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Entries in Oscars (60s) (118)

Monday
Nov142016

The Furniture: How Subtly Is Paris Burning? (Not Very)

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

This week marks 50 years since the release of Is Paris Burning? (not to be confused with documentary classic Paris is Burning) an epic that hasn’t quite stood the test of time. In the tradition of The Longest Day, it harnesses a cast of thousands to tell the story of a single, crucial moment of World War Two: The liberation of Paris. French stars like Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon take roles in the Resistance, while the likes of Kirk Douglas and Glenn Ford play American generals. There are cameos from Simone Signoret, George Chakiris and Anthony Perkins, to name only a few.

 

Directed by René Clément with a script by Gore Vidal and Francis Ford Coppola, you’d think it would be more popular. Still, it’s worth revisiting, and not only for its two Oscar nominations (art direction and cinematography).The film’s visual ambition is often astonishing. Its commitment to accuracy caused at least one unlucky Parisian passerby that the Wehrmacht had actually returned. Everything is bold, nothing subtle.

Production designer Willy Holt, an American who mostly worked in France, later worked on Julia and Au revoir les enfants. Art director Marc Frederix designed for films as disparate as Moonraker and Love and Death, while his colleague Pierre Gufroy won an Oscar for Roman Polanski’s Tess. Clearly, the talented group was more than up to the task of winding back the clock 20 years on one of the world’s most recognizable cities.

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Thursday
Oct272016

Oscar Horrors: Japan's Ghost Story "Kwaidan"

Boo! It's "Oscar Horrors". Each evening we'll look back on a horror-connected nomination until Halloween. Here's Dancin' Dan on a spooky Japanese beauty...

Have any of you ever seen Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan? I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't. Even among Japanese films, it's not much talked about today, though it deserves to be. Kwaidan is a rarity in so many ways - an omnibus film made by one director, a truly artful horror film, a groundbreaking work of art. It was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in 1965 (losing to the heartrending The Shop on Main Street from Czechoslovakia), and it's a bit hard to imagine it getting that far today, even with its arthouse bona fides like a Special Jury Prize at Cannes...

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Wednesday
Oct262016

Oscar Horrors: "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"

Boo! It's "Oscar Horrors". Each evening 'til Halloween we look back on a horror-connected Oscar nomination. Here's David on the cinematography of a camp classic...

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is hardly remembered as a horror classic; its camp reputation precedes it, as its recent appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars attests. (Only the finest for that crop of drag queens!) While the film is not what we might traditionally think of as a horror film, it has the same elements of lost souls, grotesque faces and physical cruelty that you might expect from any product of the genre. Just one year after Alfred Hitchcock changed the genre forever with Psycho, Baby Jane features a close-up of Joan Crawford’s face mushed against the floor - an eerie recall of Janet Leigh’s glassy-eyed demise.

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Tuesday
Oct112016

And The Winner Is... Julie. No, the Other Julie.

137 days until the Oscars. Random Trivia Attack!

Did you know that Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music) losing to Julie Christie (Darling) for the 1965 Best Actress Oscar is one of only two times that the Best Actress winner has beaten a fellow nominee with the same first name?! Now you do!

The Only Other Time It Happened
1989 Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy) beating Jessica Lange (Music Box)

P.S. Though if you aren't terrible strict about it you could say three times given the case of Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets) and Helena Bonham Carter (Wings of Dove) but that one hurts to bring up so never mind!

Wednesday
Sep072016

Shock Corridor (1963)

1963 is our "year of the month". Here's Sean Donovan on Shock Corridor

In Robert Polito’s Criterion Collection essay on Samuel Fuller’s 1963 film Shock Corridor, the firebrand filmmaker Fuller is quoted saying “it is not the headline that counts, but how hard you shout it.” This spirit of loud, unabashed aggression perfectly epitomizes Shock Corridor, a singular, strange entry in the cinema of 1963. The film follows an ambitious journalist Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) who gets himself committed to a mental hospital (after faking incestuous urges in a meeting with psychiatrists) to crack a mysterious murder case from the inside-out, hoping to get the secrets from the inmates on their own level. If it sounds like the makings of a sleazy pulp fiction novel, that’s exactly what is.

Shock Corridor is pure b-movie Hollywood gutter trash, but with Samuel Fuller at the helm, it becomes something fascinatingly independent and bizarre... 

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