Four of the five nominees for Best Picture are represented here: Crossfire, written by one-time nominee John Paxton, and covering similar thematic ground as Gentleman's Agreement, written by Tony-winner/Pulitzer Prize winner/two-time Oscar nominee Moss Hart. There's Great Expectations, adapted by director David Lean (his third of eleven nominations), former cinematographer Ronald Neame (his third of three nominations), and producer Anthony Havelock-Allan (his second of three nominations). The family-friendly comedy Miracle on 34th Street is here, the only original work, whose source material was a Motion Picture story; director George Seaton wrote the screenplay, received his second of five nominations....and won his first of two Oscars!
Let's talk turkey, shall we? After the jump, of course...
A man is accused of murdering a priest, but a public prosecutor doubts his guilt.
Richard Murphy, adapted from the Reader's Digest article written by Fulton Oursler under the name Anthony Abbot
One of a series of docudramas released in 1947 that comes fully-equipped with a narrator walking the audience through the little details the movie would otherwise skip over. This one doesn't do it very well; as the narrator comes and goes, it has the effect of stopping the movie dead in its tracks, forcing a reset on the momentum. A lot of telling, not much showing, and then suddenly - it's about small-town politics. The patriotic capper is...random?
A soldier is on the run after a man is murdered - the motive may have been anti-Semitism.
John Paxton, adapted from the novel by Richard Brooks
An investigative reporter passes as a Jew to write about anti-Semitism.
Moss Hart, adapted from the novel by Laura Z. Hobson
Circumstances change for a poor moorland boy in this adaptation of the Dickens classic.
David Lean/Ronald Neame/Anthony Havelock-Allan, adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens
Impressively condenses Dickens' 500-600 page novel into a runtime of just under two hours. And in that time, it hits all the necessary plot points without losing any of the source novel's character. Setting is vividly evoked, especially important since we see Pip's circumstances change throughout. Friendships and rivalries are convincingly portrayed. Twists are genuinely unexpected. It doesn't feel like a condensed story.
Miracle on 34th Street
George Seaton, from a story by Valentine Davies
Blends fantasy and reality without leaning into either cynicism or preciousness. It's funny - Kris Kringle taking over his mental health examination with an, "Oh, you bite your nails, too, tsk-tsk-tsk." It's joyful - Kris Kringle teaching the anti-fantasy Susan to use her imagination and play a monkey. It's fair - Karen defending her upbringing of Susan is firm but not defensive. It's honest - the judge leans in favor of Kringle because he's up for reelection. It's heartfelt - Mr. Gailey telling Karen, "Faith is believing in something even when common sense tells you not to."
George Seaton won the Oscar, and....well, my vote goes to...
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET
Next on our journey, the nominees for Best Supporting Actor: Charles Bickford (The Farmer's Daughter), Thomas Gomez (Ride the Pink Horse), Edmund Gwenn (Miracle on 34th Street), Robert Ryan (Crossfire), and Richard Widmark (Kiss of Death).