September 26, 2015

Cornel Wilde, A Song to Remember

as FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN
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The positive: it's always refreshing to view the singular Oscar nominated performance of an otherwise forgotten actor, because you can only handle reoccurring presences of Gary Cooper, Greer Garson, and Bette Davis for so long. In this case it's Cornel Wilde, who, after taking a gander at his filmography, probably wouldn't be at all on my radar if it wasn't for this nomination. The negative: this nomination is for a biopic on Frédéric Chopin, which is just about as exciting as you would expect it to be.

September 23, 2015

Greer Garson, The Valley of Decision

as MARY RAFFERTY
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At long last, we've reached the end of Greer Garson's reign as the perennial nominee of the forties. And what an extraordinarily banal run it was. I see similarities here to that of Amy Adams; for whatever reason, both came/have come through on the backs of several performances that, when boiled down, are pretty much the same, with tiny different elements here and there. What's more, as talented as they are within the confines of their respective schticks, I don't believe them to be very transcendent actresses. Because of this, I find myself exhausted by their presences at the Oscars, and at this point I feel as though I am without the inspiration to give Garson a proper review--because what can I possibly critique here that's any different from my last five reviews?

September 19, 2015

Ingrid Bergman, The Bells of St. Mary's

as SISTER MARY BENEDICT
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Won: New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actress | Golden Globe - Best Actress
Fresh off her Best Actress win, Ingrid Bergman came roaring back in a big way in 1945. With The Bells of St. Mary's being the highest grossing flick of the year, not to mention Spellbound and Saratoga Trunk being the second and seventh highest grossing flicks of the year, her star power was, without a doubt, at supernova levels. Today Mildred Pierce has carried on a more reputable legacy, but Bergman came pretty close to having her own Luise Rainer/Spencer Tracy moment, having picked up Best Actress prizes at the still infantile Golden Globes and the NYFCC. I for one am glad they didn't reward Bergman; not because of the content to which I am averse; rather, in my opinion it's just not a very "winning" role.

September 13, 2015

Bing Crosby, The Bells of St. Mary's

as FATHER CHUCK O'MALLEY
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And now comes the second-nominated priest performance of 1945, the second in a row from Bing Crosby (playing the same character to boot!), and the fourth in the Best Actor category total across 1944-1945 (40% priests...it's as painful for me as it is hilarious). Ultimately, The Bells of St. Mary's isn't very different from Going My Way, and Crosby's work in the sequel is pretty much the same schtick we had seen the year before.

September 12, 2015

Gregory Peck, The Keys of the Kingdom

as FATHER FRANCIS CHISHOLM
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The Keys of the Kingdom is one of those interesting cases in the sense that it looks like it got a New York release one year but didn't get a Los Angeles release until the next. Gregory Peck was honored with a Best Actor nomination at the 1946 Academy Awards ceremony in spite of this movie being marked as a 1944 film everywhere you look. I bring this up because the movie basically could have not been nominated, and if I had it my way I'd have preferred that the Academy had forgotten about this movie altogether. Because I hated it. And Peck, bless his heart, does not have the goods to make this film worthwhile.