Hey!  You!

Hey! You!

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.  Films in blue were nominated.  This year marks the addition of the supporting acting categories; there are 16 categories overall, though two of them (Assistant Director, Dance Direction) aren’t categories I include.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Modern Times
  2. The Petrified Forest
  3. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  4. My Man Godfrey
  5. A Tale of Two Cities

Analysis:  The top 2 films here would have won in 1935 but the other three films wouldn’t have made the top 6.

  • paulette-goddard-and-charlie-chaplin-theredlistBest Director
  1. Charles Chaplin  (Modern Times)
  2. Archie Mayo  (The Petrified Forest)
  3. Frank Capra  (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town)
  4. Fritz Lang  (Fury)
  5. Gregory La Cava (My Man Godfrey)

Analysis:  Chaplin wins Best Director again, giving him the overall lead for Best Director to this point.  In fact, he sweeps everything.  He, personally, wins Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Editing and Original Score.  Capra gets his second nomination, again coming in third place for a film he actually won the Oscar for, something that will happen again in 1938.  This is Lang’s third nomination.  It is the only nomination for Mayo and La Cava.  La Cava will at least come close to getting another nomination in 1937.  Mayo will never again come even remotely close.

  1. The Petrified Forest
  2. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  3. My Man Godfrey
  4. A Tale of Two Cities
  5. Dodsworth
  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Modern Times
  2. Fury
  3. Libeled Lady
  4. Theodora Goes Wild

Analysis:  Well, it’s better than the year before, which only had one nominee.  Of the eight films ranked at **** or ***.5, only two of them were original.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Charles Chaplin  (Modern Times)
  2. Leslie Howard  (The Petrified Forest)
  3. Ronald Colman  (A Tale of Two Cities)
  4. William Powell  (My Man Godfrey)
  5. Gary Cooper  (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town)

Analysis:  It’s a fourth straight nomination for Howard.  It’s the second win for Chaplin (and since it’s his first film since his last win, a second straight win, in a sense).

  • Best Actress
  1. Bette Davis  (The Petrified Forest)
  2. Carole Lombard  (My Man Godfrey)
  3. Louise Rainer  (The Great Ziegfeld)
  4. Norma Shearer  (Romeo and Juliet)
  5. Jean Arthur  (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town)

Analysis:  Any of the top 3 would have won in 1935.  This is the second win for Bette Davis; she won’t win again in spite of 10 more Nighthawk nominations.  This is the fourth and final nomination for Norma Shearer but the first nomination for both Carole Lombard and Jean Arthur.

  • BogartBest Supporting Actor:
  1. Humphrey Bogart  (The Petrified Forest)
  2. Eugene Pallette  (My Man Godfrey)
  3. Mischa Auer  (My Man Godfrey)
  4. Peter Lorre  (Secret Agent)
  5. Claude Rains  (Anthony Adverse)

Analysis:  Though Rains was nominated for Actor in 32-33 this is his first of what will eventually be 10 Nighthawk nominations for Supporting Actor.  This is Bogart’s only Supporting win, though he will win twice as a lead.  Eugene Pallette, was, of course, the great frog-voiced supporting actor who plays the beleaugered father in Godfrey.

  • anthony-adverse-gale-sondergaard-claude-rains-1936_i-G-67-6719-U1VA100ZBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Gale Sondergaard  (Anthony Adverse)
  2. Alice Brady  (My Man Godfrey)
  3. Maria Ouspenskaya  (Dodsworth)
  4. Jean Dixon  (My Man Godfrey)
  5. Judy Garland  (Pigskin Parade)

Analysis:  In the first actual year at the Oscars for this category we get a slate better than the two previous years combined.  Sondergaard won, Brady and Ouspenskaya were nominated, Dixon was great as the snarky maid Molly and Garland was enchanting in an otherwise forgettable film.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Modern Times
  2. The Petrified Forest
  3. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  4. My Man Godfrey
  5. Fury

Analysis:  Chaplin edited his own films and this is his second Nighthawk Award for Best Editing.  The best of the Oscar nominees was A Tale of Two Cities which comes in 6th.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Modern Times
  2. The Petrified Forest
  3. A Tale of Two Cities
  4. Fury
  5. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Analysis:  Roland Totheroh wins another Nighthawk Award for another Chaplin film.  Sal Polito earns his second nomination for Forest.  I don’t give any consideration to any of the actual Oscar nominees.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. Modern Times
  2. The Petrified Forest
  3. Anthony Adverse
  4. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  5. Come and Get It

Analysis:  With another win (his fourth), Chaplin takes back first place from Max Steiner.  We also have second nominations for Alfred Newman (Come and Get It) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (who actually won the Oscar for Adverse).

