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May 13, 2007

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Who's the only actor to work with Cecil B. DeMille, Preston Sturges, Orson Welles and Jean-Luc Godard? That's right: Akim Tamiroff. WFMU's Beware of the Blog has a droll post this week (by one Kliph Nesteroff) about the Armenian-Russian teddy [Read More]

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Comments

Dave the Spazz

That was a great piece about one of the best character actors ever. One slight correction: That was Mercedes McCambridge who whispered to Janet Leigh through the motel wall about reefers and mainlining. Also, Tamiroff is discussed and immortalized in JD Salinger's short story "Uncle Wiggley in Connecticut."

Listener Kliph

Thanks, Dave, correction noted!

Bill the Splut

"The 50 Worst Films" was NOT written by Michael Medved's brother Harry. In its sequel, "The Golden Turkey Awards," Mikey admits that he thought the first book would hurt his hoped-for career as a screenwriter, so he credited it to his 15-year-old brother and a 21-year-old Oberlin med student. I was at Oberlin at the time, and med students were infamous for doing nothing but studying. It struck me as odd that a kid and a med student found the time to watch all these obscure movies in the pre-VCR days. And the book really didn't seem to be written a high school sophomore.
When he found out that the Hollywood types loved it, he freely admitted to being its writer. Because he thought that would help his career as a screenwriter.
I loved the first book--"Hey, I'm not the only person in the world who watches bad old movies just to laugh at them!" But with his smug confession in Golden Turkeys, I thought "Wow, I just now became aware of this guy's existence, and I've immediately lost all respect for him."

Michael Powers

I think you overlooked Tamiroff's real breakthrough as a lead, playing gang lord "Stephen Recka" opposite Anna May Wong in "Dangerous to Know," a superb film in which Tamiroff played a cultured gangster given to playing classical organ music. This one's well worth seeking out; Tamiroff got great notices at the time and Wong's performance is glorious, as usual. I saw a 35mm print at the Museum of the Moving Image's awesome Wong retrospective in New York a year or two back that wowed the crowd.

The famous Rifleman comic cover is always amusing to encounter, by the way. I remember being astonished by Scott Shaw!'s write-up about it on his website: unless I missed some irony myself, Shaw somehow seemed to think that the people responsible for that cover didn't realize what they were doing, which if you look at it would have to be impossible. Just because these artists and craftsmen lived in a repressive era doesn't mean they didn't slip a lot of very intentionally funny humor onto a few covers or that they were as "innocent" as their times.

Stathis Orphanos

What about Jules Dassin's Topkapi?

Though Tamiroff is in only a very few scenes, he practically steals the movie as a drunken Turkish cook with a yen for Peter Ustinov, who won an Oscar for his role. The movie stars Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell, Robert Morley, etc. A major caper movie from the 1960's. Tamiroff is hilarious

art mugalian

it's driving me crazy. i'm certain that Tamiroff spoke the line, "You make beeg joke, ha!" i thought it was from The Great McGinty, but not so, according to several recent viewings. am i dreaming?

Alba Hall

What film did Tamiroff speak the sarcastic line: "You mak' beeg joke--Hah! It occurred to me that Pablo would say it in "For Whom the Bell Tolls", but I did not catch it in viewing it.

Black Russian Actor

Well, I have watched his movies.. What a great performer and always fan of his dialogue delivery when he makes his best lines in movies. Don’t remember the movie name but still big fan of this actor.

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