Wednesday, December 23, 2020

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The 1970 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part One

You know the nominees, you've seen the Top Ten - now, the first nine winners of the 1970 Retro Hollmann Awards:

Best Adapted Screenplay
Women in Love
Larry Kramer
adapted from the novel by D.H. Lawrence
2. The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer; 3. Lovers and Other Strangers; 4. The Twelve Chairs; 5. Tora! Tora! Tora!

As I told you before: , it's "a lesson in adaptation" that doesn't rely on dialogue but interprets sequences, even some conversations from the novel, with an emphasis on the visual; even the novel's opening conversation is moved better visualize the decay of life marriage represents to Gudrun.

In second, The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer's unexpected but fitting finale. In third, Lovers and Other Strangers' smooth transition from stage to screen. In fourth, The Twelve Chairs' hilarity and humility. In fifth, Tora! Tora! Tora!'s characterizations give a personal touch to the timeline of events.

Best Supporting Actor
Sean Connery as Jack Kehoe
The Molly Maguires
2. Vladek Sheybal in Women in Love; 3. Richard Mulligan in Little Big Man; 4. Chief Dan George in Little Big Man; 5. Laurence Luckinbill in The Boys in the Band

Connery stands out enough to almost be a co-lead - almost. He's almost unknowable as the leader of the secret revolutionary group the Molly Maguires - stoic, hard, his anger at injustice simmering underneath that already unsmiling visage. Palpable is his feeling of responsibility, but there's no weariness, only determination. His last scene, after things go to shit and he's in jail (oh, that's not a spoiler, it's history!)...I don't know, there's this shrugging acceptance of this inevitability that he sells so well without giving up any of the aforementioned simmering anger.

In second, Sheybal's Loerke is sardonic, pompous. In third, Mulligan's General Custer is mad, confident, dumb. In fourth, George's Old Lodge Skins is warm, humorous, sad but not despairing. In fifth, Luckinbill's Hank knows who he is and what he wants - and is aware of his straight-passing privilege.

Best Original Song
1. "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" from A Boy Named Charlie Brown
music and lyrics by Rod McKuen
2. "Burning Bridges" from Kelly's Heroes
music by Lalo Schifrin
lyrics by Mike Curb
3. "Ain't Now, But It's Gonna Be" from Cotton Comes to Harlem
music by Galt McDermot
lyrics by Ossie Davis
4. "Suicide is Painless" from MASH
music by Johnny Mercer
lyrics by Mike Altman
5. "Sweet Talkin' Candy Man" from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
music and lyrics by Bob Stone and Stu Phillips

Best Costume Design

Women in Love
Shirley Russell
2. Fellini Satyricon; 3. Myra Breckinridge; 4. The Boys in the Band; 5. Something of Value

Shirley Russell has an eye, doesn't she? I love the blue she puts Gudrun in at the beginning and at the climactic Swiss vacation. I love the white and beige clothes everyone has for the summer fĂȘte at Summerlands, except for Gerald's mustard-and-brown striped suit. I love the theatrical costumes worn by the cast of Hermione's masque. So...perfect.

In second, Fellini Satyricon makes very specific choices as to its lack of costumes - plus that minotaur! In third, the real-life rivalry between Mae West and Raquel Welch in Myra Breckinridge is enhanced by their competing on-screen lewks. In fourth, The Boys in the Band says much with simplicity. In fifth, Something of Value puts Angela Lansbury in some stunning gowns...and Michael York in some remarkably tiny shorts.

Best Actress
Glenda Jackson as Gudrun Brandwen
Women in Love
2. Raquel Welch in Myra Breckinridge; 3. Sandy Dennis in The Out-of-Towners; 4. Carrie Snodgress in Diary of a Mad Housewife; 5. Shirley Stoler in The Honeymoon Killers

I once flew to NYC for a 48-hour stay just to see Glenda Jackson in King Lear. You can count the number of film performances of hers I've seen and not nominated on one hand. She may be my favorite actress (sorry Maggie Smith!). What does that have to do with her performance in Women in Love? I've written about it before, there's no mystery. I love her, and this is one of her best performances.

