My Overall Thoughts:
Grand Hotel remains the only Oscar Best Picture winner to have not been nominated for any other awards and that seems to make sense since the film itself isn’t as prolific as one would think of a BP winner.
- 8. – The Smiling Lieutenant – Still not the biggest fan of Chevalier, who for some reason gets on my nerves. This screwball comedy has its moments and I need to keep reminding myself that just because a film is in black and white, that doesn’t mean that the story and the characters are completely pure in their motivations. The comedy of errors here works some of the time, but overall this is just an average film and not one I would think deserves to be listed among the best of the year.
- 7. – One Hour With You -A bit shocked that this film was able to get a nomination for Best Picture. I found the way it played out to be quite silly and didn’t care about any of the characters at all. The dialogue is fun to listen to since so much of it is word play, but overall this just didn’t work as a screwball comedy in my eyes.
- 6. – Grand Hotel – Pretty boring ensemble pic, but was definitely the beginning of the genre of ensemble films.
- 5. – Five Star Final – Interesting idea that deals with journalistic integrity and asks the question as to whether every lead should be followed through by reporters no matter the ultimate cost. Robinson is ok in this role since he actually plays a nice guy since he was mostly famed for his roles playing the opposite kind of person. The story seems to work, but it really isn’t the kind of film that I would think should be included among the best pictures of any given year because it feels quite average on most standards.
- 4.- Bad Girl – Very interesting premise that is quite timeless and allows us to see a story that could also happen nowadays when couples have a lack of proper communication between themselves. The script is clever and the dialogue works really well. The cast is great with Dunn and Eilers doing fine jobs as the two leads. Won two of its three Oscar nominations (Director and Adapted Story) yet lost Best Picture that year to Grand Hotel (1932).
- 3. – The Champ – Great story about issues that weren’t really discussed at the time. The connection between the Champ and Dink works really well and it’s easy to believe that they are really father and son. Beery deservingly won an Oscar for best actor for this role because we really can feel the pain and difficulties that he constantly faces and tries to overcome.
- 2. Arrowsmith – Excellent film because it deals with such great issues that still plague researchers today after nearly 90 years. Colman and Hayes are great together and we get a clear sense of what drives their relationship. The dilemmas that these characters face are explored in a very interesting way in order to make us understand everything that was being done at the time to further the fight against diseases. The last third of the story goes off on a slight tangent which isn’t truly necessary but perhaps is expanded in the book that this is based on.
- 1. – Shanghai Express – Thrilling mystery set in an exotic location which keeps things interesting the whole way through. The mix of characters works really well and they do a great job of slowly giving us pertinent information as things move along. Great cast led by Dietrich.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not really! GH is an interesting precursor for the ensemble genre, but just doesn’t resonate today as much as it probably did back then. SE is a fun thriller filled with intrigue and romance, so it’s much more interesting to watch.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!