Friday, August 30, 2013

You Can't Take It With You (Best Picture 1938)

an odd picture to use, as there are NO forests in this film whatsoever

You Can't Take It With You (YCTIWY) is one of my favorite movies. I first saw it when I ws in high school at a Frank Capra double feature at The Tivoli in University City, Missouri. It has a folksy charm that is considered very "Capra-esque." The story revolves around two families, the Vanderhofs and the Kirbys. The grand-daughter of one (Jean Arthur) and the son of the other (James Stewart) fall in love. The comedy and drama ensues because Grandpa (Lionel Barrymore) and his family are what we would call "free thinking" or "eccentric" while the Kirbys are decidedly NOT. They are more snobbish and "blue-blooded." Anthony Kirby (Edward Arnold) is a Wall Street barracuda whose goal is to make as much money as possible; in fact, he is after Grandpa's house in a plot to bankrupt a financial rival. Grandpa's philosophy is, of course, "you can't take it with you."
Tony (Stewart) tries to convince Alice (Arthur) that he really loves her, so they decide to plan a dinner party at the Vanderhof home. However, Tony brings his parents to the house on the wrong night, leading to several awkward moments. Eventually the entire house is arrested on a misunderstanding (and because their home-made fireworks go off accidentally). When Grandpa and his family are charged the neighborhood people come together to pay their fine, but leave the Kirbys out in the cold. Faced with their scorn and snobbery Alice explodes at them, refusing to have anything more to do with Tony. Later, Alice moves away to help forget the pain of the break-up. Faced with these same unpleasant memories and lonely for Alice, the family decides to sell the house after all and move out. Tony finally confronts his father and tells him that he, too, is leaving, and has no intention of becoming a businessman like his father. Faced with his son's disdain, and rocked by the sudden death of his rival, Mr. Kirby finally decides to lighten up, play the harmonica, and try to enjoy life.
There are some moments in the film that are easier to appreciate than others. For example, when the people are shown in the jail cells, the dialogue and situation rings true. When they are all brought out to face the judge, however, and the neighborhood rallies behind Grandpa and Alice makes her huge speech about populism, it all seems a bit TOO Capra-corny for its own good. Still, the idea that some people are too "uptight" and others are too "loose" leads to a very entertaining motion picture in general.
When I moved back to the States I lived in a town blessed with a very strong amateur theatre group. The first play I was fortunate to join in on was *this* one. I actually played Mr. Kirby. Ironically, from that time on I have loved the movie less and the play much, much more. Although the film is a genuine classic, it just doesn't compare to the original play. Let me give a you few examples of how the play is better.
First of all, the play loses two characters to the movie. Neither Gay Wellington the alcoholic actress or The Grand Duchess Olga Katrina make it into the movie. Gay was at the house to help Penny (Spring Byington) write her screenplay. She is another example of the kind of people who frequent the Vanderhof home. Likewise, Olga is a down-on-her-luck Russian aristocrat who was probably cut for the film to make the story less "New York" or "ethnic." It is a shame that we lose these two characters, because they have plenty more character than the mostly nameless and faceless white-bread neighborhood people we get in their stead.   
Speaking of white-bread, the play does not include Mr Poppins (Donald Meek). His role in the movie is to serve as "guide" to the house, allowing us the audience to meet all the people who live there. In the play, however, this role goes to Tony, who visits the house several times more in the show than he does in the film. In the movie James Stewart seems to play Tony as benevolent, bemused observer. In the play he really knows these people; you get a better feel that his heart belongs with them rather than with his stuck-up mother and father. In the film that class (?) concern is sort of ignored.
The worst part of the film is that most of the "dinner party" scene is cut. In the play the Kirbys make a grand "go" of the evening, talking longer and even participating in a parlor game Penny creates. There is more discussion about hobbies (Mr. Kirby raises orchids) and more about wrestling before Kolenkhov (Mischa Auer) throws him to the floor. The funniest scene in the whole play is when Penny leads the group in a game she calls "Forget Me Not," a type of word-association. She says, "I'm going to call out five words, jus anything at all, and as I say each word, you're to put down the first thing that comes into your mind." The words she ends up using are potatoes, bathroom. lust, honeymoon, and sex. A huge laugh comes when Mrs. Kirby, upon the last word, says, "Wall Street." Mr. Kirby's next line is, "But what does it mean, sex--Wall Street?!" Well, it turns out that Mr. Kirby is *always* thinking about business, even when....! Believe me, the whole scene is hilarious.
The final third of the film is totally different from the play. In the film, for example, Grandpa gets angry at Kirby while they are both in jail; in the play, Grandpa never gets angry. Instead he is more sad and pitying. Plus in the play that scene is at the house, and Tony is already there, very clearly siding with the Vanderhofs against what his parents represent. In the film the scene between father and son is staged at their office, diluting the pathos and emotion. The whole plot about Kirby's financial rival was created for the film, and in my opinion takes the spotlight off of the "goodness" of the Vanderhof home. We need Kirby to come to his senses because his son is rejecting him, not because his old rival has dropped dead. The final scenes in the play are much more intimate than in the film: Alice is angry at her family, Tony rejects his father, and then Grandpa gently chides Kirby that it is never too late to change. If you enjoyed the film, you should try to find a videotaped version of the play. You won't be disappointed.
Frank Capra (FR left) and his cast