  • Best Sound:
  1. Modern Times
  2. San Francisco
  3. The Charge of the Light Brigade
  4. Secret Agent
  5. Come and Get It

Analysis:  There are still nine nominees in the category and they at least do a good job with the winner, although this film also gives a nomination to General Spanky, forcing me to sit through it.

  • modern_times-14Best Art Direction:
  1. Modern Times
  2. A Tale of Two Cities
  3. The Great Ziegfeld
  4. My Man Godfrey
  5. Dodsworth

Analysis:  It’s interesting that of the seven nominees they gave the Oscar to a non-period piece.  Of course, the sets in Modern Times blow all the other films out of the water.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. San Francisco
  • Best Sound Editing
  1. San Francisco
  • Best Costume Design:
  1. A Tale of Two Cities
  2. The Great Ziegfeld
  3. Show Boat
  4. Lloyds of London
  5. Romeo and Juliet
  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Pennies from Heaven”  (Pennies from Heaven)
  2. “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”  (Born to Dance)
  3. “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”  (Follow the Fleet)
  4. “The Way You Look Tonight”  (Swing Time)
  5. “A Fine Romance”  (Swing Time)

Analysis:  In the third year for the category they get it way wrong.  Yes, it comes in fourth, but the top two films are so much better than all the other songs on this list it’s not even funny.

  • Crime-De-Monsieur-Lange,-LeBest Foreign Film:
  1. The Crime of Monsieur Lange
  2. Cesar
  3. The Lower Depths

Analysis:  It’s France in a sweep.  Renoir comes in first and third (and he’ll win again in 1937 and 1939).  This gives France three straight wins (plus the best film in 1935, when no film was good enough to qualify for the category).

By Film:

note:  They’re in points order.  You get twice as many points for a win as for a nomination.  Hopefully your math skills will let you figure out the system.

  • Modern Times  (570)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction
  • The Petrified Forest  (415)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score
  • My Man Godfrey  (370)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing, Art Direction
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town  (280)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score
  • A Tale of Two Cities  (200)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Fury  (135)
    • Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography
  • Anthony Adverse  (115)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Score
  • San Francisco  (100)
    • Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Dodsworth  (90)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Art Direction
  • The Great Ziegfeld  (70)
    • Actress, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Romeo and Juliet  (50)
    • Actress, Costume Design
  • Secret Agent  (50)
    • Supporting Actor, Sound
  • Come and Get It  (45)
    • Original Score, Sound
  • Libeled Lady  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Theodora Goes Wild  (40)
    • Original Screenplay
  • Pigskin Parade (30)
    • Supporting Actress
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade  (20)
    • Sound
  • Pennies from Heaven  (20)
    • Original Song
  • Swing Time  (20)
    • Original Song, Original Song
  • Show Boat  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • Lloyds of London  (15)
    • Costume Design
  • Born to Dance  (10)
    • Original Song
  • Follow the Fleet  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  As will be noted below about Pasteur, there is just some bad luck here.  Dodsworth is a very good film – in fact, the #6 film of the year.  But it only manages three nominations and comes behind two very mediocre films, Anthony Adverse and San Francisco, in total points.  But Dodsworth actually has 9 top 10 finishes, including coming in 6th twice (Picture, Actor) and 7th twice (Director, Editing).

