August 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm #108905
People here frequently use the term “tour-de-force” and while I know it means a truly brilliant, firing on all cylinders performance, I feel like it only applies to the top performances in film history. So lets really discuss it.
What do you think are some tour-de-force performances?August 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm #108907
Divine in Pink Flamingoes.
For me most tour-de-force performances are unbearable and the sign of a bad movie.August 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm #108908
In no particular order
Bette Davis, All About Eve
Bette Davis, The Letter
Bette Davis, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Donald O’Connor, Singin’ in the Rain
Al Pacino, The Godfather Part II
Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon
Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream
Charlize Theron, Monster
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Robert De Niro, Raging Bull
Burt Lancaster, Atlantic City
Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City
Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven
Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice
Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Vera Farmiga, Down to the Bone
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Uma Thurman, the Kill Bill filmsAugust 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm #108909
I kind of consider a tour-de-force performance the things you mentioned, but also when an actor just blazes through a film carrying the whole thing. The example I think of is Quvenzhane Wallis for BOTSW. From the moment she’s on screen it is her movie and she just carries that movie on her shoulders. She is in every scene and it woud have been a different movie without her. However I know there’s some debate on child actors so I guess another example might be something like Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose. She took kind of a bad movie and made it actually decent by pulling it up out of the rubble and owning the screen every second she was on it. However honestly these could just be good performances it’s kind of a subjective term hahaAugust 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm #108910
ELIZABETH TAYLOR- VIRGINIA WOOLF?
BETTE DAVIS- ALL ABOUT EVE
BARBRA STREISAND- FUNNY GIRL
MERYL STREEP- SOPHIE’S CHOICE
ELLEN BURSTYN- REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS- THERE WILL BE BLOOD
SEAN PENN- MILK
DUSTIN HOFFMAN- MIDNIGHT COWBOY
JAMES CAGNEY- YANKEE DOODLE DANDY
PETER FINCH- NETWORKAugust 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm #108911
Marion Cotillard, a talented actress, gave a tour de force performance in La Mome (La vie en rose) – which I consider to be a bad performance specifically because it has all the tour de force elements.
Generally, t-d-f acting comes at the expense of the overall movie. Not sure I’d agree with some the examples cited.August 15, 2013 at 6:57 pm #108912
The moment I saw the title I thought of three performances (I don’t know why, it just happened):
Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
When I hear the phrase “Tour-de-force” I think of a showy performance that owns a movie. Subtle performances, no matter how great they are, would probably never be called a tour-de-force because that term, at least in my mind, implies a more visceral reaction to what we’re being shown. For example, Brando and Pacino in The Godfather (1972) are very subdued, and I wouldn’t call either a tour de force performance, yet they’re among the best in cinema history.August 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm #108913
Well, since I’m not neurotic about these things, I have nothing against supremely skilled, masterwork and spectacular performances, so the examples I’d list would be very long indeed.
I’ll mention two:
Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter
Chris Cooper, Adaptation
There are so many others, and I’m glad for them all. Afterall, I LOVE movies, and terrific perfs, are a huge part of why. Plus, the perfs dont have to come off as “embalmed” for me. Laugh, cry, scream. throw some dishes. As long as the reactions are human, and they move me, and, I think they’re terrific, I’m happy for them.Marcus Snowden (The Artist Formerly Known as msnowden1)ParticipantAugust 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm #108914
The performance that immediately comes to mind is Robert De Niro’s performance in Raging Bull.August 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm #108915
Portman in Black Swan is probably a fair recent example.August 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm #108916
Would award sweeps be considered ‘tour-de-force’ performances? It seems supporting is a lot easier to sweep than lead.
Helen Mirren – The Queen
DDL – There WIll Be Blood, Lincoln, Gangs of New York (to an extent)
Chris Cooper – Adaptation
Anne Hathaway – Les Miz
Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (Prime example of a once- in a generation, Tour De-may the force be with you performance)
Monique – Precious
Forest Whitaker – Last King of Scotland
Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Capote
Robert Deniro – Raging Bull
Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
August 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm #108917
Dominic Cooper in The Devil’s Double, too.August 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm #108918
I guess that I look at “tour-de-force” in the manners you guys have mentioned, but I also tend to look at it as signifying the creative high point of a respective actor’s career. So in a way, the term just about equates to “career-best” for me (though I grant that I don’t apply the term to all actors).
Humphrey Bogart – Casablanca; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Ellen Burstyn – Requiem for a Dream
Lee J. Cobb – 12 Angry Men
Robert De Niro – Raging Bull
Anthony Hopkins – The Silence of the Lambs
John Hurt – The Elephant Man
Frances McDormand – Fargo
Jack Nicholson – Chinatown; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird
Sam Rockwell, Moon
George C. Scott – Patton
James Stewart – It’s A Wonderful Life; Vertigo
Charlize Theron – Monster
Denzel Washington – Malcolm X
Kate Winslet – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindAugust 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm #108919
I don’t see how a tour de force is a bad thing, because they wouldn’t be such to begin with if they don’t fit the film and the film itself isn’t quality.
Anyways, for me musicals tended to have some excellent examples. Like Donald O’ Connor in Singin’ In The Rain for example.
In drama, I think a good example of tour de force would be Robert de Niro in Raging Bull. But I also feel tour de forces are not necessarily larger than life. Take something like Liv Ullman in Persona. It is absolutely phenomenal what she does there.