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Oscar History
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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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What did YOU see this weekend?

 

Elle. Basically the same movie as The Piano Teacher but sillier. Huppert is great, but when is she not? -Jonathan

The Edge of Seventeen because I needed something light and fun. So delightful, and anchored by a wonderful Hailee Steinfeld performance. - Marina

 

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INTERVIEWS

Maria Schrader (Stefan Zweig...)
Boo Junfeng (The Apprentice
Gianfranco Rosi (Fire At Sea)
Chris Kelly (Other People)
NWR (Neon Demon)

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Entries in Oscars (50s) (92)

Monday
Dec052016

The Furniture: Design Inspires Van Gogh in Lust for Life

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

Kirk Douglas nearly drove himself over the edge while filming Lust for Life, inhabiting the character of Vincent van Gogh with a tenacity akin to the Method. The result was an Oscar nomination, likely the closest he ever came to a win. His emotionally volatile performance lends real weight to the oft-sensationalized biography of history’s most famously mad artist.

But the success of Lust for Life isn’t owed entirely to Douglas. Director Vincente Minnelli was a perfect match for the material, which necessitates a balance between the beauty that Van Gogh saw in the world and the feverish passion that drove him away from it. The Oscar-nominated production design team, led by frequent Minnelli collaborator Cedric Gibbons, offer a rich vision of the French countryside that serves as an essential counterpoint to Douglas’s madness.

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Monday
Oct312016

Oscar Horrors: Patty McCormack is "The Bad Seed"

Boo! It's the "Oscar Horrors" finale with abstew

With her blonde pigtails, pinafore dress, spotless Mary Janes, and armed with an elegant curtsy, little 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark is hardly the most intimidating figure. But beneath that childish visage lies the heart of a cold-blooded killer! One that shocked audiences in the 1950s. The Bad Seed preyed on the idea that evil wasn't some devil or mythical monster, but that it lived next door in the most unassuming of places. And worst of all, that evil was a hereditary trait that could be passed on, with no control over your assigned nature. The evil child has now become a staple of the horror genre, from the towheaded Children of the Corn to the twins from The Shining, but one of the first to make her mark (literally - watch out for those deadly shoes!) was bad seed, Rhoda Penmark, brought to life by Best Supporting Actress nominee, Patty McCormack.

I was about Rhoda's age when I first saw The Bad Seed at my friend Vicky's house...

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Wednesday
Oct052016

On this day: Jacob Tremblay, Pitch Perfect, and The Ten Commandments 

On this day in showbiz history...

Still undersung: the great Glynis Johns in "The Ref"

1902 Ray A Kroc, who popularized the McDonald's empire is born. The Founder which is about his business shenanigans/success opens this December (it was already supposed to have opened but we can't have movies for adults in the summer for some reason).
1908 Joshua Logan is born. He later makes famous movies like Bus Stop, Picnic, Camelot and South Pacific.
1923 Happy 93rd birthday to Glynis Johns, one of the greats! Her classics include: Mary Poppins, While You Were Sleeping, The Court Jester, The Ref, and Miranda. Why she doesn't have an Honorary Oscar is simply beyond our understanding. She was nominated only once for fine supporting work in The Sundowners
1945 A strike by set decorators turns into a riot "Blood Friday" at Warner Brothers studios. Are you still enjoying our series "The Furniture" on the work of production designers and set decorators? If so please comment and let Daniel know.
1946 The very first Cannes film festival wraps up...

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Sunday
Aug212016

Ben-Who? Weekend Box Office

The name "Ben-Hur" wasn't enough of a brand on its own to lure moviegoers to theaters this weekend for the remake. My guess: Those who know of Ben-Hur love the 1959 version too much to care about a 2016 version. I have zero desire to see it so if you dared the movie theater this weekend to do so, tell me this: did any of the 1925 sensuality or the 1959 homoeroticism survive in the 2016 version. Or is this just all antiseptic generic blockbuster action mode? 

Ben Hur in 1959, 2016, and 1925If you didn't see Ben-Hur, what did you see? Did you like it? More after the jump including the fate of Kubo and the Two Strings and the best thing I saw this weekend...

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Wednesday
Aug102016

Best Shot/Best Costume: "Les Girls"

For this week's episode of our cinematography series Hit Me With Your Best Shot we wanted a slight curveball as a way to celebrate the release of the Costume Design documentary Women He's Undressed. It's now available to rent on iTunes or purchase on other digital platforms. (Jose's interview with the director here). The film is about the legendary Orry-Kelly, who designed a truckload of classic Hollywood features and stars, and won three Oscars in the 1950s for An American in Paris, Les Girls  and Some Like It Hot.  So those playing "Best Shot" this week could choose any of those three. I watched Les Girls since it gets the least attention and they even use its image for the documentary's poster (left).

Les Girls  (George Cukor, 1957) is not well remembered today but curiously it reminds us yet again that mainstream Hollywood in the 50s and 60s paid a lot of attention to foreign auteurs and absorbed (or ripped off - you be the judge) their styles and conceits. The semi-musical (a few dance numbers mainly) concerns a libel lawsuit involving a former showbiz act "Barry Nichols and Les Girls" and in the courtroom we hear three different versions of the group's break up in Paris. In each of the stories Barry Nichols (Gene Kelly) gets mixed up romantically with a different girl (America's Mitzi Gaynor, Britain's Kay Kendall, and Finland's Taina Elg) and their musical act eventually implodes. It's clearly modelled on Akira Kurosawa's Rashômon (1950) which had taken an Honorary Oscar from the Academy earlier that decade.

Taina Elg quits dancing in Les Girls (1957)

So let's choose a best shot and a best costume after the jump. Happily my three favorite shots come from each of the film's three acts...

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