I love this clip from Don Siegel‘s Charley Varrick (’73), in which Walter Matthau tells John Vernon that he wants to return a pile of ill-gotten mafia money. Just after 1:03 Vernon conveys something about occasional serendipity with a wonderful economy, using a gently changed expression and a little gesture with his left hand. It’s perfect. In ’85 I was working in publicity and had a chance to speak to Vernon on the set of Hail To The Chief, a TV series about a female U.S. President (Patty Duke) in which he played a hawkish military advisor. I told Vernon I was a huge admirer of this little bit of acting, and he didn’t seem to get what I was saying. He just brushed it aside and indicated he wouldn’t mind if I left him alone. I didn’t decide he was an ayehole because of this (although his behavior was a bit dickish), but I was a bit surprised that he didn’t seem to feel any particular pride about his work in Varrick. Or that he did feel this but didn’t care to share it with a fan…whatever. Vernon died in ’05.