Thursday, June 28, 2012
Holiday Inn - 1942 - Leon Belasco
It’s such a small part, but the flower shop proprietor in “Holiday Inn” (1942) is one of those classic film characters that stands out for no other reason than perhaps the eloquence of the moment.
In this case, the eloquence is purely physical communication. He has no lines. Marjorie Reynolds, trying to show off and impress Walter Abel, treats her boss -- Mr. Belasco -- like an underling, directing him to fill a last-minute order.
Leon Belasco is the silent shopkeeper, at first appalled at her nerve, then anxious that she might blow it and lose a customer, then pleased that she has succeeded in making a sale, and then hustles to do what she has condescendingly commanded. It’s a pantomime lasting a few seconds, but it is indelible. I can’t go into a flower shop today without thinking of him.
You may have seen Leon Belasco in dozens of film or TV shows, usually bit parts as a waiter or cab driver. He was a dealer in Rick’s gambling parlor in “Casablanca” (1943). He usually had few or no lines. Like so many bit players, he was just there.