HOT TOPICS

NEW ON DVD / BLURAY

Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


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

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT DU JOUR
Is Tootsie the Greatest Movie?

"I freaking love this list, and it promises to derail my professional life for the next few days as I dive deep into the data." - Corey

"BD Wong loves Baby Boom! I love BD Wong!" - John

"My big issue with this list is the total lack of animation- but I suppose that makes sense if it's generated by actor picks." - Austin

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe
What'cha Looking For?

Entries in Oscars (40s) (52)

Tuesday
Jun302015

1948: The Incredible Introduction of Montgomery Clift

The Smackdown may have ended but here's one last 1948 piece from abstew on TFE's favorite classic dramatic actor to close out the year of the month. - Editor

Before there was Brando and James Dean there was Montgomery Clift. And while those actors are often credited for bringing a new type of leading man to the big screen, through a mix of masculine machismo with feminine vulnerability, without Clift paving the way, the future of acting might have looked far different. The country was just emerging from the hardships of WWII. After seeing the travesties of war firsthand, they were ready for something more realistic and Clift was the answer to the change they were seeking. Having worked as a stage actor for over 10 years (where he made his Broadway debut at age 15 in the Pulitzer Prize-winning There Shall Be No Night), Clift was a serious actor that had honed his craft and emerged fully-formed in Hollywood with his first two films, both released in 1948, the western Red River and the post-war drama The Search

Having caught Clift in a production of the Tennessee Williams play You Touched Me!, director Howard Hawks convinced the young actor to bring his unique set of skills to his western. John Wayne, an actor so synonymous with the genre that he was practically its patron saint, was already headlining and Hawks felt that Clift, who didn't even know how to ride a horse, would bring a different energy and dynamic to the stoic western figure. Wayne needed some convincing and laughed at the thought of the slender Clift being able to hold his own in the film's final throw down confrontation against him. But Clift, ever the professional, worked tirelessly to master the demands of the role and gives a performance that pays homage to cowboys past but is entirely its own creation. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun282015

Podcast: More 1948 Smackdowning. Which Films Have Aged Well? 

You've read the new Supporting Actress Smackdown. Now here is it's companion podcast. This month there wasn't an obvious theme as in 1979's gender politics, but we had fun discussing the films and genres presented from noir to Shakespeare to soggy memoirs.

Host: Nathaniel R
Special Guests: Abdi Nazemianset, Catherine Stebbins, Joe Reid, and Tim Robey

Contents

  • 00:01 Introductions and how 1948 is new to us
  • 04:20 I Remember Mama is a George Stevens film? And how about those accents in Mama and Johnny Belinda
  • 18:00 Why did Key Largo only get one nomination -was it the noir thing?
  • 21:00 Stage & Cinema - they're all play adaptations but Key Largo and Hamlet both have an Ophelia! Shakespeare archetypes and Orson Welles
  • 33:00 Claire Trevor in Raw Deal (1948)
  • 36:00 Alternate nominees plus other 1948 films we like: Easter Parade, Cry of the City and Red River.
  • 40:00 Goodbyes and remake/recasting pitches from 1948

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes.  Please continue the conversation in the comments. Who would you have nominated in 1948 for the big categories -- particularly in supporting? Which of the four main films we discussed is your favorite? 

And how about that Ann Miller in Easter Parade


 P.S. Further reading. During our 1948 month we looked at five additional films ICYMI: The Red ShoesLetter From an Unknown Woman,the animated shorts of the yearTreasure of the Sierra Madre and Sorry Wrong Number

P.P.S. The next smackdown at the end of July is 1995 so make sure to watch Sense & Sensibility, Mighty Aphrodite, Georgia, Apollo 13, and Nixon this month for a refresher. 

1948 Smackdown Companion

Sunday
Jun282015

Smackdown 1948: Jean, Barbara, Claire, Ellen, and Agnes Moorehead

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '48. A young writer, a drunken chanteuse, two spinster aunties, and a girl who never gets to the nunnery.

