That rare moment in The Seventh Seal when life wins out.

That rare moment in The Seventh Seal when life wins out.

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. The Seventh Seal
  2. Wild Strawberries
  3. Some Like It Hot  *
  4. The 400 Blows
  5. North by Northwest
  6. Anatomy of a Murder  *
  7. The Diary of Anne Frank
  8. Sleeping Beauty
  9. Ben Hur  **
  10. Pather Panchali

Analysis:  That is a hell of a Top 5 – the second best to date, behind only 1946.  The first nine are all **** films.  This is the only year in film history in which both my top two are foreign films and the only one in which three of the top four are foreign.

  • Bergman_Seventh_Seal_behind_the_scenesBest Director
  1. Ingmar Bergman  (The Seventh Seal)
  2. Ingmar Bergman  (Wild Strawberries)
  3. Billy Wilder  (Some Like It Hot)  *
  4. Alfred Hitchcock  (North by Northwest)
  5. Francois Truffaut  (The 400 Blows)
  6. William Wyler  (Ben Hur)  *
  7. Otto Preminger  (Anatomy of a Murder)  *
  8. George Stevens  (The Diary of Anne Frank)  *
  9. Satyajit Ray  (Pather Panchali)
  10. Satyajit Ray  (Aparajito)

Analysis:  Wyler earns a Nighthawk nomination because of the two nominations for Bergman.  This is the first nomination for Truffaut and the second and third for Bergman.  The other three nominees are the top three in points at this time: Wilder is #1 (495 points, 8th nom, 3 wins), Wyler is #2 (450 points, 10th nom), Hitchcock is #3 (405 points, 8th nom, 1 win).  With the large glut of great Foreign films hitting the States, we have five out of 10 directors being foreign, though two of them are on there twice.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Seventh Seal
  2. Some Like It Hot  *
  3. The Diary of Anne Frank  *
  4. Anatomy of a Murder  **
  5. Ordet
  6. Compulsion
  7. Pather Panchali
  8. Sleeping Beauty
  9. Tiger Bay
  10. Aparajito

Analysis:  Billy Wilder moves up to 800 points; the next closest writer is Chaplin with 400.  But Bergman, winning in both categories, immediately leaps into a tie for 3rd place with Preston Sturges (320 points).
This year will be a pain in the ass when I eventually get to my Adapted Screenplay post.  Some Like It Hot is vaguely based on two previous films.  The Seventh Seal is based on a play by Bergman that I don’t think is available in English.  On the other hand, there is The Diary of Anne Frank, the book I am least capable of writing about from an objective point of view, as was made clear in my review.  In spite of the presence of Some Like It Hot, this is a very heavy 10, with both The Seventh Seal and Ordet on the list.  The only ones I have read as of this date are Diary and Sleeping Beauty.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Wild Strawberries  *
  2. The 400 Blows  *
  3. North by Northwest  *

Analysis:  Yes, that’s it.  Just three.  After those three films (all in my Top 5), the next film made from an original script is Last Train from Gun Hill, down at #25.  Pillow Talk (my #62 film) won the Oscar, which just makes me livid – that a silly Rock Hudson – Doris Day film won the Oscar over these three scripts is one of the most idiotic decisions the Academy has ever made.  The final Oscar nominee was Operation Petticoat, which is my #51 film on the year.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Victor Sjöström  (Wild Strawberries)  *
  2. Jack Lemmon  (Some Like It Hot)  **
  3. James Stewart  (Anatomy of a Murder)  *
  4. Gunnar Bjornstrand  (The Seventh Seal)
  5. Jean-Pierre Léaud  (The 400 Blows)
  6. Cary Grant  (North by Northwest)
  7. Richard Burton  (Look Back in Anger)
  8. Tony Curtis  (Some Like It Hot)
  9. Laurence Harvey  (Room at the Top)  *
  10. Max Von Sydow  (The Seventh Seal)

Analysis:  For a very long time Jack Lemmon has been my winner here and it pains me to bump from the top spot.  It’s not that I think any less of his performance than I ever have – it’s absolutely brilliant.  But the performance from Victor Sjöström is so perfect, such a performance for the ages, that after watching the film again, I had to put him in first.  What’s even more painful is that the same thing happens in 1960 – Lemmon will be bumped from my top spot for a magnificent performance in a Foreign film.
It’s the only nomination for Léaud, the first for Bjornstrand and the only nomination for Sjöström, whom I am more familiar with as a director.  It’s the second for Lemmon, but the first of many as a lead.  It’s the seventh (and final) nomination for Stewart, moving him up to 315 points and 5th place.
Charlon Heston won the Oscar, and he’s just off the list in 11th place.

  • Best Actress
  1. Simone Signoret  (Room at the Top)  **
  2. Ingrid Thulin  (Wild Strawberries)
  3. Katharine Hepburn  (Suddenly Last Summer)  *
  4. Simone Signoret  (The Crucible)
  5. Audrey Hepburn  (The Nun’s Story)  *
  6. Marilyn Monroe  (Some Like It Hot)
  7. Ellie Lambeti  (A Girl in Black)
  8. Dorothy Dandridge  (Porgy and Bess)
  9. Ava Gardner  (On the Beach)
  10. Hayley Mills  (Tiger Bay)

Analysis:  Marilyn Monroe earns a nomination because of the two nominations for Signoret (and it’s her only nomination).  It’s the first (of several) for Thulin.  It’s the third nomination for Audrey Hepburn and the third and fourth for Signoret.  It’s the 10th nomination (with three wins) for Katharine Hepburn, moving her up to 455 points, still 100 behind Bette Davis.  It’s not a great Top 10 list and it still leaves off two Oscar nominees: Elizabeth Taylor (Suddenly Last Summer), who is my #11, and Doris Day (Pillow Talk), who is a weak #13.

  • George C. Scott Anatomy of a MurderBest Supporting Actor:
  1. George C. Scott  (Anatomy of a Murder)  *
  2. Hugh Griffith  (Ben Hur)  **
  3. Nils Poppe  (The Seventh Seal)
  4. Orson Welles  (Compulsion)
  5. Joe E. Brown  (Some Like It Hot)
  6. Joseph Schildkraut  (The Diary of Anne Frank)
  7. Robert Vaughan  (The Young Philadelphians)  *
  8. Arthur O’Connell  (Anatomy of a Murder)  *
  9. Fred Astaire  (On the Beach)
  10. Dean Martin  (Rio Bravo)

Analysis:  The only nominations for Griffith, Poppe and Brown.  It’s the first nomination for Scott (there will be more noms and another win).  It’s the sixth acting nomination for Welles, and moves him up to 8th place in points (270).  I went with Schildkraut as the stronger performance in Diary over the Oscar-nominated Ed Wynn, who was my #11.

