Oscar History
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Thursday
Mar192015

Women's Pictures - Ida Lupino's The Bigamist

Joan Fontaine was married to Ida Lupino’s husband. That is both the plot of Ida Lupino’s melodrama The Bigamist and the truth of the two stars’ relationship in 1953. Of course, Lupino had already divorced her writing partner and co-producer Collier Young when he married Fontaine in 1952. All three remained friends, and Young maintained his professional relationship with Lupino, even writing The Bigamist for his ex-and-current wives to star in. Unfortunately for the gossip mongers, there’s very little drama in the behind-the-scenes story of The Bigamist, but that’s probably for the best, because the movie is practically drowning in drama.

The Bigamist is relatively straightforward story of how one man ends up with two wives. Though it preys on the possible unspoken fears of a stay-at-home wife – What if my husband sees another woman when he says he’s at work? What if his ‘business trips’ are to spend time with her?The Bigamist does not qualify as a Women’s Picture. On the contrary, it’s told from the polygamist protagonist’s point of view.

The story is related mostly in flashback as traveling salesman Harry Graham (Edmund O’Brien again) explains to an adoption agency worker (Edmund Gwenn, aka Santa Claus!) how he was trapped into two marriages by his middle class morality and sense of duty. Poor Harry loves his career woman wife, Eve (Fontaine), though she is distant, and communicates only over breakfast tables or telephones. He finds comfort with a waitress named Phyllis (Lupino), and decides to do the honorable thing when she discovers she’s in the family way. As the judge explains at the end (melodramas use courtrooms so a judge can tell the audience the moral of the film), Harry is not a bad man. Just a confused one.

(Side note: It’s possible that I’ve been watching too much Empire, but I spent all movie waiting for Ida and Joan's characters to discover each other’s existence and claw each other’s eyes out. I was disappointed.)

 Do bigamists have more fun? After the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar192015

Ask Nathaniel

For Monday's Q&A, let's do things a little differently. No questions about actresses! (GASP!) I know it's slightly bewildering and terrifying and confusing to talk about other things but let's stretch past our natural impulses for a night. See if our brains work like that? If you're prepared to try, ask a question in the comments and I'll pick a handful plus to answer on Monday evening. Remember you're more likely to be picked if your question wouldn't require a 1000 word article on its own to answer.

Thursday
Mar192015

We Can't Wait #2: Ricki and the Flash

Team Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated. Margaret with our runner-up...

Rick Springfield & Meryl Streep. Will they make lovely music together?

Who & What: Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme teams up with Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody for a dramedy starring Oscar-winning(-and-winning-and-winning) actress Meryl Streep. The story is about a woman who left her family behind to realize her dreams of rock'n'roll stardom, and returns years later to try and make things right with them. The script has been described as funny and touching, and the supporting cast includes Kevin Kline (Sophie's Choice reunion!) and her daughter Mamie Gummer (Heartburn reunion!). If you listen really close, you can hear the sound of the HFPA penciling this onto their 2016 ballots for the Best Musical or Comedy Golden Globe. 

 

Why we're excited about it: First of all, who among us can say they don't want to see Meryl "Greatest Living Actress™" Streep all tatted up, strutting around in leather pants and combat boots while shredding on an electric guitar? And given the creative talents involved, the potential for this is sky-high. Both Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody may have some misses in their filmography, but Demme is on an upswing following actressy gem Rachel Getting Married and if there's a chance that Diablo Cody has written a lead character half as excellent as Mavis Gary in 2011's Young Adult I will be camping out in front of my local multiplex from right this second until opening night. Plus 'musician neglects family, becomes rock star' is a kind of story that's almost always told about men, and has been at least a dozen times in the past decade. Points for freshness!

What if it all goes wrong?: The last time Meryl worked with Jonathan Demme, it was on The Manchurian Candidate, one of her worst performances to date. There's also the omnipresent danger of Meryl fatigue. 


 

When: August 7, in that dependable spot where Streep vehicles have had so much counter-programming box office success.

Previously...
Thursday
Mar192015

You Link Something New Every Day

• Did you know that Debbie Harry was up for the part of "Pris" in Blade Runner? [Kenneth in the (212)]
• Will the general public love Crimson Peak as much as Stephen King does? [Cinemablend]
• Which SXSW movie buzz got you excited. I'm partial to the response to this Tab Hunter Confidential documentary, mostly because he starred with Natalie Wood so many times [The Playlist]
• Have you seen the list of SXSW winners? [SXSW]
• Have you heard Stephen Sondheim's comments on Lady Gaga's Sound of Music Oscars performance? [THR

• Do you think Disney will just put down permanent roots in mid March for Princess movies? Next up: Beauty & the Beast [Variety
• Are you excited that Sarah Polley will be doing the next remake of the oft remade Little Women? [Guardian]
• Have you been keeping up with all things Madonna this publicity round for Rebel Heart. So many stars, interviews, appearances, plus Ellen DeGeneres all week. Exhausting [Boy Culture]
• Isn't it weird how cinema is so much less horny than it was decades ago, 1976 to be precise? [NSFW -Deep Dish
• Did you know that The Sound of Music is coming back to movie theaters a month from now? That 50th Anniversary celebration just keeps on chugging along [Playbill]
• Which of Netflix's arrivals and departure's this next month have you cheering and weeping? Maybe we should do A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night for HMWYBS? [Dissolve]
• Were you aware that Timothy, one of the very best online film critics (this is why we recruited him!) is offering to review any movie of your choosing for a donation to the American Cancer Society? I just requested mine.  [Antagony & Ecstasy]  

• Finally, have you seen this supercut of actors waking up from nightmares? [Hat Tip: John August]  

It's such a movie trope but does it happen this way in real life. I've woken up like "noooo!" from an upsetting dream but generally more mumbled lethargically than the bolt upright wail. You?

 

Wednesday
Mar182015

We Can't Wait #3: Macbeth

Team Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated for 2015. Here's David to kick off the top 3...

Who & What: Yes, there have been countless Shakespeare adaptations through cinematic history, although the Scottish play is one of the Bard’s biggest plays that (perhaps) hasn’t landed a definitive English language adaptation as of yet (Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood will admittedly take some beating) – and that’s with auteurs as legendary as Orson Welles and Roman Polanski having taken a crack at it. Justin Kurzel, the Australian newbie who was much admired for the jagged savagery of his debut feature The Snowtown Murders, is in the directing chair, and has the awesome pairing of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as his royal Scottish schemers. 

People getting in the way of their bloodthirsty lust for power include David Thewlis’ Duncan, Paddy Considine’s Banquo, rising star Jack Reynor as Malcolm and The Great Gatsby’s Elizabeth Debicki as Lady MacDuff. Behind the camera, talent includes cinematographer Adam Arkapaw (Snowtown, Animal Kingdom), production designer Fiona Crombie (Snowtown, Top of the Lake) and our beloved costumer Jacqueline Durran.


Why we're excited about it: Ever since it was announced, Kurzel taking on what might be the Bard’s most gruesome pieces of work has seemed like a delectable proposition, with Snowtown’s eerie form promising a take on the greed, manipulation and psychological demonics of Macbeth that doesn’t skimp on the utter blackness at its heart. Add two of the world’s finest – not to mention most beautiful – performers at the centre, plus all of that additional talent, and this apparently ‘gothic’ take on the material can hardly fail.

What if it all goes wrong?: Well, it’s been a long wait – is that something to be worried about? Hopefully not; a preview at Cannes last year seemed to impress, and Kurzel probably didn’t want to rush it out of the editing room just for awards. Natalie Portman’s exit from the project was never explained, but it doesn’t seem to have augured any rumours of trouble in the production.

When: What with those Oscar rumblings last year, we’d wager it’ll be a long, impatient wait until some time near the end of the year, ready for next Oscar season, especially with The Weinstein Company involved. IMDb lists November and December dates for France and Sweden, but every other country is still awaiting news of when the latest take on the Bard’s most infamous play will arrive.

Previously...
Wednesday
Mar182015

"I never forget a face..."