Edward Arnold : Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

If any actor in Hollywood History should have been nominated and awarded an Oscar it should have been this man.

Edward Arnold is remembered it is for the superb job he did in film after film after film in a career of nearly three decades in Hollywood. He could find the kernel of truth of every character he played, so that one could believe that his characters' lives continued way past the words "the end" as the celluloid strip came to the a conclusion. Too frequently he is considered a typical wealthy villain (like his fascist tycoon in MEET JOHN DOE, or his Boss Jim Taylor in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON), but even Capra shows a better side of him in his films. In YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU the death of his oldest friend (H.B.Warner) of a stroke or heart attack after berating him causes him to have a question of conscience and abandon his well conceived plan to organize an arms cartel. Even in MEET JOHN DOE he does show up on the roof on Christmas Eve because he is not only determined to prevent Gary Cooper from showing he meant what he said, but he really does not want Cooper to kill himself.

Arnold played roles of quasi-heroism. Barney Glasgow in COME AND GET IT (possibly Arnold's best role) is a good boss, and protects his men from the swindles of men like Edwin Maxwell (the owner of the gambling home/bar/restaurant Barney's men go to after getting their pay). The fight of him, Frances Farmer, and Walter Brennan against Maxwell and his gang is very lively and realistic, and fun. If Barney's natural ambitions to better himself ruin his chance of happiness with Farmer, at least he turns out to be a better husband and father (to his daughter Andrea Leeds, at least) than one can imagine. It is a measure of this that his wife forgives him at the end of the film.

If Jim Taylor represents the political Arnold at his worst, balance against it is his marvelous performance as "the Godlike Daniel" Webster in ALL THAT MONEY CAN BUY. Perfectly balanced with Walter Huston's Mr. Scratch, he plays a man who realizes that with all our imperfections (including his own for drinking rum)we have to prevent the nation from going to hell (quite literally). His speech to the jury of the damned is quite moving, as he reminds the likes of Simon Girty, Walter Butler, Benedict Arnold, of the regrets they probably now suffer for the evils they have done.

One can go through performance after performance - his blend of malevolence and willingness to teach in THE EARL OF CHICAGO, his brilliant stock manipulator who can't add or subtract or divide or multiply in EASY LIVING,
his two performances as the financially successful (but sexually unsuccessful) Diamond Jim Brady in the film of that name and LILLIAN RUSSELL, his blind, but brilliant detective in EYES IN THE NIGHT.

But no Oscar for Edward. Why? He was on the scene in the golden age of Hollywood, and in that period only three heavyset men achieved stardom: Charles Laughton (who won an Oscar for THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII), Oliver Hardy, and W.C.Fields (both of whom were great comedians). Arnold, with Sidney Greenstreet, Laird Cregar, Walter Slezak, Eugene Pallette were first rate actors who gained attention, but could not win the lead roles that went to the superstars. They carried films, but they did not get the films that put them into the category of Laughton, Gable, Cooper, Tracy, Bogart, Ladd, Taylor, Powell, Flynn, etc.

He lived into the period of television, and even appeared in the original production of TWELVE ANGRY MEN. Maybe, had he lived another decade he might have won that Oscar or an Emmy. After all, in the ten years after his death in 1956 some Oscars went to less than swelt actors, such as Peter Ustinov for SPARTACUS and TOPKAPI. Arnold would probably have finally gotten one or the other. He would have deserved to get at least one.

Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

Indeed. He was a terrific actor, one of the greatest.

Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

Re;
Yes, Arnold was a under-rated actor. I enjoyed his performance as the blind detective in THE EYES OF THE NIGHT. Arnold was also great in the following films of his which I have seen: MR> SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON,COME AND GET IT,YOU CAN`t TAKE IT WITH YOU,DEAR RUTH and DEAR WIFE,JANIE.
Arnold projected a "Gruff Sweetness" in many of his roles much like other burly actors such as Spencer Tracy, Paul Douglas,Eugene Pallette,Edgar Buchanan and Peter Ustinov. I love Arnold`s jolly laugh.
Lorraine

Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

When you look at the fact that actors such as Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda only two Oscars between them and Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton haven't won any it tells you there have been a great many professionals who have been slighted.

Its a shame Arnold didn't get the recognition he so richly deserved as one of Hollywood's most forceful supporting actors. I've been trying to think of a single weak performance but none comes to mind. When you see his name on a film you know he'll deliver. That might have been his biggest problem. Some actors go up and down and when they deliver a great performance they stand out. Arnold, without exception, always came though and might very well have been taken for granted.

I watched MEET JOHN DOE again last night and was particularly struck by the duality of his character. D.b. Norton IS evil but something in him doesn't want Long John to kill himself. Thats pretty hard to pull off but Arnold could do it.

He was a great one.

Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

You ask me, getting slighted by the Oscars is hardly a slight at all. We all know how wonderful he was, that's what's important.

Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!

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Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

hey,Lady
great list,,i like all of those
and johnny apollo,with tyron powell
johnny eager with robert taylor...and the hucksters with clark gable

Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

theo,great post on eward arnod,,,like everyone els i think he was won of the very best suporting actors...and great in his lead roles when he got them.....but you threw me on the movie all that money can buy??with walter huston and crige stevens,,,wasn't that called the devil and daniel webster???

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Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

yeah,Lady thats what i was thinking too,you know your new name keeps reminding me of that character in the movie the cincinnate kid,with steve mcqueen,and edward G,,,,,,,you know Lady Fingers.....
right buelah bondi,,,and jane darwell,,,great supporting actresses....
didn't darwell get an nomination or oscar for the grapes of wrath????
see ya
lefty

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Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

well theres not much that can be done is there????something like that would be left up to his family.or real deticated fans like you Lady?why dont you get something started,you got connections right?
ps
malden gave good performance in Cin...as usuall (i think thats spelled right)
later
lefty

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Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

why Lady are you flerting with me,,lol....
your right james gleason was good,edward everett horton,love him in here comes mr.jordon and with astaire movies.
take care Lady
'to be or not to be"

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Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

I just happened to catch the second half of "Come and Get It" last night and was blown away by Edward Arnold's performance. I can't believe he wasn't even nominated for the role, while Walter Brennan actually won the Best Supporting Actor award. The final scene where he's ringing the dinner bell is so amazing. What a treat it was to see him work!!

Re: Edward Arnold, 189
2000
0 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

I can't believe he wasn't even nominated. He doesn't even have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Talk about your injustices!

Re: Edward Arnold, 1890 - 1956: Never Even Nominated

Although primarily a character actor, the fact is he was one of the greats. He was entirely deserving of an Oscar but certainly didn't need it for validation.
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