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • After the Thin Man

Analysis:  I reviewed the film here.  It’s a very low-level ***.5.  It comes in 6th place in Adapted Screenplay, 8th place in Picture and Director, 9th in Actress and 12th in Actor, but it just isn’t good enough in any category to make the top 5.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • The Story of Louis Pasteur

Analysis:  I reviewed The Story of Louis Pasteur here.  This is just how things work out.  This is a good film and it comes in #14 on the year.  On the other hand, Anthony Adverse (#76) and San Francisco (#84), neither of which are good films, both win Nighthawk Awards because of the categories they’re competing in.  In 1937, Paul Muni, who actually won the Oscar for Best Actor, would be nominated, but here he finishes 7th.  It also gets Top 10 finishes in Original Score and Costume Design.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:


  • Best Picture
  1. The Petrified Forest
  2. A Tale of Two Cities
  3. Dodsworth
  4. Fury

Analysis:  We have two great films, two very good films and then a big drop-off.

  • Best Director
  1. Archie Mayo  (The Petrified Forest)
  2. Fritz Lang  (Fury)
  3. Jack Conway  (A Tale of Two Cities)
  4. William Wyler  (Dodsworth)
  5. John Ford  (The Prisoner of Shark Island)

Analysis:  A year after winning, John Ford just barely squeaks into the fifth spot because of a lack of competition.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Petrified Forest
  2. A Tale of Two Cities
  3. Dodsworth
  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Fury

Analysis:  For the second year in a row, there’s just one film in this category.

  • And yet, still a happier ending for them than Of Human Bondage.

    And yet, still a happier ending for them than Of Human Bondage.

    Best Actor:

  1. Leslie Howard  (The Petrified Forest)
  2. Ronald Colman  (A Tale of Two Cities)
  3. Walter Huston  (Dodsworth)
  4. Paul Muni  (The Story of Louis Pasteur)
  5. Spencer Tracy  (Fury)

Analysis:  So, in fifth place we have Spencer Tracy giving what I think is one of his best performances, and one, surprisingly that didn’t receive an Oscar nomination (instead he was nominated for his really weak performance in San Francisco).  This is the second time Leslie Howard comes in second for Best Actor and wins in Drama.

  • Best Actress
  1. Bette Davis  (The Petrified Forest)
  2. Norma Shearer  (Romeo and Juliet)
  3. Rosalind Russell  (Craig’s Wife)

Analysis:  I can only manage three nominees here while the Comedy group actually has a full slate.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Humphrey Bogart  (The Petrified Forest)
  2. Peter Lorre  (Secret Agent)
  3. Claude Rains  (Anthony Adverse)
  4. Walter Brennan  (Come and Get It)
  5. Charley Grapewin  (The Petrified Forest)

Analysis:  Six years before Casablanca, we have a 1-2-3 finish from Bogart, Lorre and Rains.  Brennan would actually win the Oscar (his first of three), but didn’t even come close to deserving it.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Gale Sondergaard  (Anthony Adverse)
  2. Maria Ouspenskaya  (Dodsworth)
  3. Genevieve Tobin  (The Petrified Forest)

By Film:  Tobin is rather fun as the spoiled wife stuck in the hostage situation in Forest.

  • The Petrified Forest  (530)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Fury  (210)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Dodsworth  (200)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • A Tale of Two Cities  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor
  • Anthony Adverse  (90)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Prisoner of Shark Island  (45)
    • Director
  • The Story of Louis Pasteur  (35)
    • Actor
  • Romeo and Juliet  (35)
    • Actress
  • Craig’s Wife  (35)
    • Actress
  • Secret Agent  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Come and Get It  (30)
    • Supporting Actor

Analysis:  The Petrified Forest crushes the record for most Nighthawk Globe points by sweeping the big awards.  It’s the first drama to earn 8 noms and the first Drama to earn 6 wins.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Liebelei

Analysis:  The good Max Ophuls film from 1933 that made it to the States in 1936 and actually slides in at #10 is absent from any of the awards.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture:
  1. Modern Times
  2. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  3. My Man Godfrey
  4. After the Thin Man

Analysis:  There’s no question here that these are comedies.  Screwball comedies move into full swing.

