This was a very difficult theme for me. Especially since I have not seen many classics and I think these would yield the most possible great final films for actors and actresses. Still, there have been, and sadly there will always be “final films” for talented actors and actresses. I figure I should watch The Crow (as I think I would like it) but for now, it couldn’t have been mentioned. Also, just to clarify, when movies are released posthumously, it’s really hard for me to even watch them. It’s simply, mentally too hard for me. So here are three very random picks, and honestly, I had a hard time keeping my emotions check during this post. It’s just so sad, especially to think about one particular final film.
3. RICHARD GRIFFITHS in ABOUT TIME (2013)
To be completely honest, I don’t remember Griffiths from About Time but apparently that was his last film before he died in 2013 at the age of 65. That is rather sad in its own right, to have a uncredited role and it to be your last. I feel like cinema is filled with actors like Griffiths, they don’t walk in the limelight and yet their faces are so familiar. When looking for movies for this theme I stumbled on many character actors/actresses I instantly recognised… some I didn’t even realise had passed. It’s just sad. Anyway, Griffiths’ last credit is About Time, a sweet romance movie by Richard Curtis. He is probably most known bringing uncle Vernon to life on screen for Harry Potter movies.
2. JILL CLAYBURGH in BRIDESMAIDS (2011)
I didn’t like Bridesmaids but many did so it is a great film in that sense. Jill Clayburgh is also the kind of name that I didn’t know but I still recognised her. More so from Love & Other Drugs, a 2010 movie that was also released posthumously. She was 66 when she died, which isn’t a lot considering a lot of actors work past their 60’s, some even keep going into their 90’s.. please protect Betty White! I know this post makes no sense at this point but like I said, this was very hard on me. The fact that I haven’t seen so many final films just makes me sad, this post makes me sad. Which brings me to the saddest thing ever…
1. HEATH LEDGER in THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)
You could argue that Doctor Parnassus is the final film but The Dark Knight was also released posthumously and it was finished during Ledger’s death. So in other words, The Dark Knight is the final film Ledger got to finish. It won him an Oscar but I don’t think that even matters that much. The performance by Ledger in this movie is magnetic, it’s pure thrill and angst and pain all in one. It took me a long time, I think the movie was already on DVD, to actually watch it. So yeah, this was not a great trip down memory lane for me in a sense that it still hurts but The Dark Knight is a great movie… it just really sucks it had to be one of Ledger’s final films. He was 28 years old when he passed.
THIS AMAZING SERIES IS CREATED BY WANDERING THROUGH THE SHELVES1
That’s a good argument for The Dark Knight, that’s what I immediately wanted to use but was like well….
I hate that Joaquin’s win in a way has tainted Heath’s. Now anyone can crawl into a refrigerator and win an Oscar for playing the Joker. 😒
Right? I would think it works because it was his last full performance.. I don’t really think about the Joker’s that have come and will come after him, his was the one for the ages and that’s it in my eyes.
This week was challenging for me too and I had to settle with films I’m yet to watch. I’ve seen all three and, while I wasn’t a fan of About Time, I love Bridesmaids and The Dark Knight. It really sucks that the latter is one of Ledger’s final films. He was so young.
It was a challenge because the ones I know of I haven’t watched on purpose. I just cannot go through with them.. maybe.. maybe soon.
Oh Richard Griffiths! I’m currently re-reading the fist Harry Potter book and I always end up thinking how amazing he was in the movies.
I also went with Heath Ledger but chosethe Parnassus film.
He was truly great making Vernon truly awful. For that, I will miss him.
I didn’t really like Parnassus that much but I wanted to twist the rules and pick The Dark Knight anyway so it wouldn’t have mattered.
I stuck with the awful Bridesmaids partially because I knew it was Jill Clayburgh’s last film. She was a big star when I was younger then chose to withdraw and raise her family though she still worked less frequently. Turns out she’s been battling leukemia for two decades before her death so I’m sure that impeded her career as well.
