Four weeks on Fridays from 1st May – 22nd May 2020, 7:00 - 9:00pm
Lecturer: Graham Rinaldi
What is Method Acting? Where do its roots lie? This course will explore the acting techniques and psychological elements a new generation of American screen actors brought to cinema in the 1940s and 1950s known as The Method. The course will use film clips to illustrate the careers of Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters, Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, James Dean, Carroll Baker and Paul Newman. We will consider and discuss how their use of The Method shaped the legacy of film performance to this day.
Week one: Stanislavski, Adler, Strasberg and Brando
This introductory session will examine key practitioners and their teaching methods. On a practical level we will examine the acting exercises they employed to give an actor the necessary tools of their craft. We will consider the impact of Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Suggested viewing: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954)
Week two: Winters and Clift
By the early 1950s under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg, The Actor’s Studio began to thrive. One of the keenest participants was Shelley Winters who started her career as a studio contract player and once discovering the Method, Winters became one of Hollywood’s more versatile stars. Before Brando there was Montgomery Clift, his presence on screen was one of restraint and understatement as opposed to the self-assurance of Brando. In this session we look at Winters and Clift screen roles in the 1950s including their work together in A Place in the Sun.
Suggested viewing: A Place in the Sun (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953) The Big Knife (1955)
Week three: Harris and Dean
A formidable theatre actor, Julie Harris’ rare forays into film showcased her depth and range as a performer, as illustrated in Elia Kazan’s East of Eden. Her co-star was James Dean, who in his short career brought to the screen the mixed up teenager unable to express all the turmoil and longing of his feelings. This session we focus on Harris and Dean’s impact on screen acting.
Suggested viewing: East of Eden (1955), I Am a Camera (1955) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Week four: Baker and Newman
This week we take a look at the emergence of Carroll Baker, who was unforgettable as the coquettish young bride in the quintessential Actors Studio film, Baby Doll and Paul Newman who with his method fueled performance as boxer, Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Like Me, developed into one of Cinema’s most bankable and durable stars. We will discuss and explore the method acting techniques they brought to their break though roles.
Suggested viewing: Baby Doll (1956) and Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)
Tickets are £70 for the full four-week course (£65 concession / £60 Picturehouse Members).