More Than Meets The Mogwai

Friday, August 01, 2008

Barry Brown in BAD COMPANY (Robert Benton, 1972)



Watched Robert Benton's masterful BAD COMPANY just last night on Turner Classic Movies for the very first time, and became even more captivated with the performer Barry Brown. My introduction to him came via Peter Bogdanovich's DAISY MILLER (with P.B. referring to him as "the only American actor you can believe ever read a book"), but here the material demands him to be much more jocular and not so constantly sullen. Still -- through all the surface playfulness -- a potent reminder of that pervasive sadness behind those eyes remains. I don't think there's a role of his, small or large, that doesn't contain it.

When I was having a hard time thinking of a perfect actor, past or present, to portray the hero in one of my screenplays just last month, I needed only to flash on Brown (it only helped matters that the hero was an exploitation film enthusiast and a former leading man)...and problem solved.

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UPDATED:

A very informative comment from Roberta has shined a light on two essential places on the web to learn more about this troubled, but supremely talented actor who left us much too soon:

--the Yahoo! Group entitled "Club Barry" (which counts his professor/author brother James as a member)

--and, http://www.barrybrown.info/ (which devotes a comprehensive section to Brown's writing for such publications as "Famous Monsters". Be sure to check out the Bruno VeSota interview!)

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3 Comments:

Blogger Roberta said...

Barry Brown truly was one of the best, and most promising actors of the 1970's (I have been a fan for nearly 40 years.)

However, in "Daisy Miller," Barry Brown wasn't sullen, but sad. (The sadness in his eyes was for real.)

There are two websites where you can obtain more information about this wonderful actor and his career: a Yahoo website ("Club Barry"), and the authoritative website, www.barrybrown.info, created by one of his most devoted fans, a Scottish lady named Fiona Gell.

Also, two very informative books written by Barry's younger brother, James (a university professor) will give valuable insights into the life - and career - of Barry Brown: "The Los Angeles Diaries," and "Final Performance."

I'm thrilled that someone else appreciates Barry Brown's considerable talent and his magnetism. Although over a generation has passed, I'll always remember that darkly handsome young man whose intensity, and emotional performance made me an instant (and lifelong) fan.

9:50 AM  
Blogger aaron said...

Roberta,

Thanks for writing in! As you can see, I've made an addendum to this post, linking to both places you mention here. Truth be told, I've actually been a 'silent' member of the ClubBarry group for some time now.

Best,
Aaron

11:57 AM  
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