Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1953--The Year in Review

1953 marked an extraordinary explosion of filmic activity around the world, most notably in Japan, France, Sweden and Italy. Ozu, Fellini, Bergman, Tati, Kinugasa, Mizoguchi, and Clouzot all dwarfed the American output, and the cinematic world was never the same. Ozu's elegant look at family dynamics would rival none in its wake. Fellini's examination of youth would ripple in effect for decades to come. Bergman's breakthrough with two films would mark the near-beginning of a gorgeous career (his elegiac Summer with Monika would also introduce brief nudity to big screens). And Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur would connote a new era in Westerns--one with detailed characterizations and complex moral consequences. Musicals, too, would progress, with Minnelli's The Band Wagon leading the way (and with George Sidney's 3-D musical Kiss Me Kate and Roy Rowland's insane The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T tending towards other crazy directions). The Little Fugitive would stand as a earnest landmark in American indie filmmaking. Ida Lupino would become among the first female filmmakers to work for studios, arriving with two superb noir selections. Max Ophul's Madame De... would beget many imitators, while George Pal's The War of the Worlds would transform the science-fiction genre forever. And, finally, Chuck Jones would again stun us with numerous short films, chief among them a hysterical 8-minute irritation aimed at Daffy Duck. And, after all of that, Cinemascope was introduced by 20th Century Fox, giving TV-bound moviegoers the thrill of widescreen opulence, delivering a visually dazzling Biblical epic that would subsequently obsess the American movie industry. As far as the Academy was concerned, it was another year to pay tribute to the past war effort with their selection of From Here to Eternity. But now, as good as Zinnemann's film is, only Frank Sinatra's committed supporting performance (and maybe Donna Reed's Oscar-winning role) really make any waves. 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 Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold. 

PICTURE: TOKYO STORY (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu) (2nd: The Naked Spur (US, Anthony Mann), followed by: Madame de… (France, Max Ophuls); The Band Wagon (US, Vincente Minnelli); I Vitelloni (Italy, Federico Fellini); Shane (US, George Stevens); Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (France, Jacques Tati); Gate of Hell (Japan, Teinosuke Kinugasa); The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (US, Roy Rowland); The Big Heat (US, Fritz Lang); Summer With Monika (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Ugetsu Monogatari (Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi); From Here to Eternity (US, Fred Zinnemann); The Wages of Fear (France, Henri-Georges Clouzot); Voyage to Italy (Italy, Roberto Rossellini); The Little Fugitive (US, Morris Engel, Ray Ashley and Ruth Orkin); Julius Caesar (US, Joseph L. Mankiewicz); Pickup on South Street (US, Samuel Fuller); The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (Mexico, Luis Buñuel); Beat the Devil (UK, John Huston); The Hitch-Hiker (US, Ida Lupino); Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (US, Howard Hawks); The Bigamist (US, Ida Lupino); The Blue Gardenia (US, Fritz Lang); How to Marry a Millionaire (US, Jean Negulesco); Kiss Me Kate (US, George Sidney); Roman Holiday (US, William Wyler); Sawdust and Tinsel (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); The Robe (US, Henry Koster); Stalag 17 (US, Billy Wilder); House of Wax (US, Andre De Toth); The War of the Worlds (US, Byron Haskin); Titanic (US, Jean Negulesco); Call Me Madam (US, Walter Lang); It Came from Outer Space (US, Jack Arnold); Calamity Jane (US, David Butler)

ACTOR: Chishu Ryu, TOKYO STORY (2nd: James Stewart, The Naked Spur, followed by: Alan Ladd, Shane; Marlon Brando, Julius Caesar; William Holden, Stalag 17; Yves Montand, The Wages of Fear; Montgomery Clift, From Here to Eternity; George Sanders, Voyage to Italy; Kazuo Hasegawa, Gate of Hell)

