Sunday, August 16, 2015

1945--The Year in Review

The American film industry relaxed in 1945 while the rest of the world took a life-giving, newly post-war breath. In fact, this period informed the world of a fully vibrant cinematic cosmos outside of the US studio system (even though, really, on American screens, many of the year's best films wouldn't be seen for years to come). But, for the purposes of this and all subsequent and previous overviews, time and space have been equaled--in other words, we're going by ORIGINAL release years in this ongoing series of articles, regardless of WHERE these movies were first seen. In 1945, Marcel Carne's devastating, gorgeously romantic French epic would outclass nearly equally supreme works from British directors David Lean and Michael Powell, Russian auteur Sergei Eisenstein, and Italy's Roberto Rossellini, whose intimate wartime tale would propel its dynamic star Anna Magnani into the stratosphere. This would also be the first year that no American actors (in my estimation) deserve the top accolades. Britain's Boris Karloff is finally recognized, this time for his eerie, villainous performance in The Body Snatcher. Similarly, Michael Redgrave--the great patriarch of Britain's luminous acting family--is noted for his show as a ventriloquist possessed by his alter ego in the benchmark horror anthology Dead of Night. David Lean's Brief Encounter was a tense but cherished look into a chancy wartime affair, with Trevor Howard and the superb Celia Johnson as leads, while Michael Powell's "I Know Where I'm Going!" further deepened the UK's continually essential contribution to movies. As far as the Oscars were concerned, Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend prevailed (in my opinion, this was a make-up award for not giving due to Double Indemnity the year before). Even so, The Lost Weekend was the first film to attack the scourge of alcoholism overtaking many World War II veterans (this is why, I think, the film won as many accolades as it did). Still, as far as American cinema is concerned, John Ford's complicated, downbeat war drama They Were Expendable is the most mature and elaborate US selection of the year--it's a war film unlike any other. But there's no way it could compete with the developing, enveloping brilliance of world cinema. 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.

(2nd: Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni (USSR, Sergei Eisenstein), followed by:
Brief Encounter (UK, David Lean)
They Were Expendable (US, John Ford)
Rome: Open City (Italy, Roberto Rossellini)
"I Know Where I’m Going!" (UK, Michael Powell)
Detour (US, Edgar G. Ulmer)
Scarlet Street (US, Fritz Lang)
Leave Her to Heaven (US, John M. Stahl)
The Lost Weekend (US, Billy Wilder)
Spellbound (US, Alfred Hitchcock)
Mildred Pierce (US, Michael Curtiz)
The Southerner (US, Jean Renoir)
Dead of Night (UK, Robert Hamer, Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, and Charles Crichton)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (US, Albert Lewin)
The Body Snatcher (US, Robert Wise)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (US, Elia Kazan)
Blithe Spirit (UK, David Lean)
And Then There Were None (US, René Clair)
Anchors Aweigh (US, George Sidney)
Christmas in Connecticut (US, Peter Godfrey)
The Clock (US, Vincente Minnelli)
A Walk in the Sun (US, Lewis Milestone))

ACTOR: Boris Karloff, THE BODY SNATCHER (2nd: Nikolai Cherkassov, Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni, followed by: Jean-Louis Barrault, Children of Paradise; Edward G. Robinson, Scarlet Street; Trevor Howard, Brief Encounter; Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend; James Mason, The Seventh Veil; Rex Harrison, Blithe Spirit)

ACTRESS: Celia Johnson, BRIEF ENCOUNTER (2nd: Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce, followed by: Anna Magnani, Rome: Open City; Wendy Hiller, "I Know Where I’m Going!"; Joan Bennett, Scarlet Street; Ingrid Bergman, Spellbound; Arletty, Children of Paradise; Gene Tierney, Leave Her to Heaven; Judy Garland, The Clock)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Redgrave, DEAD OF NIGHT (2nd: James Dunn, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, followed by: Barry Fitzgerald, And Then There Were None; George Sanders, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Michael Chekhov, Spellbound; Robert Mitchum, The Story of G.I Joe; Frank Faylen, The Lost Weekend)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Angela Lansbury, THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (2nd: Eve Arden, Mildred Pierce, followed by: Ann Blyth, Mildred Pierce; Peggy Ann Garner, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Margaret Rutherford, Blithe Spirit; Anne Revere, National Velvet)

DIRECTOR: Marcel Carné, CHILDREN OF PARADISE (2nd: Sergei Eisenstein, Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni, followed by: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger, "I Know Where I’m Going!"; David Lean, Brief Encounter; Roberto Rossellini, Rome: Open City; John Ford, They Were Expendable; Edgar G. Ulmer, Detour; Billy Wilder, The Lost Weekend)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger, "I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING!" (2nd: Sergio Amedei and Federico Fellini, Rome: Open City, followed by: Martin Goldsmith, Detour; Jacques Prevert, Children of Paradise; Sergei Eisenstein, Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Noel Coward, Anthony Havelock-Allan, David Lean and Ronald Neame, BRIEF ENCOUNTER (2nd: Frank Wead, They Were Expendable, followed by: Ranald McDougall, Mildred Pierce; Tess Slesinger and Frank Davis, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Dudley Nichols, And Then There Were None)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (Mervyn Le Roy) (2nd: A Story in Choreography for Camera (Maya Deren); Micro-Phonies (The Three Stooges; Eduard Bernds); If a Body Meets a Body (The Three Stooges; Jules White)

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: QUIET PLEASE! (Tom and Jerry; William Hanna and Joseph Barbera) (2nd: Hare Tonic (Bugs Bunny; Chuck Jones), followed by: The Bashful Buzzard (Robert Clampett); Life With Feathers (Friz Freling))
BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Seitz, THE LOST WEEKEND (2nd: Andrei Moskvin and Eduard Tisse, Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni, followed by: Harry Stradling, The Portrait of Dorian Gray; Roger Hubert, Children of Paradise; Robert Krasker, "I Know Where I'm Going!")

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Leon Shamroy, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (2nd: Leonard Smith, National Velvet, followed by: Robert Plank and Charles Boyle, Anchors Aweigh)

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GRAY, Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni, Children of Paradise, "I Know Where I'm Going!", Mildred Pierce

COLOR ART DIRECTION: LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, National Velvet, A Thousand and One Nights

BLACK-AND-WHITE COSTUME DESIGN: CHILDREN OF PARADISE, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni, Mildred Pierce, Blithe Spirit

COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: A SONG TO REMEMBER, Leave Her to Heaven, Wonder Man, A Thousand and One Nights

FILM EDITING: BRIEF ENCOUNTER, They Were Expendable, Rome: Open City, The Lost Weekend, Children of Paradise 

SOUND: THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, Wonder Man, Spellbound, Leave Her to Heaven, The Southerner

ORIGINAL SCORE: Miklos Rosza, SPELLBOUND (2nd: Miklos Rosza, The Lost Weekend, followed by: Sergei Prokoviev, Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni; Max Steiner, Mildred Pierce; Victor Young, Love Letters)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Georgie Stoll, ANCHORS AWEIGH (2nd: Miklos Rosza and Morris Stoloff, A Song to Remember, followed by: Alfred Newman and Charles Henderson, State Fair; Ray Heindorf and Max Steiner, Rhapsody in Blue; Ray Heindorf and Lou Forbes, Wonder Man)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Ac-cen-tu-ate The Positive” from HERE COME THE WAVES (Music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer) (2nd: "It Might as Well Be Spring" from State Fair (Music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II), followed by: "I Fall in Love Too Easily" from Anchors Aweigh  (Music by Jule Stein, lyrics by Sammy Cahn); "Love Letters" from Love Letters  (Music by Victor Young, lyrics by Eddie Heyman); "I'll Buy That Dream" from Sing Your Way Home (Music by Allie Wrubel, lyrics by Herb Magidson))

MAKEUP: IVAN THE TERRIBLE, PART ONE: IVAN GROZYNI, Children of Paradise, The Body Snatcher

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