Saturday, July 25, 2015

1941--The Year in Review

In the year of Citizen Kane, in most categories, nothing else could confidently approach it. It was still a landmark period, with Sturges (contributing two of his finest movies), Huston, Ford, Hawks. Korda and Wyler all throwing in yeoman work. But, honestly, there was no real competition--even though the Academy thought differently and handed most awards to John Ford's resilient memory piece (mainly because of the powerhouse Hearst campaign against Citizen Kane). Still, Welles and crew had it locked down, and Welles himself will probably remain the only film artist I'll choose for the titles of best director, actor, writer and producer for a single piece. Surely I'm not the only one who thinks this is just. And I should note: with the short films, we have another win for The Three Stooges (and their epic pie fight), and the first nod for Warner Brothers' Bugs Bunny. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science (AKA The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.

PICTURE: CITIZEN KANE (US, Orson Welles) (2nd: Sullivan’s Travels (US, Preston Sturges), followed by: The Maltese Falcon (US, John Huston); The Lady Eve (US, Preston Sturges); Ball of Fire (US, Howard Hawks); How Green Was My Valley (US, John Ford); The Little Foxes (US, William Wyler); Here Comes Mr. Jordan (US, Alexander Hall); The 47 Ronin (Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi); 49th Parallel (UK, Michael Powell); Man Hunt (US, Fritz Lang); That Hamilton Woman (UK/US, Alexander Korda); Sergeant York (US, Howard Hawks); Dumbo (US, Ben Sharpsteen, Walt Disney); The Devil and Miss Jones (US, Sam Wood); Meet John Doe (US, Frank Capra); Suspicion (US, Alfred Hitchcock); High Sierra (US, Raoul Walsh); The Shanghai Gesture (US, Josef Von Sternberg); Never Give a Sucker An Even Break (US, Eddie Cline); Hellzapoppin (US, H.C. Potter); The Wolf Man (US, George Waggner)

ACTOR: Orson Welles, CITIZEN KANE (2nd: Joel McCrea, Sullivan's Travels, followed by: Gary Cooper, Sergeant York; Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon; Henry Fonda, The Lady EveCary Grant, Penny Serenade; Humphrey Bogart, High Sierra; Robert Montgomery, Here Comes Mr. Jordan; Charles Coburn, The Devil and Miss Jones; Gary Cooper, Meet John Doe)

ACTRESS: Barbara Stanwyck, THE LADY EVE (2nd: Barbara Stanwyk, Ball of Fire, followed by: Bette Davis, The Little Foxes; Olivia de Havilland, Hold Back the Dawn; Joan Fontaine, Suspicion; Vivien Leigh, That Hamilton Woman; Wendy Hiller, Major Barbara; Irene Dunne, Penny Seranade; Mary Astor, The Maltese Falcon; Jean Arthur, The Devil and Miss Jones)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Sydney Greenstreet, THE MALTESE FALCON (2nd: Joseph Cotten, Citizen Kane, followed by: Claude Rains, Here Comes Mr. Jordan; George Colouris, Citizen Kane; Donald Crisp, How Green Was My Valley; Everett Sloane, Citizen Kane; Peter Lorre, The Maltese Falcon; James Gleason, Here Comes Mr. Jordan; S.K. Szagall, The Devil and Miss Jones; George Sanders, Man Hunt)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Veronica Lake, SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (2nd: Patricia Collinge, The Little Foxes, followed by: Teresa Wright, The Little Foxes; Dorothy Comingore, Citizen Kane; Margaret Wycherley, Sergeant York; Maria Ouspenskaya, The Wolf Man; Sara Allgood, How Green Was My Valley; Joan Bennett, Man Hunt; Mary Astor, The Great Lie; Agnes Moorehead, Citizen Kane)