Other things I love about the film:
Barrymore appears on crutches throughout the film because, as his character says, "one of my grand-daughters dared me to slide down the banister." In reality Barrymore's arthritis was hurting him, but Capra wanted him so badly that he agreed to let him use crutches.
Donald and Rheba are the "help" who appear to live at the house, just like everybody else. They probably have an actual apartment off-site, but the idea that black people could co-habitate with white people is an amazing visual for 1938.
The crow that helps the men make fireworks is named "Jim." Jim Crow?
The restaurant scene where James Stewart threatens to scream because he loves Jean Arthur so much was not in the play but it is still hilarious. I laugh every time I watch it, and I remember the whole audience laughed when I saw it in the theater. 
Frank Capra had a set group or "company" that he evidently liked to use, because if you sit down and watch a few Capra films in a row you'll be sure to recognize several of the same character actors. Here Alice's father Paul is played by Samuel S. Hinds, the same actor who plays James Stewart's father in It's A Wonderful Life. Likewise, H. B. Warner, who plays Mr. Gower in that film here plays Kirby's rival, Ramsey.

You Can't Take It With You
*Academy Award Best Picture 1938*
Produced by Frank Capra
Directed by Frank Capra
Screenplay by Robert Riskin
based on the play by
Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman

here's a trailer to the PLAY, from the Washington DC version
from last year

Also Nominated:
(in alphabetical order)
The Adventure of Robin Hood
Alexander's Ragtime Band
Boys' Town
The Citadel
Four Daughters
Grand Illusion
Test Pilot 
Among this year's nominees I have seen Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavialnd and Boys Town with Spencer Tracy (he won his second Oscar in a row for his role as Father Flanagan). In college I saw The Grand Illusion, the French WWI prisoner of war drama. Just recently I watched Jezebel, which gave Bette Davis her second Oscar. She does a great job, especially playing against Henry Fonda, but the movie itself is definitely a "chick flick" type melodrama. The others, I'm sorry to say, I have never even heard of. By the way, this year was definitely a year for repeats, as Walter Brennan won his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and Frank Capra won his third Best Director Oscar for YCTIWY. The only newcomer was Best Supporting Actress Fay Bainter from Jezebel. 

Bonus Photo: 
me as Mr. Kirby, with Priscilla McFarland as Mrs. Kirby (LH)
(that's "Gay" and "Olga" around us)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Read Comics In Public Day 2013

Little Russell Burbage reading comics at Christmas 1976
According to an article I read on , "Reading in Public Day" was started in 2010 by Brian Heater and Sarah Morean of indie comics site The Daily Cross Hatch. It's supposed to be a day to celebrate literacy and the legitimacy of comics as an artform. August 28 was chosen because it is the birthday of Jack "King" Kirby, who did so much for both the DC and Marvel universes. This is a day when comic book fans in the US can pull out their favorite trade or monthly and show their love of reading in public. The idea is to show the "outside world" that comics really are very popular, and not just appreciated by a marginalized group. Comics are loved all over the world, but somehow in the US the vision still lingers of people who live in their parents' basement and argue over who is stronger, Superman or the Hulk.

So grab something and take it with you on the bus, subway, or at the office during your lunch break. Nerds unite!

And while we're at it....
Happy Birthday Jack Kirby!
We comic book fans owe you a debt we can never repay! 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sarah Chalke!

