ISSUE DATE: Aug. 12, 1974
Nicholson has through the years mastered the craft of acting with such thoroughness and skill that each role seems founded on some spontaneous intuition. It is his talent and pleasure never to let all the preparation and all the work he does for each role show. Nicholson shares that knack for apparently effortless deception with the very best screen actors. As Humphrey Bogart once said of Spencer Tracy, “He is so good because you don’t see the mechanism working.”
In the kinetic performance in Easy Rider, the shrewd observation of the frantic womanizer in Mike Nichols’ Carnal Knowledge and the unflappable incarnation of J.J. Gittes, the private eye on the make in Chinatown, Nicholson has built up one of the most impressive actor’s portfolios in Hollywood. His are the kind of credentials the town likes best. The recent movies Nicholson stars in are generally well received, and he himself invariably is. His presence in a starring role seems to guarantee both prestige and a profit. That makes Nicholson the man most in demand, the dearest form of collateral when it comes to banking a picture.
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