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Entries in Oscars (40s) (78)

Monday
Mar202017

On this day: Vivien's Oscar, Kevin's Bacon, Carter's Write-Down 

On this day in showbiz history

The Story of Miss Lonelyheart from Péter Lichter on Vimeo.

1913/1914 Did you know that Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey) and Miss Lonelyhearts (Judith Evelyn) from Rear Window shared a birthday? Now you do! (Uff, I love Rear Window so much)
1942 Rings on Her Finger, a screwball comedy starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney opens in theaters
1948 Gentleman's Agreement wins Best Picture at the 1947 Oscars but the enduring statues from that year are surely Edmund Gwenn's Supporting Actor win as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street and the Cinematography and Art Direction wins for the astounding Black Narcissus. What a picture! 
1952 Vivien Leigh wins her second Best Actress prize at the 1951 Oscars for A Streetcar Named Desire. Absent from the ceremony, Greer Garson accepts for Vivien...

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Wednesday
Mar152017

On this day in history, the 1944 Oscars

Today in 1945, the 17th annual Academy Awards were held with Going My Way (1944) the big winner taking 7 Oscars. This year is a interesting for a couple of reasons...

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Monday
Mar132017

On this day: Howards End, George MacKay, '46 Oscars

A very happy quarter century to one of the best young actors working George Mackay (Captain Fantastic, Pride) born on this day in 1992. We're concocting a little series on young actors to debut soon (since we spend so much time on actresses, we'll throw a little love the other direction soon). But George's birthday isn't the only thing worth celebrating today,

Other things you can celebrate in today's showbiz history are after the jump... 

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Thursday
Mar092017

Three Fittings: Haute Couture Hallucinations in "The Pirate"

New Series! Three Fittings celebrates costume design in the movies.

The whitest Caribbean ladies of all time! And why is Judy wearing a kilt balled up on her head?

We kicked off with La La Land and Allied but after a break for Oscar madness we're back with an old classic. Or perhaps this movie is better described as a notorious curio though that doesn't have the same blurb power. Regardless, Vincent Minelli's The Pirate (1948) has to be seen to be believed.

You must watch it while sober for the movie is its own pharmaceutical enhancements. I'm still having sudden flashbacks. Which is all well and good since hallucinations and fever dreams are plotted right in. 

Stay with me through this elaborate but crucial plot point. When travelling actor Serafin (Gene Kelly) hypnotizes the newly-engaged Manuela (Judy Garland) he realizes that she romantically fantasizes about the infamous pirate Macoco and promptly pretends to be him...

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Tuesday
Mar072017

Today in History: Joan Crawford's Oscar, Bel Powley's Rise, Loretta Young's Emmy

Need to feel festive today? Think on these anniversaries or birthdays today in showbiz history and celebrate accordingly. 

1914 Director Morton DaCosta was born in Philly. Though most of his career was on the stage he did direct three features: Auntie Mame, The Music Man, and Island of Love, the first two of which were Best Picture nominees!
1933 The game "Monopoly" was invented -remember that time when it seemed like every "brand" was going to become a movie and Ridley Scott was going to make this one?
1942 Televangelist wife and pop culture makeup icon Tammy Faye Baker is born. 

Much more after the jump...

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Monday
Feb202017

The Furniture: A Canadian Air Show in Captains of the Clouds

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

The United States may have entered World War II late, but American studios didn’t wait nearly as long to start making propaganda. Hollywood produced a number of pro-Allied films before the American entry into the war, from A Yankee in the RAF to the comparatively subtle Sergeant York. Though this ruffled some feathers in Washington, the debate became moot in December of 1941.

Captains of the Clouds falls right on the cusp, shot before Pearl Harbor but released in February of 1942. The film, directed by Michael Curtiz, was intended to drum up support for the Canadian war effort. The first major Hollywood production to be shot north of the border, it’s a technicolor extravaganza starring James Cagney and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

It also received two Oscar nominations. Sol Polito was recognized in the Best Cinematography category for the film’s breathtaking aerial sequences, a no-brainer. 

The nominated work of art director Ted Smith and set decorator Casey Roberts, however, is less flashy...

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Monday
Jan162017

The Furniture: Appropriating Chinese Design in "The Shanghai Gesture"

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. This week Daniel Walber looks back at one of the Art Direction Oscar nominees of 1942 for its 75th anniversary.

While Josef von Sternberg’s The Shanghai Gesture was still in production, the studio received a letter from T.K. Chang, the Chinese Consul to Los Angeles. Having read the script, he objected to its vicious and absurd portrayal of Shanghai’s underbelly and cautioned the producers to take “consideration of Chinese sentiment.”

Producer Arnold Pressburger defended the film as merely a fantasy. “This imaginary world has no connection with the realistic aspects of today,” he replied. This argument even wound up in the final cut, in the form of an opening title card: “Our story has nothing to do with the present.”


Chang saw right through Pressburger’s nonsense. “Such imaginations always prove to be constructed from the raw material of realities,” he wrote back. He was right. The Shanghai Gesture attempts a menacingly ahistorical flare by appropriating specifically Chinese decor. This is, of course, impossible. But the Oscar-nominated failure of art director Boris Leven (West Side Story) is fascinating...

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