Loser's Guide to Life
|His earlier career was awfully bland ...|
I was surprised to discover that the actor who plays the corrupt Captain McCluskey in The Godfather is none other than Sterling Hayden, whose big role before that of course was General Jack D. Ripper in Dr Strangelove. ("I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but... I do deny them my essence.") They seem to be very different characters. The General, well-armed, humourlessly puffing on a cigar, deeply mired in a paranoia that has obviously been decades in the making, even as he ascended to an important rank in SAC; and the dumb cop, probably an amusing guy to talk to, but greedy, arrogant, and way out of his depth.
His earlier career was awfully bland: I remember him as a faceless manly guy in So Big (1953) and as Frank Sinatra's nincompoop adversary, "Sheriff Tod Shaw", in Suddenly (1954). But he was good in The Killing (1956) and The Asphalt Jungle (1950).
What I did not know was that he went to sea as a teenager and fought with the partisans in Yugoslavia during the war. He was also a communist for a while and had to face HUAC, something he regretted later on.
In short, his real life must have made the movie business seem silly. But given a good role he was faultless.