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Face-Off: Hans Landa vs. Calvin Candie

05.09.2013by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face-Off, to gear up for the release of Iron Man 3 we put together a Marvel/DC match up in a battle between billionaire crime fighters Iron Man and Batman. As much as I love what has been done on screen with Iron Man over the years, my loyalty leaned towards the Dark Knight in the final verdict and our readers seemed to agree.

With The Great Gatsby quickly on its way featuring the oh so talented Leonardo DiCaprio, his recent role as the despicable Calvin Candie in Django Unchained made its way into my mind. The idea then dawned on me to throw the dastardly villain that is Calvin Candie against the baddie from Quentin Tarantino's previous effort Inglorious Basterds, in Col. Hans Landa. Christoph Waltz portrayed the latter in Basterds, and thus became one of my favorite actors working today, much like DiCaprio. Both these men conducts themselves relatively well in manners of business, can charm the pants off of anybody with their way with words, but more or less represent the scum of the earth from different time periods. So which villain did you love to hate? Which one were you charmed by more? Which one were you more eager to see meet a less than desirable end? Let's discuss.
Way With Words
Hans Landa appears to be all business in every exchange has in the film, his courteous way of speaking and his considerable "manners" were a bit unsettling. One of my favorite pieces of dialogue in the film happened to be in the beginning of the film in Landa's rat monologue, as offensive as it was, was a brilliant way to convey the mindset of a lot of the SS in this day in age. He was downright pleasant at times, and other times while remaining pleasant had undeniable menace behind his words and it made for a chilling performance. Articulate, fluent in other languages, well mannered...yup...Hans Landa was one charming son of a bitch, like him or not.
Calvin Candie, with his southern drawl was no slouch in having a way with words himself. He liked to put on an image, but he was of course less sophisticated than that of a man like Hans Landa. He is polite in his dealings, but more grudgingly so. You will never see him fluent in any other language, as he is actually embarrassed at the idea of any being spoken in front of him, even though he insists on being addressed as "Monsieur Candie." Nevertheless, he definitely manages to portray a certain aura of intelligence and knowing how to talk to people until provoked to be less then civilized.
Dastardly Deeds
When you sit and think about it, Inglorious Basterds was an isolated little film. In the films opening minutes we got a glimpse into how Hans Landa has earned himself the nickname of "Jew Hunter." That leads one to wonder how many more visits Landa has been involved in that have resulted in the tragic extermination of Jews right then and there. The next downright evil act we see Hans commit is strangling a woman to death with pure rage in his eyes, and not once in his face did we see him beforehand giving this action a second thought. Finally, although most were probably cheering the act (including me) agreeing to and taking part in the massacre of Hitler's high command is brutal no matter how you slice it. It's like he said in him not warning Hitler of the impending threat he's more responsible for the deaths than the Basterds.
When we meet Calvin Candie, he is sitting on a couch not only joyously watching but shouting instructions in the middle of a Mandingo fight session. His fighters victory in said fight is not enough, and after the fights conclusion orders his fighter to "finish him" via a hammer...nice. Next, on the way to his plantation he deals with a deserter by not thinking twice about literally sicking the dogs on the poor guy. Finally, after learning of our heroes deception, he quite theatrically threatens the life of sweet Broomhilda by his favorite weapon the hammer. We get the unshakable impression that maybe aside from his sister, there is no being on the face of the earth Calvin Candie wouldn't kill or order the death of. This is enforced when after Broomhilda is sold, he still saw fit to threaten her life unless King shook his hand. Crazy bastard.
Best Scene
I am actually torn on what I consider to be Hans Landa's shining moment. The two scenes for consideration are the films very first scene as we see Landa's Jew hunting in action, the second scene being the scene in which Landa reveals his potential intentions to help the Basterds win the war. The scene in the films final minutes have extra points due to the fact memes have been made out of the damn thing, courteous of Waltz' hilarious facial expressions throughout that bit of his performance. That said, Landa's introduction has to be his best moment. It captures Landa's personality, his detective skills, his thoughts on the orders he has to follow, and what he's capable of doing. The film would not have immediately hooked me had it not been for that scene.
Undeniably Calvin's best moment comes after he's informed by Samuel L Jackson's character informs him of Django's true intentions. There is so much he conveyed in the scene in the dining room that follows. He struggles to maintain his composure, and gradually jumps into a fit of rage that DiCaprio does so beautifully. The son of a bitch came completely unhinged, got so into the scene he actually cut his hand and went right on with his performance. The angle with the skull dimples was brilliant and I just love how the scene escalated. Like Hans I also dug Calvin's introduction, you can't go wrong with the "you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention" line.
Overall Performance
Inglorious Basterds was my introduction to Christoph Waltz, and the man has had me hooked ever since. The man represents the embodiment of all evil, but conducts himself in a way that if he had a different occupation a lot of us might find ourselves liking the bastard. He gets to convey a lot in the film that being the Hans Landa that is control of everything around him including himself, as well as a brief glimpse of a Hans Landa that is considerably more sinister. Finally a brief but satisfying glimpse into how Hans Landa acts when control of the situation escapes his grasp. Waltz portrayed strength, he was suave, and he had a moment where he was able to portray nonverbal cowardice. One word comes to mind when I think of this role, layered.
There is only one complaint I have about Leo DiCaprio's performance as Calvin Candie...there wasn't enough of it. Although we saw him quite consistently when he entered the game, I still wanted to see more because hey it's DiCaprio. The film was long enough, so extra scenes with Candie maybe interacting with Broomhilda while Django and King made their way to them wasn't likely, but it may have been nice. But what we did get of him was DiCaprio in top form, Candie was Hans Landa with the chains loose. He didn't have to conduct himself with any decorum though he made the effort to nonetheless. He had a talented group of actors around him, but I think he commanded the screen when he was there.
Hans Landa
There you have it folks, I struggled with the idea of considering this match up a tie myself and leaving the verdict to you lot. These two characters are pretty damn equal in a lot of ways and one could say they were the best part of their respective films. However, as I stated...Hans Landa seemed like more of a consistent presence throughout the film. He was there when it began, he was there when it ended. DiCaprio, as great as he was as Candie arrived to the party late and seemed almost to disappear in a flash. But while he was on screen, he rocked it. So where do you stand? Time to strike back. Do I have your attention?

