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; 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)


louishill1981 said...

Another great year review Dean!

One question though: Do you really think High Noon holds up with the rest of that top 10 from that year? It seems to stick out a bit to me from the rest of that impressive top group.

Dean Treadway said...

Thanks, Louis! And, yeah, surely HIGH NOON holds up well. I still find it tense and extremely agitating. I love the supporting cast, and the underlying story connection to the blacklisting era.If it sticks out in that group, it's only because westerns are rarely talked about any more, I think.

Andrew Parry said...

Nice list Dean, I'm wondering if you've seen a little seen western from this year called Hangman's Knot? Its a great B western with Randolph Scott, should've make your list!

Dean Treadway said...

I haven't, Andrew, but I do love those Randolph Scott westerns, especially those he did with Budd Boetticher. I'll keep an eye out for it!