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Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Film Buff: Tony Curtis 1925-2010

Ask me what I think of when I think of Tony Curtis, and one of the first things that comes to mind is that Bronx accent. You would think that such an accent would hinder an actor's career - or at least limit it through typecasting. However, we can see as we look over the catalog of Tony Curtis's films that is simply not the case.
From Albert Desalvo in The Boston Strangler (one of my favorites) to The Great Leslie in The Great Race (another one of my favorites) to Joe/Josephine/Junior In Some Like It Hot (everybody's favorite) to Antoninus in Spartacus, Tony Curtis has always played a wide range of characters and always with at least a hint of that distinct Bronx accent. It was his signature, and it added an element of "earthiness" to every role he played rather than being a distraction or a joke. (Sorry, Governor Schwarzenegger, but we weren't laughing with you.)
I think Mr. Curtis's accent is utilized to great effect in the role of Blackie opposite Walter Matthau and Julie Andrews in the 1980 remake of Little Miss Marker based on Damon Runyon's short story.
On my list of favorite movie stars of classic Hollywood, I will confess that there are several names ahead of Tony Curtis, but it is simply a matter preference. I can't think of a single Tony Curtis film I've seen in which I didn't thoroughly enjoy his performance.
Here's one of my favorites:

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