Tag Archives: sam spiegel

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 – The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

File:194ER57.jpgDirected by David Lean

Screenplay by Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman, from the Pierre Boulle Novel

Starring Alec Guiness and William Holden

A few weeks ago – or maybe a few months ago – I wrote in these pages about Lawrence of Arabia, Best Picture winner of 1962.  One of the complaints I had about Arabia is that, for all its arresting imagery, which the film had in spades, was the way everything bogged down in the second half when all the adventure turned to politics.  After all, the film is practically four hours long anyway and to throw politics into the mix – well, the only reason I made it to the end is because the first half was so damned good. Continue reading

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