Today is the birthday of actress Sarah Chalke. I was in Japan during her run on Roseanne, so my first contact with her was on the TV series SCRUBS. She portrayed Dr. Elliot Reid, the ditzy but loveable female lead in the series about three young interns at Sacred Heart Hospital in Los Angeles. What a great show that was.....wacky, zany comedy in one moment, then tear-jerking drama and tragedy in the next. If you have never seen it, you should go to your local library and borrow it. If you *have* seen it, you know how good it is.

Happy Birthday, Sarah Chalke! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Beatles meet Elvis 8-27-65

On the evening of August 27, 1965 in Elvis Presley's Bel-Air mansion, the Beatles came a'calling. In the stories of that evening that I have read (such as from the UK Daily Mail, linked here) it sounds like it was less a meeting of minds than it was a cultural "generational gap." Like your older brother not approving of your musical tastes or something. Still, it is telling that The Beatles wanted to meet Elvis, who they considered one of the leading guiding lights in their musical paths.

In the spirit of having two musical legends get together, Friends of Justice hereby presents two super hits from 1965, one by each legendary act. I am unashamedly a fan of both.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy 100th Birthday, Walt Kelly!

One hundred years ago today, Walt Kelly was born in Philadelphia. For the approximately 60 years he was alive he helped create countless hours of amusement for kids of all ages. He worked at DISNEY, helping animate Dumbo. He worked at GOLD KEY, drawing comics of The Little Rascals aka Our Gang. And of course, he created POGO.

The world would have been a  little less bright without the gifts of Mr. Kelly. DUMBO is available on DVD. OUR GANG has been collected in trade paperbacks. And there are two collected works of POGO so far, with a new book scheduled to be published each year. .

On this anniversary of his birth, Friends of Justice salutes him.

Happy Birthday, Walt Kelly! 


Complete Dailies and Sunday Strips, Volume One

Complete Dailies and Sunday Strips, Volume Two

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Life of Emile Zola (Best Picture 1937)

This film opens with the credits and then, immediately preceding any of the action, we get the following message:
This production has its basis in history. 
The historical basis, however, has been fictionalized for the purposes of this picture and the names of many characters, many characters themselves, the story, incidents and institutions, are fiction, with the exception of known historical characters whose actual names are herein used, no identification with actual persons, living or dad, is intended or should be inferred. 

Now I absolutely did not know what to do with this comment. I have to say that any biographical film that opens with a preamble like this has got to go a LONG way to impress me! I shrugged, figured this was the 1937 version of "Based on a True Story," and kept watching.

I guess I should admit that I had no idea who Emile Zola was before I sat down to watch this film. So I had no idea what was true and was false as I was watching it. While I suppose that's true of all "biographical" films, it still struck me as odd. So do YOU know who Emile Zola was? Evidently he is a famous French writer (1840-1902), but when I researched him the only thing I knew him from was his  letter to the French President called, 'J'accuse!" (I accuse (you)). Coincidentally, the majority of this film is about that very letter. 
Zola, his unnamed artist friend, and his prostitute friend argue with the police
That ended up being another strike against this film: it's not actually about the life of Zola! The first half-hour or so is Zola making a name for himself as a writer and political activist; then suddenly he is famous (we know this from one of those famous montage scenes of  various books being published, representing the passage of time.) It seems very jarring that he is in poverty for the first ten minutes, then writes a novel (?) about a prostitute he names Nana, and suddenly he is a French celebrity. Now we start to get the to the intrigue of the French Army and the Dreyfus Affiair. It takes over from this point, interweaving in with Zola's success until the two threads meet up. Turns out the majority of the film is a court-room drama about political corruption and antisemitism. Although the film is called, "The Life of Emile Zola," it should have been called "The Dreyfus Affair" or "The Death of Zola." That's like taking another military court-room drama like "A Few Good Men" and re-naming it "The Life of Lt Col Nathan Jessup." It's just false advertising.

