My Overall Thoughts:
Of the ten nominees this year, quite a number of them are spectacular films that could have conceivably won the top award.
John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley may seem now as an odd choice over iconic films like Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon, but it is done spectacularly by Ford and his crew that there is no mistake that they made a worthy choice that year.
(As of now, I have seen each and every Oscar nominated film from 1946 thru the present. Starting with 1945’s nominees, there are movies that I have yet to see, so I will only rank the films that I’ve seen so far and will update as I see the missing films.)
- 10. – The Little Foxes – Not a very interesting film. The characters leave much to be desired and there are too many scenes that creep along. The finale finally gives us something interesting to watch, but it is too little, too late for that. Davis is fine here in the title role. Nominated for 9 Oscars that year, but didn’t manage to win any of them.
- 9. – Hold Back the Dawn – Interesting story that has been redone so many times before and after this film was made. The characters are quite good and despite it all being pretty predictable what will happen, it generally works. Boyer, deHavilland and Goddard are all interesting eventhough they all play very stereotypical characters.
- 8. – One Foot in Heaven – Very nicely done if not a bit preachy film. Shows the definite hardships on families that choose this path in life yet also shows the importance of doing so. March does a fine job in the lead role and shows once again how great an actor he was. I really liked the subplot about movies having meaning in life and that they shouldn’t all be banned immediately. The added idea that children can be teachers to adults still rings so true even a century after this story takes place.
- 7. – Sergeant York – Interesting biopic, movie feels missing something and is quite slow moving, but still worth seeing.
- 6. – Blossoms in the Dust – Great biopic that discusses the often overlooked topic of adoption and shows how one woman was able to make a change in the way things were seen in both the eyes of the law and the eyes of people seeking legitimacy of children. Garson is superb in the lead role.
- 5. – Suspicion – Hitchcock does a wonderful job of keeping us in suspense the whole time and constantly making us try and guess what is truth and what is not. Grant and Fontaine are both great as the leads because they can both appear as innocent and sinister quite easily. Fontaine deservingly won a Best Actress Oscar for this role. This film explores the idea of trust in a very interesting way.
- 4. – Here Comes Mr. Jordan -Great film that was done way before its time. The ideas of taking over someone else’s body and knowing “heavenly” secrets works extremely well here. Not at all a film that I would have expected to have been made in the 40’s, yet feels like it was done perfectly. Great characters that come to life for us. Superb cast.
- 3. – How Green Was My Valley – It moves a bit slowly, but flows, so make sure you aren’t in a rush and you can enjoy this very well made movie. It was definitely a pleasure watching a movie from the eyes of an innocent boy. As an adult, there are numerous themes throughout the movie that I understood on a different level than Huw did, but the movie lets us make our own assumptions as to what is really going on.
- 2. – The Maltese Falcon – Excellent thriller/mystery that does a great job keeping the viewer’s interest because something is always happening to move the plot further along. Bogie at his best as the fast talking smart PI Sam Spade.
- 1. – Citizen Kane – Such a great film that is told so well. Welles really had the flair for making great movies, but his overenthusiastic approach in life didn’t help him recover from the bruises of making this film. Perhaps it’s the best movie by technical standards, but not understanding the technical aspects enough, I am not one to judge this. Very enjoyable narrative and story makes this a definite candidate to be among the best movies ever.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No. The Academy went with the easy choice and gave HGWMV the BP award but both Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon would have been very worthy winners also. Looking back, CK probably should have gotten the award, but the chosen film is a great look at lower class Welsh society from a child’s perspective.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!