Elizabeth Taylor (Raintree County)
Joanne Woodward (The Three Faces of Eve)
Markene Dietrich – Witness For the Prosecution
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with three pretty good performances, one amazing one and another that baffles the mind.
5. Anna Magnani
4. Elizabeth Taylor
3. Lana Turner
2. Deborah Kerr
1. Joanne Woodward
5. Raintree County – Long and boring film that is elevated a bit by the great performances of the cast. Clift has great chemistry with both Eva Marie Saint and Taylor and makes his connections to both of them feel very plausible. The story tries too hard to come across as an epic, but doesn’t work as well as one might hope The story drags along too much along the way which takes away so much from the enjoyment of things and it might have been more effective if it had been shorter. Taylor was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work in this film even if it is a bit over the top.
4. Wild Is the Wind – Really strange and boring film that doesn’t come across as being very realistic at all. The characters don’t feel as if they really believe that they are in the situations that they are put in. I’m a bit surprised that Quinn was nominated for Best Actor for this role because his character doesn’t have much of an arc that one can really care about. Magnani was nominated for Best Actress here in a role that doesn’t work at all.
3. The Three Faces of Eve – Woodward is spectacular in the lead role here and was quite deserving of winning an Oscar for this performance. Characters with multiple personalities have been portrayed better in more recent films, but the fact that this was among the first adds so much to the glamour of the performance. They do a nice job showing the different motives of various characters with the discovery of the ailment and is shows how human nature can sometimes cause someone to act in a certain way despite the fact that they are aware of the fact that it might not always be for the best. The way they show the psychological aspects of this story is quite impressive especially given the fact of how much the field has advanced in the 60+ years since this film was made and even longer since the actual events occurred.
2. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison – This film works so well largely due to the chemistry between the two very different characters. Mitchum and Kerr are both superb here and each makes us understand their plight very well. Loved the way that this story moves along because it shows us two strangers stranded on an island together and we see how they both are able to cope with the events around them as they eagerly await some kind of rescue and salvation. The dialogue is superbly written and both the banter and the life altering conversations between the two are excellent.
1. Peyton Place – Great character study of how small town life is similar to big town life yet harder to keep secrets when everyone knows each other. The characters are all developed extremely well and we easily can relate to all of them and to their predicaments. Tame by today’s standards yet extremely scandalous when it was made.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely! JW is superb in 3FoE and gives such an amazing performance that none of the others really had much of a chance.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!