  • wildstrawberriesBest Supporting Actress:
  1. Bibi Andersson  (Wild Strawberries)
  2. Bibi Andersson  (The Seventh Seal)
  3. Shelley Winters  (The Diary of Anne Frank)  **
  4. Eve Arden  (Anatomy of a Murder)
  5. Hermione Baddeley  (Room at the Top)  *
  6. Cara Williams  (Never Steal Anything Small)

Analysis:  These are the only nominations for Arden, Baddeley and Williams (she gets a nomination because of the two for Andersson).  It’s the second for Winters.  They are the first and second for Andersson (who will get several more).
Yes, this is my whole list, even though I only have two Oscar nominees.  The other Oscar nominees were Thelma Ritter (discussed down in Comedy) and the two performances from Imitation of Life, a melodramatic bore from the over-rated Douglas Sirk that I didn’t think had any performances worth nominating.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Wild Strawberries
  2. The Seventh Seal
  3. The 400 Blows
  4. North by Northwest
  5. Some Like It Hot
  6. Anatomy of a Murder
  7. Compulsion
  8. Tiger Bay
  9. Pather Panchali
  10. Ben Hur

Analysis:  Three Oscar nominees in my Top 10 makes this a much better year than usual.  I wouldn’t have expected the Academy to notice the Foreign films, but they could have noticed Some Like It Hot, which did earn 6 Oscar noms.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. North by Northwest
  2. The Seventh Seal
  3. Wild Strawberries
  4. Ben Hur
  5. The 400 Blows
  6. Some Like It Hot
  7. Aparajito
  8. Pather Panchali
  9. Ordet
  10. The Diary of Anne Frank

Analysis:  Robert Burks earns his 5th nomination and 2nd win (all with Hitchcock) and moves up to 175 points, in 3rd place overall.  North by Northwest, of course, has some great shots, most notably the famous plane chase and the shots on Mt. Rushmore.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. North by Northwest
  2. Pather Panchali
  3. Ben Hur
  4. Aparajito
  5. The 400 Blows
  6. Carmen Comes Home
  7. On the Beach
  8. Wild Strawberries
  9. Some Like It Hot
  10. The Seventh Seal

Analysis:  After having no nominations between 1945 and 1958, Bernard Herrmann earns his third nomination and 2nd win in two years, moving up to 275 points and 3rd place.  Both the Ray films are scored by Ravi Shankar.  Carmen Comes Home is a Japanese musical that is hard to find but has wonderful music.

  • Best Sound:
  1. Ben Hur
  2. North by Northwest
  3. The Diary of Anne Frank
  4. Porgy and Bess
  5. Rio Bravo
  6. The Human Condition Part I
  7. On the Beach
  8. Sapphire
  9. Tiger Bay
  10. Some Like It Hot

Analysis:  Even having only two nominees is better agreement than I usually have with the Oscars in this category.  It’s even more surprising that I agree with the winner – only the fourth time in 28 years.

  • benhurBest Art Direction:
  1. Ben Hur
  2. The Seventh Seal
  3. Some Like It Hot
  4. Wild Strawberries
  5. The Diary of Anne Frank
  6. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  7. Suddenly Last Summer
  8. North by Northwest
  9. Tiger Bay
  10. Journey to the Center of the Earth

Analysis:  I really love the period looks in both the Bergman films, but there’s really no denying the remarkable work on Ben Hur (though, of course, it probably had a budget just for sets that was several times the whole budget of both Bergman films combined).

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Ben Hur
  2. Journey to the Center of the Earth

Analysis:  An easy, easy category with complete agreement between me and the Academy.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Ben Hur
  2. North by Northwest
  3. Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • ben-hur1959Best Costume Design:
  1. Ben Hur
  2. The Seventh Seal
  3. Some Like It Hot
  4. Pather Panchali
  5. Wild Strawberries
  6. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  7. Porgy and Bess
  8. The Kingdom and the Beauty
  9. The Mummy
  10. Les Miserables

Analysis:  Like with Art Direction, there’s really no denying the great work on Ben Hur.  Don’t overlook The Hound of the Baskervilles, one of the best non-horror films that Hammer ever made.

  • Best Makeup
  1. The Seventh Seal
  2. The Mummy

Analysis:  After two straight wins, Hammer has to settle for a nomination this year for The Mummy.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Once Upon a Dream”  (Sleeping Beauty)
  2. “My Rifle, My Pony and Me”  (Rio Bravo)
  3. “The Skump Song”  (Sleeping Beauty)
  4. “High Hopes”  (A Hole in the Head)
  5. “The Wishing Song”  (Darby O’Gill and the Little People)
  6. “The Hanging Tree”  (The Hanging Tree)

Analysis:  This is really a no-brainer to me.  “Once Upon a Dream” is far and away the best song in this category; nothing else is even close.
Oscars.org lists 154 songs for this year, of which I have seen 60.  But this points out a slight problem with using them for eligibility – they don’t include “Don’t Mention His Name to Me” from Noah’s Ark (which I haven’t seen), a song that was a semi-finalist (as seen here).

  • Sleeping-Beauty-Movie-Poster-sleeping-beauty-7792931-580-456Best Animated Film:
  1. Sleeping Beauty

Analysis:  If you are going to watch one of the traditional Disney princess films, in which someone is waiting for a prince to come, this is the one to watch.  While “Once Upon a Dream” isn’t a song on the same level as “Heigh-Ho” or “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”, it is still great.  More importantly, there is much to this story, from the fairies, to the magnificent villain, and even to the prince, who can’t just come up with a kiss or bring a slipper – he has to fight a friggin dragon in order to win his love.  Oh, and it should be blue.

  • 400Blows_Grinsson_MPOTWBest Foreign Film:
  1. The 400 Blows  *
  2. The World of Apu
  3. The Bridge  **
  4. Floating Weeds
  5. Hiroshima Mon Amour
  6. Black Orpheus  *
  7. Ballad of a Soldier
  8. Picnic on the Grass
  9. Letter Never Sent
  10. Fate of a Man

note:  Films in green were submitted to the Academy but not nominated.
There are years where the Academy has done much worse, but still, this isn’t their best moment.  First, the best film of the year isn’t submitted because of their rules (The 400 Blows, which I think you would have a hard time finding anyone who doesn’t think this was the best Foreign Film of the year, earns a Consensus nomination because it won the New York Film Critics).  Then, the best of the submitted films, The World of Apu, isn’t nominated.  Third, The Bridge, the best of the nominated films (and the Consensus winner, by earning a nomination here, winning the Globe and winning the NBR) doesn’t win.  But at least Black Orpheus, even if it doesn’t make my Top 5, isn’t a bad choice – just not the right one in several ways.
This is France’s first win in 6 years – the longest stretch without a win to date.  It is now up to 1240 points, more than the next three countries combined.  The Bridge is the first nominee from West Germany.  Floating Weeds is the first nomination for Yasujiro Ozu since 1941.
The Top 5 films are a drop from the last two years, but still the 7th best to date.  The Top 10 is even better – the 5th best to date.  This is only the 4th time that I have a full list of 10 films, though only the Top 3 are **** films.

