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Entries in How Green Was My Valley (5)

Saturday
May312014

Smackdown 1941: Margaret, Mary, Sara, Patricia & Teresa

Behold the Supporting Actresses of 1941, two stalwart mothers, two helpless pawns, and one reckless diva. All but one of them, the diva and eventual winner, were in Best Picture nominees in this highly satisfying Oscar showdown.

THE NOMINEES

Allgood, Astor, Collinge, Wright, and Wycherley

Oscar had entered its teenage years by 1941, (14th annual Academy Awards) but it was still a green enough institution that all of its supporting actresses were first timers. Mary Astor, who won the Oscar, was the only star among the nominees and she was having a great year also starring in the noir classic The Maltese Falcon. Career momentum issues should never be underestimated with Oscar outcomes. Astor was joined in the shortlist by two sturdy character players in their 60s: the British stage actress Margaret Wycherley and the Irish screen actress Sara Allgood (who had been featured in some early Alfred Hitchcock movies). Rounding out the nominee list were two true finds making their charmed film debuts in the Best Picture nominee The Little Foxes, Patricia Collinge and Teresa Wright, the latter of whom was an instant darling in Hollywood and would win the Oscar the following year for Mrs Miniver. There's that momentum factor again.

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Angelica Jade Bastien, Anne Marie, Nick Davis, Nathaniel R, Stinkylulu and You - we tabulate reader votes and quotes from your ballots appear!

Without further ado, the main event...

1941
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN

Click to read more ...

Friday
May302014

Two Quickies: How Green Was Maleficent's Valley?

How Green Was My Valley's Best Shot?
I did not forget and I'm grateful to the Best Shot participants who are so faithful and who turned theirs in on time. I fell too behind but here is my choice...

Since I can't choose "every shot of the main street" which John Ford and his cinematographer Arthur C Miller shoot in so many narratively compelling and beautiful ways with any and all the characters, I selected this one, which contains none of the main characters. Unless you stop to consider that the main character is actually the town and its people. This shot is so elegiac, like the coal miners are attending yet another funeral when it fact it's meant to be a celebratory moment. And they're actually outside the local bar... which is right next to the church...which is just down the hill from the coal mine. For all the film's sentiment -- something that threw me off the first time --  the emotional content isn't simplistic. It's generally both beautiful and barbed. The push and pull between nostalgic sentiment and brutal truth always works best in the film's silent-movie moments where no one is narrating and the dialogue is completely secondary to the images. The men look so defeated here, in prayer as they gather for a choral performance which also doubles as an impromptu depressing farewell for more fired miners, who are leaving the village behind.

Please join us next Tuesday night for Zorba the Greek (1964) -  Watch it and pick / post your best shot.

3. While You Wait For an Official Maleficent Review...
I haven't yet fully figured out my take on Maleficent. Maybe I won't? It keeps shapeshifting in my head.  Bird. Man. Dragon. Wolf. I know that many web critics can churn out 1000 words on something they saw 2 minutes ago and do it seemingly all the time. I envy them but a truth: I need more time than that to let movies percolate.  But I did manage to sift through a few of my feelings in this conversation with two movie people I adore: Mister Patches and Katey Rich on their podcast "Fighting in the War Room."

Have a listen and try out their wonderfully frequent podcast if you haven't already.

Tuesday
May272014

Visual Index ~ How Green Was My Valley 

In five seasons we've never done a Best Picture winner for Hit Me With Your Best Shot . But not intentionally. So, here's the first. I asked all willing participants to watch the chosen film - in this case John Ford's 1941 film How Green Was My Valley -  and choose what they think of as the Best Shot. (Next week we're looking at another major Oscar player Zorba the Greek to kick off June's "year of the month" which will be devoted to 1964 so please join us... especially if, like me, you've never seen it. Let's fill those gaps in our Oscar viewing, together!)

How Green Was My Valley is marvelous to look at. Though its reputation has been dulled by beating Citizen Kane to Best Picture that year it's easy to see why it won Best Cinematography for Arthur C Miller (not the playwright) among its 5 Oscars. 

"How Green Was My Valley" Best Shot(s)
click on the photo for the corresponding article at these 8 fine blogs

Doing their very best impression of 19th Century British landscape paintings. And yet, the future sneaks in...
-Antagony & Ecstasy

 

Ford later revisited a similar provincial landscape in "The Quiet Man" with vivid Technicolor results, but the black-and-white cinematography here is just as lush...
-Film Actually

The beauty of the early scenes makes the ravages of time seem all the more cruel... 
-We Recycle Movies 


I just looked at these images and couldn’t imagine them being photographed any other way…
-Coco Hits NY 

Pretty scenery? Check. Religion, singing, and coal mining all have something to do with this moment? Check...
-Allison Tooey 


- The Film Experience 


Capitalism vs. religion, new ways vs. old ways. These are the main tensions of the history of industrialization...
- The Entertainment Junkie 

An uphill battle against the smoke and ash that threaten to cover her town...
-Lam Chop Chop 

If you haven't yet seen it, do these shows make you want to?

Tuesday
May272014

Introducing... The Supporting Actresses of 1941

The next Supporting Actress Smackdown hits this coming Saturday and you can still vote as part of the panel. Your votes count toward the outcome since one of the panelists spots is for the readers! We'll look at How Green Was My Valley for Best Shot late tonight but for now, it's another edition of "Introducing..." How do we first meet these 1941 characters who will then grant their actresses the honor of becoming Academy Awards Nominees? Was the direction, music and lighting already helping to single these ladies out for honors?

Here's how they're introduced in their films...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr172014

TCM: The Sublime Maureen O'Hara

Our new contributor Diana D Drumm reporting on the TCM Festival which recently concluded

Maureen O'Hara introducing "How Green Was My Valley" at TCM 2014

Even at 93, Maureen O’Hara is still sublime, crossing the threshold of everyday stunning into moment-stopping magnificence. Peering at you, you can’t help but feel wonder. Whether she’s speaking on the beauty of a life well-lived or correcting someone’s Spanglish pronunciation of “Rio Grande” (the actress is fluent in Spanish), she transcends her surroundings, even on the red carpet in front of Grauman’s or in front of a brimmingly packed house at El Capitan Theatre. She may not be as full-bodied as her Wayne-pairing prime (that was over 60 years ago, people), but she continues to exemplify a certain Old Hollywood quality unmatched by any contemporary equivalents and envied by her compatriots at the time (including close friend and fellow famous redhead Lucille Ball).   

Considering O’Hara’s filmography (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, How Green Was My Valley, and The Quiet Man, to name just a few), it’s confounding that the Academy has yet to present her with an Honorary Oscar. As one of the last of a staggeringly bygone era, it was a true honor and privilege for TCM Classic Film Festival crowds to appreciate her live, though not nearly as much as she and her body of work deserves (yes, The Film Experience will keep nudging until the Academy announces something of import. She's 93! What are they waiting for?). [More...]

Click to read more ...