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What Happened To the Great VOICES in Film?

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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2012 5:50:35 PM PST
Well, point taken.

Posted on Jan 18, 2012 6:55:19 PM PST
7 & 7 IS says:
Richard Burton and or Peter O'Toole - great voices.

Posted on Jan 18, 2012 8:40:57 PM PST
W. Grieve says:
Burgess Meredith

Posted on Jan 18, 2012 8:41:08 PM PST
William Conrad. He did the narration on "Rocky and Bullwinkle".

Posted on Jan 18, 2012 9:15:14 PM PST
Warner Oland, Swedish actor that proved convincing playing Chinese characters. Charlie Chan being his most famous character. His first movie role was 'Pilgrim's Progress' in 1912. A silent actor with roles in things like 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' and 'Old San Francisco'. He made an easy transition to talkies playing Sax Rohmer's Dr. Fu Manchu.

Joseph Cotton.
Ossie Davis.
Cary Grant.
Thomas Gomez.
Eve Arden.

Posted on Jan 18, 2012 9:51:13 PM PST
D. Bitgood says:
William Conrad was also great as Matt Dillon in the radio version of Gunsmoke.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 11:10:03 AM PST
Has no one mentioned Garbo? If not, shame on us. And Claude Rains? And Conrad Veidt?

In perusing this forum, I have been struck by realizing that, for me, a major deciding factor in liking a performer is the voice--more than many physical attributes.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 11:31:33 AM PST
7 & 7 IS says:
JP Baker says: "Cher"

I know that's right. Cher has one of the most distinctive voices out there.Especially when singing.(But even when she talks)
Phil Spector used her in his chorus section in many of his classic 1960s production's, and you can hear her unmistakenly above the din of The Wall Of Sound.

(When I was 12, I stood in line for a half an hour to meet her at the Miami Youth Fair in the early 70s and had her sign my Frisbee.She was very tiny, very beautiful and very sweet.Sonny must have been really short.)

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 11:58:00 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2012 11:58:49 AM PST
W.T. says:
Jimmy Stewart had an completely distinctive voice with is nasal drawl. Nobody else has ever sounded like him. TV "Emergency!" actor Randolph Mantooth sounded a little bit like him. That's probably the only other actor who was ever even similar.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 12:19:49 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
William A. Smith

I'm just about positive I mentioned Garbo way back toward the beginning. How could I not? For one thing, no one else ever sounded like that or talked like that, let alone looked like that!

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 12:27:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2012 2:58:08 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
Someone has raised the question why today's distinctive voices aren't imitated like the earlier ones. For one thing, today's actors, no matter how successful, have not yet achieved the iconic status of the great stars of the past. A bigger reason, though, is that those stars of the past had distinctive ways of speaking, and that's really what the imitators are copying. Today's actors are more generic in their speaking. It's the new Hollywood way. No matter how notable an actor's voice, there's little for impressionists to imitate.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 12:32:07 PM PST
I may not have caught someone mentioning him--but most definite William Shatner and that......DISTINCTIVE...stress pattern.....that he uses.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 12:42:51 PM PST
stevign says:
Robert De Niro
Christopher Walken
Arnold Schwarzenegger
William Shatner
Jack Nicholson
Bob Dylan
Sean Connery
Al Pacino
Eddie Murphy
Jack Nicholson
Woody Allen
Samuel L. Jackson

All are very distinctive and common choices among impressionists today....and I'm sure there are many more names than the ones I just listed. Just sayin'..........

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 12:45:50 PM PST
W.T. says:
Definitely Samuel L. Jackson in modern times. Mace Windu sounds almost as cool as Vader.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 2:29:35 PM PST
Johnny Rico says:
How has Willem Dafoe not been mentioned yet?

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 3:19:57 PM PST
Willem Dafoe is one of those actors, that seems to be a completely different person in every film he's in, so I find it hard to actually pin his voice patterns down. Christopher Walken definately. William Shatner yes. Quentin Tarentino, though most would consider him a director first has a definatel presence all his own when he does act. I like Mark Walhberg, who I think is one of the most likeable everman's in film today. Johnny Depp has done some great voices, but those were specific characters not necessarily his voice.