Analysis:

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.

  • The Seventh Seal  (510)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, Foreign Film (1957)
  • Wild Strawberries  (470)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Foreign Film (1957)
  • Ben Hur  (315)
    • Director, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • North by Northwest  (300)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Sound Editing
  • Some Like It Hot  (295)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • The 400 Blows  (285)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Foreign Film
  • Anatomy of a Murder  (165)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Diary of Anne Frank  (110)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Sound, Art Direction
  • Room at the Top  (100)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Sleeping Beauty  (70)
    • Original Song, Original Song, Animated Film
  • Pather Panchali  (80)
    • Original Score, Costume Design, Foreign Film (1955)
  • Ordet  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth  (40)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • The Crucible  (35)
    • Actress
  • Suddenly Last Summer  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Nun’s Story  (35)
    • Actress
  • Compulsion  (30)
    • Supporting Actor
  • Rio Bravo  (30)
    • Sound, Original Song
  • Aparajito  (25)
    • Original Score
  • Porgy and Bess  (20)
    • Sound
  • The Mummy  (10)
    • Makeup
  • Darby O’Gill and the Little People  (10)
    • Original Song
  • A Hole in the Head  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  Ben Hur sets a new record for points without a Best Picture nom.  It is also the only film to get 5 wins without a Best Picture nom.  Suddenly Last Summer and The Nun’s Story, neither in my Top 95 of the year, both earn Actress nominations while several Top 20 films earn no nominations at all (Tiger Bay, On the Beach, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Human Condition Part I).

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Tiger Bay

Analysis:  Tiger Bay was actually featured in my Year in Film: 1959 as the Over-looked Film of the Year, so it’s ironic that it doesn’t make my Top 5 anywhere.  It does have 5 Top 10 finishes and three more in the Top 12, including Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Editing and Cinematography, with Actor finishing at #13.  See it if you get a chance – it’s worth it.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Pillow Talk

Analysis:  As will be discussed further down below, I think this film is over-rated.  It actually won Best Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen over Wild Strawberries, The 400 Blows and North by Northwest, one of the most idiotic Oscars ever awarded.  It was nominated for 5 Oscars, 3 Globes and the WGA.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Seventh Seal
  2. Wild Strawberries
  3. The 400 Blows
  4. Anatomy of a Murder
  5. The Diary of Anne Frank

Analysis:  Note – the Golden Globes don’t allow Foreign films to compete for Best Picture – Wild Strawberries was one of five films awarded Best Foreign Film.

  • Best Director
  1. Ingmar Bergman  (The Seventh Seal)
  2. Ingmar Bergman  (Wild Strawberries)
  3. Francois Truffaut  (The 400 Blows)
  4. William Wyler  (Ben Hur)
  5. Otto Preminger  (Anatomy of a Murder)

Analysis:  These are the first nomination for Truffaut, second for Preminger and first and second for Bergman.  Wyler, on the other hand, is earning his 11th nomination and at 495 points, moves out of the tie with Fritz Lang he’s been in for five years and takes over first place by himself.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Seventh Seal
  2. The Diary of Anne Frank
  3. Anatomy of a Murder
  4. Ordet
  5. Compulsion

Analysis:  Yes, this list is very dark.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Wild Strawberries
  2. The 400 Blows

Analysis:  Oh, if only Americans could write anything this good.  Or even anything good enough to be listed.

  • wildstrawberries2Best Actor:
  1. Victor Sjöström  (Wild Strawberries)
  2. James Stewart  (Anatomy of a Murder)
  3. Gunnar Bjornstrand  (The Seventh Seal)
  4. Jean-Pierre Léaud  (The 400 Blows)
  5. Richard Burton  (Look Back in Anger)

Analysis:  This is Stewart’s 7th Drama nomination and puts him at 315 points and 5th place.  I find it very strange that Stewart wasn’t nominated, but Stewart only ever earned one nomination in this category and it was for Harvey, which is widely considered a Comedy.  The Globe winner was Anthony Franciosa for Career, a performance not even on my list.

  • simone-signoretBest Actress
  1. Simone Signoret  (Room at the Top)
  2. Ingrid Thulin  (Wild Strawberries)
  3. Katharine Hepburn  (Suddenly Last Summer)
  4. Simone Signoret  (The Crucible)
  5. Audrey Hepburn  (The Nun’s Story)

Analysis:  These are the fourth and fifth nominations for Signoret and move her into a four-way tie for 9th place in points (205).  It’s Katharine Hepburn’s 7th nomination and she moves into a tie for 4th place with 315 points.  After not even being nominated for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the Globe winner was Elizabeth Taylor with the lesser performance in Suddenly Last Summer.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. George C. Scott  (Anatomy of a Murder)
  2. Hugh Griffith  (Ben Hur)
  3. Nils Poppe  (The Seventh Seal)
  4. Orson Welles  (Compulsion)
  5. Joseph Schildkraut  (The Diary of Anne Frank)

Analysis:  This is Welles’ 7th Drama nomination and puts him at 305 points and 6th place.  My 6th place is Robert Vaughan, who was the only person in this category to earn both an Oscar and Globe nom; I would say that this is really odd, to have only person receive both an Oscar and Globe nom, but it would actually happen another 5 times in less than 20 years; in contrast, it has never happened in Supporting Actress.  Schildkraut was actually nominated at the Globes as a lead.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Bibi Andersson  (Wild Strawberries)
  2. Bibi Andersson  (The Seventh Seal)
  3. Shelley Winters  (The Diary of Anne Frank)
  4. Eve Arden  (Anatomy of a Murder)
  5. Hermione Baddeley  (Room at the Top)
  • The Seventh Seal  (365)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Wild Strawberries  (340)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Anatomy of a Murder  (260)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The 400 Blows  (170)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • The Diary of Anne Frank  (150)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Room at the Top  (100)
    • Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Ben Hur  (75)
    • Director, Supporting Actor
  • Compulsion  (70)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor
  • Ordet  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Look Back in Anger  (35)
    • Actor
  • The Crucible  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Nun’s Story  (35)
    • Actress
  • Suddenly Last Summer  (35)
    • Actress

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Pather Panchali

Analysis:  A very good film from Satyajit Ray, and my #10 film of the year, but it’s unable to break into the top 5 in any of the major categories.

