Category Archives: 30Hz Cinema

The 30Hz movie-related ramblings

Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Wishlist 2018: Anniversaries

I had some idle time in traffic this afternoon and my mind started to wander to the upcoming Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. TCMFF attendees get quite edgy the weeks before the final schedule release. To date we only know a handful of films — these can be found here. It’s a rock solid set of films, but nothing that sets my hair on fire. Not yet.

(By the way, passes still remain for the 2018 Turner Classic Movie Film Festival. If you feel like a trip to Los Angeles in late April, hurry over to the TCM page and pick up a pass today. It’ll be your best purchase of the year.)

tcmff 2018

Of those films I’m most excited to see my favorite Kurosawa, The Throne of Blood (1957), on a big screen and what I assume will be a 35mm print of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974). The Set-Up (1949) also has some timely relevance because Raquel Stecher and I just discussed on a recent episode of Cinema Shame.

Still, I can’t help but consider the possibilities for what is yet to come. The theme for this year’s festival is Powerful Words: The Page Onscreen. We’re talking adaptations of famous works and writers. We’re talking movies about writers and landmark original screenplays. With that in mind, I let my brain ponder some potentials. What would I want to see with these parameters in mind?

Keep in mind I know absolutely nothing. Anything I guess here will likely not come true and anything I guess correctly will obviously be the product of true genius.

I’ll begin my frivolous exercise by considering big anniversaries. Which films do we have a monumental reason to celebrate? What are some films I’d like to see for the first time at TCMFF this year? Maybe some that just deserve a big screen?  Here’s my picks for an Anniversary-oriented Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Wishlist for 2018. 

 

some came running

Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli, 1958)

Frank Sinatra plays a drunk novelist in this drama also starring Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine. Not only was this Sinatra’s first film with Dino, Shirley MacLaine earned her first Academy Award nomination. Shirley has attended prior Turner Classic Movie Film Festivals, why not another? I’ve been on a Vincente Minnelli kick lately, so I figure I should scratch this off the list, too.

 

the long hot summer tcmff

The Long, Hot Summer (Martin Ritt, 1958)

Steamy Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward melodrama based on the short stories of William Faulkner. All that plus Orson Welles, not a bad scribe in his own right. Prior festival attendee Angela Lansbury. Lee Remick. The film re-established Ritt’s career after the Blacklist and fast-tracked Newman’s career. The title came from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and some of the characters were inspired by Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Authorial pedigree, you guys.

 

swimmer tcmff

The Swimmer (Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack, 1968)

Frank Perry’s excellent David & Lisa (1962) screened at last year’s festival. The Academy gave Perry a director nomination and his wife Eleanor Perry a screenplay nod for this film based on a short story by John Cheever. The Swimmer has received a bit of notoriety after a deserved rediscovery upon the release of the Grindhouse Blu-ray. I’m sure festival patrons would be thrilled to “discover” this Burt Lancaster great for themselves. If we’re talking unique and original voices, this film surely fits the theme.

danger diabolik tcmff

Danger: Diabolik (Mario Bava, 1968)

If I could make one festival request, I would wish this upon everyone as a midnight screening. Not that it wouldn’t play well at any other time, but a midnight screening of Danger: Diabolik would tear the roof off of the Multiplex. I can’t make a connection to “Powerful Words,” except for the fact that it came from a series of Italian comics called Diabolik from  Angela and Luciana Giussani.

 

hooper tcmff

Hooper (Hal Needham, 1978)

Notable for it’s gonzo stunts. Plus Burt Reynolds, Adam West and Sally Field, and I must always hope for a Burt Reynolds film. This would go over really well with a jazzed-up classic film crowd. Fits into the writing category ironically. No writers were needed for the making of this film — yet four are listed in the credits. Maybe Peter Bogdanovich could attend to discuss the Roger Deal character — who was apparently intended as a Bogdanovich spoof.

All that said, what do I know? And per usual, the best and most exciting films at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival are the ones I didn’t know I wanted to see in the first place. I look forward to what TCM has in store for us… but I really wish they’d take the Danger: Diabolik request into consideration.

Please.

Cue Morricone’s opening theme:

First Watch Cinema Club: February 2018

I’ve been making a concerted effort to watch through the movies that have been sitting idly on my shelf for ages. Many of which I picked up second hand for a couple bucks. Stuff I bought that seemed like a good idea at the time. (I’m looking at you, Zapped!) After all, there’s a reason I haven’t been able to mark them off the watchlist until now. At some point they just lost their luster. First-Watch Club February exercised a whole bunch of those demons. None of which you’ll see here today.

