6 Good Films That Were Not Nominated For Best Pictures: The 1950s


The Governor’s Ball, 1958

Continuing our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture, here are 6 films from the 1950s.

The Third Man (1950, dir by Carol Reed)

Now, it should be noted that The Third Man was not ignored by the Academy.  It won the Oscar for Best Cinematography and it was nominated for both editing and Carol Reed’s direction.  But, even with that in mind, it’s somewhat amazing to consider all of the nominations that it didn’t get.  The screenplay went unnominated.  So did the famous zither score.  No nominations for Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, or even Orson Welles!  And finally, no Best Picture nomination.  1950 was a good year for the movies so competition was tight but still, it’s hard to believe that the Academy found room to nominate King Solomon’s Mines but not The Third Man.

Rear Window (1954, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

Alfred Hitchcock directed some of his best films in the 50s, though few of them really got the recognition that they deserved upon their initial release.  Vertigo is often described as being Hitchcock’s masterpiece but, to be honest, I actually prefer Rear Window.  This film finds the master of suspense at his most playful and, at the same time, at his most subversive.  Casting Jimmy Stewart as a voyeur was a brilliant decision.  This film features one of my favorite Grace Kelly performances.  Meanwhile, Raymond Burr is the perfect schlubby murderer.  Like The Third Man, Rear Window was not ignored by the academy.  Hitchcock was nominated and the film also picked up nods for its screenplay, cinematography, and sound design.  However, it was not nominated for best picture.

Rebel Without A Cause (1955, dir by Nicholas Ray)

Nicholas Ray’s classic film changed the way that teenagers were portrayed on film and it still remains influential today.  James Dean is still pretty much the standard to which most young, male actors are held.  Dean was not nominated for his performance here.  (He was, however, nominated for East of Eden that same year.)  Instead, nominations went to Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood, and the film’s screenplay.  Amazingly, in the same year that the forgettable Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing was nominated for best picture, this popular and influential film was not.

Kiss Me Deadly (1955, dir by Robert Aldrich)

It’s unfortunate but not surprising that Kiss Me Deadly was totally ignored by the Academy.  In the mid-to-late 50s, the Academy tended to embrace big productions.  There was no way they were going to nominate a satirical film noir that featured a psychotic hero and ended with the end of the world.  That’s a shame, of course, because Kiss Me Deadly has proven itself to be more memorable and influential than many of the films that were nominated in its place.

Touch of Evil (1958, dir by Orson Welles)

Speaking of underappreciated film noirs, Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil is one of the craftiest and most brilliant films ever made.  So, of course, no one appreciated it when it was originally released.  This cheerfully sordid film features Welles at his best.  Starting with a memorable (and oft-imitated) tracking shot, the film proceeds to take the audience into the darkest and most eccentric corners of a small border town.  Everyone in the cast, from the stars to the bit players, is memorably odd.  Even the much mocked casting of Charlton Heston as a Mexican pays off wonderfully in the end.

The 400 Blows (1959, dir by Francois Truffaut)

Francois Truffaut’s autobiographical directorial debut was released in the United States in 1959 and it was Oscar-eligible.  Unfortunately, it only picked up a screenplay nomination.  Of course, in the late 50s, the last thing that the Academy was going to embrace was a French art film from a leftist director.  However, The 400 Blows didn’t need a best picture nomination to inspire a generation of new filmmakers.

Up next, in an hour or so, we continue on to the 60s!

 

Hammer Time!: KISS ME DEADLY (United Artists 1955)


cracked rear viewer

kissme1

Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels have long been one of my favorite Guilty Pleasures. Spillane’s books were the literary equivalent of knocking back shots of Jack Daniels with no chaser. The misanthropic Mike Hammer’s Sex & Violence filled adventures are rapid paced, testosterone fueled trips through a definitely un-PC world where men are men, women are sex objects, and blood and bullets flow freely through a dark, corrupt post-war world.  Spillane turned the conventional detective yarn on its ear and, though critics hated his simplistic writing, the public ate up his books by the millions.

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The film version of Spillane’s KISS ME DEADLY turns film noir on its ear from its opening shot of Christine Bailey (a young Cloris Leachman) running down a lonely highway, almost getting run over by Mike Hammer. The PI picks her up and the opening credits roll backwards to the strains of Nat King Cole crooning “Rather Have The Blues”. This beginning set-up lets…

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Poll: Lisa Marie Submits To Your Will


Last year, I gave up control to the reader of the site and you know what?  I kinda liked it in a sneaky, dirty little way.  So I figured, why not do it again?

Of course, I’m sure you’ve already guessed that I’m referring to my What Movie Should Lisa Marie Review poll.  This is the poll that led to me reviewing Anatomy of a Murder. 

Here’s how it works.  Earlier today, I put on a blindfold and then I randomly groped through my DVD collection until I had managed to pull out ten movies.  I then promptly stubbed my big toe on the coffee table, fell down to the floor, and spent about 15 minutes cursing and crying.  Because, seriously, it hurt!  Anyway, I then took off the blindfold and looked over the 10 movies I had randomly selected.  Two of them — Dracula A.D. 1972 and A Blade in the Dark — were movies that I had already reviewed on this site.  So I put them back and I replaced them with two movies of my own choosing — in this case, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Between now and next Sunday (March 27th), people will hopefully vote in this poll.  On Sunday, I will watch and review whichever movie has received the most votes.  Even if that movie turns out to be Incubus. *shudder*  (Have I mentioned how much I love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?)

Now, of course, there’s always the possibility that no one will vote in this poll and I’ll end up looking silly.  Those are the risks you take when you set up an online poll.  However, I have a backup plan.  If nobody votes, I will just spend every day next week shopping for purses at Northpark Mall and then blogging about it.  And by that, I mean blogging every single little detail.  So, it’s a win-win for me.

Anyway, here’s the list of the 10 films:

1) Barbarella — From 1968, Jane Fonda plays Barbarella who flies around space while getting molested by …. well, everyone.  Directed by Roger Vadim.

2) Barry Lyndon — From 1975, this best picture nominee is director Stanley Kubrick’s legendary recreation of 18th-century Europe and the rogues who live there.

3) Caligula — Yes, that Caligula.  From 1979, it’s time for decadence, blood, and nudity in the Roman Empire.  Starring Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, John Gielgud, John Steiner, and Theresa Ann Savoy.

4) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — Oh my God, I love this movie.  Jim Carrey breaks up with Kate Winslet and deals with the pain by getting his mind erased by Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, and an amazingly creepy Elijah Wood.

5) Incubus — From 1969, this low-budget supernatural thriller not only stars a young William Shatner but it also features the entire cast speaking in Esperanto.  For.  The.  Entire.  Movie.

6) Inland Empire — If you want to give Lisa nightmares, you can vote for David Lynch’s disturbing 3-hour film about lost identity, sexual repression, human trafficking, and talking rabbits.

7) Kiss Me Deadly — From 1955, this Robert Aldrich-directed cult classic features hard-boiled P.I. Mike Hammer and a host of others chasing after a mysterious glowing box and accidentally destroying the world in the process.

8 ) Mandingo — From 1975, this infamous little film is a look at slavery, incest, and rheumatism in the pre-Civil War South.  Starring James Mason, Ken Norton, Perry King, and Susan George.  Supposedly a really offensive movie, one I haven’t sat down and watched yet.

9) Sunset Boulevard — From 1950, hack screenwriter William Holden ends up the kept man of psychotic former screen goddess Gloria Swanson.  Directed by Billy Wilder.

10) The Unbearable Lightness of Being — From 1988, Philip L. Kaufman’s adaptation of Milan Kundera’s classic novel (one of my favorite books, by the way) features Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, and Lena Olin having sex and dealing with ennui.  After I first saw this movie, I insisted on wearing a hat just like Lena Olin did.

Everyone, except for me, is eligible to vote.  Vote as often as you want.  The poll is now open until Sunday, March 27th.

(Edit: Voting is now closed but check below for the results! — Lisa)