31 Days of Oscar Blogathon -Classic Film Stars Who Never Won an Oscar

Every year the Academy of Motion Arts awards the golden Oscar statue to those with outstanding perfomances in their field. In honor of this year’s awards Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled,  Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and Aurora at Once Upon a Screen... is hosting an Oscar’s blogathon. When I decided to participate I knew exactly what topic I wanted to cover.

From the time I was a child, I have adored classic films and with them many famous faces from that time period. The Oscars recognize talent, dedication and artistry, but there can only be one winner per category, per year. There are many popular and famous actors and actresses from the Golden Hollywood years who never received a competitive Oscar, even though they deserved one. Of course, a few of these received honorary Oscars at the end of their careers for a lifetime of amazing work. However, in my opinion, though an honor it may be, it feels a bit like a consolation prize.

As many know, Oscar voting is not free of bias, agenda or lobbying. So while, everyone who is nominated is certainly worthy, sometimes the winner is not always the very best of the nominees.

Today, in honor of the Oscars, I have made a list of twenty-three famous classic film stars who never won a competitive Oscar. Some of them might surprise you. I am also including the films for which they were nominated, the films for which I believe they deserved to win, as well as my personal favorites. I am not comparing their performances with the other nominees in their fields for the year that they lost. Every one nominated deserves to win, but of course that is impossible. And of course,  this list is subjective, based on my personal opinion. Continue reading “31 Days of Oscar Blogathon -Classic Film Stars Who Never Won an Oscar”

Classic Film Review -Trouble Along the Way (1953)

SUMMARY

Steve Williams is a disgraced former college football coach. After a bitter divorce, he is raising his daughter alone and making a living as a glorified bookie.

Father Burke is the aging president of small parochial college, St Anthony’s. He has just been informed that his beloved school will be closed soon due to insolvency.

Burke refuses to accept the bad news. He believes that he can  save the school by generating enough money to pay off the large debt. He has the brilliant idea of hiring Steve to create a football program which will bring in enough revenue to achieve his goal.

Initially, Steve refuses the offer. But then his ex-wife reports him to social services in an effort to regain custody of their daughter. Steve realizes that his current lifestyle will not look good to the court. So, he and his daughter Carol take on the challenge of creating a football team for a college which is better known for its’ academics than athletics. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Trouble Along the Way (1953)”

Foreign Film Friday -La Parisienne (1957)

SUMMARY

Brigitte Laurier (Brigitte Bardot) is the precocious daughter of France’s president. She has fallen in love with her father’s employee, the handsome womanizer Michel Legrand (Henri Vidal). Not only does she arrange to become Michel’s secretary, but she sticks like glue to him outside the office despite his apparent lack of interest in her.

On a weekend when President Laurier is hosting various government officials at his home, Brigitte contrives to be found in Michel’s bed. Her furious father insists they marry. Once she has caught him, Brigitte isn’t as eager for the union since the marriage was forced upon Michel.

However, Michel surprises her by displaying a previously hidden appetite for his sexy new wife. But Brigitte hasn’t forgotten Michel’s past as a notorious ladies man. She is convinced it is only a matter of time until he cheats on her. When an old mistress phones their home, Brigitte decides two can play that game. She resolves to have an affair of her own. The problem is she has chosen an aging married prince as her partner, who is on a diplomatic trip to Paris.

Michel has no specific intentions of cheating on his wife and at first doesn’t take her stated payback seriously. But when Brigitte and the Prince Charles (Charles Boyer) both happen to disappear on the same day, his suspicions are aroused. Not only that, but if Brigitte and the Prince are linked together, it could create an international incident. Will this husband and wife reconcile before they create a political scandal? Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -La Parisienne (1957)”

For the Armchair Athlete – My Favorite Sports Films

Confession time, people. I am not much of an athlete. Of course, I played sports in school, but I was never passionate about it (or good at it, for that matter). My athletic participation was more about the social aspect, then the actual skill and competition side of it.

Which is why it is kind of strange that I really enjoy sports films. Perhaps, it is because most of these movies feature an underdog story. Who doesn’t love an underdog? Or maybe, its seeing someone accomplish something difficult which requires a lot of practice, training and discipline (none of which I have). In any case, I find sports films, both entertaining and inspirational.

So, for those who are armchair athletes like me, I have put together a list of my favorite films featuring different sports. Continue reading “For the Armchair Athlete – My Favorite Sports Films”

Classic Film Review -Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945)

SUMMARY

Our Vines Have Tender Grapes is the story of the Jacobson family as told through the eyes of young Selma. The Jacobson’s live in the rural community of Benson Corners, Wisconsin, where Martinius Jacobson farms the land. They are a close knit loving family. Selma experiences many daily adventures along with her younger cousin Arnold who is occasionally a thorn in her side. But it is a happy idyllic life even with the daily struggles of living in a farming community.

Along with the Jacobson’s, Benson Corners is also home to newspaper editor Nels Halverson. He falls in love with the new teacher Viola Johnson. Viola comes from the big city of Milwaukee. She is just biding her time in small time environs until she can move back with her teaching experience behind her. There is also Bjorn Bjornson. His new barn is the talk of the community and the envy of Martinius. Martinius’ big dream of a modern, fully-equipped barn conflicts with his wife Bruna’s financial practicality as well as her desire for indoor plumbing. Selma’s great love is her new little calf named Elizabeth. But when tragedy befalls one of their own, Selma makes a sacrifice which will inspire all the inhabitants of Benson Corners. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945)”

Classic Film Review -Casablanca (1942)

There are a few films that are so famous that everyone has heard of them even if they haven’t seen them. Casablanca is one such film. It is beloved even by those who are not usually fans of classic cinema. Thanks to a great script, fabulous actors in memorable parts and well earned hype, it is an indelible work of cinematic art.

