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Entries in Oscars (60s) (145)

Monday
Oct232017

The Furniture: Camelot, a Silly and Furry Place

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

Back in August, I wrote about two dramatically different ways of portraying Arthurian Legend on screen. To recap: the bright silliness of Knights of the Round Table (1953) looks like psychedelic compared to the bland grit of King Arthur (2004) and the gruff, imperial fantasia of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017). But even these at least share a mild interest in engaging with English historical design. Camelot (1967), on the other hand, is a flighty fantasy of utter nonsense.

Of course, this is why it’s such a delight to watch. It’s a furry, oversexed epic that sends its glamorous cast out into magical forests to sing Lerner and Loewe songs at the top of their extravagantly-adorned lungs. The film won Oscars for production designer John Truscott, art director Edward Carrere and set decorator John Brown, with Truscott taking home a second statuette for the costumes. Lavishly made and lavishly awarded, it’s a classic of committed inspiration.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep252017

The Furniture: Death by Excess in What a Way to Go!

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

Any excuse to talk about What a Way to Go! is a good excuse. But the centennial of Ted Haworth is an especially excellent excuse. He was nominated for six Oscars, starting with Marty in 1955. He won for 1957’s Sayonara. Highlights from the rest of his career include Some Like It Hot, The Beguiled, and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

But none of those movies could hold a candle to the astonishing level of creativity on display in What a Way to Go! The epic 1964 comedy of love and loss stars Shirley MacLaine as Louisa May Foster, a many-time widow and heiress.  Each husband, with one particularly tragic exception, begins the marriage as a near-pauper who wants nothing but love. But their passion inevitably leads them on a wild pursuit of wealth, which tends to end in a coffin. It should be noted, of course, that Louisa herself has little interest in cash.

There are far too many brilliant design elements to fit into a single column...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug242017

OTD: The Whisperers, Marlee Matlin, and "The Power of Love"

On this day (August 24th) in showbiz-related history...

1890 "Father of modern surfing" and part time movie actor Duke Kahanamoku born in Hawaii. We've written about him before. Where's his biopic?

1967 The Whisperers premieres in London. It's about an old poor woman living in solitude who is beginning to lose her grip on reality. Dame Edith Evans sterling work was instantly lauded - she won Best Actress at Berlinale and from such disparate groups as the NYFCC, NBR and the Golden Globes. She landed her third and final Oscar nomination in the Best Actress lineup (sadly only the winner, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner's Hepburn, was less than superb in that shortlist!). At the time Evans was the oldest Oscar nominee of all time in any acting category having just turned 80 years old. That record has since been undone but she's still the third oldest lead actress nominee after Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (also 80, who won) and Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (who was 85).  Have you ever seen The Whisperers? It's haunting and quite a time capsule of contemporary British cinema of the time. [And check out Nick Davis' 5 star review of this legendary performance]

1985 Huey Lewis and the News hit #1 with their theme from Back to the Future "The Power of Love". The music video had a cameo by the car and Christopher Lloyd's "Doc" though it was mostly just the band playing in a bar. Best Original Song was one of the film's 4 Oscar nominations (it won for sound effects editing).  In case you haven't yet heard, 1985 will be our "year of the month" in September as we build to the next Smackdown.

2012 Remember that movie where Michael Shannon was evil (wait, that's not helpful) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a bicycle messenger (now that's more specific). Premium Rush opened on this day. Isn't it weird how some movies, like that one, feel much more ancient than they actually are while others from years earlier feel fresh as daisies? 

Happy Birthday to Them!
Oscar Winner: Usurper of Kathleen Turner's and/or Sigourney Weaver's Best Actress statue. More generously we must admit that it's super impressive that Matlin trailblazed by refusing to be a one hit wonder, turning that splashy debut into such an unlikely but full career. She's been working ever since!
Oscar Nominees: Ava DuVernay (13th), Anne Archer (Fatal Attraction), Ronee Blakley (Nashville), Robert Pulcini (American Splendor)
Cool Talents: Actress Elizabeth Debicki, Wit Stephen Fry, Auteur Takashi Miike, Novelist A.S. Byatt
80s Touchstones: Steve Guttenberg (Cocoon, Can't Stop the Music, and so many more) and Gordon Wanecke (My Beautiful Laundrette!)

Wednesday
Aug232017

Emmy Review: Outstanding Period/Fantasy Costumes

by Nathaniel R

The television Academy split up the costume categories at the Emmys just a few years ago. Given that all awards bodies default to period work over contemporary work if they have a choice between the two (sigh) it's good that they did this. Now contemporary costumes will be able to actually win prizes! This period category, then, feels more like a continuation of the original Emmy category "Outstanding Costumes for a Series"

The nominees are...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug162017

Bonnie & Clyde's 50th Anniversary

by Eric Blume

It’s difficult to believe that it’s fifty years this month that Arthur Penn’s 1967 classic Bonnie & Clyde debuted in theaters.  On one hand, it’s been part of the American film imagination for so long, that it’s been colossally influential on many other movies.  Yet every time you watch it, it feels as fresh, vital, and new as if it were just shot.

Surprisingly, the movie starts with Faye Dunaway’s Bonnie behind bars… holding onto the bars of the headboard of her bed...

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Tuesday
Aug152017

1963 Convo Pt 2: Lilies of the Field 

Previously, in this '63 Party:
The Supporting Actress Smackdown 
Podcast Conversation Part 1

To close out our little Oscar 1963 celebration, Nathaniel talks Lilies of the Field and more with this month's panel: Teo Bugbee, Keiran Scarlett, Séan McGovern, and Brian Mullin. 

Smackdown '63 Companion Podcast Part 2
(42 minutes)
In which we wrap up our discussion of big budget airport trifle The VIPs. Then the panel has differing opinions on the merits of the classic feelgood Lilies of the Field. Also up for discussion: Sidney Poitier's unique spot in Hollywood history, Denzel Washington comparisons, and an aside to Alfred Hitchcock and The Birds. And, as we say our goodbyes, we each offer up one must-see film from 1963 that we hope you'll watch.

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesContinue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Smackdown '63 Conversation Part Two - LILIES OF THE FIELD