyone else that came after tracy could ;do what he did so well? i'm talking about from then too now ? Maybe ryan gosling was a bad choice but.It was the only one that came to mind a the moment .I read on his imdb quotes that he said he just essentially plays himself.Well tracy does similar things .He's just playing himself alot of actors do that today.
Somethings i notice that are different are that they aren't as natural.Or you could even catch them at acting.People like deniro and denzel and walken etc .It's like they adopted certain mannerisms that are signature for every performance .You can tell its almost gimmicky watching them now.Could you elaborate on being conversational? give me examples . Whats different about each of tracy's roles ? Who today would you consider close to tracys natural way of acting/being? Or is there none to match tracy and is he truly the best at what he did ?
I think the people who are closest to Tracy today are Denzel and Morgan Freeman.
Denzel and Morgan Freeman pretty much play themselves and yet we still believe them in whatever role we play. I already gave the example of Freeman as God in Bruce Almighty. Denzel has his "isms" but we still believe him as an uneducated slave, a crooked cop, or a rogue agent. I think Denzel for some reason does a lot of not so great films, but he's the reason why we watch them and the redeeming factor of those not so great films. And with these two, it's hard to catch them acting. Even people like Clint Eastwood, Robert DuVall, Burt Reynolds, to name a few are pretty much themselves yet so believable because they're always so conversational in their acting.
What I mean by conversational, is there's no pushing emotions and no "acting." It's almost as if it's a regular conversation with a hidden camera. When we have normal conversations, we tend to match the other person's energy. We don't all of the sudden yell or cry out of nowhere. We're triggered because we form thoughts and opinions when we listen. A lot of actors today don't do this because they feel they have to do something interesting when in reality, a genuine conversation is what makes people believe you. Tracy was amazing about being conversational. Almost every actor who had worked with him said he was a great listener or something along those lines.
As for role to role with Tracy. With the exception of Captains Courageous where he's a Portuguese fisherman with an accent(which he hated doing), I don't think he does anything differently but accepts the role, relationships, and given circumstances and lets the film take care of everything else. I really believe that's what he meant by "know your lines, don't bump into the furniture." Like I said earlier with Inherit the Wind, he doesn't do a Southern or Midwestern accent nor act differently to be a lawyer. The movie says he's a lawyer. Or Boys Town, he doesn't do anything differently but wears a priest outfit and the movie says he's Father Flanagan. When he was Thomas Edison, I doubt he did a "Daniel Day Lewis." Actually, he was himself, but was great because he was conversational and let the movie do all the work to establish that he was Thomas Edison.
ok great thanks for clarifying i finally understand.Burt reynolds really? i think hes a horrible actor he "acts".I agree with robert duvall at times hes that way.He has gotten theatrical with some of his performances.I would lump someone like brando in tracys category.Simple for the fact that ;with both men.Theres no trace of the mechanism behind their labor.Brando was known for being seamless in his performances.The guy gave flawless performances.From all of the movies ive seen of tracys he follows a same pattern.Something i havent seen in the guys you've mentioned.Granted ,tracy and brando both had their good movies and bad movies cause no ones perfect.From what i've observed even when they werent at their best.They were still at their best ,if that makes any sense.
I agree that denzel has been doing some real stinkers.I never was big into morgan freeman either he "acts" in all of his movies .Though i see where your coming from with them being conversational.In my opinion tracy was more up on brandos level with the naturalism.All his peers say he made it look effortless.He made it look soo easy yet it wasnt that easy.I would never mention brando;in the same sentence as freeman,washington,reynolds.They dont come close to that kind of talent .In my opinion to say that those guys are on tracy's level is insulting;because their not on brando's level not even close .
I've been watching some of Burt Reynolds 60s and 70s stuff like Hooper and Smoky and the Bandit and he's just so simple and conversational. He's also great at using the other actor. Ie the argument scene between him and Sally Field in Hooper.
And I wasn't putting Eastwood, Duvall, and Reynolds on the same tier as Tracy but they're examples of actors who are pretty much themselves and do a good job at it and have had great careers because of it.
What are some examples of Freeman "acting"? I can't say I've seen it. He's one of the most conversational actors alive and when he's not talking and the camera is still on him you can tell he's really listening and giving genuine reactions.
I see your point with reynolds still though he's a decent actor .I heard something about actors who mainly rely on their partner for the performance.Aren't open to being more creative in there own.Basically they are dictated by the other person.That its more of one sided performance ,there is no ambivalence .That shows two different people are interacting.
I didnt mention duvall or east i actually like what they do.I agree they are listeners espcially duvall.Who studied under meisner who essenstially taught how to listen and react to your partner.In general i just dont find morgan freeman to be a great actor.No performance in particular i just cant get too into the roles he portrays.He's not believeable enough for me he sounds like a orator when he speaks his lines.
Oh yeah, I can't believe that I forgot Tom Hanks.
He's pretty much the SAME guy in all of his movies yet so believable. Yes, he learned a southern accent for Forrest Gump because the little boy who played him talked that way and he had fun doing an Eastern European accent in The Terminal. But regardless of the accent, it was still Tom Hanks.
He never has to do anything more than himself. He lets the movie do the rest of the work.
With the exception of Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks is also one of those people who can't really be impersonated. Like Tracy, he's an average joe with no real distinct "isms"
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