December 31, 2016

José Ferrer • Cyrano de Bergerac

as Cyrano de Bergerac
Won: Academy Award - Best Actor • Golden Globe Award - Best Actor (Drama)

With it's unusual title and a goofy looking, oft-smirking main character bearing a giant honker of a nose while draped in doublets and feathered hats, at face value I had thought Cyrano de Bergerac to be some sort of cartoonish caper B-movie instead of the verbose tragic dramedy it revealed itself to be. Edmond Rostrand's story veers into an array of different directions, but the tale itself remains an intelligible and compelling piece of drama, all the more perpetuated by José Ferrer's magnetic work as the eponymous character.

December 26, 2016

Louis Calhern • The Magnificent Yankee

as Oliver Wendell Holmes

The Magnificent Yankee is our first toe-dip into 1950, and it's undoubtedly a residual remnant of the decade which preceded it - it is a prestige, feel-good, stage-rooted biopic that plays to nationalist tendencies. In this case, this is a biopic focused on Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, a Justice whom I suspect few in 2016/2017 are familiar with. Yet more broadly, the concept of an entire film dedicated to the life of a Supreme Court Justice is baffling to me, and in this particular film's case, there's a heavy air of irrelevancy that looms over tale and performance.

November 19, 2016

Now Entering: the Fifties















It's time to kick off the 1950s! This new era for Oscargasms has come following two years of bated breath (basically, I had started to want out of the 1940s by the time I was reviewing 1942). That said, there're plenty of films that I'm stoked to see from this coming decade. Let's take a high-level overview of what lies ahead for me:

  • THE METHOD - If there was a standout moment in the latter half of the 1940s, it was in viewing Montgomery Clift's performance for The Search. There he brought a fresh, alternative brand of realism to his acting in juxtapose with a traditional studio-style acting that, while fine in and of itself, has a more artificial, old-time rhythm and flow to it through modern eyes. Clift and John Garfield were among the first to give a sneak preview of the type of a revolutionary style of acting that would be further proliferated into the mainstream by the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean in the subsequent decade - and I can't wait to watch all of it!
  • THE EPICS - You can't think of the 1950s without thinking of that all that squeaky-clean white picket fence suburbia. The 1940s saw the excitement of a world war come and go, and I see the 1950s as the "coming down" period - soldiers came home, got married, made babies, and moved into the suburbs - thus allowing for television to become a dominant medium for entertainment. Hollywood's response: BIG, MAJOR, LONG-ASS epics (with Cinemascope! Technicolor! Cinerama! 3D!) meant to attract people back to theaters. And a load were nominated for Oscars...The Greatest Show on Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, The Ten Commandments, Giant and Ben-Hur, to name a few. Not too excited about these, only because I'm the type of antsy moviegoer who thinks that if a film's going to be over 2 hours, it sure as hell better be worth every ensuing minute...but we'll see.
  • THE DIRTY PLAYS - There're quite a few risqué stage-to-film productions this decade that got Oscar's attention, a stark contrast to the heavily family-friendly fare of the 1940s. You've got The Moon is Blue, deemed inappropriate for its "unacceptably light attitude towards seduction, illicit sex, chastity, and virginity," you've got murderous children via The Bad Seed, you've got a rare depiction of drug addiction via A Hatful of Rain, you've got the titillating "Moonglow" dance and "torn shirt" sequences in Picnic, and you've got about five Tennessee Williams plays dancing around the Production Code values with their overtly sexual themes and/or stifled homosexual undertones. All a collective prelude to the eventual collapse of the Code in a more daring and sexually liberated 1960s.
  • THE ICONS - What an amazing decade of iconic movie stars! No disrespect to the 1940s, but this decade is jam-packed with some amazing Old Hollywood iconography - a young Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and an all-grown-up Liz Taylor all made their breakthroughs during the Fifties - it'll be great to see how it all unfolds and to track them all chronologically!

