A Eulogy to Joseph Cotten

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A Eulogy to Joseph Cotten

Post by Lady President B. Carter on Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:35 pm

The National Film Registry has decided to post a Eulogy to Joseph Cotten, possibly the most underrated actor of all time. His brilliant versatility in movie acting stand as a huge memorial to the long-gone Golden Age of Hollywood, and his summa spans decades - from the unctuous, sceptical, scheming Jedediah Leland to the loyal, desperate, hapless Holly Martins, and from sybaritic, sadistic Dr Drew Bayliss to his cinematic swan song, his penultimate performance, as the nostalgic Reverend Doctor in Heaven's Gate.

Cotten was a massively respected stage actor long before he answered the siren call of Orson Welles to make his career as a screen supporting actor. Nonetheless, in this capacity he towers over such virtuoso character actors as Ned Beatty or M. Emmett Walsh, bringing depth and honesty to each role. Was he truly Leland in Citizen Kane, most sardonic admirer of the great wunderkind Welles? Was he really Eugene Morgan of The Magnificent Ambersons, destined to be seen as inferior to those colossi who stood beside him? A great actor, he did at last answer Welles's final call to appear as a drunken undertaker in Touch of Evil. Bereft of an Academy Award nod, Cotten is nevertheless recognised today as one of our most accomplished of thespians - and this is how we remember him.

“Orson Welles lists Citizen Kane as his best film, Alfred Hitchcock opts for Shadow of a Doubt and Sir Carol Reed chose The Third Man - and I'm in all of them.” - Joseph Cotten

Joseph Cotten

The Tribute Piece

Clip from The Third Man (1949)
Lady President B. Carter

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