December 25, 2012

"I want you to see what you're up against... okay?... What hope have you got?... Quit while you're ahead!"

[ADDED: Bad language warning on the videos.]

The "flunky pig tryin' to con" Al Pacino was Charles Durning.

It's Christmas, but that doesn't mean nobody dies. Goodbye to the great character actor, who was in everything. Here he is in "O Brother Where Art Thou?"

You slump-shouldered sack o' nuts.


FleetUSA said...

oops wrong clip

Guildofcannonballs said...

I have referenced Big Pappy here before in terms of Obama and his reform candidacy.

Obama ran as a "reform incumbent" who would prevent a return to the old failed policies of Bush.

So, the answer to Big Pappy's question "how we gonna run as a reform candidate when we're the damn incumbent" is follow what Obama did in 2012.

Unless he killed you.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"He was among the first wave of U.S. soldiers to land at Normandy during the D-Day invasion and the only member of his Army unit to survive. He killed several Germans and was wounded in the leg. Later he was bayoneted by a young German soldier whom he killed with a rock. He was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and survived a massacre of prisoners."

Jesus Christ.

edutcher said...

He once claimed to have been one of Rudder's Rangers.

But Christmas is, sad to say, just another day to die.

Hong Kong fell to the Japanese on Christmas '41 and the Battle of the Bulge was going full blast in '44 -26th Volksgrenadier Division made its assault on Bastogne on Christmas.

Lem said...

Waring Hudsucker Quits Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

victoria said...

Charles Durning,awesome. The only person who could have pulled off being in love with Dustin Hoffman (In drag) and make people believe it and root for him.

Vicki from Pasadena

Synova said...

Wow, we watched that last night.

(My husband complained it wasn't a Christmas movie, so my son suggested Die Hard.)

Mike Lief said...

The NYT obit featured a few paragraphs detailing Durning's WWII service:

"His combat experiences were harrowing. He was in the first wave of troops to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day and his unit’s lone survivor of a machine-gun ambush. In Belgium he was stabbed in hand-to-hand combat with a German soldier, whom he bludgeoned to death with a rock. Fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, he and the rest of his company were captured and forced to march through a pine forest at Malmedy, the scene of an infamous massacre in which the Germans opened fire on almost 90 prisoners. Mr. Durning was among the few to escape.

"By the war’s end he had been awarded a Silver Star for valor and three Purple Hearts, having suffered gunshot and shrapnel wounds as well. He spent months in hospitals and was treated for psychological trauma."


"Mr. Durning was also remembered for his combat service, which he avoided discussing publicly until later in life. He spoke at memorial ceremonies in Washington, and in 2008 France awarded him the National Order of the Legion of Honor.

"In the Parade interview, he recalled the hand-to-hand combat. 'I was crossing a field somewhere in Belgium,' he said. 'A German soldier ran toward me carrying a bayonet. He couldn’t have been more than 14 or 15. I didn’t see a soldier. I saw a boy. Even though he was coming at me, I couldn’t shoot.'

"They grappled, he recounted later — he was stabbed seven or eight times — until finally he grasped a rock and made it a weapon. After killing the youth, he said, he held him in his arms and wept.

"Mr. Durning said the memories never left him, even when performing, even when he became, however briefly, someone else.

“ 'There are many secrets in us, in the depths of our souls, that we don’t want anyone to know about,' he told Parade. 'There’s terror and repulsion in us, the terrible spot that we don’t talk about. That place that no one knows about — horrifying things we keep secret. A lot of that is released through acting.' "

The thought of Durning, a battle-hardened GI, bayonetted, bleeding and tired, crying over the body of the young German he'd just beaten to death, is the stuff of Greek mythology.

Durning's life stands in stark contrast to the dilettantes who grace today's movie and TV screens. What a man.

Resquiat in pace.

Alex said...

Ok we know these things happen in 3s, who's next?

lge said...

Durning always brightened up any movie he was in. I think he was an interesting person, in and of himself, and that came through in his movies.

He was in one movie ("True Confessions") where he played a powerful businessman and at one point did a nice Irish jig. He could really step it off! I wasn't surprised, just now, reading on IMDB that he had been a dance instructor.