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Supporting Actress Smackdown 1948
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"I'm a huge Jean Simmons fan, and I think she legitimately takes the prize here" - Matt

"Pauline Kael called Claire Trevor's a great bad performance or something in an aside for a review in the seventies, and I agree. She's auditioning for the Carol Burnett parody of herself." - Alfred

"People really should see Raw Deal because it's absolutely spectacular." - Cal


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Entries in Oscars (50s) (62)

Friday
May292015

Smackdown Summer - Revamp Your Queues!

We're just 9 days away from the launch of another Smackdown Summer. Rather than announce piecemeal, we'll give you all five lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up with these films (some of them stone cold classics) over the hot months. Remember to cast your own ballots during each month for the reader-polling (your 1979 votes are due by June 4th). Your votes count toward the final Smackdown win so more of you should join in. 

These Oscar years were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and desire-to-watch moods.  I wish we had time to squeeze in a dozen Smackdowns each summer! As it is there will be TWO Smackdowns in June, a gift to you since this first episode was delayed.

Sunday June 7th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1979

Meryl Streep won her first of three Oscars while taking her co-star Jane Alexander along for the Oscar ride in Kramer vs. Kramer. The delightful character actress Barbara Barrie was nominated for her mom role in Breaking Away, Mariel Hemingway as Woody Allen's preternaturally wise teenage lover in Manhattan, and Candice Bergen played a singing divorcee in Starting Over - a role that supposedly helped win her Murphy Brown a decade later.

PANELISTS: Nathaniel R (TFE), Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central), Kristen Sales (Sales on Film), Brian Herrera (StinkyLulu) and novelist K. M. Soehnlein ("The World of Normal Boys," "Robin and Rudy")

 

Sunday June 28th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1948

1948's roster has a genuine movie star and one of the most iconic character actresses of all time in Jean Simmons who didn't get to the nunnery in Hamlet and Agnes Moorehead in Johnny Belinda respectively. Also nominated were two women from the immigrant family drama I Remember Mama, Barbara Bel Geddes and Ellen Corby. But taking home the gold was Claire Trevor in the Bogart & Bacall noir Key Largo. Will the panel agree with Oscar's decision? 

PANELISTS: TBA

 

Sunday July 26th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1995

The Oscar went to one-hit wonder Mira Sorvino (okay, two hit wonder: hi Romy & Michelle!) for her hooker with a heart of gold in Mighty Aphrodite but then no one knew what her future had in store. No one knew that for any of the contenders since they were all first timers. Sorvino was up against two familiar ensemble players Kathleen Quinlan in the popular hit Apollo 13, and critical darling Mare Winningham from Georgia, and two "new" faces who'd continue on to future Oscar glories and Great Actress reputations in Kate Winslet (Sense & Sensibility) and Joan Allen (Nixon).

PANELISTS TBA

Sunday August 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1954 

Eva Marie Saint dropped a glove and won an Oscar for On the Waterfront opposite Marlon Brando by any margin the most famous of 1954's Oscar nominated films. But what will the panel make of her competition? There's also the formidable Nina Foch in the all-star corporate drama Executive Suite, Katy Jurado, the first Mexican actress ever nominated, for the western Broken Lance and rounding out the category were two women from John Wayne's airline thriller The High and the Mighty, Jan Sterling and Oscar regular Claire Trevor.

PANELISTS TBA

 

Sunday September 27th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1963 (Season Finale!)  

Since the 2015 film year really heats up in September with the Toronto Film Festival (10th-20th) and Prestige Season Kick-Off, we're taking it easy for the finale with the one of only two years when only three films were nominated in the Supporting Actress category. Margaret Rutherford won the Oscar for The VIPs, a Liz & Dick show, Lilia Skalia was also popular in nun mode for Lilies of the Field but it was the Best Picture winning sex comedy Tom Jones that was the informal star of this category with three of Albert Finney's co-stars nominated (the all time record in this category): Diane Cilento, Joyce Redman, and '60s Oscar fixture Dame Edith Evans (nominated shortly thereafter for both The Chalk Garden and The Whisperers

PANELISTS TBA

 

Queue up those DVDs, readers, and play along at home! Unless you're a semi-famous star or accomplished character actor, oft-employed industry professional, best selling novelists, popular film critic, or AMPAS member in which case, tell me which panel you want to be on! (Shameless Plug). You know you want to join in the movie merriment !!!

Tuesday
Mar172015

Visual Index ~ The Quiet Man's Best Shots

HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY!

