Posts Tagged ‘singin’ in the rain’

40. Cavalcade (1933)

Other Nominated Films:
42nd Street, A Farewell to Arms, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Lady for a Day, Little Women, The Private Life of Henry VIII, She Done Him Wrong, Smilin’ Through, State Fair

At the time of it’s release, Cavalcade was a pretty big triumph. The 110 minute film spans around three decades of history, which is a tough challenge even for directors today. The film is defined by the big events that happen in the lives of the Jane and Robert Marryot, played by Diana Wynyard and Clive Brook. These include the Second Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic, and World War I. Cavalcade can easily be considered a tear-jerker due to the fact that the events we witness with this family are tragic on a more personal level. Using such tragic events in history is risky for a film, especially in a time where people are experimenting with cinema and figuring out what topics are proper or offensive to use in a movie. But by taking this risk, Frank Lloyd is able to bring out the best in his actors and allow the audience into the lives of these individuals and feel as they feel. Diane Wynyard is truly fantastic in her role as Jane. It doesn’t look as if she’s acting, but it looks as if she is Jane Marryot, and all of the pain and suffering that Jane has gone through in her life…well it seems as if Diane has been in her shoes before. This was the first Fox Studios film to be awarded Best Picture.

Nominated for 4 Oscars; Winner of 3
Best Art Direction William S. Darling (WON)
Best Director Frank Lloyd (WON)
Best Picture – Fox Studios (WON)
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Diana Wynyard

Jane Marryot: There should never be any good reason for neglecting someone that you love.

39. The Broadway Melody of 1929 (1929)

Other Nominated Films:
Alibi, The Hollywood Revue of 1929, In Old Arizona, The Patriot

The first talkie and the first musical to win Best Picture, The Broadway Melody was ahead of its time when it was released. The musical was one of the first to feature a Technicolor sequence, but the sequence is presumed lost. While The Broadway Melody may not be the strongest, or the best, musical on my countdown of top Best Picture films, it’s safe to say that this is the first complete example of the Hollywood musical. In a Hollywood musical, the songs and the dance help to move the plot along, as well as to help develop a character. In The Broadway Melody, this technique is used throughout the whole film for the sisters Harriet and Queenie Mahoney. Another trait of the Hollywood musical is the outrageous background scenery and the fantastic dance numbers that take place. Sometimes the dance numbers take place on a stage, sometimes they take place out in a street where a ton of people automatically know the dance moves. While this may confuse me sometimes, it doesn’t take any of the fun out of the film. While watching The Broadway Melody, I found myself tapping my feet along with some of the musical numbers and wanting to get up and dance (although, I will admit, I wouldn’t have known the dance moves myself. Must be a gift.) The music within the film is extremely catchy, and it’s just a fun film to watch. The success of The Broadway Melody brought about three sequels, Broadway Melody of 1936, Broadway Melody of 1938, and Broadway Melody of 1940, all released by M-G-M. This is one of the first films to feature songs by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, who would together create the classics Singin’ in the Rain, Good Morning, and You Are My Lucky Star. The Broadway Melody will be known as the film that set the bar for the Hollywood musical, and will always be one of the pillars of the musical genre.

Nominated for 3 Oscars; Winner of 1
Best Picture – M-G-M (WON)
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Bessie Love
Best Director – Harry Beaumont

Eddie Kearns: Those men aren’t going to pay ten bucks to look at your face; this is Broadway!
Hank Mahoney: Yeah, “Broad’s way!”


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42. Cimarron (1931)

Other Nominated Films:
East Lynne, The Front Page, Skippy, Trader Horn

One of the first films to ever win an Oscar, it’s interesting watching it now, to say the least. It’s one of those films that, for the time it was released, I can understand why it was a big hit. It has some pretty solid gun slinging sequences, and the story is able to hold up for the majority of the film. I also must compliment the acting of Irene Dunne, who did a dynamite job portraying a wife who must deal with the actions of her husband who keeps on riding out on her to find bigger and better things. It does tend to be racist, and not just to one race, but at some points, to all. I do realize that this is accurate to how attitudes were back in the day and to how movies were written at this time, but the only time I, myself, have seen a film so racist would have to be The Birth of a Nation directed by D.W. Griffith, one of the pioneers of filmmaking. Cimarron is the first Western to win a Best Picture award, and one of only three Westerns to win the award throughout the history of cinema (Unforgiven and Dances with Wolves are the only other ones.)

Nominated for 7 Oscars; Winner of 3
Best Art Direction – Max Rée (WON)
Best Picture – RKO Radio (WON)
Best Writing, Adaptation – Howard Estabrook (WON)
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Richard Dix
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Irene Dunne
Best Cinematography – Edward Cronjagor
Best Direction – Wesley Ruggles

Sabra Cravat: Did you have to kill him?
Yancy Cravat: No, I could have let him kill me.

41. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Other Nominated Films:
High Noon, Ivanhoe, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet Man

I will admit, this film winning Best Picture does confuse me. The film was given the Best Picture award against classics such as High Noon, which was the favorite, and Singin’ in the Rain, which wasn’t nominated. High Noon wound up being one of the greatest Western films of all time, while Singin’ in the Rain wound up being one of the best musicals of all time. One theory as to why many believed Greatest Show won over High Noon is due to the fact that writer Carl Foreman, who was a writer for High Noon, was eventually blacklisted for once having associations with the Communist party. But, focusing back on The Greatest Show on Earth, I will give it credit for being an enjoyable film at times, and a very suspenseful film during some of the trapeze sequences. The film has a very solid cast with Betty Hutton, Charlton Heston, and James Stewart leading the way (although it was creepy seeing James Stewart as a clown.) The appearances of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are also pleasant surprises in the film. This film wound up being the lone Best Picture win for famous director and producer Cecil B. DeMille.

Nominated for 5 Oscars; Winner of 2
Best Picture – Cecil B. DeMille (WON)
Best Writing, Motion Picture Story – Fredric M. Frank, Theodore St. John, Frank Cavett (WON)
Best Costume Design, Color – Edith Head, Dorothy Jeakins, Miles White
Best Director – Cecil B. DeMille
Best Film Editing – Anne Bauchens

Buttons: How long do you think this can go on before something happens?
Brad Braden: It’s circus, isn’t it?

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