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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Oscars (40s) (41)

Sunday
May102015

Mother's Day Special: "Now, Voyager" and Bette Davis

Happy Mother's Day, readers! Here's new contributor Angelica Jade Bastién returning to talk Bette Davis, tell all bios, and a 1940s classic. - Editor

When I introduce friends to Bette Davis for the first time I tend to show them Now, Voyager. Yes, the film gives us one of Davis' best performances but my love for it is deeply personal. Whenever I watch Now, Voyager I see my emotional landscape on the screen. As a teenager struggling with mental illness and a caring yet controlling mother who didn’t quite know how to handle it the film was a revelation. It gave me hope that I could become the woman I always dreamed of. Ultimately, my obsession with the film centers upon the multiple ways it explores motherhood. 

Now, Voyager is essentially about the transformation of Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) from spinster aunt figure to badass, emotionally realized womanhood. The film begins with Charlotte teetering at the edge of a nervous breakdown brought upon by the multitude of ways her mother, Mrs. Vale, controls her...

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Wednesday
May062015

Best Shot Special: The Orson Welles Centennial !

HMWYBS: Mid Season Finale 

Orson Welles  burst on to the cinematic scene in 1941 with Citizen Kane, which has led numerous film polls across the decades as the 'Best Film Ever Made'. (Kane's nearest rivals for the title in frequent pollings here and there seem to be Vertigo and The Godfather) It famously lost all but one of its Oscar nominations (Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz his co-writer took the Original Screenplay prize, Welles' only competitive Oscar) but genius is rarely fully appreciated in its time. Incredibly, the writer/director/actor was only 26 at the time but he was no one hit wonder adding several more classics to his filmography before his death at 70 years of age in 1985. For today's Hit Me With Your Best Shot episode, our midseason finale (the series returns on June 3rd), I asked participants to choose between Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942, my personal favorite of his), and The Lady From Shanghai (1948) depending on what they felt like watching.

Gawk at beautiful screengrabs from those movies from 10 Best Shot participants. Click on any of them to be taken to the corresponding article singing that shot's praises...

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Wednesday
Apr152015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 2): Introducing Mrs. Danvers

For its 75th Anniversary, we continue our baton-passing recap of Alfred Hitchcock's only Best Picture winner Rebecca.

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca: Nathaniel introduced us to our No Name heroine (Joan Fontaine). While travelling as a companion to a wealthy older chocaholic named Mrs. Van Hopper, she meets a mysterious stranger with a name that drips of money, Maximilian de Winter (Sir Laurence Olivier). When her employer falls ill, Maxim and No Name take the opportunity to get to know each other better. Until one day...

Part 2 by abstew

27:00 Despite Mrs. Van Hopper's skepticism over Maxim and um...Joan Fontaine's marriage (we can't officially refer to her as "The Second Mrs. de Winter" just yet since ol' Maxxie hasn't put a ring on it), the two are off for a quickie nuptial: Monte Carlo-style. Which apparently means wearing your travel clothes, almost forgetting the official papers (Freudian slip, Maxim?), and having the ceremony performed by a member of ZZ Top. More...

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Wednesday
Feb112015

Black History Month: Song of the South's Forgotten Oscar

Tim here to kick off a daily miniseries for the team. It might seem disingenuous, if not outright perverse, to begin The Film Experience's rough chronological celebration of Black History Month by taking at peek at one of the most infamously racist movies ever made, but for good or bad, Song of the South (1946) is an important milestone in the all-too-thin history of African-Americans and the Oscars. Seven years after Hattie McDaniel's groundbreaking Best Supporting Actress win for Gone with the Wind (we recently dove deep into that film else we'd start with her) James Baskett became the very first black man to receive an Academy Award, and the last for 16 years.

Not, mind you, a competitive Academy Award. Baskett was the last adult actor to receive an Honorary Oscar for a single performance (rather than for a career), with the inscription:

For his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to the children of the world, in Walt Disney's Song of the South".

[More...]

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Friday
Dec262014

'happy birthday mr co-star... happy birthday to you...'

don't bother to knock

Happy Centennial to Richard Widmark today, the noir star who won instant fame (and an Oscar nod) for his film debut as dangerous "Tommy Udo" in Kiss of Death (1947). He almost made it to his centennial too but passed away in 2008. Other highlights from his filmography include: Night and the City (1950), Don't Bother to Knock (1952), Pick Up on South Street (1952), and that late career trio of all-star-cast Oscar darlings: Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), How the West Was Won (1962), and Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

Any favorite Widmark performances? I have never seen (gulp) Kiss of Death. I suppose I should get on that given the Oscar nomination.

Monday
Oct272014

The Honoraries: Maureen O'Hara in Black Swan (1942)

Drum roll please...

Welcome to our miniseries "The Honoraries". From now until November 8th when the Governor's Awards are held, we'll be celebrating the careers of the three Honorary Oscar recipients of 2014 (Maureen O'Hara, Hayao Miyazaki, Claude Carriere) and the Jean Hersholt winner (Harry Belafonte). Because I am behind  schedule and sniffly and sneezy we'll start with a reprise repurposing of a look back to the super entertaining swashbuckler Black Swan starring matinee idol extraordinaire Tyrone Power (who so deserves a biopic) and the woman we've campaigned to receive a Honorary for years and years now. The Academy finally listened and Maureen O'Hara, Queen of Technicolor, we'll finally get her golden due on November 8th. 

Herewith a look back at Black Swan which the Portman/Aronofsky drama was NOT a remake of. Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara don't see themselves in mirrors or have hallucinatory mental breakdowns scored to Tchaikovsky in this swashbuckler. But cinephiles with good taste in Old Hollywood beauties may feel like they're hallucinating when looking at Tyrone Power or Maureen O'Hara in Technicolor. [more...]

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