Now, as a court-room drama, the film is actually very good. There is a spy in the French Army, providing secrets to the Germans. Once that fact is known, the generals in the Army place blame on Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an officer who happens to be Jewish. There is absolutely no case against him, but they court-martial him anyway. They discharge him, publicly humiliate him, and imprison him on Devil's Island. Zola, who has made a name for himself by championing the underclass and the underdog, is convinced by Dreyfus' wife to take on the case. He writes an open letter to the French President accusing him and the Army of gross negligence and of the bogus guilty verdict, ignoring the actual guilty party. This is the letter that starts out, "I accuse..!" The Army sues Zola for libel, which is exactly what Zola hoped would happen. He and his lawyers hope to bring out the facts about Dreyfus once and for all. However, the presiding judge does not let any mention of the Dreyfus case or its cover-up be mentioned in court. Obviously, Zola is found guilty. He escapes to England before he can be imprisoned. There he continues to write Op-Ed letters about the case until a new French President and Chief of Staff finally agree to re-open the case. They end up pardoning Dreyfus. However, the night before Dreyfus' return and re-induction into the Army, Zola dies of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Or maybe most of this is fictitious. Who can tell? 

So does that sound like a Best Picture to you?

Don't get me wrong; this is a good movie. It just is not what I thought it would be, namely a biography of a French writer.  The biographical details in the first third are not fleshed out to a level I would have expected, so when we later get excessive details about Dreyfus' life on Devil's Island, it seems somehow unbalanced. For example, at the beginning of the film Emile is living in poverty with an artist. I didn't catch his name if it was given. He doesn't seem important. Later he shows up and chastises Emile for becoming too fat and too rich. I didn't catch his name during this scene, either. Yet when Dreyfus is imprisoned, we are shown the specific books that he is allowed to read. It's an odd detail to share when we don't learn the name of Zola's best friend, don't you think?  Was the artist one of the things the writers had to be circumspect about? 
By far the best part of the film is the stellar cast. By far the best of the bunch is Joseph Schildkraut as Dreyfus. He won the second ever Best Supporting Actor award for this role. Schildkraut embodies pride and honor as Dreyfus, a character we are shown to be innocent. So he has our sympathy from the beginning and never loses it. I only wish he had been given even more screen time. Joseph Schildkraut later appeared in The Diary of Anne Frank as her father, and was nominated for that performance as well.

Dreyfus' wife is played by Gale Sondergaard, who won the very first Best Supporting Actress the year before (Anthony Adverse). I had heard of her name but had never seen her in anything before this. Mostly I knew her as the actress who was given and then turned down the role of the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of OZ. She was very good here as the pillar of faith, first in her husband's innocence and then in Zola's ability to save him.

And of course, there is Paul Muni in the title role. He was coming off of his Best Actor award from the previous year (The Story of Louis Pasteur). He was nominated for this, too, but lost to Spencer Tracy. He is fine here, but his French accent makes him hard to understand sometimes. And he has a thankless role here: how do you represent indignation to corruption? Do you have a hissy fit or do you arch an eye-brow or look past the camera pensively? Yes, yes, and yes. His role is the center of the action, but his acting is not.  He is too much the reactionary, where Schildkraut and Sondergaard are the protagonists.

The last comment I want to make is that the DVD cover, as shown above, confuses me. It shows Muni clean-shaven and dapper. However, throughout the film Zola is anything but dapper. Muni is made up with a wig and whiskers for the entire time. It's another bit of oddness for a very odd Best Picture.
the real Emile Zola
the real Paul Muni
The Life of Emile Zola
*Academy Award Best Picture 1937*
Produced by Henry Blanke
Directed by Wiliiam Dieterle
Screenplay by Heinz Herald,
Geza Herczeg, and Norman Reilly Raine
based on the book Zola & His Time by Matthew Josephson

"The Screen's Most Memorable Accomplishment".....hmmm. Hyperbole, anybody?

Also Nominated:
(in alphabetical order)
The Awful Truth
Captains Courageous
Dead End
The Good Earth
In Old Chicago
Lost Horizon
100 Men And A Girl
Stage Door
A Star Is Born
This is another year where I am not very familiar with the other nominees. I have seen  The Awful Truth. It's a great comedy drama about marriage starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. She was nominated; he was not. Neither won, although the director, Lew McCarey, *did* win. The Good Earth is the film version of Pearl Buck's story about Chinese farmers starring...western actors. In fact, Luise Rainer won her second Best Actress award for her role of the lead Chinese woman. I refuse to see this on principle. Lost Horizon I have heard of but never seen. A Star Is Born (original version) likewise, although I have seen the Julie Garland-James Mason version. And 100 Men And A Girl, although it sounds mildly dirty, is about an amateur orchestra and their lead singer. It is incredibly popular in Japan for some reason, but I still have managed to not see it. The others I know absolutely nothing about, unfortunately.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hugh Wilson!

