Actor Roy Scheider died a week ago, on February 10. Although I do not write much about movies and actors, in this case I felt compelled to write something about him.
Everyone seems to remember Roy from is role as police chief Martin Brody in Jaws. I am not sure that the producers of that movie understood what kind of hit that movie would turn out to be. What I am totally sure about is that nobody could have predicted it by just reading the script. The story line is pretty much in the same league as Die Hard 2 or Speed 2 in terms of credibility (hint: absolutely unbelievable). Sure, nobody will ever forget the initial scene when the shark approaches his prey, but there wasn’t much else in that movie.
However, Roy Scheider participated in many other movies, often as a supporting character (that is how he received his single Oscar nomination). His performance in Marathon Man as Dustin Hoffman’s tough older brother was memorable as it highlighted just how vulnerable Dustin’s character, Thomas Levy, was.
That is what really makes Roy’s work stand out. He wasn’t only a great actor, he made the movies he participated in better. Scheider belonged to a small category of great actors (Brian Dennehy comes also quickly to mind) that while not being major movie stars could improve a scene just by being part of it. The movie industry really needs more strong supporting characters like them as they can often turn a B-Movie into a really memorable flick.
Rest In Peace, Roy.
I do not write movie reviews very often, but when I go to the movies and I feel that I got ripped off, my only mean to get even is by using my blog.
In this case, it is really about the script. If I had read the book beforehand, I would never have bothered to see the film. Most recent American best-sellers are based on he same recipe, select a theme that is interesting to a large audience (Illuminatis, submarines or the personal life of Jesus), add surprising, little known facts, detailed descriptions of interesting places, and finally, a thin plot to hold everything together. This has worked great for authors such as Dan Brown or Tom Clancy, even though I personally think that the formula is starting to lose some of its magic.
There are many problems with The Perfume. The most important one, is that it is evident that Patrick Saskind had no clue whatsoever about how to finish his novel. That is why the last ten minutes of the movie are just ridiculous and spoil the whole movie. However, there is a reason why finishing the book proved difficult. For us, humans, scent is becoming less and less relevant. People may still enjoy a good perfume, but that is about it. This sense will not cause us to modify our behavior, despite all the unsubstantiated talk that surrounds pheromones.
So, even though the novel may have pleased readers with long descriptions about the art and mysteries of perfume creation, the movie is unable to carry them to the big screen effectively. The result is that, in the movie, the ridiculous conclusion is evident and unforgivable.