ACTRESS: Harriet Andersson, SUMMER WITH MONIKA (2nd: Maggie McNamara, The Moon is Blue, followed by: Ingrid Bergman, Voyage to Italy; Danielle Darrieux, Madame de…; Chieko Higashiyama, Tokyo Story; Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday; Jean Arthur, Shane; Ethel Merman, Call Me Madam; Deborah Kerr, From Here to Eternity) 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Frank Sinatra, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (2nd: Robert Ryan, The Naked Spur, followed by: Jack Palance, Shane; Hans Conreid, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T; Lee Marvin, The Big Heat; Jay Robinson, The Robe; Brandon De Wilde, Shane; Peter Lorre, Beat the Devil; Louis Calhern, Julius Caesar) 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Gloria Grahame, THE BIG HEAT (2nd: Setsuko Hara, Tokyo Story, followed by: Janet Leigh, The Naked Spur; Kyoko Kagawa, Tokyo Story; Thelma Ritter, Pickup on South Street; Donna Reed, From Here to Eternity; Geraldine Page, Hondo; Grace Kelly, Mogambo; Nanette Fabray, The Band Wagon) 

DIRECTOR: Yasujiro Ozu, TOKYO STORY (2nd: Max Ophuls, Madame de…, followed by: Anthony Mann, The Naked Spur; Federico Fellini, I Vitelloni; Vincente Minnelli, The Band Wagon; George Stevens, Shane; Teinosuke Kinugasa, Gate of Hell; Jacques Tati, Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: TOKYO STORY (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu) (2nd: Madame de… (France, Max Ophuls), followed by: I Vitelloni (Italy, Federico Fellini); Gate of Hell (Japan, Teinosuke Kinugasa); Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (France, Jacques Tati); Summer With Monika (Sweden, Ingmar Bergman); Ugetsu Monogatari (Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom, THE NAKED SPUR (2nd: Kogo Noda and Yasujiro Ozu, Tokyo Story, followed by: Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, and Tullio Panelli, I Vitelloni; Morris Engel, Ray Ashley and Ruth Orkin, The Little Fugitive; Adolph Green and Betty Comden, The Band Wagon)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Marcel Auchard, Max Ophuls, Annette Wademant, and Marcel Achard, MADAME D... (2nd: A.B. Guthrie Jr. and Jack Sher, Shane, followed by: Henri-Georges Cluzot and Jerome Geronimi, The Wages of Fear; Sydney Boehm, The Big Heat; Daniel Taradash, From Here to Eternity)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: THE ELEPHANT WILL NEVER FORGET (UK, John Krish);  O Dreamland (UK, Lindsay Anderson); The End (US, Christopher MacLaine); The Pleasure Garden (UK, James Broughton)

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: DUCK AMUCK (US, Chuck Jones) (2nd: Bully for Bugs (US, Chuck Jones), followed by: The Tell-Tale Heart (US, Ted Parmelee); From A to Z-Z-Z-Z (US, Chuck Jones); Don’t Give Up the Sheep (US, Chuck Jones); Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (US, Ward Kimball, August Nichols); The Unicorn in the Garden (US, William T. Hurtz)

BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: Yuharu Atsuta, TOKYO STORY (2nd: Christian Matras, Madame de…, followed by: Charles B. Lang, The Big Heat; Burnett Guffey, From Here to Eternity; Kazuo Miyagawa, Ugetsu Monogatari)

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Loyal Griggs, SHANE (2nd: Leon Shamroy, The Robe, followed by: Frank Planer, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T; William C. Mellor, The Naked Spur; Henry Jackson and George J. Folsey, The Band Wagon)

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: MADAME DE..., Tokyo Story, Titanic, Roman Holiday, Gate of Hell

COLOR ART DIRECTION: THE ROBE, The Band Wagon, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, How to Marry a Millionaire, Knights of the Round Table 

BLACK-AND-WHITE COSTUME DESIGN: MADAME DE..., Gate of Hell, Roman Holiday, Titanic, Tokyo Story

COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: THE ROBE, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Band Wagon, Call Me Madam, Kiss Me Kate
FILM EDITING: THE NAKED SPUR, The Big Heat, Shane, From Here to Eternity, The War of the Worlds

SOUND: THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, From Here to Eternity, The Band Wagon, Kiss Me Kate, Calamity Jane