Comedy/Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Some Like It Hot
  2. North by Northwest
  3. Sleeping Beauty
  4. Porgy and Bess

Analysis:  The first three films really need no introduction – they’re acknowledged classics.  But Porgy and Bess is a different matter.  It took me years to track it down.  But it’s a very good film – much better than the more readily available Carmen Jones, also from Otto Preminger.  In fact, Preminger is oddly represented on Netflix.  Though DVD releases exist for most of his best films, if you look at Netflix, you’ll find no copies available of Anatomy of a Murder, Man with the Golden Arm, Laura and Porgy and Bess isn’t even listed.  If you get a chance to watch it, do yourself a favor and do so.

  • Best Director
  1. Billy Wilder  (Some Like It Hot)
  2. Alfred Hitchcock  (North by Northwest)
  3. Otto Preminger  (Porgy and Bess)

Analysis:  Though Preminger is primarily a dramatic director, this is his second Comedy nomination.  It is Hitchcock’s fourth nomination.  It is, surprisingly, only Wilder’s third nomination, but his second win, and he will win again the next year.  Preminger earns the rare double nomination, for both Drama and Comedy – not the director you’d think would do it.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Some Like It Hot
  2. Sleeping Beauty

Analysis:  Billy Wilder’s 4th win (out of 7 nominations) moves him into a tie for 1st place with Chaplin, with 480 points.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. North by Northwest
  • lemmonBest Actor:
  1. Jack Lemmon  (Some Like It Hot)
  2. Cary Grant  (North by Northwest)
  3. Tony Curtis  (Some Like It Hot)
  4. Sidney Poitier  (Porgy and Bess)
  5. James Cagney  (Never Steal Anything Small)

Analysis:  Much as I love Cagney, his performance is a pretty weak 5th place after those first four.  Lemmon’s second win moves him into the Top 15 in points – his win the next year will put him in the Top 7.  This is the 7th nomination for Cagney, but with 3 wins, he’s at 345 points and in 3rd place.  Ahead of him in 2nd place is Grant, earning his 9th nomination (4 wins), at 445 points.  With all due respect to Grant and his performance, Lemmon wins this by a mile.

  • Some-Like-it-Hot-some-like-it-hot-14853730-1957-2560Best Actress
  1. Marilyn Monroe  (Some Like It Hot)
  2. Dorothy Dandridge  (Porgy and Bess)
  3. Shirley MacLaine  (Ask Any Girl)
  4. Doris Day  (Pillow Talk)
  5. Shirley Jones  (Never Steal Anything Small)

Analysis:  Although Monroe only earns one regular Nighthawk nomination, this is her third Comedy nom and moves her up to 140 points, good enough for a tie for 8th place.  The Globes got this category fairly well, with their fifth nominee being Lilli Palmer for But Not for Me.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Joe E. Brown  (Some Like It Hot)

Analysis:  Yes, I could have gone with Tony Randall in Pillow Talk, but I didn’t think he was good enough.  I loathed Brown as a star in the 30’s, but he’s perfect here.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Cara Williams  (Never Steal Anything Small)

Analysis:  Thelma Ritter is so good in so many other things, I never really understood when she would get Oscar nominations for such light fluff as Pillow Talk (and I’m talking about her performance as well as the film).

  • Some Like It Hot  (505)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • North by Northwest  (210)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Porgy and Bess  (165)
    • Picture, Director, Actor, Actress
  • Never Steal Anything Small  (130)
    • Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Sleeping Beauty  (90)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay
  • Pillow Talk  (35)
    • Actress
  • Ask Any Girl  (35)
    • Actress

Analysis:  There are certainly those who wouldn’t consider North by Northwest a Comedy, but like To Catch a Thief, Grant’s presence really adds a comedic element that Hitchcock always strived for anyway.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • The Perfect Furlough

Analysis:  Solid comedy from Blake Edwards, my #40 on the year, but the #6 comedy in a weak year.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  127

By Stars:

  • ****:  9
  • ***.5:  9
  • ***:  78
  • **.5:  25
  • **:  5
  • 0:  2
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  66.29

Analysis: A huge leap up, a good three and a half points, the highest average since 1952.  Even though this year has only the third and fourth 0 star films, only 5.47% of the films are ** or worse – the lowest amount of bad films since 1952.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • Paw  (Foreign Film)

Other Award Nominated Films I Have Not Seen (in descending order of points total):

  • No Trees in the Street  (BAFTA – British Actress, British Screenplay)

note: This one is doubly annoying as it is a BAFTA nominee and directed by an eventual Oscar nominee (J. Lee Thompson), so there are two reasons I want to see it and I haven’t been able to find it.

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  This year ranks #61 out of 87.  It has three great films, one very good film, and, unfortunately, The Nun’s Story, which I think is a mediocre film.  If they had gone with Some Like It Hot instead, this year would rank in the Top 25.  However, The Nun’s Story was a Best Director nominee, while the one nominee without a Director nomination, Anatomy of a Murder, was actually the best of the five.

The Winners:  Thanks to the 11 Oscars for Ben Hur (most of which, except Actor, are pretty good choices), this year does well overall – averaging a 1.95 among the nominees.  It does especially well among the tech categories, averaging a 1.45.  But in the major categories, it’s not as good, averaging a 3.5, with Pillow Talk‘s win for Best Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen the only category in which the worst nominee won the Oscar.  The only other year where the proportions between the Picture-Director-Screenplay categories and the overall total is 1949.

Among all films, the average winners ranks at 4.9, a middle of the road number.  The tech categories are a very good 3.18 (the third best to date), but the major winners rank at 10.25, with none of the four biggest winners making my Top 5.  Still, only three categories end up outside my Top 10 (both writing categories and Actor).

The Nominees:  A drastic improvement on the year before, with an overall score of 57.7, the best in five years.  For the second time, the Best Original Screenplay category gets a perfect score because the only three films I deem worthy of a nomination are all nominated.  The only major category that’s a disappointment is Supporting Actress, which has the worst score since 1946, earning only a 40.7.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  This is the second year of the five year split in categories between Comedy and Musical.  Both categories are similar – they have one film which is much much better than the other four, and thankfully, both times that film won.  The Comedy category is better, partially because the four losing Comedy films (But Not for Me, Operation Petticoat, Pillow Talk, Who Was That Lady) are slightly better than the four losing Musical films (Five Pennies, L’il Abner, Private’s Affair, Say One for Me).  But the main reason that the Musicals category ranks at #56 and the Comedies are up at #42 is that the Musical winner is Porgy and Bess, a very good film, but the Comedy winner is Some Like It Hot, one of the greatest Comedies ever made.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

The movies get deep.