I already know I'm going to have a helluva time with this decade. It's been a long time coming, so trust me when I say that I'm especially pumped up and ready to go this time around. Lots to look forward to - so let's get this shit started!

*Also: ramped up the blog with a semi-new look to celebrate a new decade! More to come soon.

November 12, 2016

"The closer we come to the negative, to death, the more we blossom."


Following this week's turn of events, I find myself in a bit of a disheartened daze. I'll spare you an impassioned Facebook-style monologue, because God knows my sentiments on the matter are being echoed in harmony across many a social feed right now.

The times, they are a-changin'. And they've got me thinking about the good that'll come out of the mess we've gotten ourselves into. I've thought about the slight parallel this may have to the McCarthyism / Red Scare / atomic bomb paranoia of the 1950s. I think about the loosening of strict Production Code rules that would bring us films which increasingly pushed the button against a devoutly conservative decade. The Production Code would collapse in due time, and even further ahead of the Fifties, I think of the mid-Sixties through the end of the Seventies - an extremely turbulent time that resulted in a pinnacle for American cinema as an art form.

So I guess what I'm saying is, whatever negatives lie ahead in the next four years, I am confident that people will be inspired to turn them into something meaningful and beautiful - be that fighting and standing up for what they believe in and/or funneling that energy into important and expressive work that bears meaning for populations of people. As of late I've felt the desire to go lose myself in movies, arts, and entertainment as a means of escape - and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will all thrive against this warped upheaval that we face.

October 31, 2016

The Oscargasms Honor/Dishonor Roll: 1940s Edition


Here we are - another decade complete, another bundle of 100 performances to cross off the list of 870+ nominated lead performances. Before formally saying farewell to the 1940s, I had to give it an official wrap-up report. So herein lies a semi-comprehensive breakdown of the performances, the favorites, the least favorites, and a short list of the great performances of the era ignored by Oscar altogether.

September 18, 2016

The Forties: A Retrospective

A few 40's alcoholics celebrating the completion of a lackluster decade!

I now stand before you an older, more cantankerous Oscar-blogger, completely exhausted by a decade's worth of hyper-safe, hyper-conventional, hyper-heartfelt, and worst of all, hyper-repetitive filmmaking. I can hardly believe it's been two years since I began my trek through the 1940s, mostly because I feel as though this decade has been a constant state of perpetuity.

To watch the Oscar-nominated flicks of the 1940's is to be in a constant state of déjà vu...you make it through a year and yet you feel you had seen it all before - you move on to the next and it's the same people, the same slightly-different storylines, the same 1940s-branded layers of ooey-gooey sentimentality. Applying what I already know about the decades following it, the forties may very well be the most unexciting decade of films that Oscar has to offer. To be frank, I'm not sorry to leave it behind.

August 28, 2016

Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress

as CATHERINE SLOPER
WON: Academy Award - Best Actress | New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actress | Golden Globe - Best Actress

And so, after a strenuous two year journey perusing through Oscar's finest of the 1940's, we end the road with William Wyler's The Heiress. I saved this one for last for obvious reasons: film quality notwithstanding, Olivia de Havilland's work in the film is often regarded as the sole saving grace for an embarrassingly desolate slate of Best Actress options in 1949. I was worried that she might not live up to the praise seemingly everyone gives her, and perhaps this might have rang a tiny bit true, but the fact is: The Heiress is a superb film, and its lead actress delivers a superb performance.

August 23, 2016

Jeanne Crain, Pinky

as PATRICIA "PINKY" JOHNSON

From what I've gathered, it doesn't seem as though Jeanne Crain's work in Pinky is well-liked by Oscar enthusiasts such as myself. At face value, the film welcomes loads of criticism for its controversial casting of a very white Crain as a black woman who can "pass" as white. However, I found Pinky to be quite a compelling film, if not a little outmoded and awkward. Crain, as I found out, didn't end up being as I've been led on to believe.

