CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Thursday, January 5, 2012

THE MONTIES: 1944 - Screwball comedy and film noir dominate this year...

For 1944, we have some veteran directors (Capra, Hawks, Sturges), top stars (Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert, Humphrey Bogart) and notable films (Double Indemnity, Since You Went Away, The Woman In The Window, Laura) competing for the top prize called the Monties.

winner: Arsenic and Old Lace
nominees: To Have And Have Not; Double Indemnity; None But The Lonely Heart; The Woman In The Window; The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek; Laura; Lifeboat; Since You Went Away; Sunday Dinner For A Soldier; The Uninvited
Thoughts: The first Frank Capra film to win a Montie and it's one of my top ten favorite films of all time. Marks yet another Cary Grant film to land a Montie bringing that total to 5. As you can see, it was a nice mix of comedies, film noir and dramas to make the nomination list. Notably absent is the Oscar winner for 1944, Going My Way, as it is not one of my fave films.
Wait, say that again..slowly

winner: Frank Capra (Arsenic and Old Lace)
nominees: Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity); Fritz Lang (The Woman in the Window); Preston Sturges (The Miracle of Morgan's Creek); Howard Hawks (To Have and Have Not)
Thoughts: The fourth time was the charm as Frank Capra finally wins his first Montie for directing. He was previously nominated for Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, You Can't Take It With You, and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. It was close, as he just edged out Preston Sturges who did an equally memorable directing turn for The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.
Frank feeling pretty good after winning his first Montie

BEST WRITER - new category
winner: Preston Sturges (The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek)
nominees: Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity); John Steinbeck (Lifeboat); Jules Furthman and William Faulkner (To Have and Have Not); J.H. Wallis and Nunnally Johnson (The Woman in the Window)
Thoughts: I decided to add writing as a category and 1944 yielded some top notch writing jobs. The other nominees were of the thriller and film noir variety but it was a screwball comedy that gets the Montie: Preston Sturges for his extremely hilarious Morgan's Creek.
Preston keeping his cool upon learning of his win

winner: Humphrey Bogart (To Have And Have Not)
nominees: Cary Grant (None But The Lonely Heart); Edward G. Robinson (The Woman in the Window); Fred MacMurray (Double Indemnity); Eddie Bracken (The Miracle of Morgan's Creek)
Thoughts: Bogie wins his first Montie for his solid performance as the tough yet tender Harry Morgan. Yes I liked him here more than I did in Casablanca. This film allowed him to show his emotions on the outside and his chemistry with Lauren Bacall was perfection. Cary Grant did a wonderful job outside his normal safe comedy zone with None But The Lonely Heart but I think Bogie edges past him by a hair.
Now that you won a Montie, let's go celebrate

winner: Lauren Bacall (To Have And Have Not)
nominees: Joan Bennett (The Woman in the Window); Barbara Stanwyck (Double Indemnity); Claudette Colbert (Since You Went Away); Betty Hutton (The Miracle of Morgan's Creek); Hedy Lamarr (Experiment Perilous)
Thoughts: What a film debut for 19-year old Lauren Bacall as Marie "Slim" Browning, the young woman who craves adventure and causes Bogie to fall head over heels in love with her. Out of all the categories for this year, this was the easiest choice to make. Bacall was amazing in her debut film performance.
Yeah I think this acting thing is going to work out nicely

winner: Diana Lynn (The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek)
nominees: Ethel Barrymore (None But The Lonely Heart); Ruth Hussey (The Uninvited); Jean Adair (Arsenic and Old Lace); Josephine Hull (Arsenic and Old Lace)
Thoughts: As the wise beyond her teen-ager years, Diana Lynn was awesome as Emmy Kockenlocker. Sister to Betty Hutton, she was able to dispense sound advice and keep her dad in check. A marvelous performance.
Cheer up girls...this is a festive occasion
OK, that's better Diana

winner: Edward G. Robinson (Double Indemnity)
nominees: Raymond Massey (Arsenic and Old Lace); Clifton Webb (Laura); William DeMarest (The Miracle of Morgan's Creek); Joseph Cotten (Since You Went Away)
Thoughts: The venerable Edward G. Robinson wins his first Montie with his strong performance as insurance investigator Barton Keyes, who really is the best thing in this superb film.
You two ain't fooling me...which one of you took my Montie?

winner: The Uninvited
nominees: Laura; Double Indemnity; Lifeboat; Meet Me In St. Louis; Home In Indiana
Thoughts: Another new category is cinematography. I know the academy Awards split this into two: color and black and white but I decided to make it just one. And while Home In Indiana is just a gorgeous film to look at in all that glorious color, I found The Uninvited to be just as fantastic with it's almost dreamlike world in black and white.

The beautifully shot film, The Uninvited

So that wraps up another Monties presentation. Would love to hear everyone's feedback on my selections and what did you think of the new categories I added. Will be back soon with the year that was 1945.

*Please note that I just found out while To Have And Have Not was a 1944 production, it was not released until January 1945. But I decided to keep it as part of 1944 anyway. I don't want to make things too technical here. Just keep things fun and light. Arsenic and Old Lace is an entirely different story. While filmed in 1941, it did not see the light of day until 1944.




KimWilson said...

Oh, Monty, you and I would have different results for Best Picture and Actress. Laura or Since You Went Away for Best Picture and Babs or Claudette for Best Actress (it matters what mood I'm in). The rest I can take.

Patti said...

Well I am with you on one thing...the absence of "Going My Way" and Bing Crosby! I absolutely cannot believe that film or Bing won that year.

I'm actually going with Fred MacMurray for actor. I cannot believe he didn't even garner a nomination for his portrayal of Walter Neff. He was spectacular!!

If not Fred, my best actor award for 1944 would go to Charles Boyer for "Gaslight"...a film you didn't even mention. Boyer was SO fabulous that all I could see him as for a couple of years was a murderous husband. I couldn't stand "Love Affair" because I couldn't see Boyer in a non-murderous light.

Gal-wise, I'm with the Academy and staying with Ingrid for "Gaslight," though Barbara Stanwyck was sensational as well.

And movie, for me, is "Double Indemnity." I'm glad you have Eddie G. winning for that movie.

You did a great job and put in alot of hard work on this post. Wow, it's great. Would you believe I've never heard of "Miracle on Morgan's Creek."

Patti said...

Me again...I wanted to add something to my (long-winded) comment.

Ingrid Bergman is so fantastic in "Gaslight" that I'm going with her (as The Academy did) even though my #1 gal, Bette Davis, was up for "Mr. Skeffington." You don't have that film on your list either, so my guess is that you haven't seen it. It's a 5-star film for me, and Bette is her normal, fantastic self, but I think Ingrid was even better.

And actually, I would put Claude Rains right up there with Eddie G. for best supporting actor. (He was Job Skeffington in "Mr. Skeffington.")

Anyhow, sorry I'm always rambling...I just love talking these old movies with you!!


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