The movies get deep.

1 –  The Seventh Seal  (dir. Ingmar Bergman)

The Swedish Academy lost a really good chance in 2007.  They have made it abundantly clear over the years how much they favor themselves – 8 Swedes have won the Nobel Prize (plus 3 Norwegians and 1 Fin).  And yet, they never made the decision to open up the concept of “literature”.  No songwriter has yet won the award (though Bob Dylan gets odds on it every year).  And no screenwriter has won.  Here is where the Academy botched it, because no filmmaker has ever delved as deeply into literature on-screen as their own Ingmar Bergman and The Seventh Seal is one of the best examples.

This is film of great thought and depth.  It deals with a variety of concepts: faith (the knight has great faith but it is unable to sustain him any longer than his squire’s nihilistic views), death and how we deal with death (the knight plays chess against Death, a scene that has becomes iconic and parodied in numerous other films while one character hiding up a tree looks down to find Death cutting down the tree), meaning in life (the squire saves a young woman from being raped, the knight saves a young couple from Death) and love (the young couple are clearly in love and it is that love that, in a sense, sustains and saves them).  There are really only a handful of other films in cinematic history that do as good job in handling great themes with thought, care and depth and several of those (Winter Light, Cries and Whispers) are other Bergman films.

But, of course, simply having something to say that does not a great film make.  It also comes in how you say it.  These themes are crouched within a larger story, that of a knight and his squire returning from the Crusades.  Having just come back from dealing out death in the name of faith, they find only more death, as the plague is ravaging the countryside and the people are falling into anarchy.  They come across a number of memorable characters (the squire finds the man who convinced the knight to go on the crusade twice, the first time promising revenge and the second time inflicting it) as they journey home and eventually must deal with Death itself.  Max Von Sydow, as the knight, is often thought of as the star of the film, but it’s really Gunnar Bjornstrand as the squire, who has the more prominent role and both of them are first-rate.  But even better are the young couple in love, he with the ability to see visions (he is the only one other than the knight to see Death) and she taking care of their child, played by Nils Poppe and Bibi Andersson.  Bjornstrand was already a Bergman star, but Von Sydow and Andersson would join his steady troupe of actors and all three would become formidable screen presences.

But again, even the story and acting wouldn’t be enough if the film weren’t made well.  But this film has impressive cinematography from Gunnar Fischer (Bergman’s constant collaborator in the 50’s before he started working with Sven Nykvist).  Think of the shot of the knight and Death on the beach.  Or that final shot, of Death leading his playthings along on their dance, certainly one of the most iconic shots in all of film history.  The film is well constructed, sounds good, looks good and always flows well.  It is not just a meditation on death – it is one of the most magnificent films ever made, one that still, easily, after almost 60 years, still stands the test of time.

A meditation on life.

A meditation on life.

2  –  Wild Strawberries  (dir. Ingmar Bergman)

What is the measure of the life of a man?  When you finally realize that death is calling, what will you think of yourself?  What will others think of you?  In one sense, that was what The Seventh Seal was about, but it revolved more around larger themes and philosophical ponderings.  Wild Strawberries approaches this through the personal.

This is the story of one man, a doctor, who goes on a trip to get an award.  Joining him on the trip is his daughter-in-law and along the way they pick up some young passengers.  But also along the way, the doctor picks up his memories and we travel across time.  The doctor remembers the love of his youth and how she eventually married his brother.  He ponders his own marriage (unhappy), his son (who is also unhappy) and his legacy (his daughter-in-law is pregnant but her husband doesn’t want the child).  We follow these people on the trip because Bergman has done such a magnificent job of writing the characters – they are real people who have had their share of success (professional) and failure (personal).

But this isn’t just a journey for the characters.  This is a journey for Bergman himself.  Cast in the role of the elderly doctor is Victor Sjöström, the first great Swedish director, giving a performance for the ages.  Playing both the doctor’s young love in the flashback scenes, as well as the young girl picked up as a hitchhiker with two friends, is Bibi Andersson, who was coming off a great performance in The Seventh Seal and would be a major player in Bergman films for the next decade and a half.  In the middle is Gunnar Bjornstrand, who had already starred in several Bergman films (including Smiles of a Summer Night and The Seventh Seal) and soon would give his own magnificent performance in Winter Light.

Though we move between dreams and reality, between memory and the present, we never lose sense of where we are.  We watch these characters as they attempt to grow, as they acknowledge that they have stopped growing, as they accept what is to come and what they can change.

Wild Strawberries would mark a major change in Bergman’s career.  The Seventh Seal, in 1957, had been submitted for the Best Foreign Film award at the Oscars, but would not be nominated.  Wild Strawberries, on the other hand, would earn Bergman his first Oscar nomination (for its script), and though Bergman himself would not win a competitive Oscar, the following year his Virgin Spring would win Best Foreign Film, the first of three for Bergman films (Sweden has never won for a film directed by anyone other than Bergman).

Well, nobody's perfect.

Well, nobody’s perfect.

3  –  Some Like It Hot  (dir. Billy Wilder)

How do you judge a film?  My mother has always made a point of complaining about how a Comedy can be compared with a Drama, usually when I have a film that is my #1 compared to my #2 (like will be the case in 1960, or my #1 and #3 as in this case).  The American Film Institute seemed to have the same problem.  Their third list, after their Top 100 Films and Top 100 Stars, was 100 Years, 100 Laughs.  This wasn’t measuring how good the films were, but how funny.  Some Like It Hot was #1.

So, does that mean that Some Like It Hot is the funniest film ever made (at least in the U.S.)?  Given that this condition eliminates Monty Python and the Holy Grail and A Fish Called Wanda, I’m still tempted to say no – I would probably put The Producers or Duck Soup first.  But it’s certainly up there.  Then there’s the question of what is the greatest Comedy ever made.  I would put Dr. Strangelove at the top, followed, in no certain order, by Modern Times, Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters and Ed Wood.  And that’s only if you don’t count The Princess Bride, which might also belong up there as the funniest film ever made.  But after that comes a number of other films all in the same group – Sullivan’s Travels, The Apartment, M*A*S*H, and of course, Some Like It Hot.

So, yes, Some Like It Hot is one of the funniest films ever made, it is one of the best Comedies ever made, it has one of the best screenplays ever written, it has one of the best lead performances ever given in a Comedy (yes, I bumped Lemmon down to #2 on the year, but that’s more because of re-evaluating Sjöström than anything about Lemmon) and certainly ranks among the greatest ending scenes ever filmed.  It even has the extra benefit (for me) of being filmed at the Hotel Del Coronado, a hotel that has been part of my life since I was born (my mother is from Coronado, I was baptized there, my son was baptized there).