DIRECTOR: Orson Welles, CITIZEN KANE (2nd: Preston Sturges, Sullivan's Travels, followed by: John Huston, The Maltese Falcon; John Ford, How Green Was My Valley; Preston Sturges, The Lady Eve; Howard Hawks, Ball of Fire; William Wyler, The Little Foxes; Kenji Mizoguchi, The 47 Ronin; Fritz Lang, Man Hunt; Alexander Hall, Here Comes Mr. Jordan)
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz, CITIZEN KANE (2nd: Preston Sturges, Sullivan's Travels, followed by: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and Thomas Monroe, Ball of Fire; Monckton Hoff and Preston Sturges, The Lady Eve; Emeric Pressberger and Rodney Ackland, 49th Parallel)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Henry Buchman, Harry Seagall and Seaton I. Miller, HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (2nd: John Huston, The Maltese Falcon, followed by: Lillian Hellman, The Little Foxes; Yoshikata Yoda, The 47 Ronin; Dudley Nichols, Man Hunt)  

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: IN THE SWEET PIE AND PIE (The Three Stooges; Jules White) (2nd: I'll Never Heil Again (The Three Stooges; Jules White), followed by: Words for Battle (Humphrey Jennings); An Ache in Every Stake (The Three Stooges; Del Lord); Christmas Under Fire (Harry Watt, Charles Hasse); Churchill's Island (Stuart Legg))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: WABBIT TWOUBLE (Bugs Bunny; Bob Clampett) (2nd:
Superman (Dave Fleischer), followed by: Lend a Paw (Mickey Mouse; Walt Disney); How War Came (Paul Fennell); Tortoise Beats Hare (Bugs Bunny; Tex Avery); Contrathemis (Dwinnel Grant))

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Gregg Toland, CITIZEN KANE (2nd: Arthur Miller, How Green Was My Valley, followed by: Kojei Sugiyama, The 47 Ronin; Sol Polito, Sergeant York; Rudolph Mate, That Hamilton Woman; Arthur Miller, Man Hunt)

ART DIRECTION: CITIZEN KANE, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, How Green Was My Valley, Blood and Sand, The Little Foxes

The Chocolate Soldier, The Little Foxes

FILM EDITING: CITIZEN KANE, Sullivan's Travels, Sergeant York, The Little Foxes, Man Hunt 

SOUND: CITIZEN KANE, How Green Was My Valley, That Hamilton Woman, Ball of Fire, Sergeant York 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Bernard Herrmann, CITIZEN KANE (2nd: Meredith Willson, The Little Foxes, followed by: Franz Wazman, Suspicion; Alfred Newman, How Green Was My Valley; Victor Young, Hold Back the Dawn)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace, DUMBO (2nd: Herbert Stothart and Bronislau Kaper, The Chocolate Soldier, followed by: Charles Previn, Buck Privates; Robert Emmett Dolan, The Birth of the Blues; Morris Stoloff, You'll Never Get Rich)

ORIGINAL SONG: "Baby Mine" from DUMBO (music by Frank Churchill, lyrics by Ned Washington) (2nd: "Chattanooga Choo Choo" from Sun Valley Serenade (music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Mack Gordon), followed by: "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" from Buck Privates (music by Hugh Prince, lyrics by Don Rave); "The Last Time I Saw Paris" from Lady Be Good (music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II); "When I See an Elephant Fly" from Dumbo (music by Oliver Wallace, lyrics by Ned Washington)) 


MAKEUP: CITIZEN KANE, The Wolf Man, Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde

Thursday, July 9, 2015

1940--The Year in Review

Another wellspring. Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca reigned supreme at the Oscars, but its director went home unrewarded (despite Judith Anderson's unforgettable villain, I've always found Du Maurier's story a little dull and quite honestly subpar to Hitch's more exciting Foreign Correspondent released this same year). The Oscars instead wisely gave the Best Director prize to John Ford, whose movie of John Steinbeck's dust bowl saga remains among cinema's finest film-to-novel adaptations (Steinbeck even thought it improved upon his work). Fonda would be nominated for his stirring lead as Tom Joad, and would then escape Academy recognition year after year until the end of his career; but, in fact, this was the assured performance that should have won him the gold. Rosalind Russell's fast-talking reporter gal in Howard Hawks' dizzying His Girl Friday ran rings around her already harried co-stars, and the actress wouldn't find a more energetic character until the 1950s and Auntie Mame. Chaplin popped up again, in his first speaking (double) role as both the oppressed and globe-juggling oppressor, while his fellow Brits behind The Thief of Bagdad garnered much international love for their quirky, vibrantly hued adventure (it was the most visually stunning movie of the year, and the one 1940 production--aside from Tyrone Power swashbuckling through The Mark of Zorro--I'd encourage all present-day genre movie lovers to check out). Yet again, Disney stole the year as the mastermind behind the ambitious two-shot of Fantasia and Pinocchio, both of which still enrapture audiences with their visionary power. In fact, Fantasia would for years stand as a singular blending of sound and image, and no one would approach such chutzpah in that realm until the 1960s. Finally, in the shorts categories, The Three Stooges scored again, and Bugs Bunny--though still unnamed--debuted under Tex Avery's pen to much adoration, although the Academy saw matters in a different way.  NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and they are in no way reflective of the choices made by the Oscars.

