L13FC: Best at directing and Acting

Welcome back to Cindy’s Lucky 13 Film Club. For new followers, this is about sharing your thoughts in a positive way with one another on the 13th of the month. Over the years, I’ve had co-hosts and that makes the day even better. If you are interested in co-hosting a topic about the film industry, email me at cbruchman@yahoo.com, and let’s come up with something.

Sir Richard Attenborough has been on my radar lately. He was born in 1928 and passed in 2014. He shared his long life with wife Sheila Sim. He served for five years in WW2 and was an accomplished actor and director winning many top awards for both. He was a verified presence on the movie screen for more than sixty years.

If you need a reminder of his best acting roles, read Neil Mitchell’s article about “Dickie” FOUND HERE.

 What I enjoy best about his acting are his flawed characters. He is the stereotype of the composed, polite Englishman. Yet, his characters have serious foibles. That’s a seductive contrast. Whatever the role, he elevates the film by his presence. I also respect him for wanting to make important movies. He used his star power to bring awareness of the plight of the unfortunate even if it meant satirizing his native country.

What is his best acting role? What is his best directing job? How would you rank him with other actors/directors? That is, who has had equal success as a director and actor?

82 Comments on “L13FC: Best at directing and Acting

  1. Ah Cindy! That made me smile. The chap who does the Planet Earth nature programs is Sir David Attenborough, a National Treasure over here, He is Richard’s brother. Both brilliant in their respective fields!

    Liked by 1 person

      • The genes, yes? I don’t know if its a good thing, but as an American, when I think of posh British stereotypes and their sayings like keeping a stiff upper lip, Jolly good show, Keep calm and carry on, old boy, etcetera, the brothers Attenborough come to mind.

        Liked by 3 people

      • “How can two brothers have so much talent?”

        To a gray: Considering how kind the both of them come off as, I could care less whether Richard Attenborough is a great director or not. As with David (who narrates those Planet Earth documentaries), he comes off as a kind gentle man 🙂 Warm hearted 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • “Ah Cindy! That made me smile. The chap who does the Planet Earth nature programs is Sir David Attenborough, a National Treasure over here, He is Richard’s brother. Both brilliant in their respective fields!”

      To fragglerocking: Whether Richard Attenborough deserves to be labeled a great director or not, I really do not care personally because he and David seem to come off as really nice people based on interviews with them that others have told me about 🙂 I can’t quite put my finger on it, but their is this gentleness that can be associated with them both 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Attenborough was a revelation as Pinkie in ‘Brighton Rock’, and just wonderfully chilling as Christie in ’10 Rillington Place’. As for direction, he did a great job on ‘Ghandi’, a true epic on the grand scale.
    My own favourite actor/director was Orson Welles, as you know. Despite some flaws, I still rate him as the best ever. And perhaps Charles Laughton is worth a mention, if only for ‘Night Of The Hunter’.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Pete, thanks for your thoughts today. I watched 10 ‘Rillington Place’ just yesterday. When he started making love to strangled Beryl I was moved. He was great in the role. Totally convincing.
      I figured you or someone would mention Orson Welles. I know he stimulates a love/hatred reflex in most cinephiles. I know too little to be swayed to the negative. All I know of him was brilliant. I had thought of Charlie Chaplin.

      Liked by 3 people

      • “Hi Pete, thanks for your thoughts today. I watched 10 ‘Rillington Place’ just yesterday. When he started making love to strangled Beryl I was moved. He was great in the role. Totally convincing.
        I figured you or someone would mention Orson Welles. I know he stimulates a love/hatred reflex in most cinephiles. I know too little to be swayed to the negative. All I know of him was brilliant. I had thought of Charlie Chaplin.”

        To Cindy: Actually, cinephiles revere Orson Welles based on what I have read. Not only that, but a lot (If not all) of them ranks Welles other films (as director) much higher than Citizen Kane 🙂

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        • He’s one I’d like focus more in depth. Maybe I ought to select him for my winter “classic male actor whose work I know too little about” this year. I’ve seen Citizen Kane’s top five common films when you think of him, and I love them. Other than that, nada. I do love his Halloween prank to the country when he announced on the radio the attack of aliens.