The tricky thing about some of these reviews is that I am reviewing the best films of the year – films that, for the most part, everyone should have seen by now.  Is there anyone who would bother to read this far on a long film blog post about film who would not have seen Some Like It Hot?  And if so, what the hell is wrong with such a person?  Stop reading this and go see the film right now.  Even if you have seen it, you should probably go see it again right now.

Some Like It Hot is so brilliant and works so well because it is completely ridiculous.  And yet, it sells that ridiculousness all the way through.  First of all, look at Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in those outfits.  Who, for one minute, would ever believe that they were actually women?  Then, what are the ridiculous odds that the Chicago gangsters that they flee from would end up at the same hotel?  Who wouldn’t recognize that Tony Curtis’ character is doing a perfect Cary Grant impersonation?  And who could possibly believe anything that happens at the end of the film, including the final refusal of Osgood to be deterred?

Yet, all of this works.  It not only works, it works every time you watch the film, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.  It works because the lines are so absolutely perfect (“I’m engaged.”  “Congratulations.  Who’s the lucky girl?”  “I am.”).  It works because there is precise comic timing in the film (those lines are interrupted by the maracas because it allowed for audiences to laugh and not miss a line).  It works because Tony Curtis, for the third year in a row gives a great performance (following Sweet Smell of Success and The Defiant Ones), it works because Marilyn Monroe oozes sex on the screen, it works because Joe E. Brown, whose performances as a leading man in the thirties made me want to climb into the screen and throttle him, is pitch perfect, especially for the ending line and it works because Jack Lemmon is one of the greatest actors who was ever on the screen and he has precision timing when it comes to comedy.

In the end, it works because we want to believe in it, because we are laughing so hard that we are completely willing to overlook anything that might seem ridiculous.  It works because we want it to work.  It even works when it’s not supposed to.  The final line, certainly one of the greatest lines in all of cinema, and especially perfect as a final line, was an accident.  Wilder’s co-writer I.A.L. Diamond suggested it as a temporary line.  Nobody’s perfect.  But a certain Billy Wilder comedy is pretty damn close.

Nobody's perfect but the final frozen frame is.

Nobody’s perfect but the final frozen frame is.

4  –  The 400 Blows  (dir. Francois Truffaut)

There are two problems with making a film about childhood.  The first is the tendency to sentimentalize everything.  If you make a film with mawkish sensibilities than it just becomes another joke – the kind of thing that the latest Disney film could do (while Disney remained strong in animation, their turn towards live-action feature films in the 50’s was peppered with mediocrity).  The second problem is one that can stain even any kind of film, but is especially problematic in a film about childhood – child actors.  Look at any film starring the young Freddie Bartholomew (actually don’t bother – he’s terrible).  So, lots of films about growing up just simply aren’t very good.  Then there’s The 400 Blows.

Truffaut brushes away both problems with ease and makes one of the greatest films ever about growing up.  His young character, Antoine Doinel, isn’t a lovable rapscallion in the tradition of The Little Rascals.  He doesn’t want to be at school (he has a bully of a teacher), he doesn’t want to be at home (he’s got a stepfather who doesn’t like him).  He just wants a chance to be on his own, to figure out where he belongs.  His rebellion is given to us straight forward; we sympathize with him not because we are forced into it from the filmmaker’s decisions, but because they allow us to see the full extent of his life.  We can actually remember what it was like to be a young age and not fitting in and just wanting to escape from it all.

That might still not have worked if not for the fact of Jean-Pierre Léaud.  He was a remarkable discovery – a young teen with remarkable natural talent and the ability to convey his emotions on the screen without the need for dialogue.  The final shot of him is one of the more haunting in film history precisely because he can convey so much with his eyes.  I write this review at the same time that Boyhood is the front-runner for Best Picture at the Oscars.  So much is talked about with that film being made over 12 years, but I admire more the way Truffaut would continually return to his own character and check in on his story again and again.  It works so well (all of the Doinel films are great) precisely because Truffaut lucked out so much in the original casting of Léaud.

The 400 Blows remains, perhaps, the defining moment of the French New Wave.  Though many prefer Godard’s Breathless, it is precisely Truffaut’s film, with its new way of looking at film, combined with the precision story-telling ability and first-rate acting (Léaud would be the face of the New Wave, not only as Doinel, but also in Truffaut’s Day for Night and in several Godard films, but would never be as good for another director as he would be Truffaut) and that final haunting image of the young boy on the brink of manhood.

5  –  North by Northwest  (reviewed here)

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. Plan Nine from Outer Space
  2. Teenagers from Outer Space
  3. The H-Man
  4. A Summer Place
  5. Hercules

note:  This is the second year with multiple 0 star films and both times it’s an Ed Wood film that’s the worst film of the year.  Next up will be 1964, where there will be an incredible three 0 star films.  The other three films are all ** films.

So bad it inspired greatness.

So bad it inspired greatness.

Plan Nine from Outer Space  (dir. Ed Wood)

How ironic that this is the worst film of the year in the same year that the top two films are Bergman films.  Both directors worked within their own systems – writing and directing, using the same group of actors, continually using the same crew.  Yet, Bergman is one of the greatest directors who ever lived while Ed Wood is widely reviled as the worst director who ever lived.

Now, let’s be fair to this film, which has been widely recognized as the worst film ever made.  This is not the worst film ever made.  I already answered that question six years ago.  The worst film ever made is Caligula.  But in the same post, I even pointed out this isn’t the worst film that Ed Wood ever made.  That would be Glen or Glenda.

The major difference between them is that Plan Nine is hilariously bad – the acting from Vampira and Tor borders on the surreal, the film jumps around with scenes that were obviously simply filmed and then thrown together later (which Ed Wood would explain quite well) and the special effects are bad for 1859, let alone 1959 – while Glen or Glenda is just simply bad.  Thinking about it further, it’s actually the genre that saves it (in terms of being so bad it’s enjoyable) – because this is a Sci-Fi / Horror film it would always have been hard to take it seriously.  But Glen or Glenda, as a “serious” drama is incapable of being enjoyed at that level; it’s simply bad.  Also, as I mentioned, there is an element of the surreal in the performances, not to mention the introduction from Criswell.  Glen or Glenda, hampered by the apocalyptically bad performances by Wood and Dolores Fuller was just too damn painful.

