An Appreciation of…Peter O’Toole (1932 – 2013)

This is the first in my series of homages to some cinematic greats, both living and dead, and what influence they have had on cinema and viewers such as me

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It seems almost saddening to realize that Peter O’Toole is no longer with us. He was often taken for granted – in his early career he was just a pretty face, in his later year just an old man. But O’Toole was much deeper than that. 

The image above is the iconic Lawrence of Arabia, the film O’Toole is most remembered for. However, cinephiles everywhere have their own personal favourites. The Stunt Man, Goodbye Mr. Chips, My Favourite Year and Venus all top the list of the most adored O’Toole performances. Mine is the performance very few people saw – The Final Curtain. A postmodern British crime noir dark comedy, The Final Curtain has O’Toole as an aging gameshow host with a dark side who plots revenge against a rival gameshow host. It is in no way his greatest performance, but it is a deliciously dark and complex performance by a man almost exclusively known for his heroic roles.

To list all of his film achievements would be redundant, as he had a 50 year career, and each one of his films could be considered an achievement of some sort. However, the eight Academy Awards without a win speak a completely different story when it comes to how unlucky O’Toole truly was with awards, but a winner with the fact that he is arguably the greatest actor of all time.

So next time you’re looking for something to watch, you’d be well to choose something starring Peter O’Toole, a true legend.  

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