Alan Arkin Was a Career Highlight in ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’

Moss and Levene oppose his generalizations, accusations, and abuse; Aronov does not. He just sits there and takes it. “You think this is abuse?” Blake roars at him. “You cannot tolerate this, how can you tolerate the abuses you get while sitting?” In that delicate moment, Arkin’s face is a mask, trying and failing to hold it together; If you look closely enough into his eyes, it looks like he’s on the verge of tears. When he is finally out of Hotshot’s sight, he lets out a long breath.

It is this sensibility that sets Arkin’s character and his performance apart from the various displays of roaring masculinity in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Pacino’s Roma is a whole lot more daring than it’s earned; Lemmon’s Levene and Harris’ Moss attempt the same thing, yelling and screaming at those who wrong them, an easy sell to the people on the other end of the phone, but their airs seem more pretentious. Arono, on the other hand, is utterly vulnerable, an open wound of desperation and fear. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it, about reducing the sales force,” he insists, the second Blake goes on, but denial soon gives way to depression. “They’ll put me out of a job,” he laments to Moss, placing the blame not on the office’s rigid standards or the catering economy outside, but on himself. “There’s something wrong with me,” he insists. “I can’t turn them off.”

In this vulnerable state, he turns to Moss for emotional support and encouragement; Moss senses that need and takes advantage of it, coaxing Arono into an ill-advised plan to break into the Premier Properties office and steal it. New leads, Good Leads, Glengarry leads. The bullish moss hooks and ensnares the weak man, planting the idea and prompting further inquiry. In this sequence look at Arkin’s eyes, the way he is listening, how he takes in and processes the information he is receiving; Listen carefully to the way he says a line, like, “Are we talking about this, or are we just talking about it,” understanding the difference between the two versions of the word, and slyly conveying it to the hearer. And then see how he registers that, merely by hearing, he has become an accessory to the crime. The ease with which This realization comes up in his face, and the way he expresses it in one simple word (“I”) is a stunning display of acting technique and a heart-wrenching moment of character recognition.

Arkin and Harris play this duet sequence like two jazz musicians trading bebop riffs, a relationship established not only by what they say but also by how they say it – breakneck tempo, outrageous jargon, interrupting in the middle of sentences or even words, sometimes because one knows where the other is going, sometimes because they can’t be bothered to wait to say what’s going on their Brain. It’s not easy to act on Mamet’s over-stylized dialogue; If the cadence is bad, it can feel unbearably fake, “written” rather than spoken. But Arkin holds his own here against Harris and later in duets with Pacino, an equally heavyweight dramatic actor.

Yet the genius of his casting is that he can use his innate sense of comic timing, eliciting laughs from these erratic exchanges, or when he exaggerates his sense of displeasure at a subsequent offense. are (“criminals come, they take and they steal the phone!”) and his interrogation by the police (“I meet). Gestapo Tactics!”). But his best moments as Aarono are his quieter moments, like when he softly pleads with Moss (once he’s trapped in a mousetrap), “Why are you doing this to me? He’s not playing for sympathy; it’s a silent cry of abandonment and despair.

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