August 22, 2016

Loretta Young, Come to the Stable

as SISTER MARGARET
Two nuns hope to build a children's hospital. That is the concept of Come to the Stable, and that is basically everything I don't want to see when I'm watching a film. But I figured I'd put aside my stubborn prejudices, give this one a chance, and come into the film with an open mind. So I watched, and watched a little more, and as was the case with My Foolish Heart, I found myself growing aggressively disinterested by both film and its lead actress.

August 21, 2016

Deborah Kerr, Edward, My Son

as EVELYN BOULT

Before she'd go into the annals of Academy Award history as one of those respected actors who're frequently-nominated-but-never-actually-won-an-Oscar, Deborah Kerr made her first appearance on the Oscar Best Actress shortlist for Edward, My Son. And boy, what role could be more appropriate to mark her mainstream Hollywood debut than that of the long-suffering wife?

August 20, 2016

Susan Hayward, My Foolish Heart

as ELOISE WINTERS


By now it's been a few weeks since I first watched My Foolish Heart, and for some odd reason I've really struggled trying to find the words to describe my feelings towards it. I elected to watch it first amongst 1949's batch of Best Actress contenders because I didn't think I'd like it and wanted to get it over with. My suspicion proved to be correct -- twas a severely dull film, an exercise to maintain engagement. So why then, has it been so tough to summarize how I felt about it?

July 31, 2016

Richard Todd, The Hasty Heart

as LACHIE

I've watched a lot of duds. I've seen the same old fare repurposed ever-so-slightly through the subsequent years. So at face value, The Hasty Heart might seem like just your average forgotten 1940's wartime drama, and to a certain extent it very well is. It's fairly conventional filmmaking that can hit up some hokey avenues at times. But every so often, I bump into the occasional needle-in-the-haystack, coming into a film without any expectations and leaving surprised and impressed. Richard Todd is the reason why I sought out this film, and he does not disappoint.

July 30, 2016

Broderick Crawford, All the King's Men

as WILLIE STARK
Won: Academy Award - Best Actor | New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actor (1949) | Golden Globe - Best Actor

I was surprised to find that All the King’s Men features two lead characters. The intertwined storylines between Jack Burden and Willie Stark make the picture a less fluid and less compelling viewing experience than it could have been had the film primarily keyed in on the Stark character, but it’s obvious how Broderick Crawford reigned in everyone’s attention here. His is a compelling albeit slightly unvaried performance.

July 17, 2016

Gregory Peck, Twelve O'Clock High

as GENERAL FRANK SAVAGE
Won: New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actor (1950)

I’ve had a cool reception of Peck throughout his prior three nominated performances, mainly because his characters have been that of “noble” men who’re more receptive to the things that happen to them as opposed to being characters that have any distinguishable traits or flaws to actually develop around (For what it’s worth, the closest I was to being impressed by him was via his non-nominated work in Spellbound, and for less obvious reasons, Dual in the Sun). And so it’s interesting (and somewhat refreshing) that Peck should end his 40’s run playing fairly against type, continuing on with 1949’s archetype of the ‘tough guy’ in Twelve O’Clock High.

July 3, 2016

Kirk Douglas, Champion*

as MIDGE KELLY


In a decade full of ubiquity, it was at first frustrating to see that we'd close it out with a third boxing offering in the Best Actor category. Skepticism and weariness aside, Champion was a vastly intriguing film. From a trajectory standpoint, if Robert Montgomery was the decade's comedic segue into boxing, and if John Garfield was the first to dabble into the dark side of the sport, then it's fitting that we'd end with Kirk Douglas, who takes on a character that's wholly consumed by the darkness, and who bears no redeeming qualities when contrasted against his 1940's boxing brethren. The result is a stunning performance that is as unwavering as it is perceptive.

July 2, 2016

John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima

as SGT. JOHN M. STRYKER

I'm not familiar with John Wayne's work, but my impression of him is that of a stoic, macho man, one who's a reliable presence in films that the boys go to watch, but not quite an actor that is interesting per se. That said, there was absolutely no reason for me to like Wayne or Sands of Iwo Jima. And yet--the film wasn't that bad. It was pretty watchable. Wayne on the other hand, was very much what I thought he'd be.

