Thursday, January 03, 2008

Joe Turkel, Damn Fine Actor

I was talking with a friend recently, musing over great roles by under appreciated actors. One of the first who came to mind was Joe Turkel who gave flesh and voice and presence to two very striking, and very different characters in a pair of 1980s films.

One of the creepiest characters I’ve ever seen in a movie is Lloyd the bartender in Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING. I’m not here to discuss whether or not the film is any good, but I am here to state that Turkel’s interpretation of Lloyd was chilling. His eyes almost appear to be those of a dead man. (Which is what he was supposed to be, yes.) How’d he manage to do that?

Another great role for him was that of Tyrell, the genetics manipulating capitalist in my all-time favorite movie: BLADERUNNER. Again, I’m not going to list why that film is at the very top of my movie list, but I am here to mention Turkel’s work in that flick. Although he doesn’t have a lot of screen time, he makes a huge impression as the rich and powerful Eldon Tyrell. His line “More human than human is our motto” rings long after I view the film.

So, go watch those movies. Pay special attention when Joe Turkel’s on the screen. Of course, I probably didn’t have to tell you that. Turkel’s work will do that on its own.


Lawrence Roy Aiken said...

Which version of *Blade Runner* is your favorite?

HemlockMan said...

I like both of them, actually. The one with the Ford overdubbed narration is fine...maybe because I saw it first. I didn't need the explanations, but I thought it gave the movie a nice 40s film noir touch which fit just fine.

However, the version as the director intended is likely the purest and is equally effective.