Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Coming in June....

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have already guessed this, but there’s a new retrospective starting June 1st: the films of 1992! Inspired by the 1992 Horror episode of Screen Drafts (with special guest GMs Joe Begos and Graham Skipper), I’m catching up with the theatrical releases drafted therein, as well as that year’s Best Picture nominees from the Academy Awards and Golden Globes:

There will also, of course, be a handful of other 1992 US releases, from Captain Ron to Raise the Red LanternThe Muppet Christmas Carol to Edward IIBebe's Kids to Newsies - just to name a few.

It starts Monday, June 1st, with the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay: Enchanted April, Howards End, The Player, A River Runs Through ItScent of a woman.

Monday, May 4, 2020

The 1956 Hollmann Awards, Part Two

So far, of the 28 films nominated in eighteen categories, six films have divided the first nine awards among them. The Ten Commandments, which led the nominations with 15, also leads the wins with far.

Best Supporting Actress
Mercedes McCambridge as Luz Benedict

2. Nina Foch in The Ten Commandments; 3. Mildred Natwick in The Court Jester; 4. Helen Hayes in Anastasia; 5. Yvonne De Carlo in The Ten Commandments

I still can't believe McCambridge is only in Giant for 10 minutes and change. It's a marvelously thorny performance that haunts the rest of the movie - her tenacity, her jealousy, her idea of what Benedict means. And she does it without unclenching her jaw. A subtle power.

In second, Foch's Bithiah is as loyal a mother as anyone could want. In third, Natwick's Griselda is straight-faced no matter what kooky incantations she spouts. In fourth, Hayes' Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna is bitter, heartbroken, skeptical. In fifth, De Carlo's Sephora is patient beyond reason.

The rest after the jump.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The 1956 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part One

The first nine winners.

Best Director 
Elia Kazan
Baby Doll

2. Cecil B. de Mille for The Ten Commandments; 3. Akira Kurosawa for Seven Samurai; 4. George Stevens for Giant; 5. Henri-Georges Clouzot for Diabolique

In Elia Kazan's hands, Baby Doll transcends its scandalous, trashy premise, but does so without looking down its nose at the material. There's dark comic energy, feverish sexuality, characters who are so comically alive, they must be real. Kazan understands the Southern Gothic appeal way better than most other filmmakers who try their hand at it.

In second, de Mille's incredible scope. In third, Kurosawa's understanding of human drama serving the action. In fourth, Stevens' assured hand over scenes both expansive and intimate. In fifth, Clouzot's claustrophobic grip.

Eight more categories, including Best Original Song, Best Actress, and both screenplay categories, after the jump.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The 1956 Retro Hollmann Awards!

Here they are, the nominations for the 1956 Retro Hollmann Awards. The order of categories was determined by random draw, which means the five nominees for Best Picture are somewhere in the middle.

Best Sound

The Eddy Duchin Story
George Cooper, sound
John Livadary, sound recording

Forbidden Planet
Bebe Barron / Louis Barron, electronic tonalities
Wesley C. Miller, recording supervisor
James Brock, sound
Kurt Hernfeld / Kendrick Kinney / John Lipow, sound editors

Moby Dick
Jon W. Mitchell, sound recordist
Alex Pront / Len Shilton, sound

Seven Samurai
Masanao Uehara, sound recordist
Ichirô Minawa, sound effects editor

The Ten Commandments
Louis H. Mesenkop, sound recording supervisor
Howard Beals, sound editor / supervising sound editor
George Dutton, sound effects designer
Charles Grenzbach / Hugo Grenzbach / Don Johnson / Gene Merritt / Harry D. Mills / Loren L. Ryrder, re-recording mixers

Best Costume Design

Alexander the Great
David Ffolkes

Invitation to the Dance
Rolf Gerard / Elizabeth Haffenden

The King and I
Irene Sharaff

Seven Samurai
Kôhei Ezaki / Mieko Yamaguchi

The Ten Commandments
Arnold Friberg / Edith Head / Dorothy Jeakins / John Jensen / Ralph Jester

The remaining nominees after the jump....

Monday, April 27, 2020

Top Ten of 1956

Here we go! 65 films screened, whittled down to my Top Ten! Apologies to Bigger Than Life, CarouselThe Eddy Duchin Story, The Killing, The King and I, Nightfall, The Proud and the Beautiful and The Trouble with Harry, but there are only ten slots...

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Day Twelve: Best Picture, 1956

Every Oscar year begins the year before. Colin Firth's Oscar win for The King's Speech starts the minute Jeff Bridges' vehicle Crazy Heart gets a release date; the backlash over Green Book lays the groundwork for the outside-the-box Parasite; and the 1956 slate of nominees - epic in scope and length, big at the box office, based on great works from Jules Verne to Moses - was almost pre-ordained by the near-sweep of 1955's Marty, a humble dramedy based on a teleplay.

At 90 minutes, Marty still stands as the shortest film to win Best Picture. By contrast, the shortest Best Picture nominee for 1956 was Friendly Persuasion at 137 minutes; of the others, three of them - Around the World in Eighty DaysGiantThe Ten Commandments - run over three hours! Movies were an event again, something the industry needed to compete with the increasing threat of television. There is a noticeable deluge of films shot in Cinemascope, VistaVision, Cinemascope 55; bold proclamations of the brighter, more realistic color of Eastman and Deluxe: for the first time, all five Best Picture nominees were full-color productions.

And those nominees were: