Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In remembrance of a true acting legend...

On This Day in Film reminds us that on this very day in 1967, we lost a true legend, Spencer Tracy.  Spencer Tracy has been on my mind a lot lately, especially since he'll be the last actor considered for the Twice a Best Actor Blogging Roundtable.  I recently saw him in Woman of the Year, and news of a possible movie about his partnership with Katherine Hepburn has been burning images in my brain of what could be and what most likely will be.  Spencer Tracy truly was a brilliant actor, one of the very best.  He was nominated for the Oscar nine times, winning twice (in a row) and is largely considered a cinematic icon.  His natural charm and charisma was uncanny, and the way he conveyed such honest emotions truly connected with me.  He was, in my opinion, one of the most consistent actors to ever have lived.  I'd probably rank him second only to Paul Newman in overall consistency.  I can't think of a single low point in his acting career.  He may not have had a lot of showy 'actorly' moments, for his style was far more reserved and restrained than most (he didn't have any of those Brando/Burton moments), but he was always on point and a welcome presence.

Personally, my favorite performance from him was that of Stanley Banks in Father of the Bride.  His paternal naturalness is so tender and endearing, and his eyes, the way they take in a scene, he’s just spellbinding.  Every movement he makes is grounded in an authenticity; etching out for us a man who is an every-man.  His concern for his daughter’s happiness and the pain in his heart for the loss of her innocence is breathtakingly sincere. 

You can feel him.

Now, we've all seen Bad Day at Black Rock and Boys Town and Judgement at Nuremberg, but what about the films that don't get mentioned that much?  So, today, on the anniversary of his death I've decided to highlight three films that you may not have seen starring the incredible Spencer Tracy to help expand your Tracy knowledge and appreciation for his talent.

Fury (1936)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

The Actress (1953)
Fury is an exceptional turn from Tracy, and comes the year before he was initially embraced by Oscar.  He's terrifying as the scorned man bent on revenge, at any means necessary.  He's also quite impeccable as the chilling Mr. Hyde, but even more so, he taps into such humanity as Dr. Jekyll.  It's such a layered performance, and in my eyes towers over Fredric March's Oscar winning portrayal of the same character.  And lastly, The Actress has Spencer carve out such a well rounded portrayal of a man letting go.  It is very similar to his turn in Father of the Bride, with slightly more bite I'd say.  These are easily three of my favorite turns from Tracy.  Beautiful, detailed and proof that his range and talent was unending. 


  1. Great post! He was one of the best actors from Hollywood's Golden Age, for sure. I haven't seen Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but I still can't find a place to give him a CinSpec win. :( Hopefully I'll see something to change that.

    1. I had that problem for a long time. He's so consistent, and yet, like I said, he doesn't have many OMG moments that scream "GIVE ME AN AWARD", but sometimes I love giving the softer, more natural performance the award (like Newman in 94 or Gandolfini last year) and so I give him the Fisti in 50 for 'Father of the Bride'.