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which villain is your favorite?
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2:07PM on 05/09/2013

This wasn't even close, IMO

Hans Landa's the more dastardly character because he's the smarter character. Calvin Candie would have happily let Broomhilda, Django and King walk if Stephen hadn't tipped him off.

In contrast, Landa had his own agenda throughout the film; he was the obedient Nazi until he realized the Third Reich was doomed and he decided to help the Basterds in exchange for a cushy retirement. Landa was by far the smartest character in the movie.
Hans Landa's the more dastardly character because he's the smarter character. Calvin Candie would have happily let Broomhilda, Django and King walk if Stephen hadn't tipped him off.

In contrast, Landa had his own agenda throughout the film; he was the obedient Nazi until he realized the Third Reich was doomed and he decided to help the Basterds in exchange for a cushy retirement. Landa was by far the smartest character in the movie.
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2:05PM on 05/09/2013

Hans Landa

Both are great characters with two powerful performances behind them, but Hans Landa wins this battle for me. He was just scarier and intense and darkly funny. Candie at times in the film was a fool and didn't know what was going on until Samuel L Jackson's character told him what was really going on.

I find it ironic that Waltz kills DiCaprio's character in Django and he we are comparing the two of them.
Both are great characters with two powerful performances behind them, but Hans Landa wins this battle for me. He was just scarier and intense and darkly funny. Candie at times in the film was a fool and didn't know what was going on until Samuel L Jackson's character told him what was really going on.

I find it ironic that Waltz kills DiCaprio's character in Django and he we are comparing the two of them.
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+3
1:22PM on 05/09/2013

Tough one... Candie Landa?

