Archive for January 31, 2019

Character

Posted in FILM with tags , on January 31, 2019 by dcairns

When I was changing from a kid who liked movies, kinda like any kid but a little weirder, into an actual I-supposed-you’d-have-to-say cinephile, I noticed a guy who seemed to turn up a lot. Not at the movies, IN the movies. Here he is in AFTER HOURS, which was the first Scorsese film that came out properly during this formative period. (I was aware of THE KING OF COMEDY but I don’t think it even made it to Edinburgh screens as part of its actual release).

It was a while before I learned his name, and when I did I kept forgetting it, because it was so ordinary. Dick Miller. It suited his blue-collar, tough-but-decent, warmly paternal aspect, but it took a while to catch. So me and my movie-going chum Robert called him The Character Actor. He was turning up in Joe Dante films, of course, but also in 1941, THE TERMINATOR, early Zemeckis and Demme, a lot of recent things we were catching up with. I’d seen a scattered bunch of Corman films but maybe not the ones that featured him prominently so I don’t think I knew how far back he went. He was one of those guys, like Charles Napier, who just turned up in stuff and gave a pleasurable glow of recognition along with a no-nonsense performance, the eighties equivalents of the Preston Sturges stock company.

Here’s Dick Miller catching an airborne kiss blown by Rosanna Arquette in the manliest manner possible, and with fucking APLOMB.

 

RIP Dick Miller. 90 is a good age, and you seem to have enjoyed life all the way through. A great way to go, but I wish you didn’t have to.

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