  • Best Director:
  1. Charles Chaplin  (Modern Times)
  2. Frank Capra  (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town)
  3. Gregory La Cava  (My Man Godfrey)
  4. W.S. Van Dyke  (After the Thin Man)

Analysis:  We have four directors here, all of whom were nominated for Oscars at some point or another.  On my ranking of all those directors, we have two excellent ones – Chaplin (#17) and Capra (#34).  And then we have two not so great ones – La Cava (#143) and Van Dyke (#139).  This is the fourth of an eventual six wins in this category for Chaplin.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  2. My Man Godfrey
  3. After the Thin Man
  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Modern Times
  2. Libeled Lady
  3. Theodora Goes Wild
  • modern-times-2Best Actor:
  1. Charles Chaplin  (Modern Times)
  2. William Powell  (My Man Godfrey)
  3. Gary Cooper  (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town)
  4. William Powell  (The Great Ziegfeld)
  5. Spencer Tracy  (Libeled Lady)

Analysis:  And to think, the year before I couldn’t even field five nominees.  Here, we also have William Powell again at #6 (After the Thin Man) and 7 (Libeled Lady).  It was a hell of a year for him in comedies.  And we again have Tracy, again not for the film he was Oscar nominated for.  This is Chaplin’s fourth win (and sixth nomination) in the category, easily outdistancing anybody else.

  • GodfreyShowerBest Actress:
  1. Carole Lombard  (My Man Godfrey)
  2. Louise Rainer  (The Great Ziegfeld)
  3. Jean Arthur  (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town)
  4. Paulette Godard  (Modern Times)
  5. Irene Dunne  (Theodora Goes Wild)

Analysis:  Also a full slate, which is a vast, vast improvement over the year before.  And they are still good performances – Dunne, at #5, was actually Oscar nominated.  Lombard wins in her third straight nomination.  It’s the first of many nominations for Arthur in this category.

  • Best Supporting Actor
  1. Eugene Pallette  (My Man Godfrey)
  2. Mischa Auer  (My Man Godfrey)
  • Best Supporting Actress
  1. Alice Brady  (My Man Godfrey)
  2. Jean Dixon  (My Man Godfrey)
  3. Judy Garland  (Pigskin Parade)

By Film:

  • My Man Godfrey  (420)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Modern Times  (375)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town  (245)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress
  • After the Thin Man  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • Libeled Lady  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Theodora Goes Wild  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • The Great Ziegfeld  (70)
    • Actor, Actress
  • Pigskin Parade  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  This is so much a better year than 1935 for Comedies (and a much worse year for Dramas) that William Powell and Myrna Loy actually can’t make it into the top 5 for After the Thin Man while in 1935 there wasn’t a full slate in either category.  And My Man Godfrey manages to come in first in points (and sets a new record for Nighthawk Globe nominations) because of its 6 acting nominations.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Show Boat

Analysis:  James Whale’s version of the famous operetta is a good film, but it falls just short of ***.5 and doesn’t make it in any categories.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  91

By Stars:

  • ****:  5
  • ***.5:  3
  • ***:  57
  • **.5:  22
  • **:  4
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  65.9

Analysis:  The 65.9 is the highest since 1928-29.  While there aren’t a lot of great films, there are a lot of high-end good films.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • Magnificent Brute  (Interior Decoration)

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  This is a big drop-off, down into the bottom 10 (it ranks 77th out of 85).  There are two reasons for that.  The first is that three of the films rank below 450: Three Smart Girls, Anthony Adverse and San Francisco.  The other is that Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is the best of the nominees and it comes it at #213.  That makes this one of only five years (along with 1928-29, 1930-31, 1931-32 and 1956) to not have a single film in the Top 200.

The Winners:  When I rank the winners of all the Oscar categories, I do a few things.  One of the things I do is give an average based on where I have the winners ranked in each category, and then I do it again without Best Picture.  That’s because I rank every film for Picture and when a really bad film wins (like Cimarron) it brings down the overall score quite a bit.  In this case it brings down the score a lot.  The Great Ziegfeld ranks at #45 on the year – with Best Picture, the average winner ranks at 8.36.  Without it the average winner is at 5.54, still worse than either of the previous two years.  And the average among the nominees is 2.71, much worse than the previous several years.  This is mainly because they chose the 7th best of the Best Picture nominees and the weakest films in Screenplay and Editing.  There’s only one category in which the Oscar winner and the Nighthawk winner are the same – the brand new category of Supporting Actress.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Modern Times  (see review here)

2  –  The Petrified Forest  (see review here)

3  –  Mr. Deeds Goes to Town  (see review here)

4  –  My Man Godfrey  (see review here)

5  –  A Tale of Two Cities  (see my review here and here)

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. General Spanky
  2. Strike Me Pink
  3. Robin Hood of El Dorado
  4. Satan Met a Lady
  5. Cain and Mabel
You are welcome to like Our Gang.  And I am welcome to think you have bad taste.