          Liked by 1 person

          • “He’s one I’d like focus more in depth. Maybe I ought to select him for my winter “classic male actor whose work I know too little about” this year. I’ve seen Citizen Kane’s top five common films when you think of him, and I love them. Other than that, nada. I do love his Halloween prank to the country when he announced on the radio the attack of aliens.”

            To Cindy: I hear ya 🙂 Having said all that, are you sure it was not D.H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley’s Lover that Orson Welles was reading from that got everybody all hysterical? 🙂 Ha ha ha, only kidding 🙂 Anyway, in case you are interested, here is a blog entry regarding my favorite Orson Welles films below 🙂

            https://cinematiccoffee.com/2018/09/02/my-favorite-orson-welles-films/

            Like

    • “Attenborough was a revelation as Pinkie in ‘Brighton Rock’, and just wonderfully chilling as Christie in ’10 Rillington Place’. As for direction, he did a great job on ‘Ghandi’, a true epic on the grand scale.
      My own favourite actor/director was Orson Welles, as you know. Despite some flaws, I still rate him as the best ever. And perhaps Charles Laughton is worth a mention, if only for ‘Night Of The Hunter’.
      Best wishes, Pete. x”

      To beetleypete: I read somewhere that Attenborough was initially reluctant to play that role in 10 Rillington Place, but whatever was in the end, he rose to the occasion and pulled it off without a scratch. While I do not see him as a great director, in my mind, I will easily put up with the fact that he is often or sometimes celebrated as such mainly because (like his brother David), he comes off as such a warm hearted human being in person based on what I have heard about him 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With Richard Attenborough being so prolific as an actor and director, I’ve seen embarrassingly few of his films. That stated, Gandhi is a fantastic directorial achievement as is Chaplin. I also think Magic is a very good, underrated, psychological horror film.
    As an actor, I think his greatest role was in The Sand Pebbles. He was realistically horrifying/terrific in 10 Rillington Place and I loved him in Jurassic Park.
    It’s difficult for me to compare him to another actor/director sense I am not that familiar with him, but from what I’ve googled, he is up there with Clint Eastwood in terms of quality film work and recognition.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Pam! Glad you stopped by today to share your thoughts. Yes! I’m so glad you mentioned ‘Magic’. I remember seeing that when it was released and I found it disturbing (in a good way). Richard A. seemed to like Anthony Hopkins. They did a few films together. I agree with all that you say. I have not seen the noir film of his that’s a classic–I thought maybe you had seen it–Brighton Rock. Yes, Clint Eastwood is a fine choice for me as successful actor and director. There aren’t that many. Many actors take a turn at directing with varied results, and few directors are known for their acting. Clint fits the bill.

      Liked by 2 people

    • “With Richard Attenborough being so prolific as an actor and director, I’ve seen embarrassingly few of his films. That stated, Gandhi is a fantastic directorial achievement as is Chaplin. I also think Magic is a very good, underrated, psychological horror film.
      As an actor, I think his greatest role was in The Sand Pebbles. He was realistically horrifying/terrific in 10 Rillington Place and I loved him in Jurassic Park.
      It’s difficult for me to compare him to another actor/director sense I am not that familiar with him, but from what I’ve googled, he is up there with Clint Eastwood in terms of quality film work and recognition.”

      To Pam: Though I do not see Richard Attenborough as a great director, it does not matter. As I have told others on here, he (like his brother David) comes off as just a super nice guy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good one to know, Robbie! He was perfect in the file as Drummond. That’s a great example of his playing the polite British gentleman who has a dark, deep personality trait. It could have been a one dimensional character, but he brought depth to the role. It’s a main reason why the first one (the only one) was a perfect film, IMO.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, yes! I watched this for the first time yesterday. Can’t say I was a fan of the production and the ending was lame, but I LOVED Attenborough’s performance and I understand why it was critical role for him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “One role of his which I think is always under-estimated is as the murderous Christie in “10 Rillington Place”

      To jfwknifton: Same here 🙂

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  4. If I had to describe Sir Richard, I’d just say, ‘He had a presence.’ When he was on stage or up on the big screen there was no mistaking the fact that he owned that role, the stage was his and you could nothing but watch in awe.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “If I had to describe Sir Richard, I’d just say, ‘He had a presence.’ When he was on stage or up on the big screen there was no mistaking the fact that he owned that role, the stage was his and you could nothing but watch in awe.”