As I have said numerous times, I am not a fan of bad films – I don’t enjoy watching them the way some people do.  Though there is an element of enjoyment here, it’s still not my thing.  If I’m going to watch this, I’d much rather watch it through the veil of Ed Wood, where the hilariousness of its awfulness can at least be filtered through the incredible work.  Ed Wood, like Plan Nine, is made with tender care by people who were truly devoted to it; the difference is that Ed Wood is a film for the ages and Plan Nine, though not the winner, is still clearly one of the worst films ever made.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  The Seventh Seal  (12)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  The Seventh Seal / Ben Hur  (5)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  The Seventh Seal  (510)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  The Nun’s Story
  • 2nd Place Award:  Wild Strawberries  (Picture, Director, Actress, Foreign Film (1957))  ***
  • 6th Place Award:  Anatomy of a Murder  (Picture, Editing)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  The Seventh Seal / Wild Strawberries / Anatomy of a Murder  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  The Seventh Seal / Wild Strawberries  (3)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  The Seventh Seal  (365)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  The Nun’s Story
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  Some Like It Hot  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  Some Like It Hot  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  Some Like It Hot  (505)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Pillow Talk

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

*** – The Seventh Seal actually had the most 2nd place finishes, a rarity for a Best Picture winner (Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design), but Wild Strawberries had more points in 2nd place because of major categories.

Progressive Leaders:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  The Wizard of Oz  (18)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  The Wizard of Oz  (14)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  The Wizard of Oz  (795)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards without winning Best Picture:  Frankenstein  /  The Magnificent Ambersons  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Best Picture Nomination:  Captain Blood  /  Henry V  (10)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Nighthawk Award:  My Man Godfrey (11)
  • Actor:  Humphrey Bogart  (475)
  • Actress:  Bette Davis  (555)
  • Director:   Billy Wilder  (495)
  • Writer:  Billy Wilder  (800)
  • Cinematographer:  Arthur Edeson  /  Gregg Toland  (200)
  • Composer:  Max Steiner  (450)
  • Foreign Film:  Akira Kurosawa  (320)

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

  • Drama:  58 (24)  –  The Seventh Seal  (67.7)
  • Foreign:  37  –  The Seventh Seal  (69.5)
  • Comedy:  12 (1)  –  Some Like It Hot  (67.4)
  • Western:  11  –  Rio Bravo  (67.4)
  • Musical:  10 (3)  –  Porgy and Bess  (66.8)
  • Crime:  6 (2)  –  The Gates of Paris  (67.3)
  • Mystery:  5 (1)  –  Anatomy of a Murder  (75)
  • War:  5 (1)  –  The Human Condition Part I  (68.8)
  • Kids:  5  –  Sleeping Beauty  (68)
  • Horror:  5 (2)  –  The Mummy  (56.6)
  • Suspense:  4 (1)  –  North by Northwest  (71.8)
  • Sci-Fi:  3  –  First Man Into Space  (18.3)
  • Adventure:  2  –  Journey to the Center of the Earth  (68)
  • Action:  1 (1)  –  Nine Lives  (72)
  • Fantasy:  1 (1)  –  Hercules  (41)

Analysis:  It’s the first year since 1935 where I’ve seen at least one film in every category.  There are the fewest Comedies since 1949 and the fewest Musicals since 1950 while the Dramas account for 45.3% of the films – the highest number since 1949.  It’s a third straight record year for Foreign films and still several short of what the next couple of years will bring.  There are less than a third as many Horror films as the year before, but still more than 1946 to 1954 combined.  There are as many Kids films as 1952 to 1958 combined.

Adventure films have their highest average since 1939, Comedies their highest since 1954, Dramas their highest since 1951 and Musicals their highest since 1931.  Sci-Fi, on the other hand, has the lowest average of any category since 1952 and the second lowest ever.

There are six Dramas in the Top 10 – the most since 1951 and 13 in the Top 20 – the most since 1929.  For only the second time ever, there are two Mysteries in the Top 20

Studio Note:  Columbia has 17 films – by far its most and the first time it is the studio with the most films in a year.  That doesn’t mean they are good films – they average a 64, the lowest for the studio in five years.  United Artists follows with 14, tying the second most that studio has had in a year, but those average a 67, the best for the studio in four years.  Disney also expands, with 5 films – the first time I’ve seen more than 3 in a single year.  MGM finally has a good year – the average of 67.4 is the highest for the studio since 1940; but maybe it’s only that I’ve seen the good films – the 10 films from MGM are tied for its lowest in a single year.  Warner Bros has a terrible year – I’ve seen 10 films and they average a dismal 53.7, the worst average for any studio in any one year to date.  Overall, the majors account for 67.2% of the films I’ve seen, better than the three previous years and the last year before the precipitous decline as indies and Foreign films flood the market.

There’s not as much from the big indies.  I’ve only seen two from Allied Artists and three from Continental.  It’s the last year for a long time that I’ve seen no films from American International Pictures.

Janus Films not only wins Best Picture, it also gets #2 on the year, the first time in a decade that Best Picture doesn’t go to a major studio.  MGM gets two Top 10 films for only the second time since 1944 while Paramount fails to have a Top 10 film for the first time since 1948 (it also fails to even get a Top 20 film – it’s best film is Last Train from Gun Hill at #25).  Warners also fails to make the Top 20 (Rio Bravo at #21 is the best), but has five below #100 and three of the bottom 5.

45 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; an asterisk means it was the Official selection for the Oscar, two asterisks were nominated, three asterisks won the Oscar):