Casablanca Summary

Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is the owner/manager of a café in Casablanca, Morocco. Casablanca is a stopping place of sorts, for those fleeing war-torn Europe on their way to the United States. Rick is an American with a complicated personal and political history. His café helps entertain weary emigres as they wait for their visa papers. Rick is pretty weary himself, a cynical, hard-hearted character who “sticks his neck out for nobody.”

Though Casablanca is a free and unoccupied French territory, there is an intricate mix of politics and nationalities. The recent murder of two German soldiers in possession of incontestable letters of transit ushers in the arrival of the German Major Strasser. Strasser (Conrad Veidt) is on the hunt for the murderer. He is also tasked to ensure that Victor Laszlo (Paul Henried), a leader of the Resistance does not come into possession of those letters.

Into this delicate balance (and Rick’s Café) walks Laszlo and his companion Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman). Lazlo is an international hero seeking help to escape, but Rick isn’t inclined to be helpful. Particularly, when he sees his former love Ilsa on the arm of Laszlo. Not only is he bitter, but Rick is also caught up in a more personal game of politics with the French police captain Louis Renault which allows him to successfully operate his café. He is not willing to jeopardize his business, especially for the woman who abandoned him in Paris on the eve of the German occupation. But Ilsa has a different memory of her abandonment. When she discovers that the letters of transit which she and Laszlo need have found their way into Rick’s hands, she uses every weapon in her arsenal to get them. But not everything or everyone is as it seems in this place of shifting alliances.

To read my full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.

 

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Classic Film Review -Above and Beyond (1952)

SUMMARY

Above and Beyond is the dramatized story of Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets. Tibbets is a pilot who gets cross-wise with his superior at the beginning of the film. His integrity leads him to challenge his superior and leads to a transfer and demotion.

However, his guts in standing up for his men, to his own detriment, bring him to the attention of Maj. Gen. Brent. Brent questions Tibbets about a moral conundrum warning him that his answer will decide his future. Based on Tibbets response he is then assigned the top secret task of leading a new unit whose purpose is to improve and alter the B-29 aircraft so that it can successfully deploy the atomic bomb.

Tibbets is given fairly unlimited authority, but is sworn to utmost secrecy. He is charged not to discuss this project with anyone, including his own wife and the men under his command at his new base. The only other person who is aware of the details of their assignment is his base security officer. This is a project which spans a couple of years and involves the coordination and cooperation of many, with Tibbets bearing full responsibility for enforcing the rigid guidelines to maintain secrecy. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Above and Beyond (1952)”

Foreign Film Friday -Marriage Italian Style (1964)

SUMMARY

Marriage Italian Style tells the story of Filumena (Sophia Loren), a prostitute, and her decades long relationship as the mistress of a wealthy Neopolitan business man named Domenico (Marcello Mastroianni).

The film opens with Filumena on her deathbed requesting that the wily Domenico marry her before she passes away. He is loathe to marry her as he is already engaged to be married to one of his young employees. But, Domenico feels he owes it to her, so he agrees.

We then learn in flashbacks the history of their relationship beginning with their first meeting in a whore house when Filumena is seventeen. The first flashbacks are from Domenico’s perspective and we meet a man who is entitled and feels as if he is doing a favor to Filumena with his patronage. He eventually sets her up as his mistress and then as his dying mother’s caretaker. Finally, he trusts her to manage his businesses as he travels around Europe. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Marriage Italian Style (1964)”

Film Review -The Greatest Showman (2017)

SUMMARY

The Greatest Showman is Hugh Jackman’s passion project based on the life of P.T. Barnum, circus impresario and legendary showman.

In this biographical (though not accurate) adaptation, Phineas T. Barnum rises from very humble beginnings. He accomplishes the daunting task of marrying his childhood sweetheart Charity, who turns her back on her wealthy parents and their social circle. In time, they have two beautiful daughters and a happy if financially insecure life.

But, it isn’t enough for Barnum, whose desire that his family have more, masks the deeper motivation of “proving” himself to the world and Charity’s parents. Barnum is a dreamer, visionary, gambler and risk taker. He concocts a daring idea and creates a museum where human physical oddities are on display. Despite protests from the cities residents and scathing newspaper reviews, his gamble pays off.

As his fortunes increase, he continues to take risks and see them succeed. But, it doesn’t come without a cost. Barnum’s obsession puts a strain on his marriage, deprives his daughters of his presence, and never manages to fill the need for approval and success that he seeks. Eventually, it even negatively impacts his work and loyal employees. Will the flamboyant showman who risked it all end up losing everything that matters?

To read the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Classic Film Review -Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

SUMMARY

Thanks to a thieving accountant, the formerly wealthy and famous lifestyle author A.J. Niles (Bob Hope) is forced to hide out in a planned community neighborhood in California. He must use his time hiding incognito to write a new book so that he can use the royalties to pay back the government.

Of course, being a ladies man, he is instantly attracted to Rosemary Howard (Lana Turner), co-manager of the community named Paradise Village. She also happens to own the home he is sub-leasing.

The newly minted Jack Adams is out of his depths in this family friendly neighborhood. Not to mention, as a bachelor he has no skills in housekeeping or cooking now that he must fend for himself. But it isn’t too long before he is coaching all the local wives how to maintain their husband’s attention. Initially Rosemary is suspicious of his interest in her, but she gradually warms up to him as does the wife of the other co-manager of the community.

The husbands of Paradise Village are another matter. When “Jack’s” coaching disrupts their lives they take it upon themselves to get him evicted. And all the while A.J./Jack just wants to be left in peace to finish his book, so he can get back to his regular high-flying lifestyle. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Bachelor in Paradise (1961)”