My question is where are all the great female voices? Like a Katherine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Mae West, Myrna Loy, Marilyn Monroe. You had a lot of really great female actresses back in the day, each which a very distinctive personality. I find many to be interchangeable now.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 3:25:05 PM PST
I read somewhere that Christopher Walken likes to operate by choosing one word in every sentence of script dialogue to emphasize, but never the word you or I would naturally give stress to. This way, he always comes off a little off-kilter. I don't know if this is true, but it's an interesting concept.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 3:31:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2012 3:32:12 PM PST
Hikari says:
And here I thought that off-kilteredness was completely natural . . .

Did you happen to see his most recent SNL hosting gig? The cast did a skit entitled "Walken Family Reunion", where, in a conceit of breathtaking originality (not so much) everyone down to a man and woman parodied Mr. Walken's distinctive way of speaking. It's plenty easy to do a bad Walken impression . .but when the real thing speaks, we realize, there can be only One.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 4:06:19 PM PST

If you have never seen the movie "Pennies From Heaven" from about thirty years ago, you should rent it. It's worth seeing anyway, but Christopher Walken plays a pimp who does a striptease kind of dance. He started off as a hoofer.

I know somebody who was at a party last year at Julian Schnabel's beach house on Montauk, Long Island. He was talking to Schnabel when Christopher Walken walks up, fingers the sleeve to Schnabel's jacket, and says "Jooooo-li-an. Is that Ar-maaaaaa--neeee?".

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 6:32:52 PM PST
Hikari says:
When Chris was younger, frankly, he scared me. I thought he was a real freak. But in later years, he's turned in some very endearing performances. Oh, yes, there is still the occasional "Sleepy Hollow" . . .but all his SNL skits are prime. And I'm not even talking 'Colonel Angus' . . .'The Continental' . . .'Ed Glosser, Trival Psychic' . . 'The Gardener Who is Afraid of Plants' . . . "Grease . .no, That's Totally Filthy" and, of course, le piece de resistance--'More Cowbell'. I realized that the man who most often played psychotic villains actually has the heart and soul of a comedian, wrapped up in a song and dance man package. Don't gag when I ask you this--have you seen his turn in 'Hairspray'? He lets the song and dance man out, and he's charming. He lampoons himself with good humor in YouTube staples like his dramatic recitations of 'Poker Face' and 'The Three Little Kittens'.

Yes, call me a Chris Walken fan. I will watch 'Pennies From Heaven' on your recommendation. I have always meant to watch that one for Steve; didn't even know Chris was in it.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 6:55:58 PM PST

It was clever of Steven Spielberg to cast against type and use Christopher Walken as Leonardo DiCaprio's father in "Catch Me If You Can". It was a wholly sympathetic role, which he hadn't done many of. In fact, I can't, offhand, think of another one! And, in the movie at least, they looked alike. Believable as father and son.

I didn't see "Hairspray" but I heard he was good. And he's apparently having a good time on SNL, but I haven't seen him there.

"Pennies From Heaven" was scriptwritten by Dennis Potter, who did "The Singing Detective". I warn you, though, it's pretty dark. It's not Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor by a long shot.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 7:20:19 PM PST
stevign says:
Christopher Walken is a tad weird to say the least. I'm not sure if he actually knows what's real or not he's been at it so long. Actor, dancer, worked as a child actor and catalogue model; as a teenager he worked as an assistant to a circus lion tamer.

Early in his career, he changed his first name from Ronny to Christopher while performing in a nightclub act. "A lady in the act said she wanted me to be called Christopher, and I said, 'Fine.' . . . Now I wish I'd picked a shorter name because when I see my name in print, it looks like a freight train.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 7:50:55 PM PST
Ronny Walken? RONNY? Christopher Walken is not a Ronny, any more than Cary Grant was an Archibald Leach. Sheesh.

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 8:10:09 PM PST
I almost fell down giggling the day I saw a parody of Winnie the Pooh, with Christopher Walken instead of Christopher Robin, on the cartoon TV series "Pinky and the Brain".

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 8:11:50 PM PST
stevign says:
Apparently the lady didn't think so either.
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  79
Total posts:  1671
Initial post:  Jan 13, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 4, 2013

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