Backstory: If I was forced with a Congressional subpoena to testify and I didn’t want to purger myself, I would say Brando is my favorite actor of all time, but that Nicholson has probably had the greatest career and that Shelly Winters might rank as my favorite actress, but if I went back in time Gloria Grahame is whom I would choose to stalk. But right up there near the top for me would be Burt Lancaster.
In the latest edition of the Sight And Sound, Philip Kemp gives a terse overview of Burt's career, much better then I could offer (it’s a British publication, he knows how to write all fancy).
"BURT LANCASTER CHARMER CHAMELEON. A former acrobat with a firm grasp of economics, Burt Lancaster had great acting abilities that were reckoned by some to be based on his multiple personalities. But above all he conveyed a unique sense of male mystery." Go read it.
You done? You back?
I’ll just add a few titles, for the newbies I COMMAND YOU TO RENT & WATCH LIST, some of my favorites...
Lancaster won a deserved Oscar for the awesome Elmer Gantry (Brooks 1960)
He took the bad guy roles in Sweet Smell of Success (Mackendrick 1957) and Seven Days in May (Frankenheimer 1964).
And he showed regret in the strangely wonderful The Swimmer (Perry 1968) and Atlantic City (Malle 1980).
He did cool action in The Professionals (1966) and recently released as part of the John Frankenheimer Collection The Train (1964) (also includes Lancaster in the never before available The Young Savages,1961).
Strangely John Huston’s The List of Adrian Messenger (Huston 1963) hasn’t made it to DVD yet nor has Carol Reed’s Trapeze (1956) (article to follow).
if you want more Lancaster titles of note here goes....
He did a string of cool 70’s anti-westerns including Ulzana's Raid (Aldrich 1972) and Valdez Is Coming (Sherin 1971).
Some international art house fare The Leopard (Visconti 1963), 1900 (Bertolucci 1976), Local Hero (Forsyth 1983).
He pops up in the bizarro casts of such oddities as the euro- disaster flick The Cassandra Crossing (Cosmatos 1976) and the Altman anti epic, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976) and Peckinpah’s last flick The Osterman Weekend (1983) .
And he’s been in numerous other flicks considered classics by man including, Birdman of Alcatraz (Frankenheimer 1962), Judgment at Nuremberg (Kramer 1961), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (Sturges 1957), From Here to Eternity (Zinnemann 1953).
So many more including his political flicks period and you can also explore his swashbuckling films and the noir films he broke into Hollywood with Etc. So many....