June 12, 2016

1949 - 22nd Academy Awards


WOOHOO!!

And The Nominees Were:
Broderick Crawford, All The King's Men
Kirk Douglas, Champion
Gregory Peck, Twelve O'Clock High
Richard Todd, The Hasty Heart
John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima
Jeanne Crain, Pinky
Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress
Susan Hayward, My Foolish Heart
Deborah Kerr, Edward, My Son
Loretta Young, Come to the Stable

And so it has finally come to this: the last year of a wretchedly formulaic and unadventurous decade of Oscar films and performances. By the time these are over and reviewed, it'll have been nearly two years since I ventured into the 1940's -- this is a bit longer than I was hoping (considering 1927-1939 took me a little over a year), and while I definitely can attribute some of that lag to work, I can also blame it on the fact that this entire decade's worth of nominated fare was generally dull and sparked little enthusiasm on my end to write 'em up. Here's hoping that the fifties will fare better (I'm sure it will).

It's not like we're ending on a good note either; 1949's set of offerings is pretty much more of the same--Gregory Peck, Richard Todd, and John Wayne will offer up more WWII flicks for my viewing pleasure, I feel like I've already seen Kirk Douglas in the form of John Garfield (and, to a lesser extent, Robert Montgomery), Susan Hayward is back with another character that "drinks too much", I hear Deborah Kerr is serving us with another small wife part, and we're given another person of God in the form of Loretta Young. Cannot. Wait. For. This. To. End.

So follow me as I plow through these last ten performances and put the final nail in 1949's coffin. As always, let me know which of these folks you think I'll love or hate, and tell me which ones are your fave :)!

June 4, 2016

Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda

as BELINDA MCDONALD
Won: Academy Award - Best Actress | Golden Globe Award - Best Actress

Behold, the first silent performance for me to review since the 2nd Academy Awards! I will preface this post with the reiteration that I've never been all that great at reading into and interpreting silent performances--they're not quite my cup of tea, and I've always found them to be more limiting than those that utilize the sound medium. To that note, I wasn't huge on Jane Wyman's performance in Johnny Belinda, and I'm thinking it's due to a mix of her own acting as well as the film's writing.

June 1, 2016

Lew Ayres, Johnny Belinda

as DR. ROBERT RICHARDSON


Perhaps feeling a collective sense of regret for not nominating him 18 years earlier for All Quiet on the Western Front, the Academy decided to give Lew Ayres his first and only nomination for Johnny Belinda, thereby allowing him to be an Academy Award Nominated Actor. However, in the tradition of many an actor to have a sole nomination to their names, this is not a very memorable performance. 

May 30, 2016

Barbara Stanwyck, Sorry, Wrong Number

as LEONA STEVENSON

It's an hour and a half of Barbara Stanwyck experiencing a meltdown in bed! As with Irene Dunne, Stanwyck's run with the Academy came to an end in 1948 with this nomination, and the implications of this role along with the fact that Stanwyck is always a fab actress make this a prospectively juicy endpoint. But while I'm inclined to say that I'm impressed by her work here, there's also much that I wished I could have seen.  

May 28, 2016

Ingrid Bergman, Joan of Arc

as JOAN OF ARC
I was aggressively displeased about having to watch Joan of Arc, for the obvious reason that I've already seen 1928's The Passion of Joan of Arc and knew that the former had no chance of stacking up, no matter the level of softness I have for Ingrid Bergman. And I was right: Joan of Arc is a severely long-winded film, its subject matter superficially Hollywoodified as 1948's half-baked attempt at a Prestige Picture. But the worst part of it all is that this dull dreck is led and anchored by an actress who is wholly miscast.

