Posts Tagged ‘academy awards’

Body and Soul

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Body and Soul [Blu-ray]

Tagline – The story of a guy that women go for!

Starring – John Garfield (Charlie Davis), Lilli Palmer (Peg Born), Hazel Brooks (Alice), Anne Revere (Anna Davis), William Conrad (Quinn).

Released – November, 1947

Directed By – Robert Rossen

Produced By – Enterprise Productions

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – For middleweight boxing champion Charlie Davis, fighting his way out of the slums was the easy part.

Charlie starts boxing as a kid and he’s pretty good at it. Nothing is easy in Charlie’s neighborhood and making matters worse is tragedy. Charlie’s father is hard-working and dirt poor. He runs a family candy store and becomes the victim of a gangland bombing when a local mobster bombs a speakeasy located next to the store.

Against his mother’s wishes, Charlie decides to become a paid prize fighter. With his best friend “Shorty,” acting as his manager, and small-time fight trainer Quinn in his corner, Charlie works his way up to a title shot.

Charlie’s quick rise has been noticed by a crooked promoter named Roberts who buys his rights and assumes control of his career. It just so happens that Roberts also owns the contract of the current champion and he has his own plans for Charlie.

This new arrangement, and it’s associations with the mob, have an immediate impact on Charlie’s personal life. Charlie has just gotten engaged to girlfriend Peg Born, but his new future prospects, and the promises of Roberts, cause him to cancel the wedding. Peg leaves him, and his mother, now penniless, disowns him. Charlie’s decent is off to a quick start.

But, Charlie is blind to the pain he has caused and has only one thing is sight… to become champion. He believes that as champ he will be able to fix anything that has gone wrong.

Roberts sets Charlie up with a swanky apartment and plenty in cash advances. Charlie falls deeper and deeper into what will be an eventual setup while Roberts gains greater control over him.

Charlie does win the title causing severe injury to the then champ. Best friend Shorty, who has been with Charlie since the beginning, has finally had enough of the whole mob connected and controlled business and ends up both fired… and dead.

The stage is set. Now, Charlie is the champ and there is another up-and-coming fighter looking for his title. Roberts is holding the reins and orders Charlie to throw the fight for a cool $60,000.

NOTABLE: Body and Soul won the Oscar for Best Film Editing, and received nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role (John Garfield), and Best Writing, Original Screenplay.

The innovative camera work in the boxing ring was shot by cinematographer James Wong Howe, who was hand-picked by Garfield for the film. Howe held the camera while on roller skates being pushed around the ring by an assistant.

Many in the cast and crew found themselves victim’s of the House on Un-American Activities Committee. They included writer Abraham Polonsky, actors John Garfield, Ann Revere, Lloyd Gough, Canada Lee, Art Smith, Shimen Ruskin, producer Bob Roberts, and cinematographor Howe.

httpv://youtu.be/_iM8IcR5yR0

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer

Tagline – Rollicking Romantics!

Starring – Cary Grant (Richard Nugent), Myrna Loy (Judge Margaret Turner), Shirley Temple (Susan Turner), Rudy Vallee (Tommy Chamberlain).

Released – September, 1947

Directed By – Irving Reis

Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures, Vanguard Films

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

NOTABLE: The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer won the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay.

At the time of filming, character sisters Myrna Loy, and Shirley Temple’s ages were 22 years apart.

“The Screen Guild Theater” broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 10, 1948 with Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple reprising their film roles.

httpv://youtu.be/suIG0pVI33I

Miracle on 34th Street

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Miracle on 34th Street

Tagline – Capture the spirit of Christmas with this timeless classic!

Starring – Maureen O’Hara (Doris Walker), John Payne (Fred Gailey), Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle), Gene Lockhart (Judge Henry X. Harper), Natalie Wood (Susan Walker), Porter Hall (Granville Sawyer).

Released – May, 1947

Directed By – George Seaton

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

NOTABLE: Miracle on 34th Street won Oscar’s for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Edmund Gwenn), Best Writing, Original Story, and Best Writing, Screenplay. The film was also nominated for Best Picture.

In 2005, Miracle on 34th Street was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Although a film about Christmas, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck wanted it to be released in May believing that more people went to the movies during the spring and summer.

Actress Natalie Wood was eight years old while playing the role of Susan Walker and was convinced that Edmund Gwenn was the real Santa Claus.

This motion picture was the film debut, for what would be a long and wonderful film career, for actress Thelma Ritter.

In 2006, the American Film Institute ranked this picture #9 on their list of The Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. In 2008, the institute ranked the film #5 on their list of The Ten Greatest Films in the Fantasy Genre.

Kris Kringle’s untranslated dialogue with the young Dutch girl was his asking her what she wanted for Christmas and her reply that she wanted nothing as she had been given everything by being adopted by her new mother.

Newspaper columnist Hedda Hopper reported that, when the film opened, Macy’s would close half a day so that their employee’s could all see the first showing.

With film censorship being such a problem, this film was only given a “B” rating by the Legion of Decency because they thought Maureen O’Hara’s part as a divorced mother was somewhat objectionable.

httpv://youtu.be/-ce_op2qG24

Boomerang

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Boomerang!

Tagline – It comes back at you again and again!

