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 risquĂ© 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.

12 comments:

  1. It's great decade and I can't wait to read your reviews!

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    1. Thanks Guiseppe! I can't wait to watch the films :D

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  2. Yay, can't wait! :)

    Just for fun, again my predictions:

    Actor:
    William Holden
    Montgomery Clift
    Alec Guiness
    Montgomery Clift
    Marlon Brando
    James Dean
    Laurence Olivier
    Alec Guiness
    Paul Newman
    James Stewart

    Actress
    Glorian Swanson
    Vivien Leigh
    Shirley Booth for what I expect will be a year with a very low average grade
    Judy Garland
    Susan Hayward
    Carroll Baker
    Anna Magnani
    Elizabeth Taylor
    Audrey Hepburn

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    1. I'll give my predictions as well just for fun:

      James Stewart - Harvey
      Montgomery Clift - A Place in the Sun
      Alec Guinness - The Lavander Hill Mob
      Montgomery Clift - From Here to Eternity
      Marlon Brando - On the Waterfront
      James Dean - East of Eden
      Kirk Douglas - Lust for Life
      Alec Guinness - The Bridge on the River Kwai
      Paul Newman - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
      James Stewart - Anatomy of a Murder

      Gloria Swanson (but I could see you really liking Judy Holliday as well)
      Vivien Leigh
      Joan Crawford (maybe)
      Judy Garland
      Anna Magnani
      Carroll Baker
      Anna Magnani or Joanne Woodard
      Rosalind Russell or Elizabeth Taylor
      Audrey Hepburn

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    2. lol - we'll see how you two fare when i finish this decade...hopefully in a faster time than it took me for the 40's :\

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    3. Ah, I totally forgot 1953 for Best Actress. That's tough, for fun I predict Ava Gardener.

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  3. I think that the Method and the "kitchen-sink" dramas (many from the New York stage) made the decade more interesting than the '40s and the new technologies like widescreen, stereophonic sound and increased ability for location shoots made the epics more spectacular. Some great films were made so this should be interesting for you (and for us, too).

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    1. Agreed! I'm especially interested to see the dichotomy of how the method will fit itself into the decade.

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  4. A really nice introduction. ;)

    FINALLY All about Eve. :D

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    1. Thank you!! It took me long enough >:)

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  5. To be honest, I prefer the 60s onwards, although the 1950 and 1951 are exciting/interesting years for best actress. I don't think this decade is very strong in general, though definitely better than the 40s. That being said, I feel that the performances are unique and interesting, even if not necessarily great.

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    1. Hmm, good point. While I'm certainly much more intrigued by the 60s and 70s, there's a great many to be excited about within this decade compared to the last for me!

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