Subtle Shatner - The Thread

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by JonnyQuest037, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Over in the "Hey, I Never Noticed That Before" thread I joked that we should start a "Subtle Shatner" thread so we could better appreciate some of William Shatner's great acting moments on TOS. My comment got a fair amount of likes, so I decided it was a good idea for a thread.

    The pop culture cliche is that Shatner is a ham who'd chew the scenery and pass it through his lower intestine, but truthfully, Shatner had a lot of fine acting moments on the show. Take a look at the ending of "The City on the Edge of Forever" if you don't believe me. In less than a minute and a half of screentime, Shatner goes from relaxed and casual on his date with Edith Keeler, to surprise at her mention of McCoy, to determination and calling for Spock, to excitement and relief at being reunited with McCoy, to the sudden realization that THIS is the moment of Edith's death, to freezing in indecision, to a split second move to block McCoy from reaching Edith, to being absolutely shattered that the love of his life is gone, and she's gone because of his actions.

    And that thousand yard stare Kirk has when they return to the present... brrrrrrr.

    The ending of COTEOF is great, and it's great largely because of Shatner, who takes us through Kirk's entire emotional journey with a minimum of dialogue.



    So, ground rules for the thread: Let's celebrate Shatner's subtle, understated moments from TOS. No over the top "I'm Captain Kirk!!!!" from "The Enemy Within" or anything like that. We can start another thread for those if we want. Let's see the moments where Shatner did a lot with very little, and conveyed something more than what was on the page with just his line delivery, a look, or a gesture. And please provide clips of the moments in question so we can all appreciate Shatner's great acting chops.
     
  2. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Subtle embarrassment from Shore Leave....

     
  3. erastus25

    erastus25 Commodore Commodore

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    Basically all of Balance of Terror. My personal favorite is the wordless response to the Romulan Commander's last words. Starts to talk, stops himself, and his face just kinda falls.
     
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  4. Khan Jr

    Khan Jr Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    In "Amok Time" he's handed his next weapon - essentially a strop with some jangly bits - and his expression says are these Vulcans just fucking with me now, what the hell am I supposed to do with this??
     
  5. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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    How about his portrayal of the "good" Kirk in "The Enemy Within"? All the little bits of a indecisiveness, fumbling, and general wishy-washiness that didn't scream out that something was wrong but weren't in character for Kirk? And this was only his fourth episode portraying the character.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
  6. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I always like the dinner scene in "Space Seed." It's very well written, and it calls for Kirk to hold back, but Shatner is great playing it, with a couple of long shots of him just watching, no lines. You know what's going on in his head, evaluating this potentially dangerous character. Then when Khan calls him out for letting Spock do his dirty work, Kirk responds with "This is a social occasion," seemingly light but with an underlying edge. Then after Kirk engages directly and Khan falls right into the trap, Kirk's only response is Shatner's simple, less-is-more "We?"
     
  7. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Very first aired ep "Man Trap"

    Paraphrased: "Why don't you take one of those pills you gave me?? (Munches on celery ala' Brad Pitt) You'll sleep."

    I also like irritated, snaps-at-his-crew, Kirk. "Anytime you can bluff me doctor!!"....or whatever he said.
     
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Shatner was a much more talented actor than he was given credit for. The caricatures of his occasional delivery were exaggerated often and to the point it became widely believed as Shatner’s standard go-to style which it certainly was not.

    The caricatured Kirk is far more evident in the films than in TOS.
     
  9. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In my opinion "Conscience of the King" is one of the better subtle episodes. Kirk is having to temper his own passions because he needs to encourage others to do the same. But, his desire for revenge is still there and McCoy and Spock call him on it.

    The full clip has a bit over the more exaggerated affect but the time stamp I linked to is one of my favorite Kirk moments:
     
  10. Methuselah Flint

    Methuselah Flint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Towards the end, it is a little OTT with the lovesick puppy, but there are nice moments in Requiem for Methuslah. Especially between Kirk and Flint. I do like Kirk's reaction when he opens the sheet off an older version of Rayna, but some may class this as a little too much.
     
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  11. Poltargyst

    Poltargyst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like your sig quote. Elnor's name fits, and with his pointed ears I wondered if I was watching a Tolkien elf.
     
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  12. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I love the dramatic wordsiness of S1 when a speeding GR was rewriting/polishing every script. That line about parading with Karidian's head through the corridors -- that won't bring back the dead, Jim! What a talented triumvirate of actors too. Sigh.
     
  13. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  14. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Shatner played a very believable character in the TV series but he seemed to have lost his way with the character in the films for me anyway! Maybe because he had been away from Kirk for so long? :sigh:
    JB
     
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  15. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe his toupee and hair spray restricted the blood flow to the acting lobe of his skull noodles.
     
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  16. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well wearing a thick fluffy wig that doesn't suit you doesn't help you with the role I'm sure! :D
    JB
     
  17. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    C'mon, guys. This thread is about celebrating Shatner, not making fun of him. If you want to do that, take it somewhere else.
     
  18. Methuselah Flint

    Methuselah Flint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I haven't watched the TOS films for a long time, but I think the horseback dialogue with Picard in Generations is very well-played. It harks back to his speech in Return to Tomorrow, I think.
     
  19. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    ...and Shatner’s horsemanship skills are briefly demonstrated, too.
     
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  20. Methuselah Flint

    Methuselah Flint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Which again, links back to Picard's love of horses from Pen Pals.
     
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