You may not recognize the name, but Hugh Wilson is a Hollywood writer, director, and producer and creator of one of my favorite shows, WKRP in Cincinnati. August 21 is his 70th birthday.

Before he created WKRP, Wilson worked on such great shows as The Bob Newhart Show, where he wrote three episodes, and The Tony Randall Show from 1976. After four years in Cincinnati he moved to New Orleans, specifically to Frank's Place, one of the few African-American based situation comedies on network television. It starred Tim Reid, who had portrayed Venus Fly Trap on WKRP. It only lasted one season.

He is also the director of the first Police Academy film starring Steve Gutenberg and Kim Cattrell. 

More recently he has directed films such as The First Wives' Club (starring Bette Midler and Diane Keaton) and Dudley Do-Right (starring Brendan Fraser). Currently he lives in Virginia.

Thanks for hours and hours of entertainment, Mr. Wilson!

Happy Birthday, Hugh Wilson!


Monday, August 19, 2013

One Hit Wonders: The Rembrandts

Today August 19 is Matthew Perry's birthday. He is the talented actor from Mr. Sunshine, 17 Again, Studio 90, and, of course, Friends. However, today is Music Monday here at Friends of Justice, so instead of spending time with Mr. Perry (Happy Birthday, by the way, you were always my favorite friend), I want to talk about the song most closely related to him and his cast-mates, the 1995 Super Hit, "I'll Be There For You" by the Rembrandts.

The producers of the TV-show Friends wanted a theme that was similar to "Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M. They eventually met up with the duo known as The Rembrandts, Phil Solem and Danny Wilde. Together they threw together a one-minute tune that the producers were satisfied with, and they thought their job was done.

Flash forward a year later when Friends makes its debut and becomes a hit. A radio-station in Nashville loops the one minute "song" into a three minute gag and gets so many calls about it that eventually, Solem and Wilde were ordered back into the studio to record a full three minute version. That song hit the US airwaves in 1995, getting as high as #17on the Hot 100. The record company also commissioned a fun music video to go along with it, which I present to you here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Great Ziegfeld (Best Picture 1936)

I wanted to like The Great Ziegfeld. It stars William Powell and Myrna Loy, two of my all-time favorite Golden Age Hollywood stars. It also features Luise Rainer in a Best Actress-winning role. So I guess maybe my expectations were high. Unfortunately, it ended up being more of a period piece than an entertaining work of film.

It starts out fun, with Ziegfeld (Powell) and Frank Morgan as competitive "barkers" at the Chicago World's Fair. Powell is selling strength, in the form of character actor Nate Pendleton as strongman named Sandow. Morgan is selling sex, in a form of a stripper exotic dancer named Little Egypt. As soon as Ziegfeld realizes he can sell Sandow with sex, too, he is on his way. Throughout the film we see Powell and Morgan pushing to get the best of the other; their scenes together are pure joy.
A few years later they meet up again in Paris, each vying to sign the European sensation Anna Held (Rainer). I don't know if it's because of the fifty-plus year difference between when it was made and when I saw it, but to me Rainer is an anchor who drags the film down. Her coquettishness is probably supposed to be charming, but to me she is just annoying. Her scenes with Powell lack any feeling of passion or chemistry whatsoever. Of course Ziegfeld succeeds in bringing her back to the States and turning her into a sensation. And she is the one who suggests that he creates his famous "follies." For those of you who may not know, "follies" are a series of separate songs and dances instead of one linear story, as were (and are) the norm. His "Ziegfeld Follies" were a huge success, and unfortunately  that brought out a lot of "gold-diggers." The film never shows us that Ziegfeld was explicitly unfaithful to Anna, so it was a bit strange to see her sue him for divorce when she sees him with a chorus girl. The chorus girl does let it slip that he is paying for her apartment, so maybe this is 1936 code that they're sleeping together? In this scene, though, we see that nothing is happening, so it's doubly odd. It plays (now?) like Anna is having a hissy-fit and that he is the victim of her jealousy. Plus, he is then shown to be in a depressed state because he has lost her!
This whole section of the movie is boring in the extreme. Luckily it is not too long before the lovely Myrna Loy shows up as his new love interest, Billie Burke. I don't know if it is because of their (film) history together or their actual talent, but immediately upon their meeting each other you believe that they are destined to fall in love. Their screen chemistry is *loads* better than Powell and Rainer's. It is here that we learn that Ziegfeld has a reputation as a ladies' man, as Burke at first refused to go out with him as "just another companion." She succumbs, of course, and now we are ready for the "happily ever after" ending. However, it's 1929 by this point, and after the Great Crash Ziegfeld manages to hang on for only a few years before he dies, wanting "more stairs" to Heaven. There is one last great scene between Powell and Morgan, both knowing that the other was wiped out but neither willing to admit it to the other. You get the feeling here that, after all, these two men really were friends.
Unfortunately (there's that word again), Powell's opportunities to really grab a scene and act are few and far between. He seems to be walking through this role, with little emotional commitment to it or anyone around him. He is the center of the whole film, but he doesn't own the story. He was nominated this year for his role in My Man Godfrey (co-starring his ex-wife, Carole Lombard), but not for Ziegfeld.

