Villain


Villain
   The villains of melodrama as well as those of Shakespeare provided some of the juiciest roles for an actor. Indeed, many of the great actors like Robert Mantell, John McCullough, and Thomas W. Keene made a specialty of Richard III. In lines of business, it was normally the heavy who got the villain roles, but the role of Richard III always went to the leading man instead of the heavy. Similarly, Othello's malignant antagonist Iago was considered by many to be Edwin Booth's best role.
   William A. Brady's recollection of a basic technique for playing the villain in melodrama is worth quoting at length (1937, 18-19): "The small fry in the Old Bowery gallery had strict theories of how the villain ought to die, when the hero did him in in the final scene. The old melodrama villains had a specialized technique for kicking the bucket—elbows stiff, spine rigid, then fall over backward square on the back of your head. It took skill to do it right and not kill yourself in good earnest. We all practiced it—I've spent hours bruising myself to a pulp practicing a villain's fall. And we valued villains in direct proportion to the stiffness of their falls. When J. B. Studley, a fine old-time actor, started doing villains at the Old Bowery and tried dying like a human being—a natural sprawling collapse—the whole house came right over the footlights at him with hisses and cat-calls and roars of protest—they wanted a real fall. It wasn't till Studley had learned to stiffen up and crash in the conventional way—and he got to be one of the best fallers in the business—that they'd tolerate him at all."

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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  • Villain — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Erwin Villain (1898–1934), deutscher Arzt und SA Führer Raoul Villain (1885–1936), französischer Nationalist Marcel Brun, Pseudonym Jean Villain (1928–2006), Journalist und Schriftsteller Jean Villain… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Villain — Vil lain, n. [OE. vilein, F. vilain, LL. villanus, from villa a village, L. villa a farm. See {Villa}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Feudal Law) One who holds lands by a base, or servile, tenure, or in villenage; a feudal tenant of the lowest class, a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • villain — c.1300, base or low born rustic, from Anglo Fr. and O.Fr. villain, from M.L. villanus farmhand, from L. villa country house (see VILLA (Cf. villa)). The most important phases of the sense development of this word may be summed up as follows:… …   Etymology dictionary

  • villain — villain, scoundrel, blackguard, knave, rascal, rogue, scamp, rapscallion, miscreant can all denote a low, mean, and reprehensible person utterly lacking in principles. Villain describes one utterly given to crime, evil, and baseness {are not made …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • villain — villain, villein The two spellings are forms of a single word with two branches, originally meaning either ‘a low born rustic’ or ‘a serf in the feudal system’ and derived from the Latin word villa meaning ‘country house or farm’. The spelling… …   Modern English usage

  • Villain — Vil lain, a. [F. vilain.] Villainous. [R.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Villain — Vil lain, v. t. To debase; to degrade. [Obs.] Sir T. More. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • villain — index convict, criminal, hoodlum, malefactor, wrongdoer Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • villain — [n] evil person antihero, blackguard*, brute, caitiff, creep*, criminal, devil, enfant terrible*, evildoer, heel, libertine, lowlife*, malefactor, mischief maker*, miscreant, offender, profligate, rapscallion, rascal, reprobate, scoundrel, sinner …   New thesaurus

  • villain — ► NOUN 1) a person who is guilty or capable of a crime or wickedness; a wrongdoer. 2) a character in a novel or play whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot. DERIVATIVES villainous adjective villainy noun. ORIGIN originally in the …   English terms dictionary

  • villain — [vil′ən] n. [ME vilein < OFr vilain < VL villanus, a farm servant < L villa, a farm: see VILLA] 1. a person guilty of or likely to commit great crimes; evil or wicked person; scoundrel 2. a wicked or unprincipled character in a novel,… …   English World dictionary


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