6 Good Films That Were Not Nominated For Best Picture: The 1960s


Sonny and Cher walk down the 1968 Oscars Red Carpet

Continuing our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture, here are 6 films from the 1960s.

Psycho (1960, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

The director was nominated.  Janet Leigh was nominated.  Amazingly enough, Anthony Perkins was not nominated for playing the role that would come to define him.  And, in the end, the film itself was not nominated for best picture.  Perhaps it was too sordid for the Academy.  Perhaps they resented no longer feeling safe in the shower.  Regardless, Psycho has gone on to influence every horror thriller made since 1960.  And let’s not even talk about how much we all cried while watching the finale of Bates Motel.

From Russia With Love (1963, dir by Terence Young)

The first great James Bond film should have also been the first Bond film to be nominated for best picture.  Actually, looking over the films that actually were nominated in 1963, From Russia With Love should have been the first Bond film to win best picture.

Blow-Up (1966, dir by Michelangelo Antonioni)

Mimes playing tennis and David Hemmings briefly breaking out of his shell of ennui to investigate a murder that has no solution!  How could the Academy resist?  Somehow, they did.  Michelangelo Antonioni received a nomination but the film was, at the time, considered to be too controversial to nominate.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1967, dir by Sergio Leone)

Though initial reviews were mixed, Sergio Leone’s Civil War epic has come to be recognized as one of the greatest and most important Westerns of all time.  Perhaps it’s understandable that the Academy of 1967 would be skeptical of an Italian western starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef.  Still, it would have been one of the coolest best picture nominees of all time.  (Shockingly, not even Ennio Morricone’s iconic score was nominated.)

Petulia (1968, dir by Richard Lester)

Though Richard Lester will probably always be best known as the man who directed the first two Beatles films, he also directed one of the definitive 60s films, Petulia.  Sadly, in a year when many lackluster films were nominated, the challenging and rather melancholy Petulia was not.

Night of the Living Dead (1968, dir by George Romero)

Again, we really can’t be shocked that the Academy held off an recognizing a low-budget, independent film about zombies  But come on!  A Night of the Living Dead vs. Petulia Oscar race would have bene one for the ages.

Up next, in an hour or so, the 1970s!

20 Shots from 20 Alfred Hitchcock Films


Happy National Hitchcock Day!

20 Shots From 20 Films

The Pleasure Garden (1925)

The Lodger (1927)

Blackmail (1929)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

The 39 Steps (1935)

The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Rebecca (1940)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Lifeboat (1944)

Notorious (1946)

Strangers on a Train (1951)

Rear Window (1954)

The Wrong Man (1956)

Vertigo (1958)

North by Northwest (1959)

Psycho (1960)

The Birds (1963)

Topaz (1969)

Frenzy (1972)

Family Plot (1976)

 

The Man Who Would Be Bond (Almost): RIP John Gavin


cracked rear viewer

Most people know John Gavin, who died today at age 86, as the nominal hero of Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, who saves Vera Miles from a ghastly fate at the hands of maniacal Anthony Perkins. What most people don’t know is Gavin was once signed, sealed, and ready to go as the movie’s most popular secret agent of them all, James Bond!

Gavin in “OSS 117- Double Agent” (1968)

It’s true! Gavin had signed the contract with producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli to star as 007 in 1971’s DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER , taking over the role from George Lazenby. He would have been the first (and only) American actor to portray MI-6’s suave secret agent, except the powers that be at United Artists wanted someone with more star power to take the role. Saltzman and Broccoli then threw an enormous (at the time) sum of money at original Bond Sean…

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Jedadiah Leland’s Horrific Adventures in The Internet Archive #23: Psycho (1988, Starsoft Development Laboratories)


For my next horrific adventure in the Internet Archive, I played Psycho (1988, Starsoft Development Laboratories).

Psycho is an example of game that borrows a famous name but has next to nothing to do with its supposed inspiration.  Despite the picture above, you do not play Norman Bates in Psycho.  You are not Marion Crane, either.  You are not even Aborgast, Lila, or Sam.

Instead, you are a nameless detective who is searching for some jewels that were stolen from a museum.  For some reason, you believe the jewels were stolen by Norman Bates and that Norman is holding a curator hostage at his motel.  (None of that sounds like Norman.)  You go to investigate.

You have only four hours to find the jewels and rescue the curator.  Unfortunately, once you enter the house, you will be randomly besieged by ghosts, dogs, and other members of the Bates family.

If they touch you, you fall asleep for a period of time.  Somewhere in the game, there is a gun. If you find it, you can at least shoot at the ghosts.  Why wouldn’t a detective have his own gun?  I’m not sure.

Psycho the game has not aged well.  What was probably state of the art in 1988 now feels clunky and slow.

I do like the painting of Mother Bates, though.

