April 2010

"I must have more steps" - the vision of Florenz Ziegfeld in The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

The 9th Academy Awards, for the year 1936.  The nominations were announced on February 7, 1937 and the awards were held on March 4, 1937.

Best Picture:  The Great Ziegfeld

  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dodsworth
  • Libeled Lady
  • The Story of Louis Pasteur
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Three Smart Girls
  • Anthony Adverse
  • San Francisco

Most Surprising Omission:  My Man Godfrey

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Modern Times

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #74


The current Vintage trade edition of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and Margarita (Ма стер и Маргари та)

  • Author:  Mikhail Bulgakov  (1891 – 1940)
  • Rank:  #84
  • Published:  1966-67
    • completed in 1940, first published in a censored version in 1966-67 in Moscow magazine, first English translation in 1967 by Mirra Ginsburg from the censored version
  • Publisher:  Posev  (first English translation by Grove Press)
  • Pages:  372  (Vintage trade)
  • First Line:  “One hot spring evening, just as the sun was going down, two men appeared at Patriarch’s Ponds.”
  • Last Lines:  “The next morning he wakes up silent, but completely calm and well.  His ravaged memory quiets down, and no one will trouble the professor until the next full moon: neither the noseless murderer of Gestas, nor the cruel fifth procurator of Judea, the knight Pontius Pilate.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  1972 – ***  (dir. Aleksandar Petrovic)
  • Read:  Summer 2000 (more…)

One of the amazing surreal scenes in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)

As I have gone through each year in film, both in covering the year, and later, in covering the Oscar nominees for Best Picture, I have included very little of my own nominees.   Partially it’s because I don’t want to throw too much of my own stuff in these and partially because I included all of my own nominees in my History of the Academy Awards series as I covered each category.

But, as I finish each decade, I’d like to take a look back and cover the best of each decade in each category.  So, I’ll go with each current Oscar category (other than documentaries and shorts) and I’ll list my top 5 covering an entire decade (in this case, covering all of film history up until 1929).

Because I’m covering a whole decade at a time, I am doing away with my requirement to keep to Academy eligible years and I just go with the original release date. (more…)

This gives you an idea of how much he has grown.

Well, we had a very nice time in D.C.

The drive down was slow and began to get wet in New Jersey and then got very very wet through Maryland and into the District.  Because Stacy had a to-do to do we weren’t all together until close to nine o’clock, but the overall visit went very nice.

Hadley in a boat


Thomas and I front of the Smithsonian (6 August 2004)

a Trailways bus is moving south into Washington D.C. . . .

Paul Simon, 1997

No, we’re not actually taking a bus to D.C., but it is a good song that is overlooked.

We are headed down to D.C. as soon as we get Thomas up and eat some breakfast to visit with my sister and her family, my mother and my aunt.  Thomas has been counting down the days pretty much all month (“Going to see GrandMartha today?”  “No, Thomas.  When are we going to see GrandMartha?”  “On the twenty-first.”  “Right.”).

We got to see one of Veronica’s college roommates yesterday, who was in town for the Marathon.  But now we’re headed out on the road, back on Sunday, possibly going to Hyde Park on the way back.

The last time we went to D.C. we never made it out of my sister’s house, so the only picture I have to put up is from when we went there for my sister’s wedding in 2004.

Mutiny on the Bounty is the only film to earn 3 Best Actor nominations, but I couldn’t find a picture with all three, so here are Charles Laughton and Clark Gable. Franchot Tone was the other.

The 8th Academy Awards, for the film year of 1935.  The nominations were announced on February 7, 1936 and the awards were held on March 5, 1936.

Best Picture:  Mutiny on the Bounty

  • The Informer
  • Les Miserables
  • Captain Blood
  • Top Hat
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
  • David Copperfield
  • Ruggles of Red Gap
  • Alice Adams
  • Naughty Marietta
  • The Broadway Melody of 1936

Most Surprising Omission:  Anna Karenina

Best Film Not Nominated:  The Bride of Frankenstein

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #67


  • The Modern Library dust jacket for John O’Hara’s Appointment in Samarra (1934)

    Appointment in Samarra

  • Author:  John O’Hara  (1905-1970)
  • Rank:  #86
  • Published:  1934
  • Publisher:  Harcourt Brace and Company
  • Pages:  301 (Modern Library)
  • First Line:  “Our story opens in the mind of Luther L. (L for LeRoy) Fliegler, who is lying in his bed, not thinking of anything, but just aware of sounds, conscious of his own breathing, and sensitive to his own heartbeats.”
  • Last Lines:  ” ‘Who’s Alfred P. Sloan?’  ‘My God.  Here I been selling – he’s president of General Motors.’  ‘Oh.  So what did you say to him?’ said Irma.”
  • ML Edition:  #42  – 2 dust jackets (1962, 1967)  /  gold hardcover (1994)
  • Film:  upcoming 2011 film
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 Novels (#22)
  • Read:  Spring, 1998 (more…)

The 7th Academy Awards, for the film year of 1934.  The nominations were announced on February 5, 1935 and the ceremony was held on February 27, 1935.

Gable and Colbert: both won Oscars for It Happened One Night (1934)

Best Picture:  It Happened One Night

  • The Thin Man
  • The Gay Divorcee
  • The Barretts of Wimpole Street
  • The White Parade
  • Imitation of Life
  • The House of Rothschild
  • Here Comes the Navy
  • One Night of Love
  • Viva Villa!
  • Flirtation Walk
  • Cleopatra

Most Surprising Omission:  Affairs of Cellini

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Death Takes a Holiday

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #79


A widely reviled Best Picture winner: Diana Wynyard and Clive Brook in Cavalcade (1933)

The 6th Academy Awards, for the period from August 1, 1932 to December 31, 1933.  The nominations were announced on February 26, 1934 and the awards ceremony was held on March 16, 1934.

Best Picture:  Cavalcade

  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
  • The Private Life of Henry VIII
  • Little Women
  • Lady for a Day
  • State Fair
  • A Farewell to Arms
  • Smilin’ Through
  • 42nd Street
  • She Done Him Wrong

Most Surprising Omission:  Trouble in Paradise

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  M

Best Eligible U.S. Film Not Nominated:  King Kong

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #75


  • The Human Stain
  • The 1st Edition cover of Philip Roth's brilliant The Human Stain (2000)

    Author:  Philip Roth

  • Rank:  #86
  • Published:  2000
  • Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin
  • Pages:  361 (1st Edition)
  • First Line:  “It was in the summer of 1998 that my neighbor Coleman Silk – who, before retiring two years earlier, had been a classics professor at nearby Athena College for some twenty odd years as well as serving for sixteen more as the dean of the faculty – confided to me that, at the age of seventy-one, he was having an affair with a thirty-four-year-old cleaning woman who worked down at the college.”
  • Last Line:  “Only rarely, at the end of our century, does life offer up a vision as pure and peaceful as this one: a solitary man on a bucket, fishing through eighteen inches of ice in a lake that’s constantly turning over its water atop an arcadian mountain in America.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  2003  –  ***  (dir. Robert Benton)
  • Acclaim:  PEN / Faulkner Award
  • Read:  Summer, 2000 (more…)

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