      To GP Cox: As an actor, he was a powerhouse. As a director, not so much. Nevertheless, that latter opinion of mine does not even bother me because as with his brother David, he comes as such a genuinely nice guy that If he won every prize in the book, I would simply say that he deserves them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Cindy. Richard Attenborough is one of these actor/directors that, until you see it written down, you don’t really appreciate how impressive his career was! One of my favourite films with him in is the 1948 movie, London Belongs To Me (also known as Dulcimer Street). This was adapted from a book by Norman Collins which is an excellent read by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Hi Cindy. Richard Attenborough is one of these actor/directors that, until you see it written down, you don’t really appreciate how impressive his career was! One of my favourite films with him in is the 1948 movie, London Belongs To Me (also known as Dulcimer Street). This was adapted from a book by Norman Collins which is an excellent read by the way.”

      To Sarah: Been a while since I saw that, I must check that out again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi John, arguably not as good as Brighton Rock perhaps (depending on your opinion), but that’s something we can say with the benefit of hindsight. Both films came out the same year, both adapted from books, but London Belongs To Me considered far less controversial at the time, and, consequently, more successful then. Funny how, as the years pass, films become more significant than others. Cindy – do hope you can find London Belongs…the opening sequence of an aerial shot of post war London is quite something! The director, Sidney Gilliat, worked with Carol Reed and Hitchcock. Alistair Sim appeared in several of his movies and puts in a brilliant performance as a charlatan mystic here….but now we’re going off topic slightly. But bringing it back to all things Attenborough…his brother, David, has just won an Emmy for narrating a recent documentary. So, keeping it in the family, even at 94!

        Liked by 1 person

    • “Role – Guns of Batisi Jurassic Park
      Direction – Gandhi
      My Favorite actor/director – Orson Welles”

      To Don Ostertag: Undoubtedly Welles ranks high up there 🙂 For me, Attenborough’s best role is in 10 Rillington Place. Having said that, I am not a fan of him as a director. Nevertheless, I could care less about that because like his brother David, he comes off as such a kind hearted person based on what I have read about him 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As an actor, I would say his performance as real life British serial killer John Christie in Richard Fleischer’s 1971 crime drama 10 Rillington Place. He also offers wonderful support in ensemble pieces like 1965’s Flight of the Phoenix. Not a huge fan of him as a director though. Ironically, he directed a film about an actor, who was also a great director entitled Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin not only directed his own stuff (or at least most of it), but also Buster Keaton (again for the most part) – another comedy legend. Both of those guys had visions as did Clint Eastwood as a director. Orson Welles is another master.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi John, today I am in agreement with all you say. Yes, to his performance in 10 Rillington Place. Creepy, yes? I love Flight of the Phoenix overall very much and he does provide solid support to the ensemble cast. I felt the same way about him in Elizabeth. He was perfect as Lord Burley. Chaplin was when I first admired Robert Downey Jr.’s acting ability. Chaplin, Eastwood and Welles – I can add Kenneth Branaugh to the list – and some others:
      Kevin Costner
      Mel Gibson
      Robert Duvall
      Laurence Olivier
      Woody Allen
      Ron Howard

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Hi John, today I am in agreement with all you say. Yes, to his performance in 10 Rillington Place. Creepy, yes? I love Flight of the Phoenix overall very much and he does provide solid support to the ensemble cast. I felt the same way about him in Elizabeth. He was perfect as Lord Burley. Chaplin was when I first admired Robert Downey Jr.’s acting ability. Chaplin, Eastwood and Welles – I can add Kenneth Branaugh to the list – and some others:
        Kevin Costner
        Mel Gibson
        Robert Duvall
        Laurence Olivier
        Woody Allen
        Ron Howard”

        To Cindy: Interesting choices you got there as well 🙂 Along with Woody Allen, I would also like to add Albert Brooks (Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost in America, Defending Your Life and Mother from 1996 with Debbie Reynolds) 🙂

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  7. Attenborough was a “biggie”. I am enjoying every minute of Apple movie recently. Saw Anatomy of a murder last night. By Preminger with Jimmy Stewart. Refreshing after so much gore in today’s fiction…
    Cheers.