I liked About Time but I don’t remember Griffiths in it either. Fine actor.
I’ve seen bits of Dark Knight but don’t have a great desire to see more.
Unfortunately many stars final films aren’t that great, perhaps not rock bottom like Joan Crawford in Trog or Veronica Lake in Flesh Fest but still far from their best. However by finding a common thread in mine I was able to choose four excellent finales.
To Be or Not To Be (1942)-In German occupied Warsaw during World War II a Polish theatrical troupe headed by husband and wife stars Joseph & Maria Tura (Jack Benny & Carole Lombard) set out to prevent a German spy from revealing key members of the Polish underground to the Nazis by means both desperate and humorous.
Ernst Lubitsch directed masterpiece was Lombard’s final film. America entered the war just before the film’s premiere and Carole was the first star to go on a bond tour (to her native Indiana) and perished in a plane crash, along with her mother, on the return journey. A line her character spoke “What can happen in a plane?” was excised before the film debuted.
The Misfits (1961)-In Reno for a divorce Roslyn Taber (Marilyn Monroe) meets aging cowboy Gay Langland (Clark Gable), WWII aviator Guido Racanelli (Eli Wallach) and broken down rodeo rider Perce Howland (Montgomery Clift). Lonely and feeling lost Roslyn accepts Guido’s invitation to stay at his desert home with the trio and the four wrestle with life’s questions.
Directed by John Huston and written for Marilyn by her then husband Arthur Miller this somber film was the final one for both Gable and Monroe. Gable, who performed some of his own stunt work died 12 days after the film wrapped. Marilyn started the trouble plagued “Something’s Gotta Give” but died before its completion and the picture scrapped.
The Iceman Cometh (1973)-In 1912 New York’s Last Chance Saloon a group of chronic alcoholics are momentarily shaken from their hopeless ennui by the arrival of Hickey (Lee Marvin) one of their number now sober urging them to abandon their pipe dreams and face reality. It does not go well. Powerful with a powerhouse cast (beside Marvin-Jeff Bridges, Robert Ryan, Fredric March, Moses Gunn, Bradford Dillman among others) full book adaptation of the Eugene O’Neill play couldn’t be better presented (it’s directed by John Frankenheimer) but it’s so long (four hours!) and full of doom and gloom it’s a hard one to embrace.
This was the last film for both Robert Ryan (who died before the film’s premiere) and Fredric March who retired on the film’s completion and passed away shortly afterwards.
Advise & Consent (1962)-Secretary of State nominee Robert Leffingwell (Henry Fonda) is being investigated by a Senate committee headed by Senator Brig Anderson (Don Murray) before his appointment. When serious allegations are leveled against Leffingwell engineered by Senior Senator Seab Cooley (Charles Laughton) pressure is applied to Anderson in the form of exposure of a long hidden secret to influence the outcome. Otto Preminger directed, star-studded (Gene Tierney, Walter Pidgeon, Lew Ayres, Franchot Tone, Burgess Meredith, Betty White etc.) political drama is still timely.
This was Charles Laughton final feature (passing away within six months of completion), by happenstance he co-starred with each of the other stars excepting Ryan in one of their films (Lombard-They Knew What They Wanted, Gable-Mutiny on the Bounty, Fredric March-Les Miserables and Monroe-O Henry’s Full House).
I don’t think I would have watched Bridesmaids if it wasn’t so widely talked about and loved. I hated it so much.. I still do. I just don’t get it… I’m not a huge physical humour fan anyway and this one just had so many… I don’t even wanna think about it.
I loved the Dark Knight when it came out! It was such a thrilling film! It’s a shame that Heath Ledger had passed away at such a young age.
It truly is. If I had any strength to watch Anton Yelchin’s movies., he’d also be in this list but I haven’t had the emotional stability to do that.
Ledger had to be #1, right? It’s so heartbreaking to consider how many great performances we missed out on. Of course it pales in comparison to the loss his family faces. But he was such a good actor.