PICTURE: THE GRAPES OF WRATH (US, John Ford) (2nd: The Great Dictator (US, Charles Chaplin), followed by: Fantasia (US, Ben Sharpsteen, Walt Disney); The Thief of Bagdad (UK, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, Ludwig Berger); His Girl Friday (US. Howard Hawks); The Shop Around the Corner (US, Ernst Lubitsch); They Drive by Night (US, Raoul Walsh); Foreign Correspondent (US, Alfred Hitchcock); The Letter (US, William Wyler); Rebecca (US, Alfred Hitchcock); The Sea Hawk (US, Michael Curtiz); Dance, Girl, Dance (US, Dorothy Arzner); Pinocchio (US, Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske, Walt Disney); The Great McGinty (US, Preston Sturges); All This and Heaven, Too (US, Anatole Litvak); The Bank Dick (US, Eddie Cline); Christmas in July (US, Preston Sturges); The Philadelphia Story (US, George Cukor); Abe Lincoln in Illinois (US, John Cromwell); Broadway Melody of 1940 (US, Norman Taurog))

ACTOR: Henry Fonda, THE GRAPES OF WRATH (2nd: W.C. Fields, The Bank Dick, followed by: Charles Chaplin, The Great Dictator; Brian Donlevy, The Great McGinty; Cary Grant, His Girl Friday; Laurence Olivier, Rebecca; Herbert Marshall, The Letter; James Stewart, The Shop Around the Corner; Raymond Massey, Abe Lincoln in Illinois)

ACTRESS: Rosalind Russell, HIS GIRL FRIDAY (2nd: Bette Davis, The Letter, followed by:Joan Fontaine, Rebecca; Margaret Sullavan, The Shop Around the Corner; Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle; Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story; Carole Lombard, They Knew What They Wanted; Irene Dunne, My Favorite Wife)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Walter Brennan, THE WESTERNER (2nd: Jack Oakie, The Great Dictator, followed by: Rex Ingram, The Thief of Bagdad; John Carradine, The Grapes of Wrath; Frank Morgan, The Shop Around the Corner; Albert Basserman, Foreign CorrespondentJames Stephenson, The Letter; Akim Tamiroff, The Great McGinty)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Judith Anderson, REBECCA (2nd: Jane Darwell, The Grapes of Wrath, followed by: Barbara O’Neil, All This and Heaven, Too; Lucille Ball, Dance Girl Dance; Fay Bainter, Our Town; Ida Lupino, They Drive by Night; Margaret Lockwood, The Stars Look Down; Marjorie Rambeau, Primrose Path)