ORIGINAL SCORE: Alfred Newman, THE ROBE (2nd: Victor Young, Shane, followed by: Nino Rota, I Vitelloni; Bronislau Kaper, The Naked Spur; Alain Romans, Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Frederic Hollender and Morris Stoloff, THE 5000 FINGERS OF DR. T (2nd: Adolph Deutsch, The Band Wagon, followed by: Andre Previn and Saul Chaplin, Kiss Me Kate; Alfred Newman, Call Me Madam; Ray Heindorf, Calamity Jane)

ORIGINAL SONG: "That's Amore" from THE CADDY (Music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Jack Brooks) (2nd: "That's Entertainment" from The Band Wagon (Music and lyrics by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz); "Because We're Kids" from The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (Music by Frederic Hollender, lyrics by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)); "Secret Love" from Calamity Jane (Music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster); "Ten Happy Fingers" from The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (Music by Frederic Hollender, lyrics by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss); "Sadie Thompson's Song (Blue Pacific Blues)" from Miss Sadie Thompson (Music by Lester Lee, lyrics by Ned Washington)


Monday, September 28, 2015

1952--The Year in Review

This is not the greatest movie year, in general, and yet the top ten are amongst the finest works ever filmed. It seems to be a period hearkening back to ancient memories, with Kurosawa's exquisite Ikiru, De Sica's heartbreaking Umberto D. and Zinnemann's exciting High Noon all coming together as paeans to the past (deciding the Best Actor slot this year is like splitting already split hairs). Of course, the most loved American movie of this year is Singin' in the Rain, a film that was little praised by the Academy, but which is also a glorious work of pure nostalgia. Chaplin and Ford, too, examine their rich and varied pasts via film, making this year feel like the end of a wealthy era. Only Canada's Norman McLaren dissects the now and the future with his absolutely original live action short (which actually won as a documentary short--very unusually); his film also serves as a bellwether to the future domination of the shorts categories by The National Film Board of Canada. And, of course, the Warner Brothers animation team, led by the incredible Chuck Jones, continues to impress. As far as the Oscars were concerned, their choice this year was ill-gotten: Cecil B. De Mille's awful The Greatest Show on Earth, very possibly the worst selection ever for Best Picture, made only in tribute to this legendary impresario's epic career. 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 Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold. 

PICTURE:  IKIRU (Japan, Akira Kurosawa) (2nd: Singin’ in the Rain (US, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly), followed by: Umberto D (Italy, Vittorio De Sica); High Noon (US, Fred Zinnemann); The Quiet Man (US, John Ford); The Bad and the Beautiful (US, Vincente Minnelli); Forbidden Games (France, René Clair); Bend of the River (US, Anthony Mann); Limelight (UK, Charles Chaplin); The Life of Oharu (Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi); Les Belles de Nuit (France, René Clair); Clash by Night (US, Fritz Lang); The Titfield Thunderbolt (UK, Charles Crichton); The Importance of Being Earnest (UK, Anthony Asquith); Le Plaisir (France, Max Ophuls); Othello (US/Italy, Orson Welles); The Member of the Wedding (US, Fred Zinnemann); Rancho Notorious (US, Fritz Lang); Viva Zapata! (US, Elia Kazan); Kansas City Confidential (US, Phil Karlson); The Lusty Men (US, Nicholas Ray); Monkey Business (US, Howard Hawks); Breaking the Sound Barrier (UK, David Lean); The Sniper (US, Edward Dmytryk); The Living Desert (US, James Algar); The Narrow Margin (US, Richard Fleischer); Five Fingers (US, Joseph L. Mankiewicz); Moulin Rouge (US, John Huston); Come Back, Little Sheba (US, Daniel Mann); The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (US, John Brahm); Hans Christian Andersen (US, Charles Vidor); Million Dollar Mermaid (US, Mervyn Le Roy))

ACTOR: Carlo Battista, UMBERTO D (2nd: Takashi Shimura, Ikiru, followed by: Gary Cooper, High Noon; Gene Kelly, Singin’ in the Rain; Kirk Douglas, The Bad and the Beautiful; John Wayne, The Quiet Man; Charles Chaplin, Limelight; Richard Burton, My Cousin Rachel)

