Print

Print


David Desser writes:
" But this "real" race is surely more complicated, viz. the example
of Susan Kohner, or, say, Ben Kingsley when he played GANDHI.  Similarly,
do we not become very "racialist" when we hold race itself as an inherent
quality existing "out there" and inhering within the body, the image, of an
actor?"
 
Well put, and Kingsley is an interesting case in point.  He is, if I remember
correctly, of partial Indian ancestry himself, but he has played Englishmen,
an Italian, an Italian(?)-American chess player, a Polish Jew, and a South
American (presumably Chilean) doctor, all just within the last few years--and
done a creditable job with each.  Yet somehow, this chameleon-like aspect of
his acting doesn't seem to attract the kind of overt attention that was
given to people who either were "stretching" to new roles, like Robert Donat
in INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS, or demonstrating their "versatility," like
Brando in TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON, or showing off their "craft," like
Paul Muni (in numerous films).  And what to make of the relationship with
theaters that practice "colorblind" casting (along the lines of Denzel Washing-
ton in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING)?  It's a complicated and interesting topic--I
think some historical perspective is probably necessary in order to begin to
come to terms with it all.
 
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
 
----
To signoff SCREEN-L, e-mail [log in to unmask] and put SIGNOFF SCREEN-L
in the message.  Problems?  Contact [log in to unmask]