I’m a little shaky typing this. I found out that actor Sean Connery passed away today. I’d gone on Instagram to post my photo of a new durum wheat loaf—and I saw my friend Tim’s note on Instagram.
As a child in the 60s I wasn’t allowed to watch the Bond movies until I was older. But spy movies were a staple in our household so I got there soon enough. There is still something crisp and wonderful about his portrayal of Bond, watched decades later.
Other Connery Movies I enjoy rewatching include: Outland (“High Noon” in space); The Wind and the Lion, The Untouchables, Hunt for Red October, The Rock, The Name of the Rose, and Finding Forrester
Of course it was fun to watch him pop up in films like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Time Bandits when there was a bit part that needed an actor who came with his own charm and gravitas. It might seem like an emotional cheat to get the audience to care, but it was always satisfying. We need shorthand in the movies, as in life.
And it seemed obvious that he was cast as Indiana Jones’ father, for similar reasons.
I don’t know what my favorite Connery movie is. I think it’s always the one that I’m watching.
And that puts him in the same category I reserve for Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. All of them actors greatly underestimated because of their “charm.” But watch them closely and you see something marvelous. They are listening, they are the character, they aren’t winking at the camera. They radiate their character’s energy from a solid core. It’s a stillness that shows up on film no matter how frenetic their character.
It’s authenticity. It doesn’t matter if we like a character or not (villain or hero). But for the character to resonate with the audience there must be that authenticity. A great actor can call that up and project it so that it is everywhere when the character is on screen, as if they were that person in life. And that authenticity hangs in our minds whenever we recall the movie.
With an actor like Connery very little set up is needed in a script. His face and his movements are constantly informing the audience in a million little ways about what is happening, what his relationships are, what his choices and decisions are.
That’s a joy to watch. With Connery you have the added icing of the marvelous voice. I don’t care that he played a Spaniard with a Scottish accent in Highlander. The movie only works when he’s there.
Later I’ll pick a film of his to rewatch.
Whichever film I select I know it won’t be the last time I watch it.