BAD GUYS YOU LOVE TO HATE SPECIAL
THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER - DEVIL'S ADVOCATE
101 DALMATIANS - THE WIZARD OF OZ
THE RETURN OF THE JEDI - MOMMIE DEAREST
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER - THE USUAL SUSPECTS
DIE HARD - THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
SCHINDLER'S LIST - TRUE ROMANCE - LONE STAR
AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY
The bad guy has been a staple character for movies almost since the birth of motion pictures. From the ruthless robbers in the 1903 landmark film, "The Great Train Robbery," to Richard Widmark's wheelchair tossing baddie in 1947's "Kiss of Death" to the 90's Dr. Evil, villains are important to the action and drama genres - and comedies, too.
Of course, the Bad Guy is not always a guy. In the 50's things like communist domination, science gone beserk and monsters unleashed were the foes the good guys had to battle. But, guys make the best Bad Guys (with some notable female exceptions) and one of the favorites, the Devil, has always kept a prominent place on the movie villain roster.
The Devil And Daniel Webster:
One of my favorite portrayals of the Prince of Darkness is by the great Walter Huston as the wickedly mischievous Mr. Scratch in the wonderful 1941 fantasy film, "The Devil and Daniel Webster."
...and that film has local note, too, with its mention of Medford rum. One of my favorite portrayals of Satan comes from an actor who also played the sympathetic Donnie Brasoe in the same year, Al Pacino as the biggest bad guy of them all in "Devil's Advocate"
Bad Guys don't just show up in live action flicks, either. Disney had their own demonic villain with James Woods' providing the voice of the sharp tongued Hades in 1997's "Hercules."
In 1961, Walt Disney Studios set a new standard for bad guys everywhere with the wicked and whacko villainess, Cruella de Vil, in "One Hundred and One Dalmations."
The Wizard Of Oz:
Cruella's the worst of all, in my opinion - stealing puppies to make a fur coat! Another wicked female villain for the ages is an icon of American film culture - Margaret Hamilton created a timeless ultimate Bad Guy as the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz."
The Return Of The Jedi:
In the 70's, the war in Vietnam was the ultimate Bad Guy for many of us and kept our attention for years. By that decade's end, the time was ripe for a return to fantasy adventure and George Lucas thrilled millions with his "Star Wars" series, spawning another pop culture Bad Guy icon with Darth Vader.
While Darth was indeed a nasty dad, in 1981, Faye Dunaway went out on a career-impacting limb with her portrayal of Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest." She gets notable Bad Guy status with this scene that's become a camp classic.
The Night Of The Hunter:
Another monster in people's clothing and one of the best of the monstrous Bad Guys is played by Robert Mitchum as an evil, godless minister in the 1955 film, "The Night of the Hunter."
The Usual Suspects:
...and sometimes the villain may not even be real. Verbal Kint, played by Oscar winning Kevin Spacey spins the terrifying tale of Keyser Soze for a police detective in "The Usual Suspects."
In 1988, the action genre was stagnant and it was time to redefine the action/adventure/hero flick and director John McTiernan and Bruce Willis took on the task with "Die Hard." In doing so, they also reinvented the Bad Guy with the appearance of Alan Rickman as Eurotrash villain, Hans Gruber.
One of the creepiest, but most compelling, Bad Guys to grace the screen has to be Anthony Hopkins as the droll cannibal, Hannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme's "The Silence of the Lambs."
Steven Spielberg won Oscars and other kudos for his depiction of personal valor and human dignity in 1993 with "Schindler's List." He also showed a kind of organized serial killing, personified with cold-hearted cruelty by Ralph Fiennes as concentration camp commandant Amon Goeth.
British actor Gary Oldman's become typecast as bad guys in such films as "Air Force One" and "Lost in Space." I'm hoping his evil turns in upcoming films like "The Contender" and "Hannibal" show him in the type of form he displayed as the addicted narc detective in 1994's "Leon, aka "The Professional" and Tony Scott's 1993 film, "True Romance."
Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery:
Bad Guys show up in all kinds of films, not just drama, westerns or actioners. Spoofing Bond, a series which has largely worked depending on the quality of the installment's bad guy, Mike Myers created comic genius with Dr. Evil in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Westerns gave us the bad guy symbol of the black hat. Lee Marvin was meaner than a rattlesnake in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence." Kris Kristofferson gives us a modern update as Sheriff Charley Wade in the John Sayles film, "Lone Star."
Thanks for joining us for this special edition of Reeling.
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