As much as I enjoy sitting down to experience any manner of movie, of any genre, there’s a perverse pleasure in tossing a mediocre viewing experience into the sell bin. The most brutal and basic of decisions. Will this ever get watched again?

And then there’s the caveats about the scarcity of the film and if it’ll ever get an improved release… how hard it is to find… maybe I want to be someone that owns this movie and can whip it out to shock and horrify friends and neighbors. Fine. So there’s layers of nuance that I can’t quite get into right now.

Still, I recommend the catharsis that comes along with curation. The creation of *my* most perfect collection of collections. This is just one stop along the way to Xanadu. I’ll keep you posted.

 

First-Watch Cinema Club: February 2018

#5. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (Angela Robinson, 2017)

professor marston and the wonder women first watch club february

Terrific performances from the three leads in what could have easily been a laughable and at times torturous melodrama.

This engrossing and erotically charged bio-picture managed to steer clear of all the biographical trappings. Absent the frivolous layering of importance upon mere humans, Angela Robinson’s movie tells the story of three humans and how they come to terms with an extraordinary situation. There’s no glorification of the struggle. No arbitrary symbolism or hyperbolic narrative beats.

Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote walk a miraculous tightrope of performance. First they each, in turn, garner our loyalties before embracing an alternative relationship that challenges our sensibilities and our expectations. Movies and stories that embrace polygamy almost always deconstruct the relationship from within.

Professor Marsten depicts the love of three people who simply could not live without each other. They are torn apart by those who could not accept them, that did not see the ways in which their relationship bettered their lives and the lives of their children. They only saw the perversion of the norm.

Plus, viewers are treated to a version of the idiosyncratic origin story of Wonder Woman — the creation of a disgraced professor that saw comic books as a means to gaining cultural acceptance for his theories on human interaction. Plus some light bondage. And that’s at least as exhilarating as the story on the pages of the comic.

Buy Professor Marston and the Wonder Women at Amazon.

#4. Hitch Hike (Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1977)

hitch hike 1977 first watch club february

This is a disgusting, emotionally unsettling exploitative road trip movie with a dehumanizing, nihilistic perception on human ugliness, greed and psychopathy. And it was pretty damn great.

Franco Nero gives a tremendous, layered and animalistic performance. I don’t know if I “liked” the film, but it’s something I won’t soon forget. Worth watching if you can separate the actions from the ideas Campanile wants to express about nihilism, empowerment, and the subversion of genre by way of a Nietzchean superwoman.

Rape. Rape fetish. Alcoholism. Domestic abuse. It’s all here. But it’s also composed in a way that exposes Hitch Hike as a character study with exploitative elements rather than an exploitation film with a few interesting characters.

Corinne Clery and David Hess both do their best to keep up with Nero, but if there’s anything you should know by now it’s to never start a land war in Asia or go toe-to-toe with Franco Nero.

Hitch Hike is available on Blu-ray from Raro and Kino Lorber.

#3. Bob le Flambeur (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1956)

bob le flambeur first watch club februaryMelville is tone and atmosphere. Bob le Flambeur, likewise, is all tone and atmosphere.

As I’m locking down the last remaining Melvilles, I realized that I mostly started with the latter half of the great French auteur’s career. Bob le Flambeur represents the seeds that would become glossy perfection in films such as Le Cercle Rouge and Le Samourai. An inimitable essence of cool, mood and shadow played out in chiaroscuro and character motivation.

As Bob le Flambeur meandered and meditated on the destructive tendencies of “the flambeur” (which as I learned is not just a gambler, but an extreme gambler — one who would not only wager everything he has, but anything he doesn’t have as well), it pulled me into close proximity due to the minutiae. Roger Duchesne’s mannerisms speak more about the character than 30 pages of dialogue.

By the time we get to the final scene, the choices these characters have made fall right in line with our expectations. Even though Melville wrote a face-value “twist” ending, it’s not a twist if we, the viewers, are paying attention. There’s no subversion of expectation. Bob does what Bob was always going to do.

The most interesting thing about Bob le Flambeur is the perhaps the ways that Bob reflects the personality of Melville as a filmmaker. It may resist any kind of catharsis, but Bob is simmering cool, the kind you can’t fake.

Bob le Flambeur is available on Criterion DVD. It is also available on Blu-ray in the UK on the beautiful Melville boxset released last year.

#2. A Dandy in Aspic (Anthony Mann, 1968)

a dandy in aspic first watch club february

A shocking late entry to the countdown that I viewed as part of a #Bond_age_ live tweet.

Anthony Mann’s final film (he died during filming) displays a keen sense of the espionage genre as a sincere enterprise in the wake of James Bond’s box office megalomania.

There’s no nudge nudge, as was common during these late 1960’s spy films. There’s only a wry smile, a pretty but dim girl, and a bunch double crossing. Oh, and Laurence Harvey’s excellent coif. Mann’s sense of depth and focus presents even tossaway scenes as visual perfection.

There’s a clarity of vision and purpose here that was lacking in most straight espionage films. Strong lead performances from Harvey and Courtenay buoy the film by grounding it even as the narrative spins out of control and Mia Farrow threatens to turn her scenes in Laugh-In! interludes.

A Dandy in Aspic is available on a halfway decent UK DVD — I can’t speak to the quality of the U.S. release, however. 

#1. Prince of Darkness (John Carpenter, 1987)

prince of darkness first watch club february

One of three John Carpenter films I’d never seen. Prince of Darkness had such a lackluster reputation that I resisted its temptation for 31 years. I regret all of it.

Prince of Darkness could be called The Thing From Another Church as it borrows liberally from Carpenter’s masterpiece of frozen paranoia, The Thing.

This unsettling horror concoction finds a team of scientific researchers trying to explain a vat of green Double Dare goo that appears to be the liquid son of Satan in a incubator. Small flourishes of humor populate the deadly serious consideration of the subatomic evil that lives just beyond the mirror image of our world.

Interesting dialogue about the anesthesia of organized religion and humankind’s skepticism vs. faith. This atmosphere, the creeping post-apocalypse, and this eerie and somewhat unexpected finale crawl under your skin and set up permanent residence. While this isn’t generally considered top-tier Carpenter, it at least needs to be in the conversation.

I viewed this film at the Hollywood Theater as part of the John Carpenter festival. Immediately after the film, the non-profit theater organization had to close its doors. Forced out by another group that aims to turn the oldest movie house in Pittsburgh into just another place to view contemporary films. It makes me sick to lose such a resource right here in my back yard, but I take some solace that I was at the last picture shown at the Hollywood.

Prince of Darkness is available on a lovely Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Shout!/Scream Factory.

If you have a moment, please read and sign this petition to show some support for the non-profit organization that had been programming classic and indie films at the Hollywood Theater here in Pittsburgh. On film, no less. They’re looking to find a new home, and the voices of film-loving patrons still matter. And if you’re interested here’s an article that discusses the nature of the sale. 

 

Prior First-Watch Lists:

January 2018

An American in Paris: Cinema Shame

an american in paris 1951 poster

Best Picture Shame: An American in Paris

Cinema Shame comes in all shades; however, the most common variety likely has to do with well-known films that have just never presented themselves or been made a priority. I’ve never avoided An American in Paris nor have I ever made a point to track it down. I once recorded it on my DVR, but forgot to watch it. Considering the number of movies we “need to see,” many so-called essentials fall through the cracks.

For the Cinema Shame February prompt, the great minds at the Shame-Q (yes — myself included) loaded the table with unseen Academy Award Best Picture winners. All well known films, certainly. Some with more lasting power than others. I have a weekly Cavalcade (1933) Fan Club meeting every Tuesday, don’t you?

That’s an imposing list of 89 films — many of which I’m guessing are not high on anyone’s Watchlist. It’s also a fun bit of personal reckoning. How many Best Pictures haven’t you seen? (My answer is 30, which is far more than I expected and just patently unacceptable.) It also speaks to how often, time and tide re-evaluates and re-assigns value to these films. At best they live up to expectation. At worst, they’re a trace memory of a forgotten zeitgeist.

I scanned my library’s shelves for Best Picture Cinema Shame inspiration. First rack. First shelf. An American in Paris.

an american in paris gene kelly kids

Knowing very little about the film itself other than the La La Land-inspiring finale, I went in largely blind — a pleasant change from most of my Shame viewings. Instead of a big, boisterous 1950’s musical, I found a small, wafer-thin narrative wrapped inside the serenity of Gershwin and the warm blanket of 1950’s Technicolor.