May 27, 2016

Irene Dunne, I Remember Mama

as MARTA "MAMA" HANSON
What is I Remember Mama really but another footnote in the deep vault of sentimental trite that was 1940's Hollywood? For over 2 hours we are witness to random vignettes of the lives of the Hanson family, rather hastily strung together for no incisive reason at all. And the acting? We've got an ooey gooey and oh-so-sleepy performance from Barbara Bel Geddes, Oscar Homolka in one of the most criminally overracted performances of the decade, and Ms. Irene Dunne, scooping up what would be the last nomination of her career.

May 24, 2016

Olivia de Havilland, The Snake Pit*

as VIRGINIA CUNNINGHAM
Won: New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actress | National Board of Review - Best Actress | Volpi Cup for Best Actress

Having built the foundation to her career playing saints in the likes of Gone with the Wind and Hold Back the Dawn, it's shocking to see Olivia de Havilland so completely, flagrantly flawed in The Snake Pit. And while she took a quick detour from this image as a semi-flawed yet redemptive woman in To Each His Own, there's little atonement to be had for Virginia Cunningham. de Havilland goes absolutely go-for-broke with in this film, and the resulting performance is polarizing in a most literal sense. 

May 23, 2016

Happy Birthday Oscargasms!


Oscargasms turns 3! Now's the time of year I tell any and all readers of this blog how grateful I am for your attention. Thanks for sharing your passion for movies and actors and Academy Awards with me. I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's weird to like the Oscars as much as I do, and the fact that there's an actual audience out there who's happy to read one's ramblings on their peculiar obsession is a great thing.

Happy Third Birthday Oscargasms!* 
And while life has certainly kept me very busy as of late, I've not forgotten about it. More content coming soon!

April 30, 2016

Montgomery Clift, The Search

as STEVE / RALPH STEVENSON

When you watch Montgomery Clift in The Search, there’s an immediate sense that something is off about him. He’s not normal, at least...not so in the Golden Hollywood sense. His face, smoldering in its God-given beauty, is distorted in peculiar ways as he expresses his reactions to the people and scenarios around him. He doesn’t sound rehearsed, almost recklessly so, as he fills the space with mumbled, ad-libbed lines. In other words, he’s a revelation, a breath of fresh air and a bookmark of a new style of acting that would be further popularized in the next decade. 

April 18, 2016

Laurence Olivier, Hamlet

as HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK
Won: Academy Award - Best Actor | New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actor | Golden Globe Award - Best Actor

It's Laurence Olivier's most famous Shakespearian performance! I had my doubts going into Hamlet, primarily because I've been fairly underwhelmed by his method of acting in his first three nominated performances. But those roles - Heathcliff, Max de WinterHenry V - those are different, more stoic men to Hamlet. So it was nice to see from the get-go an instant change of tone in Olivier, who appears as a more tender, vulnerable individual than I am used to.

April 9, 2016

Clifton Webb, Sitting Pretty

as LYNN BELVEDERE
I can't wrap my head around this nomination. From the opening credits, wherein we're treated to a happy and homey sung melody, I got an instant twanging feeling of unconventionalism. Sitting Pretty is hands down the most lighthearted and easiest viewing experiences of the 1940s Oscar-nominated films, so it's curious how a film with content so off-base from the typical AMPAs fare would be nominated, and in the Best Actor category for a not-completely-lead performance by a character actor to boot.

April 2, 2016

Dan Dailey, When My Baby Smiles at Me

as SKID JOHNSON
As I'm typically a sucker for song-and-dance-centric performances, I started off quite pleased by Dan Dailey's work in When My Baby Smiles at Me. But the hook for this performance, unlike that of say, Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh, is technically supposed to be more than just song and dance - one might deduce that this performance was noticed by AMPAs due to its display of showmanship and alcoholism. In that regard, I'm not sure that Dailey is wholly effective.

