For the seventh year running, Aurora from Citizen Screen, Kellee from Outspoken& Freckled, and Paula from Paula’s Cinema Club, are joining together to host this blogathon. It celebrates the great character actors. Be sure to visit their sites to read all of the entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself.
For my second entry in this blogathon, I’m writing about a character actor who was an acting chameleon. The name of this man? It’s Marius Goring.
Marius had me fooled for years! Why did he have me fooled? It was only a couple of years ago that I discovered that this man, who speaks with such a convincing foreign accent in so many of his films, and who had me convinced he was of German descent, was in fact British born and bred! He is that convincing in his roles.One of the best actors in the business as far as I’m concerned.
Marius played so many roles throughout his career, but he became best known for playing German or French speaking characters.
He is best known today for his performances in two Powell and Pressburger classics, the first film is A Matter Of Life And Death, and the second film is The Red Shoes.
He was often cast as German officers, men who were unlucky in love, or as bitter men who are eaten up with jealousy and desire.
Marius starred in so many classic films over the years: The Barefoot Contessa, The Red Shoes, The Spy In Black, Pandora And The Flying Dutchman, Odette, Circle Of Danger, The Magic Box. He also took the lead role in the 1956 TV adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel, this little known adaptation is a real gem and it is currently on YouTube if you have never seen it. Marius delivers one of his best performances in that TV adaptation.
Marius was born on the Isle Of Wight, on the 23rd of May, 1912. He was the son of Dr. Charles Goring, who was a pioneer in Criminology. Throughout his life and career, Marius Goring worked on the stage, appeared in many films and also worked in television. In 1929, Marius became a founding member of the actors union,British Equity, and he served as its president between 1963 and 1965 and 1975 and 1982.
Marius Goring is one of those actors who commands your whole attention whenever he appears on screen. He also had a knack for really making us feel the emotions and needs of his various characters.
Marius as the Conductor in A Matter Of Life And Death. Screenshots by me.
The character he is best remembered for today is the Conductor in A Matter Of Life And Death. I love that film so much and Marius Goring’s performance is a big reason why I love the film so much. He is hilarious, playful, mysterious and charming as the Conductor.
When he is in a scene in this film he dominates it, and when he is not in a scene, I for one really miss his presence. With that mischievous grin and those twinkling eyes it’s hard not to like this character and long to see more of him.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I would have happily watched a film series starring Marius(something like Here Comes Mr. Jordan)focusing on the Conductor and his adventures in heaven and down on Earth.
The scene where the Conductor stops time is a real highlight of this film and Marius really helps to make it so. He is so convincing that you totally buy into him being a man from the past who is also a playful ghost. He and David Niven play that scene perfectly.
One of my favourite film performances from him can be found in the seriously underrated/little known film, Mr. Perrin And Mr. Traill. Marius plays Mr. Perrin, an fussy and awkward older teacher who has to contend with a younger rival – a rival not only in the classroom – but also for the heart of the younger woman who Perrin loves from afar. I think it is one of his best performances and it is both subtle and powerful.
I highly recommend the film, not only because of Marius’s performance, but also because it has a very good story, and because it plays out as a dark combining of The Browning Version and Goodbye Mr. Chips.
Marius manages to give us a good sense of his characters inner turmoil, and he also ensures that we both pity and hate him as the film goes on.
Marius was a regular face on stage and screen for over fifty years. He died on the 30th of September, 1998. His presence in a film or series is always a welcome sight for this classic film fan.
I hope that this post will encourage any viewers out there who are unfamiliar with Marius Goring to go and seek out his work. He was one of the best character actors of the classic film era, and he is always a treat to watch.
Any other fans of Marius Goring here? What are your favourite films and performances?