Friday, February 08, 2019

Angry Perhaps, but Definitely Accomplished

I’m sorry to hear that British actor Albert Finney died yesterday at age 82. Variety says he had been battling kidney cancer, though the proximate cause of his demise was a chest infection.

Finney—sometimes referred to as “Hollywood’s original ‘angry young man’”—“had a long career, beginning in the 1950s and concluding with 2012’s Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film,” recalls The Spy Command. “He was nominated five times for an Oscar, including for his performances in 1963’s Tom Jones and 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express.” In the latter of those motion pictures, Finney starred—quite brilliantly, I thought—as Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot. (Variety mentions that author Christie “reportedly thought Finney’s the best portrayal of her detective hero.”) Among Finney’s other best-known crime-drama roles, he starred as a psychopathic killer in the 1964 movie Night Must Fall, as a wannabe P.I. in 1971’s Gumshoe, and as Irish mobster and political sachem Leo O’Bannon in the 1990 Coen Brothers picture, Miller's Crossing.

Britain’s Daily Mirror notes that Finney declined the honor of a CBE in 1980 and a knighthood in 2000, saying, “I think the ‘Sir’ thing slightly perpetuates one of our diseases in England, which is snobbery.”

READ MORE:The Late Great Albert Finney,” by Terence Towles Canote (A Shroud of Thoughts).

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