Cathy O’Donnell – The Best Years of Our Lives
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 4 solid nominees and one that is quite over the top and silly. Any of the four could have conceivably won.
5. Flora Robson
4. Lillian Gish
3. Gale Sondergaard
2. Ethel Barrymore
1. Anne Baxter
5. Saratoga Trunk – Terrible film that doesn’t manage to work on any level. The characters all come across as feeling silly in all that they try to accomplish. Even the likes of Bergman and Cooper can’t help make this better especially given the fact that these two actors have horrendous chemistry together. The story is disjointed and very uneven and in some places makes no sense what so ever. Parts of this film seem as if it was shot to be racist and parts seem as if they want it to feel as if they are running a circus and neither of those aspects work very well at all. Robson stands out among the cast, but not for good reasons and I’m quite shocked that she was able to get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for this role.
4. Duel in the Sun – Not such an enthralling epic film since t loses its focus much too often. The cast is quite talented, but most of them give very over the top performances which take away from the realistic feel of things. The story looks at the way people can be torn between good and evil and need to be strong to follow the more difficult path of being good than the easy one that leads to more evil. Gish was nominated for an Oscar for her work here as supporting actress while Jones received accolades and an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. The ending is a bit cheesy even if it isn’t very predictable.
3. The Spiral Staircase – Interesting thriller that doesn’t age as well as one might hope. They do a nice job concealing the identity of the killer for most of the film and that helps raise the level of tension to a nice level. The way that the film utilizes the point of view of the killer also helps add to the suspense of things and the same technique has been used very successfully so many times in the horror genre to garner the same effect. McGuire does a great job with the lead and in spite of the fact that she is mute throughout, she still manages to be a very sympathetic heroine that we can root for the whole way through. Barrymore was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in this film.
2. The Razor’s Edge – Interesting look at how someone effected by war and destruction could try and find a better way to live his life especially when everyone else tries to remain in their high society circles. Also liked the way this film dealt with personal tragedies and jealousy because it all feels so real. Great cast led by Powers. Baxter really deserved her Best Supporting Actress Oscar because the range of her character is really immense.
1. Anna and the King of Siam – Great adaptation of this story. The story works extremely well largely due to the chemistry between Harrison and Dunne who make us believe such a connection between these two characters especially via their verbal sparring throughout. The dialogue is written extremely well and allows us to get a clear idea of the various discrepancies between the knowledge and education of the East and of the West. Sondergaard was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance here as the King’s main wife. They do a nice job using innuendo to get around some very touchy subjects that were not usually discussed freely back in those days.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yep! AB does a great job with her character in TRE and was a deserving winner even if e of the other nominees also gave in stellar performances.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!