Tag Archives: irving thalberg

The Best Picture Project – Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)

Gentleman's Agreement (1947 movie poster).jpgDirected by Elia Kazan

Screenplay by Moss Hart, from the novel by Laura Z. Hobson

Starring Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Anne Revere and Celeste Holm

Throughout the long and winding road I’ve traveled for the Best Picture Project, I’ve learned more than a few things.  Most prominent amongst those lessons, oh my brothers and only friends, is there is no predictability about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  At least not in the traditional sense of predictability. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The English Patient (1996)

The English Patient Poster.jpgDirected by Anthony Minghella

Screenplay by Anthony Minghella, Based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje

Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Willem Dafoe.  Also featured were Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth and Jürgen Prochnow

To my mind it’s always been a hallmark of weak writing to reference the work of others, at least when it’s done for the explicit purpose of latching onto the credibility of the work of the other without actually having to create it organically yourself.  In other words, rather than actually create something on your own, you simply reach out, grab something by somebody else, shine it up a little bit and then say, “Ta da, look at what I did.” Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – On The Waterfront (1954)

Directed by Elia Kazan

Screenplay by Budd Schulberg

Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb and Rod Steiger

Some movies can be taken on their own terms and are never more than what they are.  There is no subtext, there is no commentary, there is no hidden agenda and absolutely no meanings can be read into them from the context in which they appeared or from whom they were born.  On the whole, I’d say most movies are this way.

Some movies, though, can never be merely a movie because they are nothing but subtext, are rife with commentary, teem with hidden agendas and are overloaded with meaning. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Gone With The Wind (1939)

Directed by Victor Fleming

Screenplay by Sidney Howard, based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell

Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia DeHavilland, Leslie Howard and Hattie McDaniel

In the grand history of the Oscars, 1939 might be the most stellar year of them all, what with a Best Picture race that include Of Mice and Men, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The Wizard of Oz, Goodbye Mr. Chips, and the eventual winner, Gone With The Wind.  In another year it’s conceivable any of those films might’ve taken the top prize – of the losers, I’m especially fond of Mr. Chips – but this wasn’t any other year, this was 1939, and this was the year of Gone With The Wind. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Grand Hotel (1932)

Directed by Edmund Golding

Screenplay by William A. Drake and Bela Balazs, from the play of the same name by Drake, adapted from the Novel by Vicki Baum

Starring Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore

Before I started The Best Picture Project Grand Hotel was never a movie I would have bothered to see.  But it wouldn’t be because I was some kind of snob, because I’m not.  No, it’s because I’ve already tried to see it, three times, and failed every time.  I don’t remember when I first had a go at it, because who remembers those kinds of things.  But I do remember the exact copy of the DVD I made the attempt with because it was still there at the video store a couple years later when I tried again and is probably still there to this day.  The only reason I didn’t rent it again for this little project, and therefore finishing paying as much in rental fees as if I’d just bought the damn thing in the first place, is because Grand Hotel finally came around on TCM and DVR saved me the rental charge.  Thank you, Robert Osborne. Continue reading

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