ACTRESS: Julie Harris, THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING (2nd: Barbara Stanwyck, Clash by Night, followed by: Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba; Debbie Reynolds, Singin’ in the Rain; Ginger Rogers, Monkey Business; Judy Holliday, The Marrying Kind; Katharine Hepburn, Pat and Mike; Joan Crawford, Sudden Fear)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Donald O’Connor, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (2nd: Anthony Quinn, Viva Zapata!, followed by: Barry Fitzgerald, The Quiet Man; Victor McLaglen, The Quiet Man; Jack Palance, Sudden Fear; Robert Ryan, Clash by Night; Charles Coburn, Monkey Business; Arthur Hunnicutt, The Big Sky) 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jean Hagen, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (2nd: Gloria Grahame, The Bad and the Beautiful, followed by: Ethel Waters, The Member of the Wedding; Katy Jurado, High Noon; Claire Bloom, Limelight; Joan Greenwood, The Importance of Being Earnest; Simone Simon, Le Plaisir; Marie Windsor, The Narrow Margin)

DIRECTOR: Akira Kurosawa, IKIRU (2nd: Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, Singin’ in the Rain, followed by: Vittorio De Sica, Umberto D; Fred Zinnemann, High Noon; John Ford, The Quiet Man; René Clair, Forbidden Games; Vincente Minnelli, The Bad and the Beautiful; Charles Chaplin, Limelight)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni, IKIRU (2nd: Cesare Zavattini, Umberto D., followed by: Adolph Green and Betty Comden, Singin' in the Rain; Charles Schnee and George Bradshaw, The Bad and the Beautiful; Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, Pat and Mike; T.E.B. Clarke, The Titfield Thunderbolt)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Carl Foreman, HIGH NOON (2nd: Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost, and Francois Boyer, Forbidden Games, followed by: Borden Chase, Bend of the River; Frank S. Nugent, The Quiet Man; Michael Wilson, Five Fingers)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: NEIGHBOURS (Canada, Norman McLaren) (2nd: Duck and Cover (US, Anthony Rizzo), followed by: The Stranger Left No Card (UK, Wendy Toye)

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: FEED THE KITTY (US, Chuck Jones) (2nd: Rabbit Seasoning (US, Chuck Jones), followed by: Water, Water Every Hare (US, Chuck Jones); Johann Mouse (US, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera); Beep Beep (US, Chuck Jones))

BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: Robert Surtees, THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (2nd: G.R. Aldo, Umberto D, followed by: Karl Struss, Limelight; Asaichi Nakai, Ikiru; Charles B. Lang Jr., Sudden Fear)

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Winton H. Hoch and Archie Stout, THE QUIET MAN (2nd: Harold Rosson, Singin’ in the Rain, followed by: George J. Folsey, Million Dollar Mermaid; Leon Shamroy, The Snows of Kilimanjaro; Harry Stradling, Hans Christian Andersen)

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, My Cousin Rachel, Le Plaisir, Viva Zapata!, The Member of the Wedding

COLOR ART DIRECTION: THE QUIET MAN, The Importance of Being Earnest, Moulin Rouge, Singin' in the Rain, The Merry Widow


COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: MOULIN ROUGE, The Importance of Being Earnest, Million Dollar Mermaid, The Greatest Show on Earth, Hans Christian Andersen 

FILM EDITING: HIGH NOON, Singin' in the Rain, Ikiru, The Quiet Man, The Bad and the Beautiful
SOUND: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, Breaking the Sound Barrier, High Noon, The Quiet Man, The Bad and the Beautiful 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Dimitri Tiomkin, HIGH NOON (2nd: Charles Chaplin, Raymond Rasch and Larry Russell, Limelight, followed by: Victor Young, The Quiet Man; Alex North, Viva Zapata!; Miklós Rózsa, Ivanhoe)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Lennie Hayton, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (2nd: Walter Scharf, Hans Christian Andersen, followed by: Alfred Newman, With a Song in My Heart; Adolph Deutsch, Million Dollar Mermaid)

ORIGINAL SONG: "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')" from HIGH NOON (Music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Ned Washington) (2nd: "Inchworm" from Hans Christian Andersen (Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser), followed by: "Angel Eyes" from Jennifer (Music by Matt Dennis, lyrics by Earl Brent); "Thumbelina" from Hans Christian Andersen (Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser); "Make 'Em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain (Music and lyrics by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown)