Wednesday, July 10, 2024

1952: Before It Was a Classic

There's a movie here that you might expect to be our next Best Picture nominee. The movie is Singin' in the Rain. It was not nominated for Best Picture. It wasn't nominated for anything except Best Supporting Actress and Best Musical Score. Yet today, who doesn't know Singin' in the Rain? I've seen people reference it who didn't even know what they were referencing, it's so much a part of our culture. But in 1952, it was one of many films released in April. Here are eight of them:

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

1952: The Circus Comes To Town

It's February in 1952 and, although no one knows it yet, the Oscar race is over. The Greatest Show on Earth is out. 

It will spend six weeks in a row at the top spot of the box office and end the year as the #1 highest-grossing. It's a high point for producer-director Cecil B. DeMille, a Hollywood veteran since his 1914 film debut The Squaw Man. Since then, he's cemented himself as a master of the art and the business: indeed, the older he gets, the more successful and acclaimed his movies become. The Greatest Show on Earth, a Technicolor epic about life in the circus featuring actual acts and performers from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, is no exception. And it's the only time he will win Best Picture.

But the Academy Awards are in March 1953. Right now, it's February 1952. And it's not the only film in town:

Monday, July 8, 2024

1952: Murder and More

Now we've wrapped up some 1951 releases that were still considered 1952 films, 1952 can officially begin. With murder! Yes, although I did not realize it until I gathered them all together like this, five of the six films here involve murder in one way or another:

Sunday, July 7, 2024

1952: Before The Year Begins

Two months ago, I started a trilogy of retrospectives, looking at films nominated for Academy Awards - and not nominated but released - during the years for which John Ford was named Best Director. Ford won Best Director four times: for 1935's The Informer, for 1940's The Grapes of Wrath, for 1941's How Green Was My Valley (the only time his film also won Best Picture, interestingly enough), and, finally, for 1952's The Quiet Man. Having looked at the cinema of 1935 two years ago, I focused on the latter three, interesting because not only were two of them back-to-back wins, a rare feat, but because the swathe of time covers the lead-up to WWII and the beginning of a new decade.

1952 is a new world. While there were always international relations and, therefore, film releases, the 50s saw a growing importation of international cinema. Mind, "international" still mostly means "British", but one thing that grew out of WWII was better exportation of cinema from the former Axis countries now occupied by the Allies - Japan, Germany, Italy - as well as the growth of international co-productions (The Medium, for example, is an Italian production of an American work).

Today, the first in our month-long excursion into 1952, we look at six films that were not only all made overseas but were released in their countries and in some parts of the USA before 1952. They all still managed to qualify for this year's Oscars, and indeed, two of them were nominated.