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The Boston Globe

Movies

Jack Ryan: when four stars play one character

The movies exist through repetition, courtesy of the miraculous visual formula that is 24 frames per second. Yet the formula is slightly more complicated in execution. It’s repetition, yes, but with variation. No two frames are identical.

The same principle of repetition with variation applies to several enduringly popular movie heroes. The character repeats, the performers vary. Dozens of actors have played Sherlock Holmes. A half dozen have played James Bond (and that’s not counting the multiple “Bonds” in the 1967 spoof “Casino Royale”). Another half dozen have played Philip Marlowe.

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