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Thread: Hugh Griffith

  1. #1
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    his peek in winning an oscar for the best supporting role in ben hur.......i thought he was great in the bargee with harry h corbett.....cameo in oliver ......his last role has a rugby supporter in grand slam on bbc wales was outstanding.any one shed any light on this great actor

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    I think he's one of the grand characters in the slapstick-ish START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME, and a total delight in HOW TO STEAL A MILLION as dar ol' dad. I've delighted in the handful of roles I've seen him in. His ability to go from a deep-voiced chest-puffed outrage to a meek and silly acquiescent tone always made me enjoy his comedy.

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    My favourite role of his was in TOM JONES,just perfect!

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    Memorable in the Titfield Thunderbolt.

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    TITFIELD and TOM JONES are two more great ones. He has turned in some truly perfect performances in his roles.



    (I haven't researched this next statement, so please pardon my laziness. Er, my CONTINUED laziness...)



    Was he ever a leading man? Star of the show?



    He - like so many other favorite actors - may have never received the accolades that more prominent stars did, but I hope he received the appreciation he needed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    He was a fine actor and in fact got an oscar for his support role in 'Ben Hur'. He didn't actually lead any movies to my knowledge and by the 1970s he was taking roles in increasingly poor quality movies - 'Legend of the Werewolf' etc



    According to Tony Richardson's autobiog his character in 'Tom Jones' was reprised for the 1977 movie 'Joseph Andrews' but by that time he was a wreck and had to be fed alcohol between takes to get any kind of performance out of him.

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    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred kite
    any one shed any light on this great actor
    He's in a lot of theatre magazines from the Fifties. He was clearly both popular and respected. I suspect that like many theatrical actors he did not photograph well. Michael Gough is(was) similar I suspect.



    Richard Bradford was appalled by the drinking habits of the British actors brought in to support him in Man in a Suitcase. I vaguely recall somebody or other reportedly castigating Patrick McGoohan for deserting the theatre for TV and 'Hollywood' when they said he "should have been in the pub with the rest of us after the play was over"..............




  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: England Harbottle's Avatar
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    Wonderful character actor, as well as those already mentioned another memorable performance in Lucky Jim.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: UK Wee Sonny MacGregor's Avatar
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    From Dave Berry's "Wales and Cinema The First 100 Years":



    "The career of Hugh Griffith (b Anglesey 1912, d 1980) flourished post war after a slow start in films. He was at something like his best as the carousing harpist in A Run For Your Money and as the quizzical college principal in the Boulting Brothers' Lucky Jim. He was often relied upon by directors to deliver telling cameos in just one or two scenes as in the 1951 British comedy Laughter in Paradise where the idiosyncratic legacy demands of his dying eccentric forced relatives into acts foreign to their natrures. He gained the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as the extrovert Sheikh Ilderim in William Wyler's Ben Hur - a part praised for its boisterous and cunning comic relief - and garnered a string of fine notices as the bibulous, rositrering Squire Western in Tony Richardson's ebullient British Film Tom Jones. Griffith, larger than life on and off the stage and screen, was an engaging unpredictable performer who probably made his greatest contribution in the theatre and on TV and, like Gwenn and Roger Livesey, he was splendid playing extroverts (as in the BBC Wales comedy Grand Slam) and mischievious roles with a disarming twinkle."

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    He had a small but memorable (and characteristically eccentric) role in "Lisa" - or "The Inspector", depending upon where you live. The lasting vision is of him knocking the bats out of his Casbah apartment window with a tennis raquet. Does anyone have a nice clean print of this film they'd like to trade? The only one I've been able to find was a tape from eBay which I've transferred to DVD. It's watchable but looks a little like the cat's been at it. I'll be delighted to send my list to anyone who's offering.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK Wee Sonny MacGregor's Avatar
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    A little more on Hugh Griffith: educated at Llangefni Grammar School, he then worked for eight years as a bank clerk in various branches in North Wales. He won a scholarship to RADA and in 1939 won the Bancroft Medal. After leaving RADA he had a couple of parts before war intervened and he spent six years in India. In 1946 he joined the Shakespeare Company. Among his stage roles were Mephistopheles in Dr Faust, Cardinal in The White Devil, John of Gaunt in Richard II and Caliban in The Tempest. His film career has been mentioned elsewhere but on TV he was in the Walrus and the Carpenter (1965), Clochmerle (1972) and Grand Slam, his last screen role. Hugh Griffith married Adelgunde Dechend in 1947 and had no children. In 1965 he was awarded a D Litt from the University of Wales. He died at his London home on 14 May 1980. He was one of Wales's few Oscar winners.

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    And I think he was even better in other films! But I'm glad he received Oscar's recognition somewhere along the way.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    He was front cover totty back in '56.....







    He was said to have become a fully-fledged West End star on the strength of his performance as the ebullient General in 'The Waltz of the Toreadors'.



    He was quoted as saying that in his opinion the actor should be the servant of the author and that it was the business of the actor to play everything, not to to specialise in a particular type of part which he can play to perfection.



    He was a great admirer of the French stage (Toreadors was a play by Jean Anouilh) and talked of himself as being 'Off-English' - a Celt, and believed there was affinity between the Basque Anouilh, and his own Welshness. He also tells a story of his wife and he planning a dinner to coincide with a radio broadcast of the play. They had prepared a special dish of Duck, they both became so absorbed by the play that when it finally finished, they realised that the duck sat cold and congealed on the table between them......... difficult to imagine radio having that effect on people nowadays....



    The magazine finished with an intriguing passage:

    As far as Mr. Griffith is concerned, the language of a play is a great attraction, and never fails to inspire him, which is one reason why his performance of King Lear at the Grand Theatre, Swansea, six and one half years ago, will be talked about for a generation. Someone should make it their business to see that Mr. Griffith repeats his triumph in London....... I foresee this Lear being played with immense grandeur and a depth of poetic feeling that will transport critics and leave them baffled for words....




  14. #14
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred kite
    his peek in winning an oscar for the best supporting role in ben hur.......i thought he was great in the bargee with harry h corbett.....cameo in oliver ......his last role has a rugby supporter in grand slam on bbc wales was outstanding.any one shed any light on this great actor


    "Loved him.....hated hur". wish I could remember which witty critic penned that line, think they may have been talking about Griffith.

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    Senior Member Country: England John Llewellyn Moxey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by christoph404
    "Loved him.....hated hur". wish I could remember which witty critic penned that line, think they may have been talking about Griffith.
    To have directed Hugh Griffith and James Mason, together, is one of my lifes high spots.



    John Llewellyn

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: England John Llewellyn Moxey's Avatar
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    OOPS. Gigantic error. It was Stanley Baker and James Mason. I did direct Hugh Griffith in another project. Wonderful actors, all of them.



    John Llewellyn

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    on the subject of grand slam his last tv performance..i watched a making of.......and the writer commented on hugh griffith......:he was a real character, iwent to his house to have a chat with him about playing the [ dad ] role..he was having a drink and went to llight up a cigarette and struck the match on a particular ornament he had on his mantle piece....his ......................oscar

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    Does anyone know anything about his private life, where he lived etc. I think he had a house in Ireland & know he liked a drink or three.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    There has been a 'Welsh Greats' on Hugh Griffith earlier this year. You can get a truncated (sadly) version on youtube. Some footage of Griffith in interviews.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D9xbzIPia8

  20. #20
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    It would be nice to see the complete version as the jumps are rather distracting.

    Nick

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