Flippen, Jay C.


Flippen, Jay C.
(1898–1971)
   Flippen was born in Little Rock,Arkansas, on March 6, 1898. He debuted on Broadway in 1920 and continued to perform on the stage until he settled in Hollywood after World War II. Jules Dassin’s Brute Force (1947), a prison picture with Burt Lancaster, was the first FILM NOIR he appeared in. He also appeared in other noirs, among them Nicholas Ray’s They Live by Night (1949), an early version of the Bonnie and Clyde saga.
   In STANLEY KUBRICK’s THE KILLING (1956) Flippen enacts the role of Marvin Unger, who gets involved in a racetrack heist masterminded by his young friend Johnny Clay (STERLING HAYDEN), who has just gotten out of prison. It is clear from the outset that the shabby individuals whom Johnny has brought together to execute the racetrack robbery comprise a series of weak links in a chain of command that could snap at any point. For a start, all of the members of the gang are inexperienced in committing crimes, except for Johnny. They have joined the gang because each of them has a pressing need for money. Add to this the possibility of unexpected mishaps that dog even the best of plans, and the viewer senses that the entire project is doomed from the start.
   In describing his motley crew to his girlfriend, Fay (COLLEEN GRAY), Johnny explains: “None of these guys are criminals in the ordinary sense of the word. They all have little problems they have to take care of. Take Marvin Unger, who is nice enough to let me stay here in his apartment. He is no criminal. ” Although Marvin, a homosexual, is involved in the heist because he wants to salt away some money for his old age, his principal motive in taking part is his need to be near Johnny. At one point Marvin pathetically pleads with Johnny to go away with him after the robbery—rather than with Fay. “You remind me of my kid,” he says. “Wouldn’t it be great to go away, just the two of us?” Johnny fobs off Marvin’s suggestion by assuring him that, although they will probably never see each other again after the robbery, he will always remember Marvin as “a stand-up guy. ” Marvin is crestfallen.
   Writer Barry Gifford says of Flippen and the rest of the actors playing the social misfits who comprise Johnny’s gang:“Each face is right for the part. Everyone looks so worried and concerned,” as they plan and execute the caper, that “their features are marred, twisted, bent, screwed up in the physical as well as the psychological sense. ” This description is as true of Marvin as of any of the other members of the gang, which includes a rogue cop and a henpecked husband. The Killing is a film about the end of things, inhabited by crooks who are past their sell-by date, touched throughout by the shadow of mortality. These remarks are particularly applicable to Flippen’s Marvin, the oldest member of the group, who feels old and obsolete. Kubrick, in stepping away from film noir’s flashier heists, has made a stealthy, potent movie that tracks Marvin and the others to their doom. After The Killing, Flippen made mostly westerns, including Cat Ballou (1965). While filming that picture, he contracted an infection that led to the amputation of his right leg. Thereafter, he continued to act in a wheelchair, as Lionel Barrymore did in his later years. Flippen’s last film, Seven Minutes (1971), was noteworthy only because he appeared with other veteran Hollywood actors, including Yvonne De Carlo and John Carradine.
   References
   ■ Gifford, Barry, Out of the Past:Adventures in Film Noir (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001), pp. 99–100.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Flippen — Jay C. Flippen (* 6. März 1899 in Little Rock, Arkansas; † 3. Februar 1971 in Los Angeles) war ein US amerikanischer Schauspieler. Jay C. Flippen war bereits seit den 1920er Jahren ein anerkannter Theaterschauspieler und Radiomoderator als er in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jay C. Flippen — (born March 6, 1899 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA; died February 3, 1971 in Los Angeles) is best remembered as a gruff faced actor usually playing a police officer or weary criminal in many movies of the 1940s and 1950s.Flippen was already an… …   Wikipedia

  • Jay C. Flippen — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Flippen. Jay C. Flippen …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jay C. Flippen — (* 6. März 1899 in Little Rock, Arkansas; † 3. Februar 1971 in Los Angeles) war ein US amerikanischer Schauspieler. Jay C. Flippen war bereits seit den 1920er Jahren ein anerkannter Theaterschauspieler und Radiomoderator als er in den 1930er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Flippen —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme. Benton Flippen (1920 2011), musicien américain ; Jay C. Flippen (1899 1971), acteur américain. Catégorie : Homonymie de patronyme …   Wikipédia en Français

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