Starring – Dana Andrews (State’s Atty. Henry L. Harvey), Jane Wyatt (Madge Harvey), Lee J. Cobb (Chief Harold F. ‘Robbie’ Robinson), Cara Williams (Irene Nelson), Arthur Kennedy (John Waldron).

Released – March, 1947

Directed By – Elia Kazan

Produced By –  Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – This film is based on a real incident that took place in the state of Connecticut and is portrayed in semi-documentary style.

A kindly neighborhood priest, Father Lambert, is murdered while taking his nightly walk. There are seven witnesses, but the only description is that of a man in a dark coat and a light hat. The community is both horrified and outraged demanding that the killer be found.

The killing soon becomes a political issue as the newly elected reform government is severely criticized by opposition leader T. M. Wade, who owns the local newspaper, The Morning Record, as being incompetent and amateurish in the investigation.

Chief of Police Harold F. Robinson and State’s Attorney Henry L. Harvey face enormous pressure to bring the killer to justice. The towns civic leaders, pushed by the newspaper, want the police department to ask the F. B. I. to help. Chief Robinson manages to stall them off for two weeks in order to continue with his investigation.

Additional questioning of the witnesses brings forth no new information. The killer was a man in a dark coat and a light hat. Investigators use a composite artist to try and put a face on the killer, and distribute the sketch to all the surrounding states.

Word comes from Ohio that a man matching the description in the sketch, and owning a handgun that matches the one used in the murder, has been located. The man, John Waldron, had also left Connecticut a few days earlier.

Waldron is extradited to Connecticut, appears in a line-up, and is identified by the witnesses. He is a disgruntled ex-serviceman who had been in the Connecticut city for a couple of months before the murder and had been seen speaking to Father Lambert. Waldron claims that he left the state after breaking up with girlfriend, Irene Nelson, who is a local waitress.

The gun Waldron owns matches the murder weapon and, after harsh interrogation, signs a confession.

But, State’s Attorney Harvey, who would have to prosecute Waldron, is still not convinced of his guilt. Harvey begins to investigate on his own, speaking again with the witnesses and going over the evidence.

He has put his reputation on the line and is facing the wrath of both the police department and the public who want a conviction in this case and believe they have their man.

When the court date arrives, Harvey, although the prosecutor, begins to point out the flaws in the case. Having recreated the crime, using his associates to be in the locations of each of the seven witnesses, Harvey discovered that not one could have accurately recognized the killer.

Harvey also proves that other accounts were false, including the belief that Waldron’s gun was the murder weapon. Harvey presents the gun to the trial judge, asks him to load the gun, and then point the gun toward Harvey’s head just the way the murderer would have done to the priest and pull the trigger.

The gun fails to fire due to a mechanical problem that prohibited the gun from firing from the angle used when the priest was killed.

The charges against John Waldron are dropped. However, the question remains, just who did kill Father Lambert, and why?

NOTABLE: Boomerang received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay.

Boomerang provided the film debut’s for actors Ed Begley and Barry Kelley.

Personal Note: As a resident of Connecticut, I had only been vaguely familiar with this incident until viewing this film and researching further.

On February, 1924, Father Hubert Dahme was shot and killed at the corner of High and Main Street in Bridgeport, CT.

Nearly the entire film was shot in Stamford, CT, as the city of Bridgeport refused to allow filming to take place at the actual locations. Probably, because they did not want the negative publicity of the murder to reflect any further on their city.

Connecticut State’s Attorney Homer Cummings (Henry Harvey in the film), after thorough investigation, found that vagrant and discharged veteran Harold Israel could not have committed the murder.

Cummings’ actions saved the life of an innocent man. Although Cummings was to prosecute the case, he told the court during the trial that, “it is just as important for a state’s attorney to use the great powers of his office to protect the innocent as it is to convict the guilty.”

Homer Cummings would later be appointed to the position of Attorney General of the United States by President Franklin Roosevelt.

httpv://youtu.be/ScTz8zcvaZA

The Awful Truth

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

The Awful Truth

Tagline – It’s a Glorious Comedy… Uproarious Romance!

Starring – Irene Dunne (Lucy Warriner), Cary Grant (Jerry Warriner), Ralph Bellamy (Daniel Leeson), Alexander D’Arcy (Armand Duvalle).

Released – October, 1937

Directed By – Leo McCarey

Produced By – Colombia Pictures Corporation

Distributed By – Colombia Pictures

NOTABLE: The Awful Truth won the Academy Award for Best Director (Leo McCarey), and was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Irene Dunne), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ralph Bellamy), Best Film Editing, and Best Writing, Screenplay.

In 1996, The Awful Truth was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

This motion picture provided Cary Grant with the opportunity to display his light comedy persona which proved to be the basis for nearly all of his subsequent films. Writer/Director Peter Bogdanovich stated that when it comes to light comedy, “there was Cary Grant and everyone else was an also-ran”.

A great deal of the film was improvised by Director Leo McCarey. So much so that, at one point, Cary Grant tried to get out of the film. However, the picture was loved by the public and got Grant’s career off and running.

In 2006, Premiere magazine voted this motion picture one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time.”

The fox terrier in the film playing Mr. Smith is actually named Skippy, with the previous credit of having played Asta in the Thin Man movies.

The Awful Truth was the first of three screen pairings of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.

httpv://youtu.be/B0-euBr_vRU