Whew! Sorry for the delay! But now, without any further ado, the nominees for Best Picture, 1953!
(After the jump, I mean)
From Here to Eternity
What gets me isn't the unflinching look at the inhumanity of men in uniform, the frank sexuality, or the devastating Pearl Harbor climax. I mean, that all does get me. But it's that we get all of that, and still have time to laugh with the characters, to join in their dreams and hope they come true, even though we know they most likely won't.
A smartly-trimmed, all-star adaptation -- and because it's Joseph L. Mankiewicz, it's a beautifully-mounted production. Why don't I connect it to more, then? The performances are there, the production value is there -- yet something about it keeps me from giving it the full thumbs up. Is it the pacing? It might be the pacing. I might think it's pretty dull.
Yes, I'm a sucker for Christian epics. So what? A masterpiece is a masterpiece, and The Robe is one of the best examples of the genre I've seen. Campy, romantic, stirring -- it hits all the necessary emotions. And, of course, an unexpected finale that leaves you in tears.
A cute movie, with Audrey as the princess trying to pass as not a princess, and Gregory Peck as the journalist who's well aware of who she is, but is faking otherwise to gain her trust. And tender feelings develop! A winning team, a charming little movie, but nothing really extraordinary. Love the ending, love the actors -- but Best Picture is a little much.
Shane is beautiful -- and I ain't just talking about Loyal Griggs' cinematography. There is an ache in this story, these performances: unspoken pasts, mistakes best forgotten, desires and feelings left unuttered. And I'm a sucker for any movie where the villain makes an OK case for himself -- shows some thought, some empathy, some wisdom went into the whole thing. Truly: I LOVE YOU, SHANE!
Well, you may have guessed it by now, but I'm not seeing eye-to-eye with From Here to Eternity as the Academy's pick (though it's close). Instead, I award m vote for Best Picture of 1953 to...
Coming soon: The Retro Hollmann Awards, where I present my picks from this year! Stay tuned!