Archive for the ‘1973’ Category

montgomery-clift-theredlistBest Picture

From Here to Eternity

Roman Holiday

Shane

Stalag 17

Tokyo Story

Best Director

Samuel Fuller- Pickup on South Street

Fritz Lang- The Big Heat

Billy Wilder- Stalag 17

William Wyler- Roman Holiday

Fred Zinnemann- From Here to Eternity

Best Writing, Screenplay

From Here to Eternity

The Moon is Blue

Roman Holiday

Stalag 17

Tokyo Story

Best Actor

Marlon Brando- Julius Caesar

Montgomery Clift- From Here to Eternity

William Holden- Stalag 17

Gregory Peck- Roman Holiday

Chishu Ryu- Tokyo Story

Best Actress

Leslie Caron- Lili

Audrey Hepburn- Roman Holiday

Deborah Kerr- From Here to Eternity

Chieko Higashiyama- Tokyo Story

Maggie McNamera- The Moon is Blue

Best Supporting Actor

Lee Marvin- The Big Heat

Peter Graves- Stalag 17

David Niven- The Moon is Blue

Jack Palance- Shane

Frank Sinatra- From Here to Eternity

Best Supporting Actress

Cyd Charisse- The Band Wagon

Celia Johnson- The Captain’s Paradise

Jeanette Nolan- The Big Heat

Donna Reed- From Here to Eternity

Thelma Ritter- Pickup on South Street

Best Cinematography (B&W)

The Big Heat

From Here to Eternity

Little Fugitive

Roman Holiday

Pickup on South Street

Best Cinematography (Color)

The Band Wagon

Mogambo

The Naked Spur

Shane

The Robe

torch song PDVD_009

Charles Walters’ Torch Song is by no means a great film.  I don’t even think it’s a good film, but it certainly is a curious one.  Why would Mr. Walters even need to make this on the heels of his very good film this year Lili?  Why did MGM need a film to showcase songs thrown out of The Band Wagon?  Why would Joan Crawford do a film like this which makes her and actresses like Jenny Stewart look absolutely foolish and irrelevant?  If anything, Torch Song raises a lot a of questions (most notably why we were all subjected to the horror of the blackface scene near the end of of this one), and this makes it a curious film indeed.

Joan Crawford is a total trainwreck in this one, and I’m sorry to say, I just can’t like her, and I can’t create any separation between the real Joan Crawford and Jenny Stewart.  Is this film a cry for help from her?  Again, it’s hard to come up with answers to these tough questions.  The only saving grace in this film is Michael Wilding, but even then his attraction to Jenny Stewart is inexplicable, even when it’s explained.

There is another film this year about a washed up actor trying to make it one more time in the MGM era, and that’s The Band Wagon.  It’s a terrific film.  Watch that one instead.

**1/2 ~AOS

captains paradise

I really wanted to hate this film.  About less than halfway in, however, I was thoroughly drawn in Anthony Kimmins’ comedic drama The Captain’s Paradise.  This very British film about a bigamist does not seem so appealing on the surface, but when given a chance, Kimmins’ work delivers on a number of levels.  First and foremost, this is actually a morality fable.  Captain Henry St. James is not glorified for his actions, and those that do glorify him are made out to look like fools.

Alec Guinness is truly one of the best things about this film in the leading role.  He is the most vile of creatures, yet he’s a human throughout.  Is he bad human being?  Is he a cautionary tale?  Is he a complete chauvinist idiot?  He’s not a genius as one character would try to lead the audience to believe.  That said, there is a strange humanity to Captain St. James.  He’s not a lovable character by any stretch, but he’s not loathsome to the point of wanting to walk away from the film.  One truly becomes invested in his fate, either out of interest in his actual character or for the women in his life.  All of this is a testament to Alec Guinness’ acting chops. He delivers quite simply one of the better performances of the year here.  Speaking of the women in his life, I personally don’t have a lot of good to say about Yvonne De Carlo as Nita only because I could not get over her Spanish.  She is supposed to be Spanish as far as one can tell (maybe Moroccan?), but her Spanish is that of a native English speaker who has be speaking it well for a few years.  Perhaps that should not be distracting, but it takes away from her performance, and it was the film’s glaring weakness.  On the other hand, I really like Celia Johnson in the role of Maud.  She elicits such sympathy from the audience for her plight, and we the audience find ourselves rooting her on at every moment.  This is simply great acting on Johnson’s part, because there’s nothing particularly charismatic about her character, especially in contrast with Guinness.  In the end, although sometimes the most charismatic roles unfairly steal the show, Miss Johnson has us pulling for her until the bitter end.

Ultimately, I’m happy I gave The Captain’s Paradise a fair chance.  What I thought would be another male-centric chauvinist comedy turned out to be so much more than that.  The script is sharp and edgy, and the performances (for the most part) are first rate.

***1/2 ~AOS

TheActress

It needs to be first of all state that George Cukor’s The Actress is a delightful little gem.  There have been some big colossal films this year, and it is refreshing to see something this small in scope and tightly wound come across the big screen.  The theme of young women wanting to break out and show the world the power of independent women has run rather strong this year.  Leslie Caron in Lili, Maggie McNamera in The Moon is Blue, and of course Audrey Hepburn in the outstanding Roman Holiday have all provided us these different facets of these wonderful independent women this year.  I would have to say that Jean Simmon’s portrayal of Ruth Gordon Jones (in, as it turns out, Ms Gordon’s autobiographical screenplay) is right up there with those performances this year.  In the end, this is a heartfelt and personal film throughout, and the directing, writing, and acting all drive that home for us.

Kudos most first and foremost be given to Spencer Tracy as Clinton Jones, the overbearing, but clearly loving, father of Ruth.  His comedic timing is simply impeccable and he owns every single scene that he is in.  No disrespect to Miss Simmons performance, but Mr. Tracy end up owning this film about his daughter the inspiring actress.  In a year where most of the great performances have been dramatic, it is refreshing to get this very well played comedic performance from an actor that can quite simply do it all.

After all things are considered though, the very heart and soul of The Actress is none other than Ruth Gordon herself.  This film is her story, and she tells it with beautiful passion and honesty.  This film needed a female screenwriter, and who better to tell the story than the protagonist herself?  It’s not a big film, it’s not a perfect film (Teresa Wright and Anthony Perkins are rather two-dimensional throughout), but it is a personal one, and so for that I thank Ms Gordon for this window into her soul.

***1/2 ~AOS