Gene Kelly plays Jerry Mulligan, an expatriate painter looking to enhance his reputation in Paris (#spoiler). His friend Adam (Oscar Levant), a struggling concert pianist hopes to launch a more profitable career (than tinkling the ivories in a lowly Parisian cafe) by working with the famous French singer Henri Baurel. Milo (an elegant Nina Foch), a lonely society woman takes an interest in Jerry’s work (and Jerry himself) and becomes a patron of his arts. Jerry, however, falls in love with Leslie Caron’s enigmatic store clerk Lise, complicating the patron/painter relationship. Further problematic: Lise’s engaged to Henri Baurel. Oh the tangled webs. 

an american in paris 1951

There’s plenty to love about An American in Paris, but the beauty’s found in smaller moments, the technical artistry of MGM in the 1950’s. Color. Set design. Photography. Gene Kelly’s athleticism. Small story. Big package. At least until the last reel when most everything comes together in a grandiose, twenty-minute finale, but we’ll come to that in a moment. The story doesn’t propel the film forward; there’s a sense of narrative listlessness as musical numbers pop in and out and occasionally arrest the film completely. All this plus some moldy 1950’s-era gender politics, contributes to some of the negative hindsight about the film.

And yet.

An American in Paris remains a charming and likable film, in no small part due to Gene Kelly’s natural charisma and Gershwin’s romantic score. Kelly, as ever, exudes joy. He is the embodiment of entertainment, selling every moment as if it’s the most fun/whimsical/romantic/downtrodden moment you’ve ever experienced. In the past I’ve seen that as both a strength and a weakness in his performance style. When it works, however, it’s magical — even if his pure strength and athleticism seems discordant with Minellii’s balletic symphony.

leslie caron an american in paris

Now, I must make a confession within a confession. This is the Russian nesting doll of Cinema Shame posts. I’ve never cared for Leslie Caron — but I’d never seen her dance. How is that I could have wandered the depths of classic cinema but avoided the one thing that made Leslie Caron magnificent. In An American in Paris I found her positively beguiling and I could not take my eyes off her.

I have no doubt that the finale swayed Academy voters. Outside the last twenty minutes, An American in Paris isn’t even in the Best Picture conversation. As I suggested earlier, the majority of the film is an MGM confection of big budget style over substance. Jay Lerner’s script failed to analyze the potentially complex and volatile relationships between Jerry and Milo or Herni and Lise.

nina foch an american in paris

Then again, dissecting what made Nina Foch’s patron of the arts the most interesting character in the film would have more fully humanized her and simultaneously raised difficult questions that the film wasn’t prepared to answer. It’s about true love, mon ami, and that’s all you need to know.  When a perfect, dramatic moment arises in An American in Paris, the conflict thaws and disappears just in time to preserve everyone’s happily ever after. Except Milo, who recedes silently into the background.

That said, sometimes happily ever after paired with something as magical and technically resplendent as An American in Paris‘ final reel is all we really want. The more easily that Milo slips into the background, the less we notice the frayed edges of that visual splendor.

cinema shame February prompt

First-Watch Cinema Club: January 2018

I decided I wanted to blog more in 2018. I don’t know why. I’m already spread wafer-thin as far as time and energy is concerned. So we’ll make this quick and painless and just share some more love of classic and underseen cinema.

Hopefully, I’ll give a few items to add to your own watchlist — you can use them to fill out your Cinema Shame rosters. That was a shameless cross-promotion, mind you. Also a reminder to fill our your Shame Statements for 2018. You’re already late. Every month I’ll highlight my favorite 4 first-time watches. We’ll stick to Pre-2010 offerings to give these films time to recede from your memory.

First-Watch Cinema Club: January 2018

#4. Kid Blue (1973)

kid blue

Surprisingly low-key, often aimless Dennis Hopper vehicle boosted by a strong supporting cast including Warren Oates, Peter Boyle and a scene-stealing Janice Rule.

Looking positively svelte — some might say “gaunt” — in the role of Bickford Waner, Hopper plays a reformed (but inept) trainrobber trying to go straight in a town called Dime Box, Texas that wants nothing to do with him.