THE NOMINEES

1948 is so basic. A typical Best Supporting Actress shortlist looks almost exactly like this: an actress whose paid her dues finally getting a plum opportunity (hello usually uncredited Ellen Corby in I Remember Mama finally stepping into the limelight), a rapidly rising star (Jean Simmons in Hamlet, not her first attention grabbing role in the late 40s), a fresh ingenue in a popular picture (Meet Barbara Bel Geddes in I Remember Mama), and if you're lucky in a good year a couple of revered character actresses to class up the shortlist joint (Agnes Moorehead in Johnny Belinda and Claire Trevor in Key Largo). And within that mix you'll usually have a protagonist demoted to "supporting" and Best Picture heat helping at least a few of them find a seat at the table. All of that is true for 1948. What isn't so typical is a supporting actress winning on a picture's sole nomination and that happened here. Key Largo has aged well but Oscar didn't have any time for it back then outside of Trevor's drunk despair. The other three pictures had 24 nominations between them!

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Here to talk about these five turns are screenwriter/author Abdi Nazemian ("The Walk in Closet"), film blogger Catherine Stebbins (Cinema Enthusiast), freelance journalist Joe Reid, film critic Tim Robey (The Telegraph), and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience). In addition to this write up we recorded a companion podcast  where we flesh out some of these thoughts and expound on the movies themselves.

Without further ado...

1948
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 

 

BARBARA BEL GEDDES as "Katrin" in I Remember Mama
Synopsis: A teenager who dreams of being a writer finds source material in her immigrant mother
Stats: Then 26 yrs old, 2nd film, first and only nomination. 72 minutes of screen time (or 54% of running time). 

Abdi Nazemian: She carries much of the emotional life of the film, but I found the film unbearably sentimental (this from a man who loves Andy Hardy movies and Little Women). She lacks the unique quirks that young actors like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney brought to the same kinds of roles, and gives us a bland portrayal of adolescence. Of all the nominated actresses, she was given the most screen time, and did the least with it. 

Catherine Stebbins: One of these days I’ll figure out why I’m always so drawn to Bel Geddes. She has a lot of screen time as Katrin, given the unenviable task of holding up the film’s relentless episodic nostalgia. She is narrator, observer, worshiper, and an adult playing an adolescent. Katrin constantly looks at her mother, whether in the background or foreground, with reverent awe. Bel Geddes plays this with a partial cognizance that Katrin is in the gently reenacted memories of her past. ♥♥♥

Joe Reid: I can see how, if you were swept up in the homey charms of George Stevens' film, you'd want to throw accolades at Bel Geddes, who plays such an observant window onto the life of her saintly mother. Her hushed voice-over gets to the gauzy-memoir nature of the story effectively, but I'm not sure the performance ever gets much farther than doe-eyed wonderment.  ♥♥

Tim Robey: Saddled with just about the hoariest framing narration in film history, and doing little to lift it out of sanctified goo, Barbara has a near-impossible task here – making the terminally precious Katrin and her “gifted” (read: soporific) memoirs interesting. She can’t win, but we still need something more than a voice like tree sap to get us through this. In overegged close-ups she’s weirdly divorced from real-time engagement with her scenes, and every co-star seems faintly embarrassed about what to do with her. 

Nathaniel R: In the movie's crowded frames, you can often see just her hair or the back of her head; unfortunately her full closeups aren't that much more expressive, generally landing a single emotion. The narration is even stiffer like she's reading to a very small child from an immobile body cast. (The direction and screenplay all but force this stiff repetitiveness though, so it's not all on her) She aces warm awestruck looks at goddess Irene Dunne, but... I mean... who doesn't?  