One of the specific things the series Hit Me With Your Best Shot has taught me over the years is how great John Ford is as a director. When I was younger I never liked his films much but now I end up wanting to talk about every other scene in whichever film I'm watching of his; it's easy to marvel at the way he's staging and shooting his stories as an adult. His Ireland themed location-shot romantic dramedy classic The Quiet Man (1952) won the directing and cinematography Oscars in its year. It took the latter surely for those lush emerald landscapes and beautiful pops of color like blue dresses and flowers and The Queen of Technicolor's fiery mane. It inexplicably lost Best Picture in its year (to the oft-reviled The Greatest Show on Earth) but it obviously contributed to the decision to hand Maureen O'Hara's her recent highly deserved Honorary Oscar as its the movie most often cited when people talk about her gifts. But the movie sure is fun and sexy, too.

As usual the Best Shot participants wove interesting personal details and insights into their posts. We even have our first father & son article (!) as befits a film that's a clear family favorite in some homes.

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT ~ THE QUIET MAN (1952)
Click on any of the 10 images in rough chronological order to read the 14 corresponding articles at these fine blogs & pinterests.

Images that were made by an enormously talented pair of image-makers to be read as quickly and deeply as possible....
-Antagony & Ecstasy

 

 As if she's a forest spirit that has stepped out of Celtic folklore.
-The Film's The Thing (Son)

It’s thematically and technically effective, but it’s also a gorgeous and unusual shot. 
-Coco Hits NY 

There are plenty of images to pull from “The Quiet Man” that confirm the Academy’s judgement
- Nebel Without a Cause 

This may very well be the start of a new actressing obsession for me...
-A Fistful of Films 


I’m choosing this as my Best Shot because it reminds me that as husbands, we are called to scoop up God’s grace and bring it just a little closer to our wives.
-I/fwp 


They may have layers and layers of clothing on, but that is downright erotic. For 1952, it's practically porn
-Dancin Dan on Film 

'"a good Christian act.'"
- Sorta That Guy 


There's more to its cinematography than those outdoors scenes...
-Film Actually 


In every scene you can tell that they'd like to chuck the customs to get to the consummation. Except when it's time to get to the consummation...
- The Film Experience 

Ford was a master of filling every frame with visual information...
-The Entertainment Junkie

Unlike anything else in this particular film... 
-Dusty Hixenbaugh 


Imagine how an inhabitant from the fictitious 1920s Irish community of Inisfree might react to an episode of Fox’s EMPIRE...
-Paul Outlaw  

Although I respect any person’s right to say no—even married people c. 1950s rural Ireland—it really grinded my maidenly gears...
-Video Valhalla  

So, the story takes the same path as expected... the meeting, banter, spats and misunderstanding, conflict, and finally, reconciliation.
-The Film's The Thing (Father)

 

Tuesday
Mar172015

"Is this a courtship or a donnybrook?"

Top o' the morning...er... evening to you and a Happy St. Patrick's Day. To prepare for tonight's Hit Me With Your Best Shot we started the morning off right  by screening the John Ford classic The Quiet Man (1952). For those who haven't seen the film, it's about a rich American (John Wayne) who moves back to his ancestral homeland determined to settle down and immediately falls passionately in love with a fiery stranger (Maureen O'Hara) before he's even learned her name or bought that home which which to settle down into; O'Hara has that affect on people. One of the reasons I love watching old movies that I only have vague familiarity with (usually as a child) is that they're altogether different when you watch them as an adult. I've loved O'Hara since I was a child but I tended to avoid John Wayne movies (Red River is the only one of his films I've seen more than once, entirely due to Montgomery Clift). Which is why I was quite surprised to be drawn to John Wayne's stoic but expressive performance here and nearly chose this image as my best shot

I'm limiting myself to three images after the jump. It's so difficult because this movie is gorgeous. It won the Cinematography Oscar and its not hard to see why...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar052015

Cinderella Week: Disney's Animated Cinderella (1950)

With Disney's new live-action Cinderella nearly upon us, Team Experience is taking a look at some of the screen adaptations of Charles Perrault's classic fairy tale. Here's Tim to kick it off (the glass slipper et al.) - Editor

What better place to start Cinderella week, than with Disney's own version of the story? I give you the 2007 direct-to-video masterwork Cinderella III: A Twist in Time !


Wait, no, that's absolutely not right at all.