He stumbles in and out of menial jobs and eventually befriends Reese Ford (Warren Oates) and his wife Molly (Lee Purcell). The two form a strong bond, true bros, until Molly literally throws her knickers at Bickford and Bickford’s not a perfect man. Reese learns of the affair and severs the friendship.

Screenwriter Bud Shrake took great care in scripting this particular confrontation between Oates and Hopper — and the two actors, Oates in particular, have a meticulous way with damning silence. It was not his wife’s infidelity that has brought them to this point — but the betrayal of someone he’d known as a true friend.

Now an official outcast, casting aside any attempt at cultural assimilation, Bickford consults the other local outcasts (the Native Americans) about a little old-fashioned thieving. The unlikely gang attempts to take a pound of flesh from the society that has unfairly wronged them.

Director James Frawley (best known perhaps as the director of The Muppet Movie) allows this languid film to unfold without any agenda and only minimal genre-styled violence. This kind of thing only happened in the 1970’s — a character study with nowhere important to go. Foiled expectations for a Dennis Hopper western may turn some people off, but if you can survive the first thirty minutes or so, you’ll likely be rewarded with simple charms and an entirely unexpected moviewatching experience.

Kid Blue is available on DVD via the Fox Cinema Archive Collection.

#3. Captain Blood (1935)

While the wife went out of town to visit her family in Santa Fe, my daughters and I set sail to the library to scope out some child-appropriate classic cinema.

My oldest daughter K (8), has just recently discovered a more adventurous moviegoing spirit (because unlike a fortieth viewing of How to Train Your Dragon, I will almost always grant a classic cinema request). She jumped at the opportunity to watch a movie with the word “Blood” in the title because that’s definitely not something mom would have approved.

I don’t know if she witnessed as much bloodletting as she’d hoped, but she was glued to the screen for at least the first hour or so. I attempted to explain Errol Flynn’s status as a piece of 1930’s man meat — and equate his popularity with the only heartthrob she recognizes as an 8yo in 2018 — Brandon Flowers (the lead singer of The Killers). It was a really loose analogy, but I think she understood. More problematic was explaining King James and his predilection toward torture and slavery. This was not a topic I anticipated explaining to my 5yo.

This classic Errol Flynn swashbuckler was one I’ve been meaning to watch for ages. My dad put a bunch of Flynn’s films in front of me at an early age, but this was never one of them. Errol swashed and buckled and fell in and out of love with Maria de Havilland and ran afoul a French scalawag played by Basil Rathbone. This French pirate version of Basil Rathbone might just be my favorite Basil Rathbone.

Captain Blood certainly didn’t undermine it’s status as a classic Errol Flynn swashbuckler, but it fell just short of personal favorites The Sea Hawk and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Captain Blood is available on DVD from Warner Brothers.

 

speedy harold lloyd#2. Speedy (1928)

A good Harold Lloyd film — but a fascinating portrait of New York City in 1928 from Coney Island to Manhattan. What they do with a wild chase through the city streets seems damn near impossible in 2018 or 1928.

This was another daughter viewing. I’ve been attempting to endear them to the classic triumvirate of silent comedians. Chaplin wasn’t a big hit at first glance, but Harold Lloyd seems to have struck a nerve, at least with my 5yo. She refuses to call him Harold Lloyd. As far as she’s concerned his name will always be Speedy.

Since Speedy, they’ve gone on to view a few of Lloyd’s short films, and while I have your attention for a minute can we talk about how dark some of those early shorts were? Lloyd’s character is always trying to kill himself after being spurned by a love interest. Explaining the humor in suicide is a difficult task. Luckily, Speedy is attempted suicide-attempt free and just a fun romp through New York city at breakneck speed on a horse-drawn trolley.

Speedy is available on Blu-ray and DVD from the Criterion Collection.

 

#1. Lifeboat (1944)

lifeboat

Checked this box on my 2018 Cinema Shame statement. Also look for this to appear on an upcoming episode of the Cinema Shame podcast. Consider this a preview of coming attractions.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat is an exquisite technical achievement in filmmaking. A true showcase of a cinematic mind at the height of his craft. And then there’s Tallulah Bankhead’s resplendent performance anchoring the entire thing. See what I did there? Anchor. Lifeboat.

