Tag Archives: citizen kane

The Best Picture Project – The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)

Greatest.gifDirected by Cecil B. DeMille

Screenplay by Fredric M. Frank &  Barré Lyndon   &  Theodore St. John, story by Fredric M. Frank   &  Theodore St. John   & Frank Cavett

Starring Charlton Heston,

It’s a fact: sit around and talk to anybody about the Oscars long enough and eventually you’ll get around to arguing over which was the worst Best Picture Winner – that I s, which was the worst film to win in a given year.  Inevitably, people in my generation, or at least those with no sense of history, will make strong arguments for Crash, Shakespeare in Love or maybe Titanic being the worst choices in recent memory.  Those with any real sense of history will instead bandy about two other choices:

  1. Citizen Kane, one of which is arguably the greatest film of all time,  being bested by How Green Was My Valley, a film that isn’t even one of the five best films by its own director – for John Ford, his best films obviously include The Grapes of Wrath, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, and one of about ten other films not named How Green Was My Valley.
  2. The Greatest Show On Earth winning Best Picture over Ford’s own The Quiet Man and a little Gary Cooper movie called High Noon.

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The Best Picture Project – The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

Directed by Robert Z. Leonard,

Screenplay by William Anthony McGuire

Starring William Powell, Luise Rainer, Frank Morgan and Myrna Loy

For the first time in this series – in what is my 50th post in this series – we start with a quiz.  From the list below, find the outlier and tell me why it’s the outlier:

2005 – Brokeback Mountain

1990 – Goodfellas

1982 – ET

1980 – Raging Bull Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Mutiny On The Bounty (1935)

Directed by Frank Lloyd

Starring Charles Laughton, Clark Gable and Franchot Tone

Screenplay by Jules Furthman, Talbot Jennings and Carey Wilson

From the Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall novel

Mutiny on the Bounty is a strange film for me.  I really like it, but I wouldn’t say I love it.  I know it’s good, but I also don’t think it’s great – or maybe superb is the better word.  It is definitely rousing, in bits, and the drama is dramatic, and the native girls are lovely.  The performances are good, but can be a bit hammy – Charles Laughton especially.  And when it’s on TV, I watch it, but with less-than rapt attention.  What makes it strange is that for all its faults, I don’t find it tedious in the slightest, nor terribly long.  For all the reasons to hate it, I don’t hate it, yet I don’t especially love it.  Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Directed By John Ford

Produced By Darryl F. Zanuck

Starring Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O’Hara, Donald Crisp, Roddy McDowall and Barry Fitzgerald

Any discussion of the Best Picture for 1941 must begin with a discussion of Citizen Kane. After all, it was in 1941 that Orson Welles unleashed his masterpiece upon the world, altering the landscape of movies forever. It was nominated for 9 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but for all its accomplishments – the amazing cinematography of Gregg Toland, with those deep-focus shots, Bernard Herrmann’s lively score, Robert Wise’s magnificent editing, the elliptical telling of the tale – it won but one Oscar, for Original Screenplay, an Award that was actually hissed at the time because of some pretty intense hatred of Welles. If he hadn’t been nominated with Herman Mankiewicz, it’s doubtful it would have even won that. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Directed by William Wyler

Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood

Starring Frederic March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Harold Russell, Myrna Loy

The Oscars are a cyclical bunch. For a while they lavish awards on movies that aren’t terribly deep, i.e., spectacles- Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, Oliver – only to eventually snap out of it and give awards to more ‘serious’ and ‘earnest’ films, i.e., boring, like Kramer v. Kramer and Ghandi only to fall back into it Forrest Gump and Titanic. Continue reading

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