You are welcome to like Our Gang. And I am welcome to think you have bad taste.

General Spanky  (dir. Gordon Douglas  /  Fred C. Newmeyer)

Humor is very different for different people.  To me, the height of film humor would be Monty Python.  The depths of film humor would include such things as Adam Sandler.  For the 1930’s, I worship the talents of Chaplin, love the Marx Brothers, can tolerate Laurel and Hardy (I liked them better when they were silent) and I loathe the Our Gang comedies.  So, on the one hand, the problem with General Spanky is that I have no use for Our Gang, don’t care about Spanky or Alfalfa and don’t find anything they do to be funny in the slightest.

And on the other hand, General Spanky is just simply a bad film.  For a comedy that was ahead of its times in having Buckwheat, a black character, playing with whites, this film’s approach to the Civil War is hamhanded at best and just downright pathetic at worst.  It attempts to be satirical at the causes of the war by showing it through the eyes of children but the script is so bad, without a single funny line in it, that any attempt at satire never takes off.

But then there’s the quality of the film.  This film was made at MGM at the same time that they were winning Best Picture for The Great Ziegfeld.  Now, Ziegfeld is far from a great film but it is a great production, with talent piled on top of other talent, with no money spared to make sets, costumes, to produce music and glorious scenes.  This film appeared to have a budget of around a couple of hundred dollars.  But low budget is one thing.  Low quality is another.  Most of the shots are badly framed, the acting is so abysmally bad that it can’t all be blamed on the children (they are all terrible) and it looks like it was edited with a Cuisinart.  You don’t have to take my word for it – though it’s not easy to find on video, you can find a couple of clips over at TCM and see just how badly all of it is done, how utterly unfunny it was even in 1936 and how just painful it is to watch today.


  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  My Man Godfrey  (11)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Modern Times  (9)  **
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Modern Times  (570)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  San Francisco
  • 2nd Place Award:  The Petrified Forest  (Picture, Director, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score)
  • 6th Place Award:  Dodsworth  (Picture, Actor)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  The Petrified Forest  (8)  *
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  The Petrified Forest  (6)  *
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  The Petrified Forest  (530) *
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  Anthony Adverse
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  My Man Godfrey  (9)  *
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Modern Times  (4)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  My Man Godfrey  (420)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Pigskin Parade

Note:  * means a Nighthawk record up to this point; ** ties a Nighthawk record

Analysis:  A Tale of Two Cities actually has three 6th place finishes (Director, Editing, Original Score), but Dodsworth is in two very big categories and is almost in a tie for fifth place on Actor.

Progressive Leaders:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  All Quiet on the Western Front  (13)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  City Lights  /  Modern Times  (9)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  All Quiet on the Western Front  (645)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards without winning Best Picture:  Frankenstein  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Best Picture Nomination:  Captain Blood  (10)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Nighthawk Award:  My Man Godfrey (11)
  • Actor:  Charles Laughton  (255)
  • Actress:  Janet Gaynor  (245)
  • Director:  Charlie Chaplin  (270)
  • Writer:  Charlie Chaplin  (280)
  • Cinematographer:  Arthur Edeson  /  Roland Totheroh  (125)
  • Composer:  Charlie Chaplin  (225)

Breakdown by Genre  (Foreign in parenthesis, best film in genre following, avg. score is afterwards, in parenthesis):

  • Drama:  34  (5)  –  The Petrified Forest  (68.2)
  • Comedy:  19  (3)  –  Modern Times  (68.3)
  • Musical:  19  (1)  –  Show Boat  (62.3)
  • Foreign:  9  –  Liebelei  (69.8)
  • Adventure:  5  –  The Last of the Mohicans  (62)
  • Horror:  3  –  Dracula’s Daughter  (63.7)
  • Western:  3 –  The Trail of the Lonesome Pine  (55.7)
  • Crime:  2  –  Bullets or Ballots  (68.5)
  • Sci-Fi:  2  –  The Invisible Ray  (66)
  • Mystery:  2  –  After the Thin Man  (60.5)
  • Kids:  1  –  The Green Pastures  (64)
  • Suspense:  1  –  Secret Agent  (74)
  • Action:  0
  • Fantasy:  0
  • War:  0

Analysis:  Comedy and Drama both go up a few points, Foreign inches up a point and Musicals drop a point.  But the real change is in Adventure, where it drops from a 7 films averaging a 76 to 5 films averaging a 62.  All of that adds up to a slight total raise in the average score for the year, up from 65.6 to 65.9.  The total percentage of Dramas goes down again, to 37.4%.  But the 19 Comedies and 19 Musicals are the most for both of those genres so far.  In Mystery, we have two films.  Both come from Dashiell Hammett, though the one that is more original (After the Thin Man) is more faithful to Hammett than the straight adaptation (Satan Met a Lady).  And one is very good and one is very bad.  We get two more Shakespeare films, one Drama and Comedy, neither of them all that great.

Studio Note:

MGM and Warners again have the lion’s share (pun sort-of intended), accounting for 24% and 14% of the films.  Then comes United Artists, with 12% and 20th Century-Fox (now merged together) with 11%.  The big 8 studios account for 87.9% of the films, the most since 1931-32 and the second most to this point so far.  This is the first year that Fox hits double digits and the first year since 1928-29 that I’ve seen fewer than 10 Paramount films.  And the top films are split, with the top 5 films, in order, coming from UA, Warners, Columbia, Universal and MGM.  Columbia only has 4 films, but they’re good films – the studio averages a 73.2, its first time over 70 and the highest among the majors.  RKO, with a 62.0 is the lowest among them.  With My Man Godfrey, Universal’s best film isn’t a Horror film for the first time since 1929-30.

12 Films Eligible for Best Foreign Film (alphabetical, with director and country in parenthesis – red are ****, blue are ***.5 – both those colors qualify for my Best Foreign Film Award):

  • Capricious Young Man  (Itami, Japan)
  • César  (Pagnol, France)
  • The Crime of Monsieur Lange  (Renoir, France)
  • The Lower Depths  (Renoir, France)
  • Mayerling  (Litvak, France)
  • Mr. Thank You  (Shimizu, Japan)
  • The Only Son  (Ozu, Japan)
  • Osaka Elegy  (Mizoguchi, Japan)
  • The Pearls of a Crown  (Guitry, France)
  • Sant Tukaram  (Fattalel, India)
  • Sisters of the Gion  (Mizoguchi, Japan)
  • The Story of a Cheat  (Guitry, France)

Note:  For the fourth year in a row we don’t have any **** films, though this year we at least have some ***.5 films, all of them, as mentioned above, from France.  As for several of these, well, observant readers might notice that a lot of these films have been in Eclipse sets from Criterion, which is how I first ended up seeing them.  For the second year in a row there are no films from Germany while half the films are from France and we also have our first film from India.

Films Eligible in This Year But Originally Released in a Different Calendar Year:

  • Liebelei  (1933)
  • Les Miserables  (1934)
  • La Signora di Tutti  (1934)
  • Carnival in Flanders  (1935)
  • The Ghost Goes West  (1935)
  • A Tale of Two Cities  (1935)

note:  Because A Tale of Two Cities was nominated for Best Picture, I had to put it here.  And then I just go from there, so that’s how I do all the films – by Oscar eligibility.

Films Released This Year Originally But Eligible in a Different Year:

  • Camille  (1937)
  • The Lower Depths  (1937)
  • The Man Who Could Work Miracles  (1937)
  • Mayerling  (1937)
  • Sabotage  (1937)
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street  (1939)
  • César  (1948)
  • The Crime of Monsieur Lange  (1967)
  • Osaka Elegy  (1979)
  • Sisters of the Gion  (1979)
  • The Only Son  (1987)

note:  Camille would be nominated for Best Actress, another film that is often grouped in the year it was released, rather than the year where it competes in the Oscars.