Like its single-setting sibling, Rope — Lifeboat takes full advantage of its claustrophobia and limited scope to focus on the frailty of the human condition and the latent ugliness beneath every facade. Hitchcock revels in a filmmaking challenge, and it often brings out the best, most subtle facets of his extraordinary ability. Whereas it’s easy to overlook the nuance in something like North by Northwest due to the film’s constant movement and action, Lifeboat highlights framing, juxtaposition of character, and the movement of actors within a frame.

This is a master class in close-quarters filmmaking. If you want to learn how to piece a film together with nothing but actors and a camera, single-setting Hitchcock is a good place to start.

Lifeboat is available on Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray. 

2017 3rd Annual 30/007Hz First Watch Hertzie Awards

My Letterboxd.com stat sheet indicates that I watched 304 movies in the year of 2017 and 70.7% of those were brand new to me. From Manchester By the Sea on January 1 to Baywatch on December 31 that’s a solid collection of movies. Only 17 of those films were released in 2017.

What? You’re dying to know more details from my Letterboxd.com stat sheet?

letterboxd stats

I watched more movies on Friday than any other day of the week and of the non-English countries of origin I watched more Italian films than Japanese films despite watching 10 movies from the Zatoichi series. I’m fascinated and I know you are too.

While everyone else is out there during this time of year discussing their favorite movies from the year that was, I’m not so sure I’m qualified anymore. The Oscar nominations arrived this morning. And unlike my more youthful days when I was a barely-compensated entertainment journalist for a tabloid-style publication, I haven’t seen them all — nowhere close, actually. You know what I have seen? The 304 movies I watched last year. I am 100% qualified to discuss and give out awards to all of those movies.

So what you won’t see is any furor over accolades for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I declare this a Three Billboards fury-free zone. Because, yes, you guessed it. I haven’t seen it. (Yet.)

My Oscar-season counter-programming might not entertain more than a couple people out there on the Interwebs, but I enjoy allowing myself the time to reflect upon my year in movies — so much so that this is the third year I’ll have given out the prestigious Hertzies. To recap: Slither (1973) took home the first Hertzie grand prize in 2015 and The Wanderers (1979) walked off (without controversy) with the 2016 Hertzie. Some love the Oscars, others fancy the Golden Globes, and four people out there know about the Hertzies.

Now it’s time to turn the microphone over to the once and forever Hertzie girl, our master of ceremonies, Myrna Loy, to present the nominees for the 3rd Annual Hertzie Awards.

myrna loy

Presenting the 3rd Annual First Watch Hertzie Award Nominations (and Winners!)

 

Celeste Holm, The Tender Trap
Jennifer Jones, Beat the Devil
Angela Lansbury, The Private Affairs of Bel-Ami
Joan McCracken, Good News
Una Merkel, Murder in the Private Car
Agnes Moorehead, The Magnificent Ambersons

*Surprise nomination for Una Merkel in the silly Murder in the Private Car might cause some controversy. It’s almost like the Rumble just wanted her to come to the party. 

Agnes Moorehead The Magnificent Ambersons

Winner: Agnes Moorehead, The Magnificent Ambersons

It’s impossible to overlook poor beleaguered Agnes Moorehead in Orson Welles’ other other masterpiece. Torture and inward retreat. She makes you feel and breathes life and breath into Joseph Kotten’s performance as well.

 

Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome
Adam Driver, What If…
Thomas Gomez, Ride the Pink Horse
Victor Mature, My Darling Clementine
Victor Moore, It Happened on Fifth Avenue
James Stewart, Rope

*Adam Driver’s here solely due to his sex nacho speech.

victor mature my darling clementine

Winner: Victor Mature, My Darling Clementine

Victor Mature is a rock in John Ford’s My Darling Clementine. No longer just a chiseled jawbone with sunken, brooding eyes. Doc Holliday continues to prove that it’s the juiciest of juicy roles.

 

Humphrey Bogart, In a Lonely Place
Ronald Colman, A Double Life
Douglas Fairbanks, The Mark of Zorro
W.C. Fields, The Bank Dick
Shintaro Katsu, Tale of Zatoichi
Joseph Cotten, The Magnificent Ambersons

*Colman receives his second nomination in as many years. Is he destined to become the Hertzie’s version of Susan Lucci?

