Saturday 12 March 2016

Vale Richard Davalos - Noel Bjorndahl remembers an actor of interest

Richard Davalos in East of Eden
Vale the American actor Richard Davalos who played James Dean's brother (Aron) in East of Eden (Elia Kazan, USA, 1955). I initially erroneously claimed that although his role in the Kazan film was memorable, he hadn't done much else. It's true that his CV was dominated by a range of guest appearances on TV (I recall diligently watching a series called The Blue and the Grey in Australia which was released as The Americans (USA, 1961)* in the US. Dealing with the American Civil War. Its premise was dramatically promising pitting brother against brother but they pulled the plug on it after 11 or 12 episodes which I was following as a young teenager. My disappointment was strong. As it turns out Davalos performed very creditably in several films in supporting roles, including Stuart Heisler's I Died a Thousand Times (USA, 1955), and interesting remake of Raoul Walsh's dynamic High Sierra (1941) with Jack Palance in the earlier Humphrey Bogart role. 

Davalos and James Dean in East of Eden

Davalos appeared in an another interesting remake, this time an updating of the silent classic The Cabinet of Dr Caligari(Robert Wiene, Germany, 1920), this time around leaving the "Dr" out of the title but an absorbing remake, rendering it The Cabinet of Caligari (USA, 1962),  directed by little known Roger Kay and starring Daniel O'Herlihy and Glynis Johns. Davalos had a small but effective role as Blind Dick in Stuart Rosenberg's terrific prison film Cool Hand Luke (USA, 1967) starring Paul Newman. One of his last featured parts was in Something Wicked This Way Comes (USA,1983), a Disney production directed by Jack Clayton and told from a boy's point of view. RIP.

Wikipedia on The Americans for background info which reveals a panoply of great actors who did stints on the show and the fact that Bernard Herrmann wrote some of the music

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