Tag Archives: Laurence Olivier

The Also Rans – Stagecoach (Best Picture Nominee 1939)

Stagecoach movieposter.jpgDir. John Ford

Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, based on the short story “The Stage at Lordsburg” by Ernest Haycox

Starring John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine and Claire Trevor

I resist John Wayne.  I always have and make no bones about why — he’s a rat bastard red-baiting jingoist war-monger and to this common-sense liberal, he’s repulsive.  And such is my repulsion that I can barely separate John Wayne the man from the characters John Wayne plays to such a degree I suspect he could play Ralph Nader and the only thing I’d think is, “My, it’s strange how conservative Ralph Nader is.”  To me, John Wayne’s a racist old grandpa we should be embarrassed about, not building films around.

Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise I’ve only seen three John Wayne films and have varying attitudes to them all:

  • True Grit
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Searchers

The Searchers, thought to be a classic, hardly registers with me beyond being racist in story and casting.  (Ironically, Gone With The Wind plays a similar game with it’s racial elements and yet, I don’t brush it off the same as I do The Searchers.  Rather, I’m apologetic of those elements to the point I’ve had to come to grips with being a massive hypocrite.) Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca (1940)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Written by Joan Harrison and Robert E. Sherwood, from Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan’s adaptation

Based upon the novel by Daphne DuMaurier

Starring Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson and George Sanders

 I must say that I purposefully saved watching on Rebecca until I’d completed a good portion of this little project of mine for a good reason:  as I seen it before and really liked it I wanted to have it out there as a gift to myself, a good movie out there waiting for me after a whole lot of tedium.  I didn’t know how long I’d go before I’d give in and watch it and after putting in time watching Cavalcade, Broadway Melody, Rocky, Around the World in 80 Days and Ben-Hur, I guess I earned the respite, so I watched it.  And oh, what a breath of fresh air it was.  Quite simply, Rebecca might be the greatest Best Picture winner of them all, the big daddy to trump all big daddy’s, a heady statement to be sure, in a category that  includes Gone With The Wind and The Godfather and Bridge on the River Kwai, but one I’m confident to stand behind.

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