Tag Archives: wyler

The Best Picture Project – Ben Hur (1959)

File:Benh.jpgDirected by William Wyler

Screenplay by Karl Tunberg

Based upon the novel by Lew Wallace

Starring Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd and Hugh Griffith

There were lots of ways to approach my take on Ben-Hur.  I could have dwelt on the fact that it won 11 Academy Awards and was the all-time king of the big winners for nearly four decades, until Titanic, and later The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King joined the club.  I could have posited why it was the Biblical epic, Ben-Hur, that won a Best Picture Oscar and be largely forgotten outside the chariot race while The Ten Commandments could become an Easter staple without being able to manage even a Best Picture nomination.  Or I could have gone ahead and really broke down the movie and talked about how, after the chariot race and vengeance has been achieved for Ben-Hur, the film loses it’s way, dramatically, and tries to foist a Biblical parable on us – Ben-Hur somehow stumbles on the crucifixion of Christ – in order to get to the end of the film.  Maybe, just maybe, we could talk about whether Charlton Heston is the worst Best Actor ever, or if the title should go to Broderick Crawford or Ray Milland – incidentally, my vote would be with Milland who, even his director thought, wasn’t good enough. 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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Movie Lengths In History

(Author’s note: This piece was originally a four part essay that has been joined together here as one)

It’s generally accepted that since the advent of motion pictures, movies have gotten longer the further we’ve gotten away from the first motion picture. However, pinpointing the exact reason for the increase may be impossible, probably because there is no one cause. Still, while it might be impossible to pinpoint exactly why, I’ve been curious to know just how the ‘auteur theory’of filmmaking might have played into the ballooning of run times, specifically, does the more revered a director becomes, either critically or financially, result in longer films? Continue reading

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