MovieChat Forums > Mister RobertsĀ (1955) Discussion > William Powell v. Jack Lemmon

William Powell v. Jack Lemmon


Lemmon gave a superb manic comedic performance as Pulver, but it was William Powell's smoothly comic and quietly dramatic delivery of Doc that should have been rewarded at the Oscars. The fact that Powell wasn't even nominated for this, his last screen performance, speaks volumes to ignorance of the Academy, as well as the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and every other body that votes awards for film excellence.

Of course, Powell should have also won for My Man Godfrey back in '36.

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I'd have to agree with you there. Wm Powell was one of the truly great actors. Even his part in Love Crazy was wonderful.




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Powell was great. At least one of his performances in the Thin Man movies should've won SOMETHING. He was just great in those films.

"Listen to them, children of the night. What music they make!" -- Dracula (1931)

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I thought they were both hilarious, but Jack Lemmon does it for me. :)


Jack Lemmon: America's Sweetheart
"It's Magic Time"

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Everyone was great in this movie, but is anyone should have recieved an Oscar, it was James Cagney. The whole "hat" scene was fantastic.


The Man in Black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.

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[deleted]

That observation is entirely correct. However, Fonda said in an interview about
the film that Powell came out of retirement for love of the script...he
probably wasn't interested in getting that taudry little statuette from those
bunch of fussy old goats and preening sissies who make up the lofty A-cod-a-mee
of Moe-shun Peec-chours.

"Could be worse."
"Howwww?"
"Could be raining."

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William Powell was wonderful in this movie...however i have to say that when i saw the live version on NBC in 80's the actor i missed most from the original was Jack Lemmon.....
It could just be that Pulver is a more difficult part...or it could be jack lemmon is that imprinted on my mind in the role....(or it could be Howard Hessman was that good as Doc in the stage play...)Kevin Bacon gave it a good shot, but he just wasnt pulver.

As for William Powell he deserved an Oscar Long before this film....And Fonda deserved one for this film (as well as long before also)


It is not our abilities that make us who we are...it is our choices

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Wm. Powell was such a classy and smooth act! This performance demonstrates that perfectly. He was so good, he could have disappeared into the background as being so natural. A quiet and dignified performance, such as he gave so well in Mister Roberts, could easily be overshadowed by Jack Lemmon's rather wild and manic Pulver. I'd say that either one of their performances could have been singled out for award, but given how big Lemmon played Pulver, it would be hard not to remember him, vs. Powell's performance, which was so smooth and natural, when the time for the voting came.

Powell should have gotten at least a couple of oscars during his career. Yes, for Godfrey, and for The Thin Man, and I think that Life With Father could have gotten him one, too, not to mention his Doc in Mister Roberts.

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Jack Lemmon is perhaps the ultimate example of the right actors picking up Oscars for the wrong films. Though he was always good and usually great, there can't be too many people who would list Mister Roberts or Save the Tiger as stand-out roles in his great career. Certainly, not alongside such brilliant performances as Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Days of Wine and Roses or Missing.

That said, I do love Lemmon as Pulver, and wouldn't begrudge him the Oscar for such a scene-stealing role... except that I agree with the OP that Powell was even better. Doc is a lovely character, touchingly and wittily played.

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Agreed... Powell was fantastic as always. His understated style of acting doesn't tend to get much attention by most award ceremonies (unfortunately).

"Now what kind of man are YOU dude?"

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Yes, Powell was as brilliant as always, and I do think he was slightly better than Lemmon, but I have no problem with Lemmon winning because he was great too.

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I agree with you there. Powell was excellent.

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Nothing, but, uh, stay out of B-29s, Frank, my boy.

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