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  8. Favorite performances: The meekly husband in Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), the machinist in The Sand Pebbles (1966), and the serial killer in 10 Rillington Place (1971).

    Favorite films as a director: Gandhi (1982), for sure, and I thought he did a diabolically clever job with Magic (1978).

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  9. Attenborough was a dependable second tier actor. He never gave a bad performance, and always added something to the picture. His lack of charima kept him ;pcked into supporting roles. His directing was solid, although his pictures tended to be on the dull side, but they were respectable. Now,,,,
    onto the others. I am no fan of Orson Welles. but prefer hus acting to his directing. Thre are some real geniuses who have excelled at both, among them Charles Chaplin, John Cassavetes, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Dennis Hopper, Woody Allen, and Jacques Tati come to mind. Some fine actors have also managed to direct themselves in at least one brilliant film.. Johnny Depp (the Brave) Marlon Brando (One Eyed Jacks) Peter Fonda (The Hired Hand) and Robert Montgomery (Lady in the Lake),

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    • One Eyed Jacks is well directed and entertaining. I loved the scenes by the water. I’m glad you mentioned the one hit wonders of Depp, Brando, and Fonda. I should see The Hired Hand. I liked Fonda’s Easy Rider a lot (I remember you did not.)

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        • Ahh. Silly me.

          I saw it when it first came out. I liked it. I’d like to see it again. I don’t remember much. I looked at the trailer and saw Johnny wrote the screenplay, too. I like the aggravating vague dialogue between him and the dude who’s in charge. The strobing bad light is a genius touch.

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          • “It’s fitting we have pain when we come into the world, it’s fitting we should have it when we depart” something like that. Anyway, Brando has such a relaxed way to his contemplation. Honestly, I could sit and listen to him talk all day long. Even if it’s rubbish, he seems to have always found the revelation of life and is willing to share to whomever will listen. The way he scratches his nose.The way he leans back and sighs. Brando conveyed the sense of a Buddha in every performance. Wise and full of insights. In short, I loved it.
            The only fault I have with Depp’s dialogue is he overuses the question. “Are you afraid to die?” Brando asks Depp. “Are you?”
            It’s a good way to create a coy character, one who is refrained and suspicious, a poker player, but it got to be a little annoying.
            A small complaint. The two are marvelous.

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          • Have you seen anything worth watching lately? I fell in love with FX’s Fosse/Verdon. Very entertaining. Did you like it? I think I’d like to focus on the pair for the next L13FC. You’re an expert? Care to co-host again or just watch on the sidelines?

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          • i didnt see it, nor have i heard of it, but i am a great fan of fosses, so ill look for it, and et you know later if i can co host. i loved the painted bird it was a favorite novel of mine in 1966.

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          • It was a series that grew on me. There’s 8 episodes. Some were stronger than others. I enjoyed the ride and the nostalgia of an era. I did appreciate Williams more than Rockwell over all. The little girl in the film reminded me of me growing up (minus the rich and famous parties and the maid/sitter). Children were meant to be seen and not heard and on the periphery left alone, you could get away with anything and subsequently grew up too fast.

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          • one of my best friends from my hollywood days played Whizz, the guy who was killed ad stuffed into the trunk….i based willu wahoo from the goners on him.

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    • We share an affinity for all things Clint. Is there anyone alive today who shares his Hollywood plateau? I think not. Beyond a legend. I wish I could sit down and have dinner with him.

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      • I had lunch with clint..along with about 60 other people, he was guest of honor att harvards hasty puddung club, the highlight was when he sang i talk to the trees.

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          • i worked there as an actor for davld wheeler’s directing class. wheeler was known for directing mamet’s early plays on broadway.

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          • you haave to work a lo of jobs if you are going to avoid the 9 to 5 trap. in the 90s, i worked as librarian ar MITs geophysical library, spervised the move t he entire hrvard library from one building to another, occupied the office of a professor at harvard business school whle he was doing research in japan, kept dauly records of the progress of children with AIDS at mount auburn hospital in cambridge, answered viewer complaints at WGBH Boston…the list goes on and on

            Like

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