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“If you do not wish to sell perhaps you would consider parting with an entertainer.”  “That’s up to the entertainer.”  Those are the lines in the play.  The lines in the film are much better.

My Top 7:

  1. Casablanca
  2. The Ox-Bow Incident
  3. Watch on the Rhine
  4. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  5. Heaven Can Wait
  6. Five Graves to Cairo
  7. Phantom of the Opera

note:  Yes, there is only a top 7, and not a fantastic Top 7 at that.  1943 just isn’t that great a year for film, especially when you realize that Casablanca is a 1942 film that just didn’t get an Oscar qualifying run until early 1943. (more…)

The darkness of the winter light perhaps lit by the illumination of God, depending on how you look at it.

The darkness of the winter light perhaps lit by the illumination of God, depending on how you look at it.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Winter Light
  2. The Great Escape
  3. Stray Dog
  4. Tom Jones  **
  5. Ivan’s Childhood
  6. The Bad Sleep Well
  7. Shoot the Piano Player
  8. Knife in the Water
  9. 8 1/2
  10. Hud  *

Analysis:  In one sense a very strong year, as there are three more **** films: White Nights, The Leopard and The Birds.  On the other hand, notice anything about those films?  Of those 13 films, 9 of them are Foreign films.  There are only 4 English Language films (my #14 is an English Language film: Love with the Proper Stranger).  This doesn’t get a lot better in my ***.5 films that round out my Best Picture list: Love with the Proper Stranger, Sundays and Cybele, The Four Days of Naples, This Sporting Life, The Sword in the Stone and Death in the Garden.  That’s 19 films, 12 of which are Foreign films, and another two (Tom Jones, This Sporting Life) which are British, so it’s really a damn weak year for Hollywood.  And 7 of these films aren’t originally from 1963 (the full list is way down below).
Tom Jones doesn’t just win the Consensus Best Picture – it sweeps the awards, the last film to win all the available awards until Schindler’s List. (more…)

Is it bad?  Is it good at being bad?  Does that make it good?  It's Flash Gordon, that's what it is.

Is it bad? Is it good at being bad? Does that make it good? It’s Flash Gordon, that’s what it is.

Revisiting Childhood Movies Part X:

Flash Gordon

  • Director:  Mike Hodges
  • Writer:  Lorenzo Simple Jr.  (screenplay)  /  Michael Allin (adaptation)
  • Producer:  Dino De Laurentiis
  • Stars:  Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, Ornella Muti
  • Studio:  Universal
  • Award Nominations:  Score, Art Direction, Costume Design (BAFTA)
  • Length:  111 min
  • Genre:  Sci-Fi  (Comic Book)
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  5 December 1980
  • Box Office Gross:  $27.10 mil  (#23 – 1980)
  • Ebert Rating:  ***
  • My Rating:  **
  • My Rank:  #96 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Guilty Pleasure, Highest Attractiveness / Acting Ability Ratio
  • First Watched:  when it first came to HBO, maybe 1982?
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  between 5 and 10

(more…)

Death arrives out of the seemingly endless desert.

Death arrives out of the seemingly endless desert.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Lawrence of Arabia  **
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird  *
  3. Throne of Blood
  4. The Music Man  *
  5. Jules and Jim
  6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  7. Through a Glass Darkly
  8. Ride the High Country
  9. The Manchurian Candidate
  10. Last Year at Marienbad

Analysis:  There’s a big drop here after #9 – it drops from a mid-range **** to a high-level ***.5.  This year ties 1960 as having the best Top 9 to date.  Ride the High Country and The Manchurian Candidate really match up with Tunes of Glory and The Hidden Fortress as the best #8 and #9 films to date.  I re-watched Jules and Jim before doing these awards and ended up bumping it up in a few categories, most notably Picture and Director, which ended up costing The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance its only two Nighthawk nominations.  But in years like this, it’s hard to just pick five films at the top.
(more…)

The amazing entryway to London Below.

The amazing entryway to London Below.

Neverwhere

  • Author:  Neil Gaiman
  • Published:  1996
  • Publisher:  BBC Books
  • Pages:  370
  • First Line:  “The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself.”
  • Last Line:  “And they walked away together through the hole in the wall, back into the darkness, leaving nothing behind them; not even the doorway.”
  • Film:  1996  (BBC – ***.5); Radio Drama (2013)
  • First Read:  2003

(more…)

The love story is nice, but it's the music and dancing that make West Side Story the best film ever made out of a Broadway musical.

The love story is nice, but it’s the music and dancing that make West Side Story the best film ever made out of a Broadway musical.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. West Side Story  **
  2. The Hustler  *
  3. La Dolce Vita
  4. One, Two, Three
  5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  6. Yojimbo
  7. The Bridge
  8. Elevator to the Gallows
  9. L’Avventura
  10. The Guns of Navarone  *

Analysis:  Though still a very solid Top 5, this is a significant drop from the last several years.  The Hustler is actually the weakest #2 film in 6 years and La Dolce Vita is the weakest #3 film in 16 years.  Ironically, though, because I have no point difference between my #3 and #7 films, The Bridge is the third best #7 film to date.  But, because of the strength of 1960 and because only the top 8 films here are ****, there is an incredible 28 point difference between the Top 10 of 1960 (avg: 94.5) and the Top 10 of 1961 (avg: 91.7). (more…)

"This house was the pride of the town.  Faced with stone as far back as the dining-room windows, it was a house of arches and turrets and girdling stone porches: it had the first porte-cochere seen in that town."  (The Magnificent Ambersons, p 9)

“This house was the pride of the town. Faced with stone as far back as the dining-room windows, it was a house of arches and turrets and girdling stone porches: it had the first porte-cochere seen in that town.” (The Magnificent Ambersons, p 9)

My Top 10:

  1. The Magnificent Ambersons
  2. Bambi
  3. Random Harvest
  4. Now Voyager
  5. The Glass Key
  6. Kings Row
  7. This Gun for Hire
  8. The Man Who Came to Dinner
  9. Mrs. Miniver
  10. The Pride of the Yankees

note:  Like in 1941, I have a Top 10 but no more. (more…)

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