March 28, 2016

Über Early Actress Predictions

The 88th Academy Awards may have been on exactly one month ago, but per the tradition of this blog, let's take an advanced look ahead at the 89th Academy Awards, specifically keying in on my beloved Best Actress category. With 2015 being an excellent year for actresses, 2016 looks to be pretty strong as well - how exciting!!

Below you'll find some of my predictions on next year's Best Actress contenders. I'll kindly remind you that I correctly predicted 3/5 ladies last year (almost 4/5!), a big step up from my 1/5 the year prior. So statistically speaking, I guess you could conclude that at least two of the below should be expected for next year.

March 26, 2016

1948 - 21st Academy Awards


And the nominees were:
Lew Ayres, Johnny Belinda
Montgomery Clift, The Search
Dan Dailey, When My Baby Smiles At Me
Laurence Olivier, Hamlet
Clifton Webb, Sitting Pretty
Ingrid Bergman, Joan of Arc
Olivia de Havilland, The Snake Pit
Irene Dunne, I Remember Mama
Barbara Stanwyck, Sorry, Wrong Number
Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda

Well damn, 1947 took way longer to finish than I expected. We're coming down the home stretch here (!!!!!) so I'm going to try my damnedest to power through the final two years of the forties as quickly and concisely as possible so that I can leave it behind once and for all.

1948's contenders leads us to an unusually fresh batch of pickings in the Best Actor category, with four of the five actors securing their first lead actor nominations. At the other end of the spectrum is a completely omnipresent Best Actress category, with all five ladies being returning nominees.

As per usual, let me know who your faves here are, and which ones you think I'll take to or hate :)

**Side note: the next Best Actress covered here will be the 100th Best Actress nominee I've written about!! This won't be the 100th Actress review overall, given the handful of ladies I covered under the Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda category as well as the few covered under NYFCC, but whatever. A special mark nonetheless! Who will be the lucky lady to be number 100???? I don't even know, I'm still figuring it out! Woo hoo!

***Second side note: The 100th Best Actor won't be officially coming along until 1949, with the discrepancy here being that there're a number of lost Best Actor nominees and an uneven count of nominees between 1934-1935.

March 13, 2016

Loretta Young, The Farmer's Daughter

as KATRIN "KATIE" HOLSTROM
Won: Academy Award - Best Actress
It was of course a shocker at the time, but in retrospect, Loretta Young’s Best Actress victory should come as a surprise to nobody. Because when you're up against a reckless alcoholic, an embittered woman with a murderous family, and a woman losing her mind, the morally-correct-small-town-farm-girl-who-excels-at-all-domestic-tasks-and-has-big-dreams-of-being-a-nurse-but-instead-gets-sucked-into-an-impromptu-political-career is a much more friendlier female archetype for the for the Academy to channel its attention to. So sure, this one definitely goes down in Oscar history as one of those stunning come-from-behind victories, but the role and performance itself bears no elements of excitement to match the glory of its actual win.

March 12, 2016

Deborah Kerr, Black Narcissus

as SISTER CLODAGH
Won: New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actress
I can’t quite but my finger on it, but I thought Deborah Kerr was so magnetic in Black Narcissus. Perhaps it’s due to the film’s monochromatic use of colors towards her Sister Clodagh and her fellow nuns, the whites and greys of her face contrasting against an otherwise vibrantly colored film, creating a striking radiance on her. Perhaps it’s her tightly coiled intensity, which bubbles slowly inside of her as the film progresses. 

February 25, 2016

Susan Hayward, Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman

as ANGELICA "ANGIE" EVANS CONWAY

The Los Angeles Daily News called Susan Hayward's Oscar nomination for Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman "the most spontaneous nomination of the lot." That makes complete sense, given that the film comes off as extremely creaky and cheap. The B-movie quality of it all certainly doesn't help in Hayward's favor, though it's fairly obvious that she gives the part her all.

February 24, 2016

John Garfield, Body and Soul

as CHARLIE DAVIS

From his very first moments in Body and Soul, John Garfield immediately caught my eye. It's not so much his looks, or the scars which are featured rather prominently on his face in the film, but rather his immediate intimacy with the camera. He has that way about him - he is considered a predecessor to method actors Brando, Clift, et al after all - and has an allure to him which draws you in inexplicably.