In second, Welch's Myra Breckinridge is so singular, so delicious, relishing every syllable she speaks. In third, Dennis's Gwen Kellerman is loyal and weary. In fourth, Snodgress' Tina Balser finds her voice and her chutzpah. In fifth, Stoler's Martha Beck is cold-blooded in her killings, even if they are motivated by passion.

Best Sound
Lawrence O. Jost / Elden Ruberg, sound recordists
Howard Beals, supervising sound editor
2. MASH; 3. Tora! Tora! Tora!; 4. Airport; 5. The Molly Maguires

I actually think I mentioned the sound design for Catch-22 when I wrote it up at the beginning of the month. It's really terrific, what more can I say?

In second, MASH's layers allowing for vivid, realistic conversations. In third, Tora! Tora! Tora!'s wartime soundtrack. In fourth, Airport's remarkable re-creation of the hum and buzz of an airplane. In fifth, The Molly Maguires captures the sounds of a mining town, though its real showcase is in an extended fistfight in a bar.

Best Visual Effects
Tora! Tora! Tora!
A.D. Flowers / Glen Robinson, mechanical effects
Johnny Borgese / Greg C. Jensen, special effects
L.B. Abbott / Art Cruickshank / Edward Hutton / Howard Lydecker, special photographic effects
Juan de la Cierva y Hoces, visual effects
2. Kelly's Heroes; 3. Patton; 4. The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer; 5. Scrooge

We are talking about the attack on Pearl Harbor, an event which involves fighter planes, battleships, and lots of bombs and bullets. The film depicts in great detail. There's a lot happening and the film does it all - and not too much so!

In second, Kelly's Heroes "small-scale" operation has a lot of...explosions. In third, Patton's distant battles. In fourth, The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer's flames and gunfights. In fifth, Scrooge's ghosts.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Little Big Man
Terry Miles / Dick Smith, makeup
Lynn Del Kail, hair
2. Fellini Satyricon; 3. Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed; 4. Cromwell; 5. Multiple Maniacs

Dustin Hoffman ages from - what, 15? - to 112, and is sometimes starving, sometimes dirty, sometimes in war paint, sometimes shaggy, sometimes clean-cut. Everyone ages, actually, in realistic fashion, in subtle ways. It's how you know Faye Dunaway's fallen on hard times. It's what turns Richard Mulligan into General Custer, Jeff Corey into Wild Bill Hickok, and Martin Balsam into the increasingly false-limbed Allardyce T. Meriweather.

In second, the indulgences and grotesques in Fellini Satyricon. In third, the scars and gore in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. In fourth, the 15th century 'dos in Cromwell. In fifth, everything in Multiple Maniacs.

Best Original Screenplay
Five Easy Pieces
Carole Eastman
story by Bob Rafelson and Carole Eastman
2. The Honeymoon Killers; 3. The Out-of-Towners; 4. Alex in Wonderland; 5. The Traveling Executioner

In its transitions from one "type" of movie to the next is a gradual character study of a clunky escape artist. As I said before, Bobby Dupea is a man who "continue[s] his cycle of cutting out when things get bad (or when it looks like people expect anything from him). He's a man running away from home over and over again." whether it's the diner scene or the salon scene, Bobby's outbursts cut deep. And its discussions about the perceived value of "gifted" people are fascinating.

In second, The Honeymoon Killers' straightforward account of murders most foul. In third, The Out-of-Towners' increasing mania. In fourth, Alex in Wonderland's winking Hollywood satire and Fellini parody. In fifth, The Traveling Executioner's commentary on how America perceives and values necessary but "unseemly" occupations.

Concludes tomorrow with Cinematography, Supporting Actress, and more - including Best Picture!

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