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 (though I also love the brilliantly filmed silent home movie Our Day, by Wallace Kelly--a well-directed home movie of sorts that is now in the National Film Registry). 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: 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: OUR DAY (Wallace Kelly) (2nd: The River (Pare Lorentz), followed by:  Violent is the Word for Curly (Three Stooges; Charley Chase); 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); "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" from Leave It to Me (Music and lyrics by Cole Porter); "Now It Can Be Told" from Alexander's Ragtime Band (Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin))

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Great selection, as you say sort of a non-event compared to the NEXT year but still nice stuff! Is there anything as pretty as Robin Hood??