Since first discovering it, I have tried to play Psycho on ten separate occasions.  Each time, I got frustrated with the slow gameplay and I quit.  Norman can have the jewels and the curator.  After all, he wouldn’t hurt a fly.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Alfred Hitchcock Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Lodger (1926, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

Psycho (1960, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

The Birds (1963, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

Frenzy (1972, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

Horror Book Review: Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello


57 years after it was first released, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho remains one of the most influential films ever made.

Certainly, every horror film ever released since 1960 owes a debt to Psycho.  The infamous shower scene has been duplicated so many times that I’ve lost count.  Whenever a big-name actor is unexpectedly killed during the first half of a movie, it’s because of what happened to Janet Leigh in that shower.  If not for Psycho, Drew Barrymore would have survived Scream and that shark would never have eaten Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea.  Every giallo film that has ended with someone explaining the overly complex psychological reasons that led to the killer putting on black gloves and picking up a scalpel owes a debt to Simon Oakland’s monologue at the end of Psycho.  Psycho is so influential and popular that, decades later, A&E could broadcast a show called Bates Motel and have an instant hit.

What goes into making a classic?  That is question that is both asked and answered by Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho.  Starting with the real-life crimes of Ed Gein, Rebello’s book goes on to examine the writing of Robert Bloch’s famous novel and then the struggle to adapt that novel for the screen.

This book is a dream for trivia lovers.  Ever wanted to know who else was considered for the role of Marion Crane or Sam Loomis or even Norman Bates?  This is the book to look to.  Read this book and then imagine an alternate world where Psycho starred Dean Stockwell, Eva Marie Saint, and Leslie Neilsen?

(That’s right.  Leslie Neilsen was considered for the role of Sam Loomis.)

The book also confronts the controversy over who deserves credit for the shower scene, Alfred Hitchcock or Saul Bass.  And, of course, it also provides all the glorious details of how Hitchcock handled the film’s pre-release publicity.  Ignore the fact that this book was cited as being the inspiration for the rather forgettable Anthony Hopkins/Helen Mirren film, Hitchcock.  This is a fascinating read about a fascinating movie and a fascinating director.

First published in 1990 and still very much in print, Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho is a must-read for fans of film, horror, true crime, history, Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, and Psycho.

10 Horror Films That Should Have Been Nominated For Best Picture


Horror films!

Audiences love them but the Academy has never quite felt the same way.  True, there have been a few horror films nominated.  The Exorcist was a major contender.  Jaws was nominated.  So was The Sixth Sense.  Silence of the Lambs won.

But, for the most part, horror films have struggled to get Academy recognition.  While the Academy has recently shown a willingness to honor science fiction, the horror genre has yet to benefit from the decision to increase the number of best picture nominees.

Because I love horror and I love movies and I love lists, here are ten horror films that I think deserved a best picture nomination:

  1. Frankenstein (1931)

One of the most popular and influential horror films of all time, Frankenstein was sadly ignored by the Academy.  It’s certainly better remembered than the film that won best picture of 1931, Cimarron.

Psycho

2. Psycho (1960)

Psycho may have received nominations for best director, supporting actress, cinematography, and art design but the film that made people afraid to take showers did not receive a nomination for best picture.  The winner that year was a legitimate classic, The Apartment.  But it’s hard not to feel that Psycho should have, at the very least, received a nominations over the other 4 films nominated.

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3. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George Romero’s zombie classic may have set the standard for zombie movies to come but it was not honored the Academy.  The Academy was more comfortable with Oliver!

TheTexasChainSawMassacre-poster

4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

1974 was a very good year for the movies and certainly, I would not argue that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre deserved a nomination over The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, or Chinatown.  But over The Towering Inferno?  That’s another story.

5. Suspiria (1977)

Oscar nominee Dario Argento?  In a perfect world, yes.

HalloweenIntro

6) Halloween (1978)

The night he came home … to Oscars!  If nothing else, John Carpenter’s score definitely deserved to win.

dawnofthedeadzombie

7) Dawn of the Dead (1979)

Few sequels have been nominated for best picture.  Dawn of the Dead definitely should have been one of them.  Who wouldn’t want to see, at the very least, Tom Savini’s speech as he accepted his special award for best makeup?

8) The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick’s film may be recognized as a classic now but the reviews, when it was first released, were mixed.  So, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that it wasn’t given any recognition by the Academy.  It’s a shame because I’ve watched The Shining a few dozen times and it still scares the Hell out of me.

CabinInTheWoods

9) The Cabin In The Woods (2012)

One of the best films of the new century, this joyful tribute to the horror genre was sadly overlooked by the Academy in 2012.

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10) The Neon Demon (2016)

Is Nicholas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon truly a horror movie?  It’s close enough.  Though the film opened to mixed reviews, it’ll be recognized as a classic in another ten years.