DIRECTOR: John Ford, THE GRAPES OF WRATH (2nd: Charles Chaplin, The Great Dictator, followed by: Ben Sharpsteen, Fantasia; Michael Powell, Tim Whelan and Ludwig Berger, The Thief of Bagdad; Alfred Hitchcock, Foreign Correspondent; Ernst Lubitsch, The Shop Around the Corner; Raoul Walsh, They Drive by Night)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Charles Chaplin, THE GREAT DICTATOR (2nd: Preston Sturges, The Great McGinty, followed by: W.C. Fields, The Bank Dick; Charles Bennett, Joan Harrison, James Hilton and Robert Benchley, Foreign Correspondent; Preston Sturges, Christmas in July; Tess Slesinger, Frank Davis and Vicki Baum, Dance, Girl, Dance)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Nunnally Johnson, THE GRAPES OF WRATH (2nd; Charles Lederer, His Girl Friday; Samson Raphelson, The Shop Around The Corner; Robert E. Sherwood, Joan Harrison, Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan, Rebecca; Donald Ogden Stuart, The Philadelphia Story; Jerry Wald and Richard Macaulaey, They Drive By Night)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: A-PLUMBING WE WILL GO (Del Lord; The Three Stooges) (2nd: London Can Take It! (Humphrey Jennings and Harry Watt), followed by: From Nurse to Worse (Jules White; The Three Stooges); Quicker 'N A Wink (George Sidney; Pete Smith); Britain at Bay (Harry Watt); You Nazty Spy (Jules White; The Three Stooges))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: A WILD HARE (Tex Avery; Bugs Bunny) (2nd: The Milky Way (Rudolph Ising), followed by: Boogie Doodle (Norman McLaren); Swinging the Lambeth Walk (Lenny Lye); Themis (Dwinnel Grant); You Ought To Be in Pictures (Friz Freling); Elmer's Candid Camera (Chuck Jones))

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Georges Perinal, THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (2nd: Gregg Toland. The Grapes of Wrath, followed by: George Barnes, Rebecca; Tony Gaudio, The Letter; Arthur Miller and Ray Rennahan, The Blue Bird; Rudolph Mate, Foreign Correspondent; Gregg Toland, The Long Voyage Home; Oliver T. Marsh and Joseph Ruttanberg, Broadway Melody of 1940)

ART DIRECTION: THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, Rebecca, Pride and Prejudice, The Westerner, Broadway Melody of 1940 

COSTUME DESIGN: THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, Broadway Melody of 1940, Bitter Sweet, His Girl Friday, The Blue Bird

FILM EDITING: THE GRAPES OF WRATH, Foreign Correspondent, Rebecca, They Drive By Night, The Letter 

SOUND: FANTASIA, Broadway Melody of 1940, The Grapes of Wrath, The Sea Hawk, Strike Up the Band

ORIGINAL SCORE: Erich Wolfgang Korngold, THE SEA HAWK (2nd: Aaron Copland. Our Town, followed by: Leigh Harline, Paul J.Smith Pinocchio; Miklós Rózsa, The Thief of Bagdad; Franz Waxman, Rebecca; Alfred Newman, The Mark of Zorro; Max Steiner, The Letter)

ORIGINAL SONG: "When You Wish Upon A Star" from PINOCCHIO (Music by Leigh Harline, lyrics by Ned Washington) (2nd: "I've Got No Strings" from Pinocchio (Music by Leigh Harline, lyrics by Ned Washington), followed by: "I Concentrate on You" from Broadway Melody of 1940 (Music and lyrics by Cole Porter); "Remind Me" from One Night in the Tropics (Music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Dorothy Fields); "Down Argentina Way" from Down Argentine Way (music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Mack Gordon); "Who Am I?" from Hit Parade of 1941 (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Walter Bullock); "Love of My Life" from Second Chorus (music by Artie Shaw, lyrics by Johnny Mercer)

SPECIAL EFFECTS: THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, The Sea Hawk, Dr. Cyclops, One Million BC

MAKEUP: THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, Dr. Cyclops, One Million BC

Finally, I need to add my favorite clip from 1940: the dazzling dance to "Begun the Beguine" shared by Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire in Norman Taurog's Broadway Melody of 1940. This is some serious athleticism here, and I don't think we'll be seeing its like ever in the future. The movie, as a whole, is utter fun and the best out of the Broadway Melody series:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

