Monday, January 5, 2009

Pat Hingle (1924-2009)

He's called a "Batman actor" on the MSN homepage (though not in the actual obit headline) but Pat Hingle's career was far more extensive. He was a reliable character actor from the 1950s onward, a welcome presence on TV and in the movies. The parts that come to mind for me are his roles in Hang 'Em High (1967) and The Grifters (1990). I know comic book fans that weren't happy with his portrayal of Commissioner Gordon in the Burton and Schumacher films, but the character he played harkened back to Gordon's earliest incarnation as a sort of clueless fuddy-duddy authority figure, as opposed to the more active and important character in the modern comics accurately represented by Gary Oldman in the Nolan films. In any event, none of the Batman movies was Hingle's finest hour, and it's unfortunate that they're the first thing to come to most people's minds. But that's why we have movie blogs, I suppose -- to give people like Hingle more of the credit they actually deserve.

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