Vera Miles – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 5 very talented actresses given amazing performances and any of them would have been deserving of a win.
5. Shirley Knight
4. Thelma Ritter
3. Mary Badham
2. Angela Lansbury
1. Patty Duke
5. Sweet Bird of Youth – Interesting idea that was probably much more controversial when it was made due to the way things are presented than it seems now. This is based on a Tennessee Williams play and the dialogue is quite enjoyable to listen to. The cast is superb with Newman and Page giving great performances but Begley steals every scene he is in because of the screen presence of the character. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance here and it’s quite deserving. The undertones about small town life and the way politicians rule their small world with a heavy hand are shown quite well throughout. This is a film about power and fame that doesn’t back down at all and needs to be held on to by the characters at all cost.
4. Birdman of Alcatraz – Lancaster is great in the lead role and deservingly was nominated for an Oscar for this role. Unfortunately, the narrative doesn’t work so well and something feels missing from the way this story is told. The bitter rivalry between inmate and warden feels a bit too convenient and tries too hard to show the warden in a bad light which seems to have been done solely for dramatic effects. Despite the fact that this film is apparently far from the way things really happened, it does a nice job of showing how an inmate can try and become more serene while going through the penal system. Lancaster’s character’s arc works quite well within the confines of the story being told but not necessarily through the context of historical truth.
3. The Miracle Worker – The acting by Bancroft and Duke truly is amazing and they both deservingly won Oscars for their respective roles in this movie. The story is weakly portrayed. Best Scene is clearly the egg scene, it really explains the difficulties faced by Sullivan.
2. The Manchurian Candidate – One of Sinatra’s best roles. Great conspiracy movie that unfolds nearly perfectly before our eyes.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Excellent movie about prejudice in the South and the importance for standing up for what you believe.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! Even in such a crowded year with 5 very powerful performances, PD stands out as the best among them by her performance as Helen Keller.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!