  • Ballad of a Soldier  (Chukrai, USSR)
  • Battle Beyond the Sun  (Karyukov, USSR)
  • Black Orpheus  (Camus, France)  ***
  • Blessings of the Land  (Silos, Philippines)
  • The Bridge  (Wicki, West Germany)  **
  • Les Cousins  (Chabrol, France)
  • La Cucaracha  (Rodriguez, Mexico)
  • The Curlew’s Cry  (Barakat, Egypt)  *
  • Dorothea Angermann  (Siodmak, West Germany)
  • A Double Tour  (Chabrol, France)
  • The Facts of Murder  (Germi, Italy)
  • Fate of a Man  (Bondarchuk, USSR)
  • Fathers and Sons  (Bergunker / Rashevskaya, USSR)
  • Fires on the Plain  (Ichikawa, Japan)  *
  • Floating Weeds  (Ozu, Japan)
  • For Better For Worse  (Feng, Hong Kong)  *
  • The 400 Blows  (Truffaut, France)
  • The Ghost of Yotsuya  (Nakagawa, Japan)
  • Good Morning  (Ozu, Japan)
  • The Great War  (Monicelli, Italy)  **
  • Head Against the Wall  (Franju, France)
  • Hiroshima Mon Amour  (Resnais, France)
  • The Human Condition Part I  (Kobayashi, Japan)
  • The Human Condition Part II  (Kobayashi, Japan)
  • Kaagaz Ke Phool  (Dutt, India)
  • The Kingdom and the Beauty  (Han-hsiang, Singapore)  *
  • The Last Days of Pompeii  (Bonnard, Italy)
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses  (Vadim, France)
  • Letter Never Sent  (Kalatazov, USSR)
  • The Lin Family Shop  (Khoua, China)
  • The Little Apartment  (Ferreri, Spain)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream  (Trnka, Czechoslovakia)
  • Navrang  (Shantaram, India)
  • Nazarin  (Buñuel, Mexico)  *
  • Night Train  (Kawalerowicz, Poland)
  • Odd Obsession  (Ichikawa, Japan)
  • Pickpocket  (Bresson, France)
  • Picnic on the Grass  (Renoir, France)
  • Roses for the Prosecutor  (Staudte, East Germany)
  • A Simple Story  (Hanoun, France)
  • The Testament of Dr. Cordelier  (Renoir, France)
  • Tiger of Eschnapur  (Lang, West Germany)
  • Train Without a Timetable  (Bulajoc, Yugoslavia)
  • Village on the River  (Rademakers, Netherlands)  **
  • The World of Apu  (Ray, India)  *

Note:  There are 11 films from France, the first time any country has hit double-digits.  There are 5 Soviet films, a new high in one year.  There are three countries here for the first time – Hong Kong, Singapore and Netherlands.  There are 25 Dramas, 7 War films (by far the most to date) and only 2 Comedies (the lowest since 1949).  With no Samurai film, this is the first time there are no Action films since 1952.

Foreign Films Submitted for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars That I Haven’t Seen:

  • Denmark:  Paw  (dir. Henning-Jensen) – NOMINEE
  • Pakistan:  The Day Shall Dawn  (dir. Kardar)

note:  At this point I am making a concerted effort to see as many submitted films as I can.  14 films were submitted, and this the third year in a row I’m missing the one from Denmark, which is even more annoying this year since it was an actual nominee.

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

  • Carmen Comes Home  (1951)
  • Fever Mounts at El Pao  (1954)
  • Godzilla Raids Again  (1955)
  • Ordet  (1955)
  • Pather Panchali  (1955)
  • A Girl in a Black  (1956)
  • Three Men in a Boat  (1956)
  • Aparajito  (1957)
  • The Crucible  (1957)
  • The Devil Came at Night  (1957)
  • The Gates of Paris  (1957)
  • He Who Must Die  (1957)
  • Monpti  (1957)
  • Nine Lives  (1957)
  • The Seventh Seal  (1957)
  • Wild Strawberries  (1957)
  • Brink of Life  (1958)
  • The H-Man  (1958)
  • Hercules  (1958)
  • Inspector Maigret  (1958)
  • Intent to Kill  (1958)
  • Les Miserables  (1958)
  • Look Back in Anger  (1958)
  • Love is My Profession  (1958)
  • The Lovers  (1958)
  • Murder by Contract  (1958)
  • The Naked Maja  (1958)
  • Orders to Kill  (1958)
  • The Perfect Furlough  (1958)
  • Pork Chop Hill  (1958)
  • Rally Round the Flag Boys  (1958)
  • La Venganza  (1958)

Note:  These 32 films only average a 69.1, which is surprising since it includes the top two films of the year as well as two more in the Top 13.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Carmen Comes Home
  • The Curlew’s Cry
  • Dorothea Angermann
  • Fever Mounts at El Pao
  • For Better For Worse
  • Good Morning
  • Head Against the Wall
  • The Human Condition Part I
  • Kaagaz Ke Phool
  • The Kingdom and the Beauty
  • Les Miserables
  • The Lin Family Shop
  • The Little Apartment
  • Monpti
  • Navrang
  • Nine Lives
  • Plan Nine from Outer Space
  • Three Men in a Boat
  • La Venganza
  • Village on the River

Note:  I use the list at Oscars.org for deciding which year films are eligible in.  For some films, however, they don’t appear in that database.  For those films, I use the IMDb.  These are the films that aren’t listed in the Oscars.org database but that end up in this year.
Four of these films were submitted for Best Foreign Film at the Academy and Village on the River was even nominated.  Only two of these are English language – Three Men in a Boat, which is a British film and Plan Nine, which may not have had an official L.A. release to qualify.

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

  • The Atomic Submarine  (1960)
  • Attack of the Giant Leeches  (1960)
  • The Battle of the Sexes  (1960)
  • Black Orpheus  (1960)
  • A Bucket of Blood  (1960)
  • Les Cousins  (1960)
  • Crime and Punishment USA  (1960)
  • Expresso Bongo  (1960)
  • Hiroshima Mon Amour  (1960)
  • I’m All Right Jack  (1960)
  • The Last Days of Pompeii  (1960)
  • Northwest Frontier  (1960)
  • Picnic on the Grass  (1960)
  • School for Scoundrels  (1960)
  • The 39 Steps  (1960)
  • Tiger of Eschnapur  (1960)
  • A Touch of Larceny  (1960)
  • The Wasp Woman  (1960)
  • Who Was That Lady  (1960)
  • The World of Apu  (1960)
  • Ballad of a Soldier  (1961)
  • The Bridge  (1961)
  • La Cucaracha  (1961)
  • A Double Tour  (1961)
  • Fathers and Sons  (1961)
  • The Great War  (1961)
  • The Human Condition Part II  (1961)
  • Nazarin  (1961)
  • Odd Obsession  (1961)
  • Roses for the Prosecutor  (1961)
  • Shadows  (1961)
  • The Testament of Dr. Cordelier  (1961)
  • Carry on Teacher  (1962)
  • Fate of a Man  (1962)
  • Letter Never Sent  (1962)
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses  (1962)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream  (1962)
  • Battle Beyond the Sun  (1963)
  • Fires on the Plain  (1963)
  • Blessings of the Land  (1965)
  • The Facts of Murder  (1965)
  • The Kingdom and the Beauty  (1967)
  • Pickpocket  (1969)
  • Floating Weeds  (1970)
  • A Simple Story  (1970)
  • Night of the Ghouls  (1983)
  • Night Train  (2001)

Note:  These 47 films only average a 65.3.  That’s because, while there are two **** films (The World of Apu, The Bridge) and eight ***.5 films, there is a * film (Attack of the Giant Leeches), a .5 film (The Wasp Woman) and a 0 star film (Night of the Ghouls).  Overall, this year gains much more than it loses, as it adds its top two films.

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