Our buddy Ruth Maramis over at Flixchatter has a blog-a-thon going on right now, focusing on smaller roles with big impact.
“The idea of this blog-a-thon is to… Shine a spotlight on the ‘unsung heroes’ if you will, the overlooked performers who add so much richness & entertainment value to the film no matter how brief their appearance is, but yet they don’t get the credit they so deserve.”
Took me awhile to latch on to one to write-up, especially seeing as my first choice was taken (Damn you, Cap! :D ), but I found a good one, I believe, with Hal Holbrook in “All the President’s Men”. It’s a small, but pivotal role in one of the greatest movies ever. The true story of how two Washington Post reporters exposed corruption in the Nixon White House and toppled an American President. The role of “Deep Throat”, though small, gives the film at least 50% of its intensity…
Click through to read more!
Hal Holbrook is probably best known for his one man stage show, “Mark Twain Tonight”. Beginning in 1954, he has portrayed Twain onstage over 2,000 times. Although he’s been in many notable movies, including “Wall Street”, “The Fog”, “Fletch Lives”, and “The Firm” to name a few, his IMDb credits list as much TV work as it does featured films. And a high-profile movie that he’s carried on his own escapes me, at the moment.
Which makes his role here all the more remarkable.
“Deep Throat” is the shadowy figure sourcing Bob Woodward in “All the President’s Men”. He has since been revealed to have been Mark Felt, Associate Director of the FBI, but at the time, his identity was still a secret, so he was only referred to by a code name. Woodward (Robert Redford) would have to send a signal to request meetings, and then the two would meet in clandestine fashion in a darkened parking garage late at night. “Deep Throat” would insist Woodward change cabs in order to ensure he wasn’t followed. This atmosphere of secrecy and paranoia heightened the intensity of his appearances. Additionally, the information exchanged at the meetings was always a boost to the investigation. Woodward knew “Deep Throat” knew more than he was saying, so it was an intense game of cat and mouse to get him to divulge what he knew.
It’s a pivotal role in a high-powered, riveting story. Holbrook makes the most of it, too. He plays “Deep Throat” with intelligence and intensity. He’s both secretive and sardonic. You get the feeling watching him that he’s scared to death, yet mad as hell at what’s been going on. Dimly lit, he is literally a shadowy figure, and Holbrook voices him as such. He’s soft-spoken, but there’s a ferocity in what he’s saying. The stakes could not be higher for these conversations, and Holbrook conveys that absolutely perfectly.
It WAS a small role. But it definitely was a BIG performance. An unforgettable role, and a key element to what makes the movie so great.