1939--The Year in Review

Famously, in 1939, the cinema floodgates opened wide, particularly in Hollywood. The quality is so high that the period would hence be known as an Everest for the movie industry. Indeed, when you look at the notable 1939 films from all over the world (even the ones I decline to mention), you are dumbfounded. How did all this happen in such confluence? Well, clearly by this time, the relatively new empire of motion pictures had gotten wholly into the swing of things from a production standpoint--the studio machines were finely run by savvy producers and execs willing to be both generous and strident with the wily talent they managed. Meanwhile, on the technical side, the visual and aural aspects of film had been sharpened to degrees both artists and audiences hadn't yet imagined possible, with new strides being made in editing, sound, special effects, makeup, and scoring. Colors and sounds were fully vibrant finally, and of course, it didn't hurt that the biggest, best-sellingest property to ever hit the movie business made its glorious screen debut in December '39, premiering in a big little city called Atlanta. Luckily, David O. Selznick's reluctant obsession ended up being as entertaining and popular as its many fussy, troubled makers wished it to be and it arguably still stands as the romantic historical epic against which all others should be measured (Titanic be damned). Some may balk and posit The Wizard of Oz as the more influential picture, and it's certainly referenced more often in culture than any other cinematic work (even including Star Wars). But I posit that its popular success lies more in the genius programming decision to give it yearly holiday airings on TV (beginning in 1956 on CBS) rather than what's intrinsically great in the film (of which there is much, ever if I personally can't take another viewing of it). For me, it's the wonderful Capra film, with its genuine patriotism and still resonant dark undercurrents, and its powerfully emotional lead performance (indeed, its superb cast all around) that gives Selznick a run for his considerable money. In fact, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington has more to say about life today than any other movie from 1939; it's a heart-pounding drama with real guts and it seems perpetually watchable and relevant for Americans and for a world hungering for truth and justice. As for those who would hold out for Renoir's The Rules of the Game as 1939's crown jewel? I recognize its importance, but I'm ashamed to say I'm still slightly bored by the film (France's heyday in cinema would arrive much later). However, I would hear arguments for John Ford's driving, massively influential western Stagecoach as being the best of this mightily impressive year. BONUS: In the shorts categories, The Three Stooges finally stumble to the head of the line!  NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and they are in no way reflective of the choices made by the Oscars.

PICTURE: GONE WITH THE WIND (US, Victor Fleming, Sam Wood, George Cukor) (2nd: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (US, Frank Capra), followed by: The Wizard of Oz (US, Victor Fleming, King Vidor); Stagecoach (US, John Ford); Wuthering Heights (US, William Wyler); The Women (US, George Cukor); Young Mr Lincoln (US, John Ford); Gunga Din (US, George Stevens); The Rules of the Game (France, Jean Renoir); Ninotchka (US. Ernst Lubitsch); Only Angels Have Wings (US, Howard Hawks); Babes in Arms (US, Busby Berkeley); Goodbye Mr. Chips (UK, Sam Wood); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (US, William Dieterle); Dark Victory (US, Edmund Goulding); The Roaring Twenties (US, Anatole Litvak and Raoul Walsh); Beau Geste (US, William A. Wellman); The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (US, Alfred Werker); Drums Along the Mohawk (US, John Ford); The Four Feathers (UK, Zoltan Korda); Intermezzo (US, Gregory Ratoff); Love Affair (US, Leo McCarey); The Rains Came (US, Clarence Brown); Destry Rides Again (US, George Marshall); The Hound of the Baskervilles (US, Sidney Lanfield); The Man in the Iron Mask (US, James Whale); The Little Princess (US, Walter Lang))

ACTOR: James Stewart, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (2nd: Clark Gable, Gone with the Wind, followed by: Robert Donat, Goodbye Mr. Chips; Charles Laughton, The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Laurence Olivier, Wuthering Heights; Mickey Rooney, Babes in Arms; Henry Fonda, Young Mr Lincoln; Basil Rathbone, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

ACTRESS: Vivien Leigh, GONE WITH THE WIND (2nd: Greta Garbo, Ninotchka, followed by: Jean Arthur, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Ingrid Bergman, Intermezzo; Bette Davis, Dark Victory; Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz; Merle Oberon, Wuthering Heights; Irene Dunne, Love Affair; Rosalind Russell, The Women; Marlene Dietrich, Destry Rides Again)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Thomas Mitchell, STAGECOACH (as well as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone With the Wind and Only Angels Have Wings--one of the most productive years any actor has ever enjoyed) (2nd: Harry Carey, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, followed by: Burt Lahr, The Wizard of Oz; Claude Rains, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Sam Jaffe, Gunga Din; Ray Bolger, The Wizard of Oz; C. Aubrey Smith, The Four Feathers; Brian Donlevy, Beau Geste)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Hattie McDaniel, GONE WITH THE WIND (2nd: Margaret Hamilton, The Wizard of Oz, followed by: Olivia de Havilland, Gone With the Wind; Geraldine Fitzgerald, Wuthering Heights; Maria Ouspenskaya, Love Affair; Billie Burke, The Wizard of Oz; Gale Sondergaard, The Cat and the Canary; Edna May Oliver, Drums Along the Mohawk)

