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Entries in Oscars (50s) (86)

Monday
Jun062016

The Furniture: Decorating Madness in A Streetcar Named Desire

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

The 70th Tony Awards are in just a few days. I certainly can't be trusted with predictions, but I’ll make one guess. The award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play probably won’t be split three ways. That sort of near-impossible result has only occurred once, all the way back in 1948. The 2nd Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play was shared by Judith Anderson, Katharine Cornell, and Jessica Tandy. Tandy won for the original broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Of course, she didn’t get to be in the movie and so we will leave her behind. Elia Kazan’s film of Tennessee Williams’s masterpiece premiered less than two years after its Broadway run ended. Its success was that instant. It won four Oscars, though all but one was for acting. That fourth prize, of course, was for production design. [More...]

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Sunday
May292016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.3: Lex Barker... and Queen Dorothy Dandridge?

As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we're ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes...

After Buster Crabbe filled a loincloth beautifully and Johnny Weissmuller & Maureen O'Sullivan gave us the deservedly definitive Golden Age Tarzan and Jane, the franchise had to recast or close shop. O'Sullivan left first and by the late 40s Weissmuller was feeling too old for the role and also called it quits. The producer Sol Lesser wasn't about to let the profitable franchise go, though, and led a search for a replacement. The winner was Lex Barker, a then little known blue blood actor from New York who had been disowned by his family for choosing an acting career (!) and he took up the loincloth in 1949 for Tarzan's Magic Fountain.

I opted to watch Barker's third go at the character in Tarzan's Peril (sometimes called Tarzan and the Jungle Queen) because it was the first Tarzan film to actually shoot some scenes in Africa (Kenya to be exact) and six actors down the call list was the curio factor of a young Dorothy Dandridge as "Melmedi, Queen of The Ashuba".

Dorothy & Lex after the jump...

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Tuesday
Apr052016

Best Shot Peck Centennial: Roman Holiday & To Kill a Mockingbird

Gregory Peck was an instant sensation at the cinema. He was nominated for Best Actor in his very first year of the movies for The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) and the hits just kept on coming: The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), Twelve O'Clock High (1949). The Academy became less interested in nominating him after that the 1940s but for his Oscar winning and most iconic role (To Kill a Mockingbird) but audiences never stopped loving him. He had key hit films for over 30 years in his big screen career.

Though he was a very politically active liberal he was never interested in running for office himself but he  proved to be an influential politician within the industry itself as a key AMPAS president. 

For this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot, in honor of Peck's Centennial, we gave participants the choice between what are arguably his two greatest films, Roman Holiday (1953) or To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).

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Wednesday
Mar232016

Bye Instant Watch: Sinatra, Flashdancers, and Spielberg's Worst

It's your last chance to watch the following multiple Oscar nominated titles for free on Netflix or Amazon Prime. There are more films leaving than these but you know The Film Experience isn't good copying and pasting press releases and calling it a day. It would make our lives SO much easier but it's just not how we do. This is for you Oscar completists -- you know who you are. As is our habit, we've freeze framed the titles at random and just shared whichever image came up.

Got any feelings about these pictures? Or will you by midnight on March 31st? Do you think they deserved their wins and/or nominations?

10 OSCAR TITLES LEAVING NETFLIX AT THE END OF THE MONTH
* indicates Oscar win in the category 

African violet. I can't tell you how difficult that was to come by.

Amistad (1997)
Oscar Nods: Supporting (Anthony Hopkins), Cinematography, Costumes, Score.
Shameful Confession: I've never seen this. I think it's my most significant gap in 1990s Oscar viewing. 

9 more after the jump...

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Saturday
Mar122016

Mercedes McCambridge: Giant (1956)

Our second chapter of the Centennial Mercedes McCambridge celebration is also the second time Oscar celebrated her. She received her second and final nomination in Best Supporting Actress for Giant, a massive epic about social discrimination affecting a wealthy Texas ranching family. Here she's playing opposite massive stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean (his final performance), but McCambridge still lingers over the film after her staunch matriarch Luz Benedict departs. She has perhaps only twenty minutes of screentime at the start of the film's sprawling length, it's a brief performance that the actress makes both broad and oddly complete.

You might call her performance wooden or inexpressive if you've never experienced this kind of woman in real life. The stoic inexpressiveness and static undercurrent of rage is eerily familiar if you're accustomed to this brand of southern woman, one who has been toughened up by a man's world and educated to hate. McCambridge respects the deliberate unknowability with which Luz wants to greet the world - this is a woman who has thrived on not letting anyone in to subvert her authority. She wears Luz's hatred (and self hatred?) like an impenetrable shield of armor, as her eyes offer the only suggestion of more brewing underneath the facade. More...

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Monday
Nov162015

Tweets o' the Week

Los Angeles is uncommonly windy at the moment. Dorothy Gale windy even. Nature Attacks!

But nevertheless I'm off to the airport to fly home to NYC after quite a fun busy week of Oscar buzz and AFI festivities. We'll catch up on anything we missed (surely a lot) in the next couple of days. In the meantime please to enjoy tweets that amused us most this week.

Beginning with this hilarity from Ryan Adams and moving on to Golden Globe categorization thoughts, Charlotte Rampling praise, Bradley Cooper schadenfreude and more after the jump... 

 

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Tuesday
Nov032015

The Honoraries: Dancin' Debbie Reynolds

For the next two weeks we'll be celebrating all three of the Honorary Oscar Recipients at TFE. Here's Dancin' Dan to kick things off... with musical numbers. - Editor

Debbie Reynolds may not have started out as a dancer, but she sure made a great one on film. I can be (and honestly have been known on occasion to be) somewhat churlish and point out the exact moment from the legendary "Good Morning" number in Singin' in the Rain where the 19 year-old ingenue starts cheating her steps... but it's my favorite movie, and we're here to honor the unsinkable Ms. Reynolds, so why would I want to?

And besides, she's already proven herself the cat's meow in her first number in the film, the perfectly pretty in pink "All I Do is Dream of You". (more...)

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