February 23, 2016

Ronald Colman, A Double Life

as ANTHONY JOHN
Won: Academy Award - Best Actor | Golden Globe Award - Best Actor
Ronald Colman's one of those actors who, no matter what he plays - a convict, an eccentric thrill-seeker, an amnesiac, an actor so method he inherits his role's murderous impulses - always invokes a heavy sense of self, meaning I'm never under the impression that he truly transcends his roles to become who he's playing. And when we're dealt with a role which literally involves a man consumed by the spirit of Othello, I think that that lack of metamorphosis creates a minor void, even if the performance itself ends up being enjoyable.

February 22, 2016

Joan Crawford, Possessed

as LOUISE HOWELL
Possessed opens with Joan Crawford's Louise wandering around town in a state of disarray, a not-so-subtle imitation of the opening for Mildred Pierce. In that moment I recall some skepticism on my end--was a this an afterglow nomination stemming from the leftover goodwill from her recent Oscar win? Would this film be a casual attempt to imitate something that had already been done, that I had already seen?

February 13, 2016

William Powell, Life with Father

as CLARENCE DAY
Won: New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actor

What made William Powell an interesting presence in The Thin Man was that in spite of the fact that he wasn't necessarily doing much in the film, he still bolstered his performance with an inane charm, which in turn made him likably watchable. That is what's severely lacking from Life with Father and the character of Clarence Day, and that's what makes it such a task to finish up the film.

February 8, 2016

Rosalind Russell, Mourning Becomes Electra

as LAVINIA MANNON
According to Inside Oscar, it was the great Oscar publicist Henry Rogers who, fresh off two consecutive successful Oscar campaigns for Joan Crawford and Olivia de Havilland, singled out Rosalind Russell's performance in Mourning Becomes Electra as his Chosen One for 1947. Why? Because the role of Lavinia was the juiciest offering of the contenders. It's interesting then, that all the fuss which surrounds this performance--that of Rosalind Russell standing up just before it was revealed that Loretta Young was the true Best Actress winner, in turn forever marking the victory as one for the ages in Oscar Upset History--is more of a byproduct of a PR man and less-so rooted in the actual merit behind Russell's work. After all - reviews of the film aren't exactly praising her, and the film itself was a big flop at the box office.

February 6, 2016

Michael Redgrave, Mourning Becomes Electra

as ORIN MANNON

Michael Redgrave doesn't show up to play within Mourning Becomes Electra's crazed, stagey, melodramatic story until after a third of the film has passed. Still, once he arrives, what was most striking about him was the grip he had on the material and the moderate (but fresh) sense of restrain he brings, the very type that Rosalind Russell and Katina Paxinou do not choose utilize. And in doing so, I felt that Redgrave completely runs away with the picture.

January 30, 2016

Dorothy McGuire, Gentleman's Agreement

as KATHY LACY


You can tell a lot about a character by his or her imagery. Whenever I'm compiling photos of characters for this blog, my goal is to key in on specific images that depicts the total essence of the character I'm about to review. My major problem in doing this for Dorothy McGuire's Kathy in Gentleman's Agreement was that I could not figure out what exactly it is that defines her. Who is she, really? What does she stand for? What is her worth here? I'm not sure.

Gregory Peck, Gentleman's Agreement

as PHILIP SCHUYLER GREEN

I haven't been much of a fan of Gregory Peck's. There's an effortless type of simplicity to his style of acting which doesn't resonate with me. To that effect, it has often felt as though he's 'doing' very little, though I can't get myself to blame him as it would seem that the roles he gets nominated for are ones which leave a little more to be desired. But this time, on his third go-around with Oscar, he demonstrates a sense of devotion to the material at hand which I hadn't seen in The Keys of the Kingdom and The Yearling.