Today I watched the 1931 4th Academy Award winner, Cimarron, originally a novel by Edna Ferber, and was impressed with the improvements in sound, film, and acting. At first, the film seems to be about Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix) and his desires to pioneer the wild west of Oklahoma, as he publishes his new-fangled ideas on equality and justice in his paper, while his square wife Sabra (Irene Dunne) spends her time bitching about the dirty Indians and ostracizing the town whore, Dixie Lee (Estelle Taylor). However, it’s pleasantly surprising that with each time Yancey leaves, Sabra is forced to grow and adopt his ideals. It takes her years of being without her husband for her to mature, and when she finally is reunited with her hubby, it’s brief, and he dies in her arms.
Stay tuned for the next film: Grand Hotel
Erich Maria Remarque’s novel was forced on me by an English class when I was 14, and it was depressing as hell. The film which won Best Picture in the 3rd Academy Awards might be even more depressing. It follows Paul Baumer (played by Lew Ayres) through WWI as he changes from a school boy to a man who has seen the horrors of war- living in trenches, fighting, and trying not to be killed. It kinda makes me wanna sing, “War! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!”
This film is much easier to watch than its winning predecessors as the directing and acting are more realistic. And Lew Ayres’ boyish good looks are also easy on the eyes in the midst of explosions, like the one pictured above. Gross. The film quality and sound seems to have improved vastly as well.
Stay tuned for the next film: Cimarron
Around February, I had made a goal to the Oscar winners of the past, and predictably, life got hectic, and all my goals went down the porcelain pee-hole. But in an effort to pick up where I left off, I now present the second annual Academy Awards winner for Best Picture (1930):
THE BROADWAY MELODY 0f 1929
This film features a love triangle between the vaudville act known as the Mahoney Sisters, Hank (Bessie Love) and Queenie (Anita Page), and song and dance performer, Eddie Kerns (Charles King), who is engaged to Hank. Let the drama begin! When Hank isn’t being a bossy bitch, and Queenie isn’t being a whiney drunken mess, and Eddie isn’t constantly fawning over Queenie in a creepster way, it’s filled with lots of old tunes, one liners, and zingers are a-plenty.
Here’s one of my favorite numbers from the movie: