The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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knives
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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#301 Post by knives » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:29 pm

Usually in those cases though aren't there bigger problems that the film is usually a part of? For example The Most Beautiful is a horrible film in much the way you describe, but there are problems with the directing and script that propaganda aside kills the film. without trying to put words in Dom's mouth shouldn't you argue beyond just the propaganda to give evidence that the film is bad on some level?

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zedz
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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#302 Post by zedz » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:48 pm

domino harvey wrote:I'm not saying this film or any film is definitively good or bad because it is propaganda. I was just preemptively addressing those who decry a lot of films of this era (I remember the board having a real stink about Sgt York for instance) for rather outrageous reasons by saying that even if its primary function was to inform or misinform, it is still a superior example of cinema and one perhaps made all the more narratively/stylistically/etc effective by its double purpose.
British cinema in the 40s makes your case very elegantly indeed: if you automatically rule out propaganda you're also ruling out a great swathe of the finest films of the era: lots of the Powell / Pressburgers, Went the Day Well, the entire output of Humphrey Jennings.

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#303 Post by PillowRock » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:41 am

Mr Sausage wrote:you also seem to be saying that someone cannot make any legitimate argument that the propaganda in this or that film weakens the material if there was a very good historical reason for it to have been propaganda in the first place. I agree that propaganda doesn't necessarily make a film bad (Went the Day Well for instance is a brilliant movie on top of being propaganda) and that blanket condemnations of the practise are unlikely to be convincing; but propagandist elements certainly can weaken a film, regardless of whether or not the makers had good reasons to include them.
I would argue that the simple "fact of" propaganda existing in a movie does not make it weaker.

Badly done propaganda weakens movies (just like with badly done anything). Often this comes in form of poor characterization. However, that isn't the existence of propaganda weakening the movie; it's bad writing weakening a movie.

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knives
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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#304 Post by knives » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:03 pm

Noticed that I caught up with a few of these by accident and figure this thread needs some love.

1946
The Best Years of Our Lives

Certainly one of the best war films of all time with a strong train like direction from Wyler. While it's easy to call it an actor's showcase (and it certainly is) or even get wrapped up by it's documentary emotion of the time I think it's ultimately the subtle changes to Wyler's austerity that brings all the parts together and allows it to succeed as both a reflection of a lost generation and a piece of Hollywood horror.

Henry V
A noble adaptation though I think many of the best aspects to the film were brought to a more interesting extreme with Taymor's adaptations.

It's a Wonderful Life
Not much to say about this ball of depression that hasn't already. It's a wonderful and great film with the misfortune of it's most famous parts laying cheese to the whole enterprise. At the very least this is Stewart's best performance.

The Razor's Edge
...And the forgettable prestige slot goes to. Totally forgettable generic bait that doesn't have enough essence to be remembered for long. The actor's at least do a reasonable job of making sure it's not bad even if that success winds up being a worse crime.

The Yearling
Because Disney wasn't making forgettable movies where the dog dies yet MGM has to give us one. Wyman is certainly the hero to me. Actually this reflects what I was talking about above since this film is really bad, but I remember it more and actually wouldn't mind talking about it. So I guess I'll take this trash over gloss any day of the week.

My vote: Of course it goes to The Best Years of Our Lives.

1948
Hamlet

Another Olivier Shakespeare? Okay. While not as bad as his next effort there is a very large decrease in quality here from the previous effort. The cinematography is superb and certainly comes across right, but every actor seems miscast (I'd love to see an adaptation with the actors the right age) and there's no will to make this very challenging play come alive. Not the worst, not the best.

Johnny Belinda
This one just needs a little push to fall into greatness. The script a little tightening, the cinematography in colour were Negulesco works best, and less self conscious performances. Despite this looseness in quality it still remains a good and entertaining effort. If you're going to do bland prestige this is certainly a better way for it.

The Red Shoes
It's The Red Shoes.

The Snake Pit
Like two above this is really how prestige films should work with a lovely high energy and some degree of intelligence to the subject. Even in it's more questionable moments there's a conviction with the performances that keep things harrowing. Any other year and this should have been the winner. I'll go on record of saying this is the best Fox social picture.

The Treasure of Sierra Madre
An other one where it feels like everything that could be said has. It's really a film out of time closer to the grime of the '30s while looking forward to structured sloppiness of the best of the '60s. If Huston could have only one masterpiece for the decade I wish this were it.

My vote: The Red Shoes

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domino harvey
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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#305 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:41 pm

Believe it or not, the only holdup for my 1946 list is rewatching It's A Wonderful Life, so in the meantime let me just interject that the Razor's Edge is FAR from a forgettable prestige picture. For one, it has some of the most marvelous mise-en-scene of the decade, reflecting the very oppressive forces various characters perceive-- if you should ever find yourself watching it again, take note of the genius blocking and interjection of literal alienation objects!

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knives
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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#306 Post by knives » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:01 pm

I'll keep that in mind if the opportunity should arise. This time around for me on It's A Wonderful Life it really compounded for me just how much the alternate reality, or at least how it's presented brings the film down. The rest is a beautiful combination of screwball and drama that makes Capra such a real director and could make it his best since the early '30s, but that reality plays out how people conceive Capra of being and that's just horrible. On the other side of this list my rewatching Five Easy Pieces has actually been keeping me on that year.

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#307 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:59 pm

1946
the Best Years of Our Lives
Wyler has the opposite of Minnelli's luck, as not only did his best films win deserved Best Pic trophies (pls forget about Ben Hur, it does not fit my thesis), but they rank among the very best to ever win the award. This one is perhaps a smidge below Wyler's achievement of Mrs. Miniver, but there is still such vibrant patriotism in the truest sense, and such tangible despair onscreen that the three hour viewing time slides by with ease. Harold Russell's performance could have played so terribly, so cheap, so maudlin, so exploitative, but instead plays with conviction and real emotion. Here's a double winner that doesn't inspire derision at the clumsiness of the Academy's operation, but admiration: go ahead and give him two awards, goddammit, he deserves 'em!

Henry V The first thirty minutes or so are good, and I foolishly thought the film would have the courage to go the distance as performance. Natch, it flinches and works towards "realism" so it can film a decent battle scene. Shakespeare adaptations in general are a bad idea, and while this one has its moments, it's only here as a gift to our brothers in arms.

It's a Wonderful Life I am not unsympathetic to Capra's strengths but this film contains none of them. Like the Wizard of Oz, this is a film that owes its inflated cultural relevancy to its omnipresent presence on television more than its actual merit. Not having seen this since I was a kid and remembering nothing save the same cultural markers we all have ingrained in our shared pop consciousness, I was surprised at how grating and obnoxious the film came across, particularly in James Stewart's annoying protagonist. There was never a moment I liked this film, but I didn't actively dislike it 'til the finale, wherein Capra rips off the single most emotionally moving moment of his oeuvre, the saving of the bank in American Madness, and turns it into stupid, cloying mush. Why are people throwing money on the table when Hee-Haw Industrialist has promised to wire over three times what Uncle Billy lost? Because they just want to feel good about themselves without having to really think about what's going on. That's as good a description as any for this film's fanbase.

the Razor's Edge Ambitious, sprawling Maugham adaptation with two of my favorite female stars of the studio era, Anne Baxter and Gene Tierney? How can you go wrong? Well, okay, so sometimes everyone involved gets a bit carried away, but the source practically begs to be treated in this fashion! Some nice, under-appreciated mise-en-scene here too, with frequent blockings interrupted by stray objects of wealth to underline the message here.

the Yearling A beautiful-looking film, no doubt, with some gorgeous Technicolor and great animal photography (and one killer bear vs dog attack that made me fear for the safety of all involved, regardless of Humane Society approval at the end of the film). Gregory Peck too is good, but he always is in roles like this. Jane Wyman is awful, but that's more the script's fault-- and speaking of blaming the script, oh lord, that dialog! But above all else, I have reservations about how grotesquely downbeat this "kid" flick is: It lays it all on a bit thick in the service of a message that no one really needed delivered quite so bluntly. Growing up is hard, yes, but c'mon.

My Vote: the Best Years of Our Lives

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#308 Post by Titus » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:54 pm

domino harvey wrote: It's a Wonderful Life I am not unsympathetic to Capra's strengths but this film contains none of them. Like the Wizard of Oz, this is a film that owes its inflated cultural relevancy to its omnipresent presence on television more than its actual merit. Not having seen this since I was a kid and remembering nothing save the same cultural markers we all have ingrained in our shared pop consciousness, I was surprised at how grating and obnoxious the film came across, particularly in James Stewart's annoying protagonist. There was never a moment I liked this film, but I didn't actively dislike it 'til the finale, wherein Capra rips off the single most emotionally moving moment of his oeuvre, the saving of the bank in American Madness, and turns it into stupid, cloying mush. Why are people throwing money on the table when Hee-Haw Industrialist has promised to wire over three times what Uncle Billy lost? Because they just want to feel good about themselves without having to really think about what's going on. That's as good a description as any for this film's fanbase.
That's a pretty cynical way of viewing the final scene (and the film's admirers). The wire from Wainright comes in late, after the scene had already morphed into a communal gesture of gratitude for the positive contributions George Bailey has made on their lives. The financial contribution wasn't really the point.

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#309 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:11 pm

Good/bad news for those who thought they completed this round: East Lynne has popped up on That Site Which Shall Not Be Named :shock:

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#310 Post by reno dakota » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:26 pm

domino harvey wrote:Good/bad news for those who thought they completed this round: East Lynne has popped up on That Site Which Shall Not Be Named :shock:
Good catch. Now to work up the desire to watch it . . .

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#311 Post by knives » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:00 am

domino harvey wrote:Good/bad news for those who thought they completed this round: East Lynne has popped up on That Site Which Shall Not Be Named :shock:
Damn you. Could not not take the opportunity and am already wishing I had done something else like put my finger in a socket. The transfer only makes the awkward camera movements when it does move all the more awkward.

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#312 Post by dustybooks » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:01 pm

domino harvey wrote:Bad Girl The best film I've seen exclusively for this project yet. I was absolutely enchanted by this slice of life played against two of the most agreeable characters I've seen in some time. I laughed, I cried, and ran the gamut of emotions in between. There's nothing better than a small film done well, and Borzage's masterpiece has done the impossible: It's gotten me to vote against Shanghai Express!
Just saw Bad Girl for the first time. Relieved to see here and in the Murnau/Borzage thread that others were as moved as I was by this, especially given the infuriatingly low IMDB rating (which I know means nothing, but still, ugh). I don't think I've cried so much at a movie before, ever. Best film I've seen in years. I know you weren't as keen on 7th Heaven but I loved that one too -- Borzage is new to me and I'm planning now to devour all I can.

I'm going to participate properly in this thread eventually, I swear.

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#313 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:44 pm

1931 ADDENDUM
East Lynne
Recently resurfaced after decades off the grid, this is far from a forgotten masterpiece-- but it's not as bad as some of Frank Lloyd's other work in this category, either. Unhappy trophy wife is accused of cheating on her husband and in return her life is summarily ruined several times over for the duration of the picture. Sounds like a grand ol' time at the movies, don't it folks! Typical of the studio prestige fare for this era, this is a blandly stilted collection of literate speech and phony melodramatic crises that is impossibly stuffy and laboriously unhip. Films like this are of course signs of the infancy of cinema, as those who wanted it taken as a serious medium used deadly serious junk to bolster their claims by removing entertainment and spectacle from the equation. How else to explain Cavalcade's win two years later? (You can read the rest of my 1931 writeup here)


1937
the Awful Truth
Irene Dunne and me don't get along so well, but she's not too shabby in this light romantic fluff. Cary Grant sure enough is Cary Grant, but Ralph Bellamy steals the show and his hilarious archetype-setting Baxter cowboy should have won the Oscar, period, the end.

Captains Courageous Every so often the Oscars actually manage to nominate a film in this category that does represent the best Hollywood has to offer. This is top of the line entertainment-- well-made, cleverly written, handsomely filmed, and sharply realized. I haven't read the Kipling book this adapts but the filmed adaptation is one of the best coming of age films I've ever seen, with a truly spoiled little shit in Freddie Bartholomew who takes so long to come around that his inevitable transformation is all the more convincing for the time put into building what needs to be torn down. Spencer Tracy's Portuguese sailor is a little hammy at times, no doubt, but he's also filled with a fine comic spirit and sentiment that doesn't always register in some of Tracy's more workman like performances. It's easy to see why he walked away with the Oscar, even though it was no doubt yet another prize awarded for the character over the performance. Much easier to swallow than him winning again next year for Boys Town at least!

Dead End A weird mess of four or five different films, none too well-realized by Wyler here. Claire Trevor's little three minute walk-on as Bogart's syphilitic ex (deservedly meriting an Oscar nom, no less) destroys everything else on screen, though the Dead End Kids have their moments. The big alley set is more obnoxious than impressive, and as a result this feels far more claustrophobic than other contemporary stage-bound films.

the Good Earth On paper this sounds like a nightmare: Hollywood adapting the Pearl S Buck novel and employing yellowface? But to my great surprise, this was fabulous entertainment and the lead performances by Paul Muni and Luise Rainer never became exploitative or cheap, and outside of Walter Connolly's comic relief most of the rest of the cast is Asian. As all of the free world knows, Rainer most definitely did not deserve to win the previous year, but at least this year her win had some merit, even if again she was hardly the best of those nominated.

I know the narrative with this award favors the bloated and dull productions, but this is exactly the kind of feel-good epic Hollywood was also fully capable of producing. It also manages to keep all of the Depression-era social commentary in tact-- bolstering the bootstrap idea of individuals rising above their lot in life but then showing that money corrupts and only through socialism can the true happiness be found. It's a starkly progressive film. And a beautiful-looking one-- it's win for Best Cinematography was well-earned and the climactic locust attack is less dated over 75 years later than many CGI films from ten years ago!

In Old Chicago I was prepared for the worst after Alexander's Ragtime Band, but this was quite nice for what it was. Glutton for punishment that I am, I actually watched the longer roadshow version, and yeah, it takes a while to get going, but I'm a sucker for corruption stories and even though this is basically a toothless gangster pic mashed up with a period film budget and then capped with twenty minutes of a disaster movie, it works.

the Life of Emile Zola It's dangerous to go into a Hollywood biopic like this knowing anything about what it's depicting, because then there's no way to dodge Screenplay 101 groaners like the prostitute revealing her name and other clumsy set-ups (Deciding to muse, "Hey, I think I might die someday" right before he dies is up there too, though). To the surprise of no one, the worst-written nominee not only won Best Picture, which is offensive enough, but Best Screenplay. Now if only there were a forum to debate the criterion with which this win was merited... (I'll take my Oscar now pls)

The film is transparently anti-French, and not in the ways you'd think based on the plot, where it'd be sort of warranted if restricted merely to the military. Dieterle's direction is nondescript. Paul Muni showboats beyond all human capacity and Joseph Schildkraut gets added to the list of ludicrous sympathy wins for a film's character, not the acting behind it. Also, rire aux éclats @ translating the title of the most famous open letter of all time into English. Easily among the worst films ever to take the top prize.

Lost Horizon This unusual Capra film which nearly bankrupted Columbia begins as a rousing adventure fantasy, then turns into a slow, idyllic romp thru utopia before finally arriving on a final act that is head-scratchingly abrasive and frankly stupid-- why does one character continually respond so violently to perfection? I mean, I know why a character might and how that would provide commentary on man's unwillingness to accept the reality of the ideal, but in this film it's just some maniac going on and on about how horrible his life is because he's surrounded by beautiful happy people who bend over backwards to be nice to him. I have a high tolerance for dumbness but this character and what he is able to convince others of broke my meter. Maybe some sense of nuance got lost in the transition from a six hour film to what was eventually released and reconstructed on DVD-- but based on the performance, I doubt it. Also, while we're here, how in the world did this film get away with Jane Wyatt's nude scene?!

One Hundred Men and a Girl While pondering Deanna Durbin's inexplicable popularity, I was reminded of Jacques Rivette's line about how Titanic was so popular with young girls because Kate Winslet was so dumpy-looking. I just can't imagine any other reason for anyone to advance this "starlet" who is, quite frankly, too ugly to be a movie star, and not talented enough in any creative arena attempted to compensate for it. What's sad is, Koster's film is generally well-staged and directed, entertaining, and everyone else involved does the best they can when not saddled with Durbin's obnoxious, earnestly honest moppet.

Stage Door A fast moving, female-centric film that never panders to the fairer sex and indeed gifts them with all the charms and wiles Hollywood could throw their way. The resultant film is a joyful noise indeed.

A Star is Born First color film to be nominated for Best Picture! Coasts along as light comic fare until things turn sour in the final act, a move that the film never recovers from. Even with this detour, though, Wellman's take on the subject matter is more interesting than Cukor's in the remake. The film offers some slight bite with regards to the Hollywood media machine, and I liked the film's willingness to let Lionel Stander's press agent remain unreformed by the picture's end. Fredric March is quite good as the washed-up movie star, but Janet Gaynor has always struck me as an improbable movie star on even her best days, which makes her rising ingenue all the more unconvincing!

My Vote Stage Door


1943
Casablanca
Yet another inexplicable favorite of people who don't really watch old movies. It's a very good film, I won't argue the point, but it is in no way an exceptional one, and half of the films nominated this year deserve at least some of the legacy that this one's somehow walked away with. Well, at least it gave us some interesting modernist pastiches in Play It Again, Sam and the Good German.

For Whom the Bell Tolls Unbelievably, this turgid roadshow wallpaper was the highest grossing film of 1943. Why is this Hemingway adaptation so talky and flaccid for 95% of the running time? Sam Wood is not a bad director, Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman are not bad actors, and Hemingway is not bad source material, so what happened here? Like the prestige pics that dominated the early years, I wonder if the dead cinema offered here was so joyless and inert that uneducated viewer thought it must be intellectual based on preconceived notions they already held on medicine cinema and the problem just expanded with every city it hit?

Heaven Can Wait One of my fondest memories of just getting into older films is renting this and absolutely and completely falling in love. It's remarkable how several of my long-held cinematic predilections can be traced back to my love of this film, particularly its co-stars Gene Tierney and Charles Coburn-- the film inspired me to track down so many subsequent films comparatively early in my film exploration, and looking back I couldn't have chosen better!

The whole film is of course a dream, but two sequences in particular bear special praise. First, the opening, which is so good that I often pop in the disc and say "I'll just watch the beginning" and end up watching the whole damn thing. I can't understand the cult of hate born on this forum from this film, because honestly, if I showed this to someone and they didn't laugh at the opening, I would genuinely question our relationship. Second, speaking of relationship, the extended sequence wherein Don Ameche steals Tierney from his cousin, from flashback to Coburn poetry recitation, is still my favorite extended section of any film ever.

the Human Comedy Effective homefront propaganda piece that packs a lot of emotional punches that either hit as sincere or maudlin depending on where you stand on such wartime tactics. Me? I think it's one of the better films of its ilk, exceptionally well-made and handsome with fine performances and a pleasant meandering tone of civility. It's an unusually humanistic film for what it is, and the respect bordering on affection shown for Frank Morgan's drunkard, with absolutely no attempt made to demonize or save him, is an unusual and admirable deviation amongst its jingoistic brethren, as is the depiction of Asian soldiers in one sequence.

In Which We Serve Hollywood's yearly bone thrown at our British allies during wartime. Despite all the prominence of those involved in creating it, this is the dullest film nominated in this category throughout the entire war. I can't even be moved to elucidate its weaknesses or make fun of it beyond "Whatever." Whatever.

Madame Curie Studio-era Hollywood gets a bad rap for romanticizing and simplifying history for entertainment purposes, but sometimes that behavior results in a charming romance like this. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon are reteamed yet again as the Curies and the first half is an utterly adorable romantic courtship, with Pidgeon sheepishly pursuing Garson and a funny puppydog perf from a young Robert Walker. Then things switch to the scientific in the second half, and the scenes of experimentation are given a gracefully respectful pace and presentation. This is all around great entertainment.

the More the Merrier That this homefront screwball comedy stars two of the era's weakest personalities in the lead and is directed by George Stevens and is still the laugh-out-loud funniest film ever nominated in this category makes it some kind of deification-ready miracle. Charles Coburn deservedly won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for yet another variation of his always enjoyable screen persona, and he and Jean Arthur participate in some of the best physical comedy of the sound era in the first half-hour. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

the Ox-Bow Incident An okay film made worse by unrealistic expectations of its worth going in-- hyperbole has ruined as many films as it has saved, and I'm just as guilty as others. This is a small, inoffensive, but ultimately disposable run-through of familiar ideas.

the Song of Bernadette Among the greatest, if not the greatest, religious films ever made. Henry King treads the line between maudlin witnessing tool and clear-eyed reportage beautifully, and that's the one word review of the picture: beautiful. Jennifer Jones, before her husband made her career one long journey towards winning another Oscar, deserved her victory here for a performance made all the fresher when looked against her eventual career of Hollywoody overreaching.

Watch on the Rhine Stilted Lillian Hellman adaptation scripted by Dashiell Hammett, though you'd never know it. So much of what Hollywood put out in this period is fascinating, but this is one of their weaker products, a talky, self-important chamber piece that only briefly comes alive when we get to escape the mansion and sit in on a Nazi sympathizer poker game. Paul Lukas, in the proud tradition of that guy from Disraeli, got an Oscar for reprising a stage role with little hint as to what power if any he showed in the original production. In the running for worst child performance of all time for whoever played Davis and Lukas' fat kid, though the highly mannered speechifying on the part of the tyke indicates he was directed to perform in this manner on purpose-- talk about little publicized war crimes!

Interesting skirting of the Hays Code in the finale-- I guess the murder of the villain was considered a war time casualty and thus didn't need direct punishment at the end? EDIT: Apparently the Hays Code did object and wanted the perpetrator killed by Nazis but were overruled! A great example of how the Hays Office's twisted morality could manifest itself in offensive ways.

My Vote Heaven Can Wait


1965
A Thousand Clowns
As evidenced as recently as Beasts of the Southern Wild, there's nothing squarer than the Academy trying to prove they're hip, and this is one of the more egregious examples. TV director Fred Coe is competent in the film's many set-bound segments, but outside of those the film engages in amateurish, non-sensical editing that is quite frankly second-hand embarrassing to sit through. Jason Robards plays one of those characters like the next year's Alfie who is a total obnoxious piece of shit starring in a film that loves him. The movie actually makes a pretty good case against Robards retaining custody of his nephew, I thought, and Barbara Harris' comments that his behavior would only be cute if she were twelve are spot-on. But then again, she and everyone else eventually capitulates to his alleged charm, so whatever. Martin Balsam is usually a reliable character actor but he's on screen for maybe five minutes here and does nothing in particular of interest and yet somehow won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in one of the more inexplicable wins ever-- if any category ever consistently makes less sense than Best Picture, it's the supporting acting categories!

Darling This was the year of Julie Christie and her win was as inevitable as any, but both her perf and the film itself are pretty disposable relics and additional proof of the danger in the Academy trying to get its finger on the pulse of anything resembling hipness. Forgivable but forgettable.

Doctor Zhivago As evidenced by my posts in this thread and elsewhere, I'm hardly a David Lean acolyte but this is the first of his films to come out ahead to my eyes, even though it suffers through the regular myriad of flaws. The grandeur afforded what is yet again a smaller story than expected is for once well-placed and the film offered some competent entertainments in its first half. I think the film's biggest issue outside of the unnecessary bloat is that Julie Christie and Omar Sharif have zero chemistry together and the film never bothers to give either a reason to fall in love with each other unless bein' hott just writes its own ticket. Their "big reveal" midway through the pic is out of nowhere and is a bit like some poorly written soap opera--
  • "Nurse, I'm in love with you"
    "Gasp!"
    "Yes, it's true. My love for you burns as hot as the iron on that blouse!"
    "But your wife isn't going away any more than this scorch mark is"
    "Whatever baby, it's Russia or something!"
    "--Stay tuned for scenes from next week's episode of As the World Revolutions"
Ship of Fools Exactly as subtle as you'd expect a Stanley Kramer film about… wait, what is this mess supposed to be about? Set aboard a German ocean liner circa 1933, the picture opens promisingly with a fun title sequence, so I briefly held out hope that this might not be as self-important as Kramer's other films. Then the film proper begins as Michael Dunn's dwarf rests his arms on the ship's railing and informs the audience that he's aboard a literal ship of fools and we should look for ourself amongst the travelers shown. Well, I tried, but I don't think I really fit any of these:

+ The aging American woman, disgracefully portrayed by Vivien Leigh, who is so despondent at the passage of time on her once youthful looks that she explodes with fury only when Lee Marvin's drunk lech stops raping her. This character has earlier been introduced as a victim of spousal abuse and spent the moments immediately preceding the rape dolling herself up in the mirror in deliberate clown pantomime. No, that's not me. Or anyone. Who would knowingly concoct a character arc like that on purpose?

+ The oafish Nazi sympathizer, played by the usually reliable Jose Ferrer, who hates Jews on principle and proposes killing everyone over the age of sixty while at the exclusive Captain's Table surrounded by mostly old women, because, like, the Nazis were just so clueless as to how ridiculous they sounded!!! If you are worried that as a member of the audience for a Stanley Kramer film you might be too dumb to know which are the good guys and which the bad, Kramer even makes it easy for you to visually decode the suuuuuuper complex subtext:

Image

+ The bickering young lovers who can't make it work because dammit, he's a socially conscious bohemian who wants his wife to devote herself selflessly to his endeavors. Wait, what? That doesn't make sense. Maybe this is me. Am I lazy fucking filmmaking?

+ How about the blindly optimistic Jewish man who's segregated from others on board but is still cheerful, since he's a proud German. This leads to the single worst shot-reverse shot in film history, a moment so cheap and nonsensical in any context other than its function in feeding a condescending superiority on the part of the viewer that it is beyond contempt. I have captured the exchange below because otherwise I think no one would believe it really happened. It did:

Image
Image
Image

+ There's also the pimp, the prostitute, the man with the Jewish wife who gets kicked out of the inner circle and pitches a tanty, the aryan sexpot, the thieving virgin who threatens his wheelchair-bound father for money to pay the whore, the perfectly attractive "ugly duckling" young girl, the revolutionary socialite, the good doctor, the woman who values her dog more than the life of an anonymous day laborer, &c &c &c. Wait, I've figured it out. I know which one's me: I'm the guy who jumped overboard rather than be stuck with all these morose caricatures!

This is a film that wallows in the overly simplified miseries of the figures it depicts and feeds into the darkest, most regrettable aspects of liberalness. It may or may not be the worst Stanley Kramer film of all time, but it's most definitely the worst to be nominated for Best Picture. The best thing about finishing this whole viewing exercise is the sweet knowledge that I will never ever have to intentionally watch a Stanley Kramer film ever again. Now there's the happiest of endings a film lover could hope for!

the Sound of Music One of those films everyone saw as a child, and I'm no different, though I see I was right to not remember anything after the Intermission. This might be the most front-loaded popular musical ever, as the second half is populated by either forgettable new numbers or the fourth or fifth reprisal of the catchier songs from the first half. I bet every VHS copy of this in the world has more wear and tear to the first tape than the second! Since it's well-established that I don't like R+H, I won't dwell but I will concede that this one offers more material for the poor filmmaker saddled with it than most (though Robert Wise does nothing here remotely as fresh or keen as what Fred Zinnemman managed with Oklahoma!) and many of the songs are pleasant and familiar to anyone. Julie Andrews is safely sexless in the lead, Christopher Plummer's embarrassment is as prominent as rumored, and it's always nice to see Eleanor Parker. It surely would not have taken much additional effort to give the Von Trapp kids some sense of individual personalities, though!

My Vote Doctor Zhivago


1968
Funny Girl
I wasn't watching the time too closely but I'd wager you could measure the length from Barbra Streisand first appearance on screen to her being recognized as a star by the audience in seconds. This may be a biopic of Fanny Brice but let's not kid ourselves, this is the Streisand Show and she earned every bit of praise and fame she garnered from this fine comic performance. In fact, it's unfathomable that she tied for Best Actress with Hepburn, because that means the exact same number of people thought the two performances were equal, which just shows how close the Oscars came to getting it wrong: one vote! Outside of the central performance this is a good, not great musical, with numbers that work best when they just get out of the way of the starlet. And yes, as everyone mentions, the film chokes a bit in the end run as the plot turns towards Omar Sharif and makes the Streisand's previously unstoppable bantering trickle off into less successful stabs at mopeyness. Who thought it was a good idea to have the titular figure mute her broad humor in the end-run?

the Lion in Winter Play adaptation that suffers from being too opened up and stuffed with costuming and dead space between lines. But they're often pretty good lines, though Katharine Hepburn is the only one who seems to play this at the level of detachment it requires. Everyone else is a little too invested in what should be a lightweight collection of double-double crossings, with the resulting film unfortunately offering little more than any other costume drama of the period.

Oliver! I think someone else here described this along the lines of "Not as bad as I feared, not as good as I hoped," which is spot-on. Like the same year's Finian's Rainbow, this is a traditional movie musical in conflict with the changing tides of production, and the tonal shifts, especially in the final act, are jarring. Outside of the rather inconsequential perf of the title role, the film has some wonderfully game performers. Everyone mentions Ron Moody's Fagin for praise, and for good reason, but Jack Wild gives a tremendous child performance as the Artful Dodger and I'm surprised Shani Wallis' Nancy isn't praised more, as she brings a brassy exuberance to the role that was most welcome and entertaining. "Pick a Pocket or Two" is one of those damned perfectly catchy numbers that pops into your head and refuses to leave, and I was shocked upon watching the film to discover Jacki Bond's "Reviewing the Situation", which I'd loved for a while from one of those Dream Girls singles comps, was an improbable cover of Fagin's signature song!

Rachel, Rachel Joanne Woodward gives one of her very best performances as the sexually stunted central figure in husband Paul Newman's assured directorial debut. Woodward takes what could be a cliche role, the spinsterly schoolmarm, and infuses it with warmth and a great lived-in patheticism. Newman's reliance of fantasy sequences are a poor choice and unneeded, but it'd take a lot worse to derail something as wonderful as this. Looking at it now it's hard to believe the Academy could have ever been so keen as to nom this for the top spot, a small and observant film far removed from the flashiness this award often leans towards, but as espoused upthread, this was apparently Warners' second-highest grossing film of 1968-- turns out the congrats are due to the American public at large. Boy, that happens even less frequently!

Romeo and Juliet Since adapting Shakespeare for the silver screen is a fool's errand, the best a film like this can offer is either novel or adept acting choices. Luckily the film has two good performances in Olivia Hussey's Juliet and John McEnery's Mercutio. McEnery nails the ribald wag quite well and highlights how as in the play Romeo is so dull that Shakespeare is forced to crowd him with more colorful characters to distract the audience from noticing! Hussey is particularly well suited for Juliet in that she's clearly barely acting, but her juvenile mannerisms and exasperations are perfectly suited for the role-- I suspect a great deal of the continued relevance this film maintains is due to her giving such a reference-level Juliet portrayal. Or is it just memories of teachers in high school screening this and forgetting there's a nude scene?

My Vote Rachel, Rachel

Almost five years since I started and I only have to finish 1935 and 1936 and I'm done! \:D/

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#314 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:33 am

1935
A Midsummer Night's Dream Taking one of Shakespeare's weakest and least consequential plays and cutting out most of the dialog to fit in otherworldly scenics of fairies et al turns out to be a smart maneuver and for most of the running time I was either enchanted by the sheer visual poetics on display or I was suffering through Mickey Rooney's grossly miscalculated braying while waiting to get back to the aforementioned enchantment. I don't want to pile on Rooney too much here since was just a kid-- but then again, he did end up marrying Ava Gardner so he's been rewarded enough by life: What the hell was everyone thinking in letting Rooney play Puck by screeching his lines in a poorly conceived meter previously only witnessed in middle school English classes trying to read Shakespeare for the first time. Imagine if Cocteau had interspersed Beauty and the Beast with scenes of young Jackie Coogan making fart noises with his mouth and palms and you'll have some conception of the tonal disconnect here. For most of the picture I found myself thinking how much better it would have worked with even less of the Bard's dialog intact, but whenever Rooney was around, the concept of it being a silent film became even more tantalizing! And I like Mickey Rooney!

Alice Adams Katharine Hepburn is a little too fetching in her performance to be quite the loser the title role requires, and those not taken with Hepburn's affectations presumably went into a coma in that third act with her flittering around the house like a coked-up hummingbird. There's not much else here but her, though, so I guess it's still something more than most of these Best Pic noms can even offer.

Broadway Melody of 1936 Nowhere near the worst musical to find its way into this category-- it's not even the worst musical nominated this year! This passable piece of fluff has some decent vaudeville carry-overs, the best being Buddy Ebsen's hayseed hoofer, and some decent gags to make it pass quicker than some of the prestige-ier affairs I had to sit through for this round.

Captain Blood Decent epic about former white slave turned rebel captain turned governor with Errol Flynn in one of his numerous swashbuckle-y hero roles. This is a decent programmer and a better nautical entertainment than Mutiny on the Bounty (Then again, so's Muppet Treasure Island, so that's not saying much).

David Copperfield This magnificent film is the best Dickens adaptation I've ever seen. Obviously tons of material has been changed or pushed to the side, but it gets Dickens' greatest strength, his menagerie of vivid supporting characters, exactly right, and reliable comic relief actors like WC Fields and Edna May Oliver deliver warm performances to match the intelligent construction and execution of the film.

the Informer It doesn't look like Oscar-bait, but you never can tell with those wily voters, can you? I'm not nearly as enamored as the Academy was with Ford's film or McLaglen here-- though there's something to be said for an often unsung character actor stumbling into an Oscar, I guess. It's a problematic film that feels at once too small and yet overstuffed and draggy-- contradictions in construction that don't result in a dynamic filmgoing experience, but a frustrating one.

the Lives of a Bengal Lancer Note to Hollywood, c. 1935: Franchot Tone and Richard Cromwell look almost identical in this movie and casting them alongside each other in a trio where the third party is Gary Cooper makes both men "That guy that's not Gary Cooper." This action-packed male-centric adventure unfolds too dryly and without curiosity into its premise to engage me in the well-staged but tiresome antics of its assorted action figures. Interesting to note that this was one of Hitler's favorite movies, though I'm not sure what he got out of it. Maybe he could tell Tone and Cromwell apart!

Les Miserables Surprisingly good bowdlerized version of the Hugo source, with great central performances by Frederic March and Charles Laughton-- what Laughton was doing nominated for the dreadful Mutiny on the Bounty over this is one of those particularly galling Oscar head-scratchers.

Mutiny on the Bounty For a year with twelve nominees, 1935's Best Picture selection ended up being pretty solid on the whole, but in true Oscar fashion, the worst film nominated won-- and this year that's a real feat considering the size of the pool! Ridiculous villainy from Charles Laughton towards dead weight Clark Gable and Franchot Tone (all three inexplicably nominated for Best Actor) leads into dull maritime adventures which then bleeds into an incredibly anti-climactic courtroom mess. The film opens with the proclamation that the events to follow changed the law and relationships between crew and captain, yet the film forgets to show this and so we get a hurried addendum to the end of the film, which only serves as salt in the wound-- it couldn't even bother to do what it allegedly set out to do!

Naughty Marietta What in the world are all of you on such a tear about? This is grand fun, with living Kate Beaton sketch Jeanette MacDonald galavanting around to a series of catchy operetta tunes. Obviously if you reject the two leads, this film's not going to do much for you, but the animosity is perplexing. I'd sooner sit through this twice than many of the competing prestige films that felt that long.

Ruggles of Red Gap This could so easily have been an easy bit of superiority comedy-- stuck up snob butler finds himself working for the plebs and navigates their lowly playing field with sarcastic barbs while maintaining his stiff upper lip. But the film instead wisely approaches the scenario with a winning humanistic approach-- Charles Laughton's lovable manservant comes to like the individuality afforded to him by this waning western locale, and he slowly acclimates to his surroundings and their inhabitants almost at the rate they do him. By the end of the film, there's a lot of laughs, to be sure, but a real dewy-eyed message of acceptance that resonates powerfully.

Top Hat To repeat myself, as the film does: this is an unfunny retread of the Gay Divorcee and the worst of the Astaire/Rogers colabs from this decade. So of course it's the most popular Astaire/Rogers musical! And of course it was nom'd for Best Pic-- though wasn't everything this year?

My Vote Ruggles of Red Gap


1936
A Tale of Two Cities Nowhere near as engaging as MGM's Dickens entry from last year, this is a mediocre adaptation with a couple bright points-- the kangaroo court is nicely laid out and portrayed with the right amount of critical disdain and the editing during scenes of popular outrage is superb-- but overall this adaptation of one of Dickens' least interesting novel delivers no great rewards.

Anthony Adverse As bad as some of these nominees have been historically, it's rare that you witness a disaster of this level. When it takes 45 minutes to even produce its stars, you know you're in for a loooong slog. The problem is above all one of structure: the film has none. You can't call it episodic, because there are no episodes. There isn't anything. Why are we even spending the first thirty minutes on the villainous Claude Rains if nothing happens to him in the end? Why, in the name of all that is holy, is there a thirty minute foray mid-picture into slave profiteering that has no relation to anything that came before or after it? Above the nomination, how the hell did this thing walk away with awards? Gale Sondergaard, despite not playing a drunk, whore, or victim and being neither ingenue nor old bat, somehow walked away with a Best Supporting Actress award. But it was the first year for it, so they didn't know how to pigeonhole yet.

Dodsworth Hollywood was not kind of Sinclair Lewis, whose intelligent prose and biting commentary were no match for the watered-down binaries of the studio system. The film is actually based on a play adaptation of the novel and this extra level of removedness from the source streamlines even its great star Walter Huston into the realm of vagueties.

the Great Ziegfeld Diverting entertainment barely substantial enough to hold up the edges of its three hour-plus running time and certainly not strong enough to merit the win for Best Picture. The thirties were the lowpoint of the Academy Awards, when the dwindling membership and backroom deals almost led to the dissolution of the Oscars. Wins like this, harmless though the film may be, share some of that blame. Hard to argue worthiness for a membership that kept rewarding Frank Lloyd!

Libeled Lady This was the first Loy-Powell pairing I saw back when I was first getting into film and based solely on the strength of this picture I immediately ordered every other film they made together. None has quite tickled me as much as this, but then again, they say you always remember your first kiss fondly...

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Custom-suited to Gary Cooper's limitations and abilities, this bit of feel-goodery works in spite of a few silly patches in logic. There's just something ineffably appealing about common sense cutting through hoity-toity BS... you know, back when Hollywood briefly had class consciousness.

Romeo and Juliet You know your Shakespeare adaptation is in trouble when the first speaking role belongs to Andy Devine. This is a remarkable film, in that it brings out the superlatives: This is the worst film nominated this year, the worst Shakespeare adaptation I've ever seen, and Norma Shearer has to take the prize for worst performance ever nominated for Best Actress. This is an all-around disaster, such a mess that one just looks on in slack-jawed horror as it all unfolds. Who thought casting this play with 40-50 year olds was a good idea? Who decided that the way to appeal to the largest audience possible was by dumbing down what is already one of Shakespeare's easiest to digest plays? This was the last film I watched for this portion of the List Project, and what a way to go!

San Francisco If anyone ever tries to use popularity as a metric for taste, show them this blockbuster. I'm not sure why this was the highest grossing film of the year, but there's about ten minutes of buildings falling down-style disaster tacked onto the end and 105 minutes of cinematic disaster preceding it! Clark Gable is the abusive boyfriend cliche who is only villainous so he can find God at the end of the film, Spencer Tracy's priest has already found him and hilariously netted a Best Actor nom in the process for doing nothing but looking sternly at Gable with disapproval every fifteen minutes or so, and Jeanette MacDonald is the revue singer somehow so talented that just hearing her makes men lose their minds. Based on some of the comments here, maybe that's still true in another sense… In Old Chicago stole the blueprint and got nominated in the next year, but while not great it was still way better than this pic.

the Story of Louis Pasteur Kind of an absurd social problem picture when you think about it: What could be easier to rally against than germs? The bizarre pushback Pasteur received from the perceived common wisdom is entertaining in its fashion and the film is undeniably exciting as Pasteur comes closer and closer to his cures. Muni is very good here. Why this one didn't go the distance while the rotten Zola biopic did the next year is one of those "Oh Oscar" eliciters.

Three Smart Girls These girls sure are smart. See, they don't want their daddy to move on from dear old mother after the divorce and so they concoct a plan to woo away daddy's paramour, who we know is a wicked girl because she doesn't delight in the presence of these three smart girls. Lady, wherever you're going, take me with you, because in a world where I can choose from such a wide array of experiences in the cinematic medium, sitting through Deanna Durbin vehicles is up there with amateur videos of sound insertions on the squirm scale. She's hailed as Universal's discovery in the opening credits, though why any studio would want to cop responsibility for that is beyond my modern eyes. What's even more unbelievable is Durbin was enormously popular with audiences and allegedly saved Universal from bankruptcy. This is a good example of how fleeting popularity is and how little relevancy it has with matters of quality or good taste. Because Durbin's mawkish, fake-y kid act is beyond grating, her singing voice operatic but unleashed at inopportune and unenjoyable ventures, and the rest of the film doesn't pull up the slack in the same manner of next year's nommed Durbin vehicle.

My Vote Libeled Lady


Okay, that was fun

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#315 Post by dustybooks » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:43 pm

the Story of Louis Pasteur Kind of an absurd social problem picture when you think about it: What could be easier to rally against than germs? The bizarre pushback Pasteur received from the perceived common wisdom is entertaining in its fashion
Indeed, I have great affection for the way that much of this movie consists of Muni saying things that now seem head-slappingly obvious and a group of grousing intellectuals around him tut-tutting about how it's all just so prePOSTerous.

Sorry to hear you didn't care for Dodsworth, dom. While I agree that it thoroughly dismisses with the satiric undercurrent of the book, separately from that I've always found it an intensely moving drama whose characters and relationships seemed almost eerily true and relatable. It may even be my favorite Huston performance; I think he occupies that entity of the lonely traveler and dismissed spouse in the most full-bodied and emotionally complete manner imaginable. It has shortcomings -- Mrs. Dodsworth is an underdeveloped character and her arc is a little obvious, though I think very convincingly presented -- but I'm wholly absorbed in it every time, and strongly affected by the final scenes.

From hazy memory, Hitchcock's Rich and Strange may actually have more thematically in common with the Lewis novel than Wyler's actual adaptation!

Libeled Lady is, if I'm not mistaken, the movie I've laughed the hardest at while alone -- something I rarely do even if I find a film very funny.

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#316 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:23 pm

Great thoughts, thanks for reading and commenting! Since I'm done with the first side of the challenge, I can now engage in a little bit of masturbatory end-run tabulation:

Top 5 Best Picture Winners
the Apartment
Mrs Miniver
All About Eve
Rebecca
the Best Years of Our Lives

Top 5 Worst Best Picture Winners
Cavalcade
Cimarron
the Life of Emile Zola
Around the World in 80 Days
Going My Way

I also tabulated, for my own records, the average score of each year's crop of nominees. I assigned each film a numerical value between one and five but under no circumstances will I post these publicly so as to not be confused with that guy who wanted everyone to know what was the #17 film of the year (If for some reason you really care, I can PM them to you). However these ended up being the highest rated and lowest rated years, which makes them good markers for "Best" and "Worst" years for Oscars, on the whole (Number in parenthesis total average for the year. Highest possible score is a 5.0 and lowest possible score is a 1.0):

Highest-rated Year (tie) 1930 and 1948 (3.6)
Lowest-rated Year 1958 (1.8)

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#317 Post by movielocke » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:29 pm

domino harvey wrote:1935
Naughty Marietta What in the world are all of you on such a tear about? This is grand fun, with living Kate Beaton sketch Jeanette MacDonald galavanting around to a series of catchy operetta tunes. Obviously if you reject the two leads, this film's not going to do much for you, but the animosity is perplexing. I'd sooner sit through this twice than many of the competing prestige films that felt that long.
Did you watch it on VHS? I remember the sound quality being such that every time she shrieked and 'sang' at the audience I wanted to drive a screwdriver through my ear. Some of the most hideous noise I've ever heard, her voice.
Anthony Adverse As bad as some of these nominees have been historically, it's rare that you witness a disaster of this level. When it takes 45 minutes to even produce its stars, you know you're in for a loooong slog. The problem is above all one of structure: the film has none. You can't call it episodic, because there are no episodes. There isn't anything. Why are we even spending the first thirty minutes on the villainous Claude Rains if nothing happens to him in the end? Why, in the name of all that is holy, is there a thirty minute foray mid-picture into slave profiteering that has no relation to anything that came before or after it? Above the nomination, how the hell did this thing walk away with awards? Gale Sondergaard, despite not playing a drunk, whore, or victim and being neither ingenue nor old bat, somehow walked away with a Best Supporting Actress award. But it was the first year for it, so they didn't know how to pigeonhole yet.
The epic awfulness of this knows no bounds, one of the ten worst films ever nominated for best picture.

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#318 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:32 pm

movielocke wrote:
domino harvey wrote:1935
Naughty Marietta What in the world are all of you on such a tear about? This is grand fun, with living Kate Beaton sketch Jeanette MacDonald galavanting around to a series of catchy operetta tunes. Obviously if you reject the two leads, this film's not going to do much for you, but the animosity is perplexing. I'd sooner sit through this twice than many of the competing prestige films that felt that long.
Did you watch it on VHS? I remember the sound quality being such that every time she shrieked and 'sang' at the audience I wanted to drive a screwdriver through my ear. Some of the most hideous noise I've ever heard, her voice.
Some of these harder to find ones I did either see via VHS (Good ol' ILL, which also tells me how long I've been working on this project since I've been out of school for almost five years!) or VHS rips or TCM. I believe TCM's how I saw Naughty Marietta and I don't remember it sounding unreasonably treble-y or chirpy, even with MacDonald's high notes

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#319 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:53 pm

movielocke wrote: The epic awfulness of this knows no bounds, one of the ten worst films ever nominated for best picture.
I'd be curious to know your (and Dom's) ten worst noms list.

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#320 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:11 pm

Didn't have these ready to go but based on a quick perusal:

Top 10 Worst Best Picture Nominees
Ship of Fools (1965)
Romeo and Juliet (1936)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
Sayonara (1957)
Doctor Dolittle (1967)
the Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966)
the Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)
Anthony Adverse (1936)
the Bells of St Mary's (1945)
Alfie (1966)

And because I refuse to just indulge in negativity:

Top 10 Best Best Picture Nominees
Heaven Can Wait (1943)
Bad Girl (1932)
Moulin Rouge (1952)
I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang! (1933)
the Song of Bernadette (1943)
the Bishop's Wife (1947)
the Hustler (1961)
Elmer Gantry (1960)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
the More the Merrier (1943)

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#321 Post by movielocke » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:10 pm

For up through 1968?

10 worst:
Imitation of Life
Anthony Adverse
Flirtation Walk
One Hundred Men and a Girl
Cavalcade
One Night of Love
Broadway Melody
Naughty Marietta
In Old Arizona
Alexander's Ragtime Band

(That Romeo and Juliet Domino so detests is in my bottom twelve, though!)
The only post 1968 film that cracks the bottom ten is Out of Africa. But I may just have been in a bad mood that particular day. since seeing Babbette's Feast I'm tempted to torture myself and rewatch the Streep dreck.

Top ten
Lawrence of Arabia
How Green Was My Valley
Casablanca
To Kill a Mockingbird
Grand Illusion
It's a Wonderful Life
All About Eve
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Dr. Strangelove
Bridge on the River Kwai

I'm a little surprised I have The Thin Man at only 25 overall (all years) for best picture nominees, I've rewatched that quite a lot lately and think it would bump up to number 15 overall, but that would not put it in the top ten nominees through 1968

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#322 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:31 pm

I read "nominee" as not including the actual Best Pictures (which should be considered on their own, as Best Picture winners not nominees), so that's why there are none listed on either of my nominee tallies, FYI. I can't fault your worsts list, as Imitation of Life came close to making my own list (and so did It's a Wonderful Life-- for worst though!) Admittedly I do like In Old Arizona, the Broadway Melody, and Naughty Marietta, but not nearly enough to care if someone else didn't!

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#323 Post by movielocke » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:45 pm

hmm, well if we segregate out the winners, then we have:

ten best:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Grand Illusion
It's a Wonderful Life
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Dr. Strangelove
The Thin Man
Philadelphia Story
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Sunset Blvd
The Hustler

it's actually a four way tie on my list for The Hustler, 12 Angry Men, and Stage Door, but I prefer The Hustler at the moment and haven't looked at the list in over a year (I need to add last years nominees, but I'll probably wait til we have this years as well).

The ten best years for nominees:
1964
1957
1962
1968
1944
1946
1966
1941
1950
1927/28 (Sunrise really pulls up its average!)
1939

ten best picture winners of the period:
1. Lawrence of Arabia
2. How Green was My Valley
3. The Apartment
4. Casablanca
5. All About Eve
6. Bridge on the River Kwai
7. Best Years of Our Lives
8. Marty
9. Rebecca
10. The Sound of Music

ten worst best picture winners of the period, from worst to less bad:
Cavalcade
Broadway Melody
Cimarron
Hamlet
Gentleman's Agreement
Greatest Show on Earth
Around the World in 80 Days
Great Ziegfeld
All the King's Men
West Side Story (I've seen this four times now, twice in 70mm and I still hate it).

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#324 Post by rohmerin » Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:19 pm

1936: Watched the best film last night. Amazing how Dodsworth perfect is! If a nominated film, director actor (not actress, what ? not supporting actress, what ? Mary Astor is a-ma-zing! ) would have deserved won all, it's for this movie. At least, the factory beautiful art deco style (and other sets) won. Ouspenkaya is so over rated (in this case). I like her (specially in Kings Row) but come on, let's compare her to Astor.

Ocean liners are so bloody romantic! If I win some money, I'll cross the pond, but I am afraid that Queen Elizabeth's atmosphere is not similar to those 30's voyages (History is made at midnight; One way passage). Well, may be there is somebody like in Polanski's Bitter Moon.

Who the hell can remember The great Ziegfeld?

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Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)

#325 Post by domino harvey » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:31 am

This month is TCM's annual Oscar month and on a couple nights they're running all of a year's Best Picture nominees, so you YES YOU could start fully participating in this thread just by setting a few DVRs:

Feb 15: 1930
Feb 16: 1951
Feb 22: 1948
Feb 23: 1938 (10 movies long, runs well into the next morning)
Mar 01: 1967
Mar 02: 1935 (12 movies long, runs through all of the next morning and afternoon)

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