DIRECTOR: Victor Fleming, Sam Wood, and George Cukor, GONE WITH THE WIND (2nd: Frank Capra, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, followed by: John Ford, Stagecoach; Jean Renoir, The Rules of the Game; Victor Fleming and King Vidor, The Wizard of Oz; William Wyler, Wuthering Heights; Ernst Lubitsch, Ninotchka; George Cukor, The Women; Busby Berkeley, Babes in Arms)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Sidney Buchman and Lewis R. Foster, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (2nd: Dudley Nichols and Ernest Haycox, Stagecoach, followed by: Jean Renoir and Carl Koch, The Rules of the Game; Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Walter Reisch and Melchior Lengyel, Ninochka; Marc Hellinger, Robert Rossen, Rixhard Macauley and Jerry Wald, The Roaring Twenties)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Sidney Howard and Ben Hecht, GONE WITH THE WIND (2nd: Anita Loos and Jane Murfin, The Women, followed by: Charles MacAuthur and Ben Hecht, Wuthering Heights; Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allen Woolf, The Wizard of Oz; Joel Sayre, Fred Guiol, Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur, Gunga Din)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: OILY TO BED, OILY TO RISE (Jules White; The Three Stooges) (2nd: The City (Ralph Steiner and Willard Van Dyke), followed by: We Want Our Mummy (Del Lord; The Three Stooges); Radio Hams (Felix. E. Feist and Pete Smith))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: THE UGLY DUCKLING (Jack Cutting and Walt Disney) (2nd: Detouring America (Tex Avery), followed by: The Pointer (Clyde Geronimi and Walt Disney); Thugs with Dirty Mugs (Tex Avery); A Day at the Zoo (Tex Avery))

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ernest Haller and Lee Garmes, GONE WITH THE WIND (2nd: Gregg Toland, Wuthering Heights, followed by: Bert Glennon, Stagecoach; Harold Rosson, The Wizard of Oz; Bert Glennon and Ray Rennahan, Drums Along the Mohawk) 

ART DIRECTION: THE WIZARD OF OZ, Gone With the Wind, Son of Frankenstein, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

COSTUME DESIGN: GONE WITH THE WIND, The Wizard of Oz, The Women, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Wuthering Heights

FILM EDITING: STAGECOACH, Gone With the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, The Rains Came

SOUND: MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, Gone With The Wind, The Rains Came, The Wizard of Oz, Goodbye Mr. Chips

ORIGINAL SCORE: Max Steiner, GONE WITH THE WIND (2nd: Herbert Stothart, The Wizard of Oz, followed by: Dimitri Tiomkin, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Aaron Copland, Of Mice and Men; Erich Wolfgang Korngold, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex; Alfred Newman, Wuthering Heights; Miklós Rózsa, The Four Feathers; Max Steiner, Dark Victory; Victor Young, Gulliver's Travels)

ORIGINAL SONG: "Over the Rainbow" from THE WIZARD OF OZ (music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harberg) (2nd: "Lydia The Tattooed Lady" from At The Circus (music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harberg), followed by: "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead" from The Wizard of Oz (music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harberg); "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz (music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harberg); "The Boys in the Back Room" from Destry Rides Again (music by Frederick Hollender, lyrics by Frank Loesser); "Wishing" from Love Affair (music and lyrics by Buddy da Sylva))

MAKEUP: THE WIZARD OF OZ, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Gone With the Wind

SPECIAL EFFECTS: THE RAINS CAME, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

1938--The Year in Review

Hollywood, and the world of cinema, seemed to be taking a nap right before an impending influx of great movies during the coming war years. So, in a somewhat sleepy 1938, the race is mainly between the populist appeal of Errol Flynn versus the headier heroics of Sergei Eisenstein. The latter is the one with more intellectual cache and perhaps the more lasting influence, but Curtiz and Keighley's film is the one you're most likely to revisit, just for its buoyant spirit and dazzling color design. For sure, it's refreshing to have key entries from Hitchcock, Capra, Hawks, Riefenstahl and Gance. But, honestly, even after looking at all the feature presentations, Porky in Wackyland--Bob Clampett's insane immersion into surrealism--remains the most original piece from this rather lackluster year.  NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and they are in no way reflective of the choices made by the Oscars.

