In the film that, at the age of thirteen, I used to exclusively refer to as "Emperor Of My North Pole." Whaddya want, I was thirteen. Seeing the actual film, and Ernest Borgnine's almost literally Satanic performance in it, shut me up for a bit. The Robert Aldrich drama, pitting train-hopping hobo Lee Marvin against Borgnine's supernaturally sadistic "NOT ON MY TRAIN" conducter Shack, was reputed to set a new water level for on screen violence/blood/gore (this is about four years after The Wild Bunch). And sure enough, the movie practically opens with the beating and bifurcation of a hapless non-paying passenger, before the credits start up accompanied by Frank DeVol's entirely inappropriately jaunty score. The way Aldrich's had their Hollywood and anti-Hollywood elements riding up against each other was always fascinating. And Emperor of the North (as the film eventually came to be titled; I distinctly recall its being North Pole on release, and perhaps the change was precipitated by confused ticket buyers complaining of a lack of Arctic action) was all the more harrowing for the way it filtered the old-school realism of the likes of Beggars of Life through two newer paradigms of cheese and frankness.
You could probably write a whole book on Robert Aldrich's use of Borgnine alone. In the above shot he's playing a crass, pushy, impossibly abusive movie mogul in 1968's The Legend of Lylah Clare, a portrayal drawn, apparently, from life—Borgnine "doing" Aldrich, as it were. In these films and others, Borgnine functioned for Aldrich as a murderous atavistic mutation of masculinity, or, wait, is the murderous atavistic part just what masculinity is, according to this vision, after all? What's fantastic about these portrayals is how thoroughly they wipe out the image of the cuddly and kooky Borgnine that many are evoking in the wake of his death at 95. You need only spend a few minutes with these guys, and the fellow who made a goofy admission on Fox And Friends, or who said the wrong thing about Brokeback Mountain, or whoever, or whatever...goes away. And you're left with exactly the terror and irritation the character wants you to feel.
And that's acting. Great acting. Most of the rest doesn't much matter, unless you really really want it to, in which case it's your call, knock yourself out.