On the other hand, Luise Rainer does get to chomp into the scenery when she hears that her ex-husband has re-married. She bounces back schizophrenically from happiness to sadness and back again in a tour de force performance. She shows just how much love she had bottled up for him, winning the Best Actress Oscar this year.     
Now, I know I haven't talked about the musical parts of this musical film. If you are familiar with this film at all you may already know that there is a "staircase" scene that lasts for eight minutes. It evidently cost MGM more to produce in that eight minutes than it cost to produce any of Flo Ziegfeld's actual follies! You may be like some of my friends who see things like this and think that they are marvelous. Me? I mostly don't get it. I can appreciate the joy of watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sweeping through a ballroom, but I don't understand the entertainment value of one-hundred extras dressed up in exotic costumes parading down a moving staircase. 'Nuff said? In this film, the "spectacle" is the thing. If you would prefer Ray Bolger singing to farm maidens, or Fanny Brice singing a torch song, this is the wrong film for you. Both talents are here playing themselves, as both actually did get their "start" in Ziegfeld's follies.
Not playing herself is Billie Burke, who in this film is portrayed by Myrna Loy. Burke is, of course, a few years from becoming immortalized as Glinda The Good Witch in The Wizard of OZ. Here, however, she was judged to be not famous enough to help "carry" the picture.

So as a time capsule, showing 21st Century audiences just what constituted entertainment in 1936, The Great Ziegfeld is a nice way to spend three hours. As a classic motion picture biography, it leaves a lot to be desired. 

The other noteworthy aspect of 1936 was that it was the first year that the Academy Awards presenting Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actress statuettes. Among the first nominees were Basil Rathbone (most famous as Sherlock Holmes) and Beulah Bondi (most famous as James Stewarts' mother in It's A Wonderful Life). The awards went to Gale Sondergaard and Walter Brennan.

The Great Ziegfeld
*Academy Award Best Picture 1936*
Produced by Hunt Stromberg
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard
Screenplay by William Anthony McGuire

This is a great trailer because it sells the spectacle....
and then lists a bunch of actors nobody has ever heard of!
Because of the added expense, you will have to pay more than $2
to see this film.  What is inflation coming to...!!

Also Nominated:
(in alphabetical order)
Anthony Adverse
Libeled Lady
Mr. Deed Goes To Town
Romeo And Juliet
San Francisco
The Story of Louis Pasteur
A Tale of Two Cities
Three Smart Girls
This year the number of nominated pictures went down to ten again after being at twelve for two years. The nominees would stay at ten for the next ten years until they were whittled down to five, where they stayed for several decades. This year I actually know and have seen a few of these! Four of them I've never heard of, but the others are worth a watch if your library has them. Libelled Lady is Spencer Tracy with William Powell and Myrna Loy again in a romantic comedy about libel and money. It definitely has it's moments, especially when Powell is wooing Loy. Really, can these two do anything wrong? Mr. Deed Goes To Town is Gary Cooper in a fine Frank Capra social comedy; he won Best Director for his work here. San Francisco is Spencer Tracy (again) and Clark Gable in a story set around the SF earthquake. A Tale of Two Cities I saw in high school as a class when we read the book; I remember liking it. Maybe I should see it again. And The Story of Louis Pasteur won its star, Paul Muni, the Best Actor Oscar. We'll talk about him more next week.