Balsam, Martin

 download (2) Name: Martin Balsam

Born: November 4, 1919

Strengths: Depth, Range

Weaknesses: Marketability

Best Role: Tora! Tora! Tora!

Rating:   rating-153609_640 4.5

If you’re a casual movie fan, his is probably one of those pleasant faces that seems to pop up in supporting parts in every other classic between the years 1950 and 1980. If you’re connoisseur of cinema, he’s probably one of your all time favourite character actors. Martin Balsam just seemed to make movies better. He was the man who clever directors knew could add class their movies in all manner of subtle ways. He had the every-man charm about him when needed (12 Angry Men) but he also could be the shrewd operator (Psycho, Seven Days in May), the seasoned newspaper man (All the President’s Men), the cheeky sergeant (Time Limit), the weary general (Tora, Tora, Tora), the effeminate burglar (The Anderson Tapes), or the scruffy thief (The Taking of Pelham 123). He could do it all and right beneath our noses without ever really getting noticed by anyone but the hardened movie fan. Unfortunately, we never really got to see him take the lead in a feature film. This was partly down to an absence of leading man features but that never stopped say Edward G. Robinson from getting top billing. Instead, it’s almost as if those clever directors wanted to keep Balsam as the joker up their sleeve. And so he became that face in the background of countless classics that owed as much to him as they did those more recognisable actors up front.

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Range
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Depth
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Presence
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Charisma
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Chemistry
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Vocalisation
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