Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1943: Akim Tamiroff in For Whom the Bell Tolls

Akim Tamiroff received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Pablo in For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Akim Tamiroff plays Pablo the leader of the group of rebels in the Spanish Civil War who Robert Jordan (Gary Cooper) comes to join to blow up a bridge. Akim Tamiroff's Pablo is a rather weak willed man, who Tamiroff is perhaps just a tad too cartoonish in his portrayal since Tamiroff does his usual routine which is a combination of a craziness as well as some joviality.

Although this can work as just a side character in comedies or as a comic relief in other films here it does not really work so well. Tamiroff does tone down his usual style here, but really not enough to make Pablo either realistic or compelling. What I really do not like about his performance is the fact that Pablo could have been a pretty interesting character, but Tamiroff never reaches this potential like say Katina Paxinou does in the role of Pablo's wife and the eventual leader of the rebel group Pilar.

I suppose Pablo is appropriately weak willed and cowardly in the hands of Tamiroff, but there is really too much emphasis on this aspect of Pablo. Yes it is obvious that leadership would be taken from Pilar because of this but Tamiroff never makes any indication to how Pablo was ever their leader to begin with he seems too much like a clown much of the time, and too much like a loser most of the time. There is not even the slightest hint to Pablo ever being a strong man or a leader.

Tamiroff though fails more thoroughly when Pablo comes off as a dangerous man who you have no idea what he is going to do. Tamiroff never seems brutal, or sinister enough to give Pablo's actions any emotional weight. Tamiroff always remains far far too simplistic and never manages to bring the complexity of the character to life. Pablo perhaps could have been a fascinating character in his unpredictability, but Tamiroff never brings more than a paper thin characterization to the part.


RatedRStar said...

I really hated this film and this performance unfortunately lol, his got a cool name though Akim =D hehe xxx

dinasztie said...

I don't think he was that bad.

Did you like Katina Paxinu?

Louis Morgan said...

She was great.

Fritz said...

I think I liked him a bit more but not much.