81 Days With Oscar And Me

Every Academy Award-Winning Movie, Back to Back, Starting With the First

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Entries from August 31st, 2009

Gone With the Wind

August 31st, 2009 · 1 Comment · 1939, Adaptation, Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Color, Composer: Max Steiner, Drama, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, Olivia de Havilland, Swearing, Victor Fleming, Vivien Leigh, War, Warner Bros. Pictures

Rhett Butler. Scarlett O’Hara. Melanie Hamilton-Wilkes. Mammy. Prissy. Ashley Wilkes. Gowns as big as Tara. A cause as lost as the Robinson family in space.
Gone With the Wind is the first Oscar-winning movie in color – and a darn good thing, too. No movie yet (not even The Great Ziegfeld) so demanded to be [...]

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You Can’t Take It With You

August 30th, 2009 · No Comments · 1938, Black and White, Charles Lane, Columbia Pictures, Comedy, Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Original Screenplay, Robert Riskin, You Can't Take It With You

You Can’t Take It With You is a screwball comedy revolving around a house full of quirky family members and hangers-on lead by Grandpa Martin Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore), who dispenses aphorisms like candy machines dispense candy. Stuff like this: “You can’t take it with you, Mr. Kirby. So what good is it? As near [...]

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Life of Emile Zola, The

August 29th, 2009 · No Comments · 1937, Adaptation, Biopic, Black and White, Composer: Max Steiner, Donald Crisp, Drama, Left-Leaning Politics, Life of Emile Zola, Paul Muni, Warner Bros. Pictures

I approached this movie with three primary questions at the forefront of my mind:
1. Who was Emile Zola?
2. Who was Paul Muni?
3. What is this movie about?
To the first, I turn to an entry on Wikipedia:
Émile François Zola (2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was an influential French writer, the most important [...]

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Great Ziegfeld, The

August 28th, 2009 · 3 Comments · 1936, Biopic, Black and White, Great Ziegfeld, M-G-M Studios, Musical, Original Screenplay, Powell and Loy

When I found out this was a musical of sorts, I was fully prepared to dislike it.
(You see, I’m not a big fan of musicals.)
The Great Ziegfeld is the semi-autobiographical story pf Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld (1867 – 1932), the American Broadway “impresario” best known for his series of theatrical revues, the Ziegfeld Follies (1907-1931). [...]

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Mutiny On the Bounty

August 27th, 2009 · No Comments · 1935, Adaptation, Black and White, Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Composer: Herbert Stothart, Donald Crisp, Drama, Frank Lloyd, Herbert Mundin, M-G-M Studios, Mutiny On the Bounty

Arrr, Matey!
Here I sit, tankard (well, glass…but it’s a big glass) of Newcastle Brown Ale in hand, biting off hunks of cheese, and imagining there’s a chatty parrot on my shoulder to which I offer crackers.
If only I had a CD from the folk-metal band Alestorm (“Scottish Pirate Metal”) playing in the background I’d [...]

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It Happened One Night

August 26th, 2009 · No Comments · 1934, Adaptation, Alan Hale, Black and White, Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Columbia Pictures, Comedy, Frank Capra, It Happened One Night, Robert Riskin

The difference between It Happened One Night, the seventh Oscar-winning movie, and the one that preceded it, Cavalcade, is the difference between night and day (no pun intended).
While John and Lionel Barrymore may have been considered better actors in the early 1930s, when Clark Gable hits the screen it’s movie magic.
I mean, this guy [...]

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Cavalcade

August 25th, 2009 · No Comments · 1932-1933, Adaptation, Black and White, Cavalcade, Drama, Fox Film Corporation, Frank Lloyd, Herbert Mundin, Mordaunt Hall, Not Released In United States, War

I didn’t think I was going to be able to watch this movie today.
Cavalcade is one of only two Oscar-winning movies (the other being the 1927 silent film Wings) that has not been released on DVD in the United States. So don’t look for it in your local Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, FYE, or [...]

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Grand Hotel

August 24th, 2009 · No Comments · 1931-1932, Absinthe, Adaptation, Black and White, Drama, Grand Hotel, Greta Garbo, Louisiana Flip, M-G-M Studios, Mordaunt Hall, Smoking, The Barrymores

I wander around in book stores a lot. (My wife tells me I wander around in them too much, although it’s not the wandering that alarms her; it’s the buying.) I found a used book at our local Barnes & Noble called The New York Times Film Reviews: A One-Volume Selection, by George Amberg. [...]

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Cimarron

August 23rd, 2009 · No Comments · 1930-1931, Adaptation, Black and White, Cimarron, Clara Bow, Edna Ferber, Irene Dunne, RKO Radio, Stuttering, Western

I’m always amazed by what people used to be able to accomplish before the advent (and over use) of Computer-Generated Graphics.
Like All Quiet On the Western Front before it, Cimarron is vast. The opening scene of hundreds of people in covered wagons and on horseback screaming across the plain is priceless. It looked like a [...]

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All Quiet On the Western Front

August 22nd, 2009 · 1 Comment · 1929-1930, Adaptation, All Quiet On the Western Front, Black and White, Carl Laemmle Jr., Clara Bow, Drama, Universal Pictures, War

War is hell.
That’s the theme of the 1930 Oscar-winning movie All Quiet On the Western Front.
Film historian Robert Osbourne introduces the movie in a brief DVD featurette by saying this: What you’re about to see is one of the most powerful anti-war films ever made…one critic wrote about it, ‘This is a movie which should [...]

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