Quentin is the man when it comes to creating villainous characters. Inglourious Basterds was the first Tarantino film I saw in it's entirety, and I was (as I'm sure everyone else was) instantly in awe of Waltz's performance. But, in the end, as smart as Landa is, he is no longer a villain when he lets the Basterds win. So, taking that into consideration, Hans Landa isn't such a great villain. Calvin Candie, on the other hand, is evil in it's purest form, and doesn't cease to be so until he
Quentin is the man when it comes to creating villainous characters. Inglourious Basterds was the first Tarantino film I saw in it's entirety, and I was (as I'm sure everyone else was) instantly in awe of Waltz's performance. But, in the end, as smart as Landa is, he is no longer a villain when he lets the Basterds win. So, taking that into consideration, Hans Landa isn't such a great villain. Calvin Candie, on the other hand, is evil in it's purest form, and doesn't cease to be so until he drops dead. As the article pointed out, the first glimpse of Candie is him sitting on a couch shouting "keep fighting niggers!" as Mandingo fighters brutally beat each other to death in front of him. Instantly, the whole audience despises the guy, yet he's able to hold our attention and charm Django and Schultz into his mansion. Both characters and performances are brilliant, but, in my opinion, DiCaprio takes the cake for transforming into one of the most monstrous, evil, despicable villains you can't help but love to hate.
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1:15PM on 05/09/2013
It really depends on whether I'm going for the one I liked more or less, since both being pretty fiendish villains, like can be a relative term. What I liked about Landa was his mercenary sensibility, which made him ironically one of the more likable Nazis in any WWII movie. He didn't care about Jews. He wasn't won over by Hitler's preaching, but by the job. When he stated plainly that he was a detective, it made me want to see a pre-war Hans Landa solving crimes. I think that might've been
It really depends on whether I'm going for the one I liked more or less, since both being pretty fiendish villains, like can be a relative term. What I liked about Landa was his mercenary sensibility, which made him ironically one of the more likable Nazis in any WWII movie. He didn't care about Jews. He wasn't won over by Hitler's preaching, but by the job. When he stated plainly that he was a detective, it made me want to see a pre-war Hans Landa solving crimes. I think that might've been part of the idea behind King Schultz, doing his work without the stigma of being an SS officer. Calvin Candie was personally more hateful, because he was a spoiled brat who pretty much didn't answer to anyone. My favorite scenes with Landa though are when he interrogates Shosanna, and when he tries to converse with Aldo Raine in Italian. Christophe Waltz and Michael Fassbender both felt tailor-made for their roles, in that they both had to rely on being multi-lingual.
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11:15AM on 05/09/2013
If people would have gotten to see the full length version of Django Unchained Calvin Candie would have won this hands down! In the script they show loads more of how evil Candie really was. The theatrical version we all saw, he was a lot more tame than I thought he would be. Anyone who's read the script should agree. Love both of these characters though!
If people would have gotten to see the full length version of Django Unchained Calvin Candie would have won this hands down! In the script they show loads more of how evil Candie really was. The theatrical version we all saw, he was a lot more tame than I thought he would be. Anyone who's read the script should agree. Love both of these characters though!
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11:14AM on 05/09/2013

HANS DOWN!!

HANS LANDA
HANS LANDA
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10:49AM on 05/09/2013

The Jew Hunter

Got to agree. but i haven't been so moved by a single character in a movie since Bill the Butcher, so Candie was up against impossible competition. Just watched Django against last night and dicaprio's candie is spectacular, along with SLJ's steven.
Got to agree. but i haven't been so moved by a single character in a movie since Bill the Butcher, so Candie was up against impossible competition. Just watched Django against last night and dicaprio's candie is spectacular, along with SLJ's steven.
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+2
10:17AM on 05/09/2013

Hans Landa

I actually think DiCaprio went a little over the top with Calvin Candie. Yes he was good but he had a few moments that just seemed out of touch or unnecessary (the hand shaking insistence being one of them). Hans Landa, however, was just squirm-in-your-seat evil. Any time you're watching a movie and you think, "I wish *I* could shoot this guy!", you know you're riveted.
I actually think DiCaprio went a little over the top with Calvin Candie. Yes he was good but he had a few moments that just seemed out of touch or unnecessary (the hand shaking insistence being one of them). Hans Landa, however, was just squirm-in-your-seat evil. Any time you're watching a movie and you think, "I wish *I* could shoot this guy!", you know you're riveted.
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9:22AM on 05/09/2013

How is this even a question?

Hans fucking Landa by a country fucking MILE. Never had I sit in a movie theater before so consumed by a character on screen. "My God, who IS this guy?" I thought. Waltz doesn't need star power or celeb status to resonate in the greatest kind of way. Landa was a complex, sophisticated sumbitch that I somehow adored. Don't get me wrong, Candie was a delicious thing to watch, and had some great scenes, but no WAY does Candie ever come close to approaching Landa. One of the greatest
Hans fucking Landa by a country fucking MILE. Never had I sit in a movie theater before so consumed by a character on screen. "My God, who IS this guy?" I thought. Waltz doesn't need star power or celeb status to resonate in the greatest kind of way. Landa was a complex, sophisticated sumbitch that I somehow adored. Don't get me wrong, Candie was a delicious thing to watch, and had some great scenes, but no WAY does Candie ever come close to approaching Landa. One of the greatest characters ever written.
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8:54AM on 05/09/2013

Ooooh That's a Bingo!