I give you Cinderella (1950)! The classic that saved Walt Disney Productions from extinction, birthed the studio's Silver Age Renaissance, and created the most princessy of all the characters in the Disney Princess marketing line-up, the one who will lead them into battle if they ever team up, Avengers-style, to save the world.

And it is kind of baffling to me that Disney has never apparently thought to go that route. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb202015

Post Predictions Oscar Jitters

Do you think Oscar wishes he had more of a bubble butt?

Have you voted on our Oscar charts? It's your last day to vote for your PICTURE, DIRECTOR, ACTOR, ACTRESS, SUPPORTING ACTRESS, SUPPORTING ACTOR, and SCREENPLAY preferences. I'll announce the Reader's Choice winners tomorrow.

If you found my "final predictions post" here yesterday a bit baffling in its haphazhard order -- I'm always a mess on Oscar weekend -- I'd suggest reading my far more organized final take at Towleroad which reiterates all the arguments I've been making the past month but in a more \readable fashion. If you read this blog every day you already know what I'm expecting but naturally I'm having "I'll be so wrong!" jitters. I like being wrong, don't get me wrong (super predictable set in stone years are dull) but I don't like being too wrong. It's a fine distinction but an important one!

My Great Fear is that Grand Budapest loses two prizes I predicted it for (Makeup and Costumes) to inferior work (i.e. all of its competitors in those categories).

My Great Dream is that Michael Keaton surprises and takes Best Actor against the odds because it has been forever since we've had an "all fictional characters winning" years. 1997 to be exact when As Good As it Gets, LA Confidential, and Good Will Hunting provided a brief reprieve from the exhausting dominance of biopic mimicry. 

Everyone was applauding Shirley Booth in the 1952/1953 seasonMy Great Confusion is shared with all. No matter how I weigh it, I can't figure out the Birdman vs Boyhood situation. No matter what your feelings about either, you have to admit that they'd be atypical winners. Birdman is quite cerebral and weird and funny (none of which generally describe Oscar winners) and Boyhood is quite "small" and indie-feeling despite its epic 12 years in the making slant. So I remind myself that I love both of them and either will make a great Best Picture so let the chips fall where they may.

But in terms of the Academy both seem "soft" if you will. If people love Birdman so much why isn't Keaton the Best Actor frontrunner and if people love Boyhood so much why does Birdman keep winning guild prizes? I keep coming up with scenarios wherein the Best Picture wins only one other Oscar and that has not happened since The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). And never before that until you go back to the 1940 and earlier when they had far less categories than they have now. Only 2 Oscars for the Best Picture winner seems highly unlikely but then 1952 might be a magic coincidence film year since that was also the last year a woman in her fifties won Best Actress.

 

Friday
Nov142014

100 Days 'Til Oscar. A Short Clean Sweep

We're all used to the Oscar ceremony drawing monotonous "it's too long!" complaints. Yours truly doesn't share that view. Hell, if they wanted to do 9-hour broadcasts and include all the honoraries again and give more attention to the craft categories, and never skimp on any of the four category clip reels for the actors, I'd gladly watch each additional minute. But the super long Oscar ceremony is actually not a historic consistency. The earliest Oscars were short banquets and once they started televising them in the 50s the lengths varied.

Gigi made a clean sweep with 9 Oscars but with no acting nominations. Burl Ives (The Big Country), Susan Hayward (I Want To Live!), and David Niven and Wendy Hiller (not pictured) from Separate Tables won the acting Oscars.

The shortest of all televised ceremonies was the 1958 Oscars, broadcast live on April 6th, '59. It was only 100 minutes long. Can you imagine it? 

Of course if you're just going to hand all the statues to something as dull as Gigi, which made a clean sweep with 9 wins from 9 nominations PLUS an Honorary Oscar for Maurice Chevalier, you'd best do it quickly you know? Fun fact: If you started watching Gigi as its Oscar ceremony began you'd still have 15 minutes of the movie left when the Oscars wrapped.

Gigi gets a bad wrap but it wasn't a terribly competitive film year and at least it wasn't quite the worst of the nominees. The other nominees were Auntie Mame, The Defiant Ones, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and (ugh) Separate Tables. I suspect the dread sixth 'just-missed' slot belonged to Robert Wise's I Want to Live! which received 6 nominations and a long awaited win for Susan Hayward. Which would you have voted for?

And no write in votes for the actual best movie of 1958, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo which got a measly two nominations and no gold. I suspect it was nowhere near a Best Pic nomination given the initial chilly response from audiences, critics, and the Academy.