Humphrey Bogart In a Lonely Place

Winner: Humphrey Bogart, In a Lonely Place

Bogart steps out of his “Bogart” comfort zone. He and Gloria Grahame display a master class in restraint and disillusionment. One doesn’t work without the other, and its a shame the Hertzies couldn’t see fit to reward Grahame equally. *SPOILER ALERT*

 

Amy Adams, The Arrival
Irene Dunne, Theodora Gone Wild
Gloria Grahame, In a Lonely Place
Judy Holliday, Bells Are Ringing
Lisa Margolin, David & Lisa
Barbara Streisand, What’s Up Doc?

*Amy Adams received the only nomination for a modern film in the lead acting categories. And this automatically gives me more credibility than the 2017 Academy Awards. 

judy holliday bells are ringing

Winner: Judy Holliday, Bells Are Ringing

Powerhouse song and dance performance by Judy Holliday narrowly bests Gloria Grahame.

 

John Paxton – Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger – Black Narcissus (1947)
Eleanor Perry – David & Lisa (1962)
Andrew Solt, Edmund H. North – In a Lonely Place (1950)
Orson Welles – The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Samuel G. Engel, Winston Miller – My Darling Clementine (1946)

*That little indie film, David & Lisa, picks up it’s surprise second nomination.

david & lisa 1962

Winner: Eleanor Perry – David & Lisa 

David (& Lisa) slays Goliath. Takes home a screenwriting award for Eleanor Perry and her touching love story about two students in a school for the mentally-impaired searching for a connection.

 

Trey Parker – Cannibal! The Musical (1993)
Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, James Bridges – The China Syndrome (1979)
Richard Linklater – Everybody Wants Some! (2016)
Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola – The Godfather Part III (1990)
Kim Ki-Young – The Housemaid (1960)
Buck Henry, David Newman, Robert Benton – What’s Up Doc? (1972)

*The Original Screenplay category wins at life. Just look at those options. Nowhere — and I mean nowhere — could you ever see a Korean film from 1960 in the same category as Cannibal! The Musical and The Godfather Part III. Plus, the category contains two, count ’em, two exclamation points! 

what's up doc

Winner: Buck Henry, David Newman, Robert Benton – What’s Up Doc? (1972)

The favorite takes this category in a landslide as Hertzie voters were overhead saying on Twitter that it was the most fun they had at a movie all year.

 

Alfred Hitchcock, Rope
Kim Ki-Young, The Housemaid

Jose Ramon Larraz, Symptoms
Ida Lupino, The Hitch-hiker
Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Black Narcissus
Orson Welles, The Magnificent Ambersons

*I can’t wait to seat this crew at the same table, just to see what happens. The potential conversation between Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Jose Ramon Larraz is the reason the Hertzies are the best awards show on the planet. 

black narcissus

Winner: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Black Narcissus

Orson and Hitchcock received some votes, but the visual splendor and ensemble performances throughout Black Narcissus made it the Hertzies’ favorite.

 

The Bank Dick (1940)
Bells Are Ringing (1960)
Black Narcissus (1947)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
Rope (1948)
What’s Up Doc? (1972)

*Two comedies, a thriller, a film noir, a musical, and a technicolor melodrama contend for the top prize. 

Winner: The Bank Dick (1940)

The tightest, most brutal Hertzie Best Picture race in the history of ever finds W.C. Fields and The Bank Dick squeaking out a victory over the heavily favored Black Narcissus and In A Lonely Place. It is my guess that neither had ever boondoggled and the voters went with their gut — the movie that would get the most replay.

 

Cannibal! The Musical (1993)
The Housemaid (1960)
Mill of the Stone Women (1960)
Symptoms (1974)
Tower of Screaming Virgins (1968)
Vanishing Point (1971)

*Some don’t even care about the Best Picture award, contending that the real action happens here — in what amounts to the Hertzie after party. Even this category stirs some controversy as Kim Ki-Young’s The Housemaid slips into the B-Picture category, but word has it the studio felt it had a much better shot at carrying away the first foreign-language Hertzie in the coveted B-Picture category than fighting it out with the big boys. 

the housemaid 1960

Winner: Symptoms

The Tower of Screaming Virgins cries fowl over The Housemaid’s inclusion in the B-Picture category, but we’ll let the courts decide the legal battle. Nobody speaks Korean to know what director Kim Ki-Young has to say about the nature of his production. It snuck in thanks to a lax quality control by the Rumble’s accountants who didn’t much care because there’s no money at stake here. So it goes.

 

The winners were announced the night of the 2018 Academy Awards on March 4th.