Tag Archives: TCM

The Best Picture Project – All The King’s Men (1949)

Directed by Robert Rossen

Starring Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge and John Ireland

Screenplay by Robert Rossen, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren

Down the years there have been a number of Best Picture winners that look like they were mistakes.  In another post, somewhere else on this blog – but not necessarily as part of The Best Picture Project – I outlined “The Little Best Pictures”, or, those films to win Best Picture while still winning three or less Oscars.  In every case the film that won Best Picture was not the winner of the most awards that year and won in so few of the important categories that their victories as Best Picture seems to be something of a mistake.  All The King’s Men was one of those films. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – In The Heat of the Night (1967)

Directed by Norman Jewison

Screenplay by Stirling Silliphant, Based on the novel by John Ball

Starring Rod Steiger, Sidney Poitier and Warren Oates

At this point in The Best Picture Project, I’ve seen 38 Best Picture Winners – 39 if you count this film – which amounts to roughly half of the Academy’s big winners.    After seeing all those films I’d like to think I have a pretty good grasp on what the Academy prefers.  Generally they like their movies light and airy and uplifting, but occasionally they get a yen for something epic or even a little bit edgy, as long as both are ultimately sunny.  In short, they like ‘safe’ films, the kind that are likely to offend the fewest number of people. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Casablanca (1943)

casablanca movie posterDirected by Michael Curtiz

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains

Written by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch

In some ways, working on the Best Picture Project has been a curse.  Setting a goal to see each and every Best Picture winner has meant having to watch some truly awful movies, many of which were made all the more awful because I had to watch them – you cannot believe how many times I mentally found myself reliving the tenth grade experience of slogging through The Scarlet Letter.  Not the first example, but probably the worst, was The Broadway Melody.

 However, in other ways, this Project has been a revelation, forcing me to watch movies I’d not ordinarily watch, or films I’d tried to watch but gave up on too early, only to find out later that I’d been unjust in dismissing.  This weeks entry, Casablanca, is just such a film. 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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Soundification – Making Silents Heard?

Lately I’ve been seriously into just about everything on TCM, scanning the lineup a week in advance so I’m sure to program the DVR to grab movies I’ve either not seen before or haven’t seen in ages. In the past few months this has given me such gems as The Sugarland Express, directed by Stephen Spielberg, and The Magnificent Anderson’s, by Welles. In addition there has been a treasure trove of early studio comedies, from W.C. Fields all the way back to the true comedic masters of the silent era. Continue reading

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