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Posts Tagged ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

26. Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)

Other Nominated Films:
The Bishop’s Wife, Crossfire, Great Expectations, Miracle on 34th Street

Elia Kazan really has a knack for directing some pretty amazing films. He’s directed classics such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and America, America. But the first film to win him Best Director and Best Picture was Gentleman’s Agreement. And this didn’t come without controversy. Given the film’s overtly anti-semetic themes, some Hollywood Execs (many Jewish) were concerned about potential backlash. Some Execs even tried to convince producer Darryl F. Zanuck not to make the film. But Kazan and Zanuck forged ahead with this socially significant film anyway. And, as it turned out, the ‘Jewish-friendly’ (liberal) themed film did, in fact, grab the suspicious attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee.  As a result, Kazan, Zanuck, John Garfield and Anne Revere were called to testify before the committee.   Now, putting aside what was happening off-screen…The film’s plot revolves around the character, Philip Green (Gregory Peck), a journalist that goes undercover as a Jew to conduct research for an article he is writing about anti-semetism.   Green encounters explicit prejudice along the way including professional bias and personal relationship issues, as well as name-calling, discrimination by hotels, etc. Gentleman’s Agreement is a great film that would pave the way for future filmmakers. Kazan took a huge risk in directing a movie of such sensitive nature, and in taking that risk, he created one of the most important films of all time.

Nominated for 8 Oscars, Winner of 3
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Celeste Holm (WON)
Best Director – Elia Kazan (WON)
Best Picture – 20th Century Fox (WON)
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Gregory Peck
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Dorothy McGuire
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Anne Revere
Best Film Editig – Harmon Jones
Best Writing, Screenplay – Moss Hart

Mrs. Green: You know something, Phil? I suddenly want to live to be very old. Very. I want to be around to see what happens. The world is stirring in very strange ways. Maybe this is the century for it. Maybe that’s why it’s so troubled. Other centuries had their driving forces. What will ours have been when men look back? Maybe it won’t be the American century after all… or the Russian century or the atomic century. Wouldn’t it be wonderful… if it turned out to be everybody’s century… when people all over the world – free people – found a way to live together? I’d like to be around to see some of that… even the beginning. I may stick around for quite a while.

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30. An American in Paris (1951)

Other Nominated Films:
Decision Before Dawn, A Place in the Sun, Quo Vadis, A Streetcar Named Desire

There are very few films that are as vibrant and lavish as An American in Paris. There are also very few (if any other) films that feature an uninterrupted 16-minute dance sequence. The dance sequence. a ballet set to Gershwin’s An American in Paris  is well choreographed (I would hope so since this sequence cost over $500,000), and I believe this is the primary reason that An American in Paris won the Best Picture Oscar. An American in Paris is an exciting, stand-up-and-move-your-feet type of film, but A Streetcar Named Desire and A Place in the Sun are the truly the more superior films. But let’s not focus on what probably should have happened, let’s focus on what did happened. While the plot of An American in Paris may not be the strongest, what keeps the film from failing is the immerse star power of Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the classic Gershwin songs, and the colorful direction of Vincente Minnelli. I will say that what truly kept me hooked was Leslie Caron. I’m unsure of what it is about her, but when she’s on screen, she demands your attention. When she wasn’t on screen however, it felt to me as if the movie was just slowly dragging. Although I will give credit to Gene Kelly for one of the most memorable dances of all time in I Got Rhythm. The man can really dance, and I have no problem admitting that I wish I could dance like that. An American in Paris would go on to win Academy Awards that year.

Nominated for 8 Oscars, Winner of 6
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color – Cedric Gibbons, E. Preston Ames, Edwin B. Willis, F. Keogh Gleason (WON)
Best Cinematography, Color – Alfred Gilks, John Alton (WON)
Best Costume Design, Color – Orry-Kelly, Walter Plunkett, Irene Sharaff (WON)
Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture – Johnny Green, Saul Chaplin (WON)
Best Picture – Arthur Freed (WON)
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Alan Jay Lerner (WON)
Best Director – Vincente Minnelli
Best Film Editing – Adrienne Fazan

Jerry Mulligan: She’s one of those third year girls who gripe my liver… You know, American college kids. They come over here to take their third year and lap up a little culture… They’re officious and dull. They’re always making profound observations they’ve overheard.

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