Jean Arthur – Shane
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 3 very good performances nominated, one excellent one and one ok one.
5. Marjorie Rambeau
4. Geraldine Page
3. Grace Kelly
2. Thelma Ritter
1. Donna Reed
5. Mogambo – This film works largely due to the stellar cast despite the fact that the storyline itself is a bit too farfetched. Gable is always a great leading man and he has nice chemistry with both Gardner and Kelly. The idea of game hunting and rural African tribesmen is shown in an interesting fashion in order to make the triangle love story aspect of story work much better. Great location shots also help make this film a bit more interesting.
4. Torch Song – Interesting idea that just doesn’t work well enough. Crawford plays the dramatic aspects of this film much better than the musical ones since she feels out of her depth in those scenes. She has little chemistry with her co-stars which helps give off her gruff personality yet makes the viewer hope that she doesn’t end up getting what she wants. Wilding is ok in the role of the pianist but his character feels too subdued especially when trying to verbally battle Crawford. Rambeau was somehow nominated for an Oscar for her relatively brief performance as Crawford’s mother and probably should have been overlooked instead.
3. Hondo – Mediocre western that doesn’t really bring anything new to the forefront. The story is told well yet there isn’t any unique aspect brought forth which doesn’t let it stick out at all. Wayne is fine in the lead and his chemistry with Page is sufficient for this kind of film but doesn’t go beyond that at all. The confrontations with the Apache’s give us an interesting perspective on their way of life and it’s possible that this was more interesting when it came out than the way it is perceived now. Not among Wayne’s best films at all.
2. Pickup on South Street – Great noir crime that shows the dark side of the city in a really nice way. The cast is great and both Widmark and Ritter stand out as a shady characters. The story works quite well as it allows us to see how things work in the underworld of the 50’s not long after the end of World War II. The way that the story manages to utilize both the red scare and the mob all at once also is done really well because it allows us to see this kind of story from various perspectives but especially from a patriotic one.
1. From Here to Eternity – Interesting drama that shows the complexity of life in the Army prior to the outbreak of WWII. It moves quite slowly at the beginning, but has some great scenes.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! DR was superb in FHTE and clearly gives the most powerful performance of the 5 nominees and was quite deserving of winning!
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!