PICTURE: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (US, Michael Curtiz and William Keighley) (2nd: Alexander Nevsky (USSR, Sergei Eisenstein), followed by: Olympia (Germany, Leni Riefenstahl), The Lady Vanishes (UK, Alfred Hitchcock), Angels With Dirty Faces (US, Michael Curtiz), Bringing Up Baby (US, Howard Hawks), J’Accuse (France, Abel Gance), They Drive by Night (UK, Arthur Woods), You Can’t Take It With You (US, Frank Capra), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (US, Norman Taurog)

ACTOR: Errol Flynn, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (2nd: Nicolai Cherkassov, Alexander Nevsky, followed by: James Cagney, Angels with Dirty Faces; Charles Boyer, Algiers; Leslie Howard, Pygmalion)

ACTRESS: Wendy Hiller, PYGMALION (2nd: Katharine Hepburn, Bringing Up Baby, followed by: Jean Arthur, You Can’t Take it With You; Bette Davis, Jezebel; Norma Shearer, Marie Antoinette)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Basil Rathbone, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (2nd: Claude Rains, The Adventures of Robin Hood, followed by: Lionel Barrymore, You Can’t Take It With You; Robert Morely, Marie Antoinette; Charles Ruggles, Bringing Up Baby)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Spring Byington, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (2nd: May Whitty, The Lady Vanishes, followed by: Fay Bainter, Jezebel; Billie Burke Merrily We Live; Ruth Donnelly, A Slight Case of Murder)

DIRECTOR: Sergei Eisenstein, ALEXANDER NEVSKY (2nd: Leni Riefenstahl, Olympia, followed by: Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, The Adventures of Robin Hood; Alfred Hitchcock, The Lady Vanishes; Howard Hawks, Bringing Up Baby)

SCREENPLAY: Dudley Nichols and Hargar Wilde, BRINGING UP BABY (2nd: Sergei M. Eisenstein and Pyotr Pavlenko, Alexander Nevsky, folliowed by: Sidney Gilliatt and Frank Launder, The Lady Vanishes, James Curtis, Paul Gangelin, and Derek N. Twist, They Drive by Night; Norman Reilley Raine and Seaton I. Miller, The Adventures of Robin Hood)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: THE RIVER (Pare Lorentz) (2nd: Violent is the Word for Curly (Three Stooges; Charley Chase), followed by: Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb (Three Stooges; Del Lord)

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: PORKY IN WACKYLAND (Bob Clampett) (2nd: Ferdinand the Bull (Walt Disney and Dick Rickard), followed by: Brave Little Tailor (Mickey Mouse; Walt Disney and Bill Roberts))

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Tony Gaudio and Sol Polito, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (2nd: Eduard Tisse, Alexander Nevsky, followed by: James Wong Howe, Algiers; Olympia; Joseph Walker, You Can't Take It With You 

ART DIRECTION: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Marie Antoinette, Alexander Nevsky, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

COSTUME DESIGN: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, Marie Antoinette, Algiers, Alexander Nevsky, Alexander's Ragtime Band,

ORIGINAL SCORE: Sergei Prokofiev, ALEXANDER NEVSKY (2nd: Erich Wolfgang Korngold, The Adventures of Robin Hood, followed by: Max Steiner, Jezebel; Marvin Hatley, Block-Heads; Herbert Stothart, Marie Antoinette) 

ORIGINAL SONG: "Thanks for the Memory" from THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938 (Music by Ralph Rainger, lyrics by Leo Robin) (2nd: "Jeepers Creepers" from Going Places (Music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Johnny Mercer), followed by: "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" from Hard To Get (Music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Johnny Mercer); "Now It Can Be Told from Alexander's Ragtime Band (Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin); "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" from Leave It to Me (Music and lyrics by Cole Porter))