'Is that how you say it, thats a Bingo?'
Waltz's Hans Landa is the reason Django Unchained became the film I most wanted to see last year. I knew this actor could mesmerize on the screen and the thought of seeing him as a good guy was too much to pass up. He nailed that too. Christoph Waltz is a legend.
'Is that how you say it, thats a Bingo?'
Waltz's Hans Landa is the reason Django Unchained became the film I most wanted to see last year. I knew this actor could mesmerize on the screen and the thought of seeing him as a good guy was too much to pass up. He nailed that too. Christoph Waltz is a legend.
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9:24AM on 05/09/2013
Leo's been in the Hollywood biz for years, and it only took Waltz one film to become an overnight icon. Not to knock Leo, but that's some serious shit right there.
Leo's been in the Hollywood biz for years, and it only took Waltz one film to become an overnight icon. Not to knock Leo, but that's some serious shit right there.
+4
7:55AM on 05/09/2013

Tough... But agreed.

Both men gave stellar performances, and both villains are as memorable as I've seen on screen in decades, but as far as characters go, Landa was the most sadistic. His combination of being so pleasant and jovial just moments after doing something so ruthless and sadistic reminds me of the way Idi Amin was portrayed in The Last King Of Scotland. Playing a Nazi is hard enough, but actually making his character somewhat likable and fun to watch while also brutal and disturbing is no easy feat.
Both men gave stellar performances, and both villains are as memorable as I've seen on screen in decades, but as far as characters go, Landa was the most sadistic. His combination of being so pleasant and jovial just moments after doing something so ruthless and sadistic reminds me of the way Idi Amin was portrayed in The Last King Of Scotland. Playing a Nazi is hard enough, but actually making his character somewhat likable and fun to watch while also brutal and disturbing is no easy feat. While I loved DiCaprio's Candie, he wasn't likable. He may have been fun to watch, but he was far from likable. He was a cruel evil prick we all loved hating. It's that little distinction that makes Landa the better character. He was Hannibal Lecter to Candie's Dollarhyde, both great but, only one kept us up at night.
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6:34AM on 05/09/2013

Both great performances...Hans though

I was really blown away by Leo in "Django".

That said...

After the opening scene of "Basterds" I leaned over to my friend and said "Waltz just won best supporting actor this year".
I was really blown away by Leo in "Django".

That said...

After the opening scene of "Basterds" I leaned over to my friend and said "Waltz just won best supporting actor this year".
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3:50AM on 05/09/2013
Hans Landa for me. Every word that comes out of his mouth feels like a razor that is coated with super-sweet honey. You wouldn't even know your throat is being sliced with said razor.
Hans Landa for me. Every word that comes out of his mouth feels like a razor that is coated with super-sweet honey. You wouldn't even know your throat is being sliced with said razor.
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3:21AM on 05/09/2013
Im seeing more and more of these face-offs where it mostly comes out to a tie. Here all but dialogue tied. While i like that the it was insightful and well written, if everything comes out to a tie, maybe try to find more things these characters are different on to compare.

To me Landa wins because he is more collective. He looses his cool once, but every other time he is sly and contemplative. Candie on the other hand seems spoiled. It was a superb performance from DiCaprio, but the
Im seeing more and more of these face-offs where it mostly comes out to a tie. Here all but dialogue tied. While i like that the it was insightful and well written, if everything comes out to a tie, maybe try to find more things these characters are different on to compare.

To me Landa wins because he is more collective. He looses his cool once, but every other time he is sly and contemplative. Candie on the other hand seems spoiled. It was a superb performance from DiCaprio, but the character himself just seemed more impatient and spoiled than Landa. To me that's what makes Landa better man,
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+5
2:22AM on 05/09/2013
Landa felt more in control of the room he was in, even when he wasn't the main commander in the room people still feared him. Candie as menace as he is didn't feel he was fully in charge at times, being fooled that is. Landa caught the Basterds, though in the end got fooled, still could have saved Hitler from being killed. Still shouldnt rulle out that they are both classic characters
Landa felt more in control of the room he was in, even when he wasn't the main commander in the room people still feared him. Candie as menace as he is didn't feel he was fully in charge at times, being fooled that is. Landa caught the Basterds, though in the end got fooled, still could have saved Hitler from being killed. Still shouldnt rulle out that they are both classic characters
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1:36AM on 05/09/2013
Yep, I'm going with Landa too. Christoph Waltz just scared the living beejezus out of me but managed to be supremely entertaining at the same time. Calvin Candie is a fine character as well (and yes, Leo was robbed and all that) but I guess the way Landa tempers his theatricality with how ice-cool and unfazed he always is helps that character get under the skin just a little bit more.
Yep, I'm going with Landa too. Christoph Waltz just scared the living beejezus out of me but managed to be supremely entertaining at the same time. Calvin Candie is a fine character as well (and yes, Leo was robbed and all that) but I guess the way Landa tempers his theatricality with how ice-cool and unfazed he always is helps that character get under the skin just a little bit more.
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