Wednesday, October 21, 2015

1959--The Year in Review

As the 1950s draw to a close, we can see another era looming--one filled with strong voices from around the world. As far as 1959 is concerned, it came down to a gentle battle between two shores. On the American front, few films could rival Billy Wilder's most superb comedy, built so solidly even though its filming was massively troubled (even so, it contained Marilyn Monroe's finest performance, as well as Joe E. Brown's). Hitchcock's North by Northwest arrived as somewhat of a critical disappointment, though that now seems an impossible conclusion. Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo seemed to be the exclamation point on an incredible directorial career. The year's biggest hit was William Wyler's Ben Hur, a lavish biblical epic that reaches its apex in its final third with a thrilling  chariot race directed largely by Andrew Marton and stuntman Yakima Canutt. But, in the end, I had to give it to Truffaut, who delivered the movie that all movie lovers adore, with the young Leaud smashing in the lead. Truffaut's film would stand as a gateway to a forthcoming cinematic world. On the short film front, Robert Frank contributes the premier document of that Beat-driven era, while the Hubleys finally break the Warner Brothers wining streak with their independently-produced masterpiece, constructed upon the babbling talk of their creative kids. 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 400 BLOWS (France, François Truffaut) (2nd: Some Like it Hot (US, Billy Wilder), followed by: North by Northwest (US, Alfred Hitchcock); Rio Bravo (US, Howard Hawks); Anatomy of a Murder (US, Otto Preminger); Pickpocket (France, Robert Bresson); Pork Chop Hill (US, Lewis Milestone); Hiroshima, Mon Amour (France, Alain Resnais); The Diary of Anne Frank (US, George Stevens); Day of the Outlaw (US, André de Toth); Floating Weeds (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu); Shadows (US, John Cassavetes); Ben Hur (US, William Wyler); Black Orpheus (Brazil, Marcel Camus); The Human Condition Part I: No Greater Love (Japan, Masaki Kobayashi); The Human Condition Part II: The Road to Eternity (Japan, Masaki Kobayashi); The World of Apu (India, Satyajit Ray); Jazz on a Summer's Day (US, Bert Stern); Our Man in Havana (UK, Carol Reed); The Nun’s Story (US, Fred Zinnemann); Imitation of Life (US, Douglas Sirk); Tiger Bay (UK, J. Lee Thompson); Ride Lonesome (US, Budd Boetticher); General Della Rovere (Italy, Roberto Rossellini); Ballad of a Soldier (USSR, Grigori Chukhrai); Sleeping Beauty (US, Clyde Geronimi); Fires on the Plain (Japan, Kon Ichikawa); Les Cousins (France, Claude Chabrol); Nazarin (Mexico, Luis Bunuel); Room at the Top (UK, Jack Clayton); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (France, Roger Vadim); Look Back in Anger (UK, Tony Richardson); The Mouse That Roared (UK, Jack Arnold); The World, The Flesh and The Devil (US, Ranald MacDougall); The FBI Story (US, Mervyn LeRoy); Odds Against Tomorrow (US, Robert Wise); On the Beach (US, Stanley Kramer); Pillow Talk (US, Michael Gordon); Plan 9 from Outer Space (US, Edward D. Wood Jr.); The House on Haunted Hill (US, William Castle); I’m All Right Jack (UK, John Boulting); The Hound of the Baskervilles (UK, Terence Fisher); Porgy and Bess (US, Otto Preminger); They Came to Codura (US, Robert Rossen); Journey to the Center of the Earth (US, Henry Levin); Verboten! (US, Samuel Fuller); The Mummy (UK, Terence Fisher); A Summer Place (US, Delmer Daves); The Tingler (US, William Castle); A Bucket of Blood (US, Roger Corman); Espresso Bongo (UK, Val Guest); The Killer Shrews (US, Ray Kellogg); The Immoral Mr. Teas (US, Russ Meyer)

ACTOR: Jean-Pierre Léaud, THE 400 BLOWS (2nd: Jack Lemmon, Some Like it Hot, followed by: Cary Grant, North by Northwest; James Stewart, Anatomy of a Murder; Tony Curtis, Some Like it Hot; Robert Ryan, Day of the Outlaw; John Wayne, Rio Bravo; Richard Burton, Look Back in Anger; Paul Muni, The Last Angry Man; Alec Guinness, Our Man in Havana)

ACTRESS: Marilyn Monroe, SOME LIKE IT HOT (2nd: Audrey Hepburn, The Nun’s Story, followed by: Emmanuelle Riva, Hiroshima, Mon Amour; Katharine Hepburn, Suddenly Last Summer; Simone Signoret, Room at the Top; Doris Day, Pillow Talk; Jeanne Moreau, Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Lana Turner, Imitation of Life; Lee Remick, Anatomy of a Murder; Elizabeth Taylor, Suddenly Last Summer) 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Joe E. Brown, SOME LIKE IT HOT (2nd: Dean Martin, Rio Bravo, followed by: George C. Scott, Anatomy of a Murder; Burl Ives, Day of the Outlaw; Joseph Schildkraut, The Diary of Anne Frank; Stephen Boyd, Ben Hur; Hugh Griffith, Ben Hur; James Mason, North by Northwest; Tony Randall, Pillow Talk; Ed Wynn, The Diary of Anne Frank)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Juanita Moore, IMITATION OF LIFE (2nd: Jessie Royce Landis, North by Northwest, followed by: Shelley Winters, The Diary of Anne Frank; Susan Kohner, Imitation of Life; Hayley Mills, Tiger Bay; Angie Dickenson, Rio Bravo; Eve Arden, Anatomy of a Murder; Edith Evans, Look Back in Anger; Thelma Ritter, Pillow Talk; Hermione Baddeley, Room at the Top)  

DIRECTOR: Francois Truffaut, THE 400 BLOWS (2nd: Billy Wilder, Some Like it Hot, followed by: Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest; Howard Hawks, Rio Bravo; Robert Bresson, Pickpocket; Otto Preminger, Anatomy of a Murder; William Wyler, Ben Hur; George Stevens, The Diary of Anne Frank; Andre De Toth, Day of the Outlaw; Marcel Camus, Black Orpheus)

NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILM: THE 400 BLOWS (France, François Truffaut) (2nd: Black Orpheus (Brazil, Marcel Camus), followed by: Pickpocket (France, Robert Bresson); Hiroshima, Mon Amour (France, Alain Resnais); Floating Weeds (Japan, Yasujiro Ozu); The Human Condition Part I: No Greater Love (Japan, Masaki Kobayashi); The Human Condition Part II: The Road to Eternity (Japan, Masaki Kobayashi); The World of Apu (India, Satyajit Ray); General Della Rovere (Italy, Roberto Rossellini); Ballad of a Soldier (USSR, Grigori Chukhrai); Fires on the Plain (Japan, Kon Ichikawa); Les Cousins (France, Claude Chabrol); Nazarin (Mexico, Luis Bunuel); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (France, Roger Vadim))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Francois Truffaut and Marcel Moussy, THE 400 BLOWS (2nd: Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima Mon Amour, followed by: John Cassavetes, Shadows; Robert Bresson, Pickpocket; Sergio Amidei, Diego Fabbri, and Indro Montanelli, General Della Rovere)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, SOME LIKE IT HOT (2nd: Ernest Lehman, North by Northwest, followed by: Wendell Mayes, Anatomy of a Murder; Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett, Rio Bravo; Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, The Diary of Anne Frank)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: PULL MY DAISY (US, Robert Frank) (2nd: The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film (UK, Richard Lester), followed by: Cat’s Cradle (US, Stan Brakhage); Skyscraper (US, Shirley Clarke); Signal 30 (US, Richard Wayman))

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: MOONBIRD (US, John Hubley, Faith Hubley) (2nd: The Violinist (US, Ernest Pintoff), followed by: Baton Bunny (US, Chuck Jones); Mexicali Shmoes (US, Friz Freleng))

BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: William C. Mellor, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (2nd: Charles Lang Sr., Some Like it Hot, followed by: Joseph C. Brun, Odds Against Tomorrow; Sacha Vierny and Takahashi Michio, Hiroshima Mon Amour; Russell Harlan, Day of the Outlaw) 

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Robert Surtees, BEN HUR (2nd: Robert Burks, North by Northwest, followed by: Kazuo Miyagawa, Floating Weeds; Jean Bourgoin, Black Orpheus; Franz Planer, The Nun's Story)  

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: SOME LIKE IT HOT, The Diary of Anne Frank, Career, Suddenly Last Summer, The Gazebo

COLOR ART DIRECTION: BEN HUR, North by Northwest, Pillow Talk, The Best of Everything, Journey to the Center of the Earth 

BLACK-AND-WHITE COSTUME DESIGN: SOME LIKE IT HOT, The Diary of Anne Frank, Career, The Gazebo, Les Liaisons Dangereuses

COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: BEN HUR, Black Orpheus, Porgy and Bess, The Best of Everything. North by Northwest 

FILM EDITING: NORTH BY NORTHWEST, Ben Hur, Some Like It Hot, Rio Bravo, The 400 Blows 

SOUND: BEN HUR, Some Like it Hot, North by Northwest, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nun's Story 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Bernard Herrmann, NORTH BY NORTHWEST (2nd: Miklós Rózsa, Ben Hur, followed by: Duke Ellington, Anatomy of a Murder; Max Steiner, A Summer Place; Georges Delarue, The 400 Blows)

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Adolph Deutsch, SOME LIKE IT HOT (2nd: George Bruns, Sleeping Beauty, followed by: Andre Previn and Ken Darby, Porgy and Bess; Nelson Riddle and Joseph J. Lilley, Li'l Abner; Lionel Newman, Say One for Me)

ORIGINAL SONG: "High Hopes" from A HOLE IN THE HEAD (Music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn) (2nd: "Lonely Boy" from Girls Town (Music and lyrics by Paul Anka), followed by: "My Rifle, My Pony and Me" from Rio Bravo (Music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster); "The Best of Everything" from The Best of Everything (Music by Alfred Newman, lyrics by Sammy Cahn); "The Hanging Tree" from The Hanging Tree (Music by Jerry Livingston, lyrics by Mack David))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: BEN HUR, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Darby O’Gill and the Little People


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