Reader Write-Ins: "She is telling THEIR story, which she happens to be in. Therefore she is bland, quiet, blending to the background so others can showcase themselves." - Tom (Reader average: ♥♥¼)

Actress earns 10¼ ❤s 

four more actresses after the jump


Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun262015

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Continuing the theme of looking back at 1948 ahead of this weekend's Smackdown. Here's Angelica discussing one of Joan Fontaine's greatest roles...

A few years ago when working at the Chicago International Film Festival I got into a conversation with a coworker about classic Hollywood actresses who, for whatever reason, do not connect with modern women as much as they did in their own time. The conversation centered on Norma Shearer but I think it can also apply to Joan Fontaine. I’ve often had trouble introducing my friends to Fontaine. Sure, they may like Rebecca but the tenor of her infatuation and willingness to lose her identity in love always hits a sour note. At her best, Fontaine made martyrdom on the altar of love an art form. This was never clearer than in the 1948 Max Ophuls film, Letter from an Unknown Woman. If Now, Voyager represents the women’s picture at its most transformative, Letter from an Unknown Woman shows the genre at its most tragic and masochistic.

Based on the novella by Stefan Zweig, the film begins in Vienna 1900. We meet Stefan (Louis Jordan) a rakish pianist planning to run out of town before a scheduled duel. Before he can do so his mute servant (Art Smith) gives him the titular letter. It begins ominously, “By the time you read this letter I may be dead.”

More...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun252015

Tim's Toons: The state of animation in 1948

Tim here. We're talking about 1948 this week at the Film Experience, and it's my turn to take you back to the world of American animation in the aftermath of World War II. It was a fertile period: of the three studios that had dominated the medium prior to the war, Fleischer had been absorbed into Paramount and disappeared, while Disney had been badly damaged by an animators strike in 1941 and the loss of overseas markets, and spent the second half of the decade in desperate survival mode. That left a vacuum, which was filled by a sprawling variety of competitors that thrived even after Disney managed to find its footing again.

Pictured: Disney in 1948. Literally: it's from their film Melody Time.

In tribute to this unusually diverse marketplace, arguably not matched again in theatrical animation until the early 2000s, may I present three of the most unique and important animated milestones of 1948 after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun252015

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "The Red Shoes"

Before we begin, the beginning...

Is this not one of the cinema's most exquisite title cards? It's presentational, theatric, classic, colorful, and bears the distinct mark of handmade craftsmanship. That's all perfectly emblematic of the film itself, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's highly theatrical, deeply colorful look at obsessive artistry, possibly the greatest film of 1948, our Year of the Month (the Smackdown is Sunday)

Before we get to my choice, I'd like to share the others from around the web, since I was running late to my own series like some selfish prima ballerina whose 45 minutes late to rehearsal.

THE RED SHOES
Cinematography by Jack Cardiff
10 BEST SHOT(s)
As chosen by these participating blogs. Click on the photos for corresponding articles.

 Waves crashing on the shore of the stage. It's such a perfectly impressionistic moment...
-Dancin' Dan on Film

The film approaches this theme of obsession in some rather surprising ways...
-The Entertainment Junkie

 

Love and obsession are two sides of the same coin...
-Film Actually

 

If you haven't seen The Red Shoes, rest assured that it's the biggest gap in your film education, and you should make it a short-term priority...
-Antagony & Ecstasy

 

If you think about it, The Red Shoes,is just an incredibly artsy examination of the “Can women truly have it all?” question...
-Pop Culture Crazy

 

(Vicky. Her Relationship. Dancing). This love triangle of sorts dominates the latter half of the film... 
-Sorta That Guy

He holds them up to the camera...daring us to take them.
-Coco Hits NY 

Showcasing the cinematic artifice and especially the psychology. It's super overt, but why not?
-Movie Motorbreath

 

In a way watching her dance reminded me of the movie Ed Wood (I know strange comparison but hear me out).  He is so happy making his terrible movies.  The smile on his face never leaves."
-54 Reviews 

They're all great beauties and I considered some of them. My pick after the jump...

Click to read more ...