CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Monday, April 23, 2012

THE MONTIES: 1945 - Christmas comes early for Barbara Stanwyck

So sorry for the delay in between posts on the Monties, my version of the Oscars. Just was so busy with work and a lot of the films and star performances I hadn't seen yet, so I really couldn't critique on any of them. That is until now. So let's get started shall we..

Winner: Christmas In Connecticut
Nominees: The Lost Weekend; Leave Her To Heaven; Mildred Pierce; Scarlet Street; Detour; They Were Expendable; A Tree Grows In Brooklyn; The Wicked Lady; And Then There Were None
Thoughts: 1945 was another solid year in film. With some notable star driven films like Mildred Pierce and Leave Her To Heaven. And some smaller films that caught everyone's attention like Detour and The Wicked Lady. But my pick for favorite film of 1945 is Christmas In Connecticut. Call me sentimental but this is my favorite Christmas movie ever and my favorite Stanwyck film as well. It's funny, romantic and a joy to watch. While The Lost Weekend may boast some stellar acting and a riveting story line, I have a soft spot for Christmas in Connecticut. I know I may take some heat on this one, but what can I say, this is my fave film of 1945.
Pure holiday joy with Barbara
Winner: Billy Wilder (The Lost Weekend)
Nominees: Fritz Lang (Scarlet Street); Rene Clair (And Then There Were None); Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour); Michael Curtiz (Mildred Pierce)
Thoughts: Billy Wilder may be more remembered for his wonderful comedies (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment) he was never better than directing The Lost Weekend. Talk about a taut gripping tale that doesn't pull any punches. And while it's my second favorite film from 1945, there is no denying the amazing job Wilder did as director.

Winner: Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder (The Lost Weekend)
Nominees: Ranald MacDougall (Mildred Pierce); Frank Davis and Tess Slesinger (A Tree Grows In Brooklyn); Dudley Nichols (Scarlet Street)
Thoughts: Can't beat the dramatic and tense dialogue in Weekend crafted by Brackett and Wilder. Some really good stuff!

Winner: Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend)
Nominees: Edward G. Robinson (Scarlet Street); Danny Kaye (Wonder Man); Tom Neal (Detour); James Mason (The Wicked Lady)
Thoughts: Without a doubt, Ray Milland gives the performance of the year. Heck it's the best performance of his career. As his life slowly spins out of control due to his addiction to alcohol, you feel his despair and keep thinking..this guy has hit rock bottom. Kudos to Milland.
"OK, quit playing Jane. Where's my Montie?"
Winner: Barbara Stanwyck (Christmas in Connecticut)/Joan Bennett (Scarlet Street) TIE
Nominees: Joan Crawford (Mildred Pierce); Gene Tierney (Leave Her To Heaven); Margaret Lockwood (The Wicked Lady); Donna Reed (They Were Expendable); Jane Wyman (The Lost Weekend); Ann Savage (Detour); Virginia Mayo (Wonder Man)
Thoughts: Now this is the category where I had the most trouble choosing from all the wonderful performances in what has to be a stellar one for women. And I really couldn't decide on just one, so we have a tie. And it was close to being a three way tie but I finally chose Stanwyck  and Bennett. As two totally opposite performances as you can get. Stanwyck was more of the comedic vein and she was wonderful. And no this is not a sentimental vote for her as this is my fave performance of hers and film. And Joan Bennett took it up a notch playing another femme fatale for Fritz Lang as the terrific Kitty March. The pair previously on The Woman in the Window, but I thought Joan's performance here was much better. And Gene Tierney came awfully close to making this a three way tie, but she just misses it by an inch.
Ok fellas, here we go! Fingers crossed I don't mess this up!

See I told ya, working with Fritz would eventually pay off Eddie!

Winner: Eve Arden/Ann Blyth (Mildred Pierce) TIE
Nominees: Jeanne Crain (Leave Her To Heaven); Vera-Ellen (Wonder Man); Anne Revere (National Velvet); Angela Lansbury (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Thoughts: Another tie as I thought Eve Arden and Ann Blyth were both amazing in Mildred Pierce. Arden in another sidekick role was good as always and she picks up her second Montie, the first was for Stage Door (Best Supporting Actress...which she shared with Lucille Ball). And Blyth was really good as the daughter from hell, Veda. That girl could give you nightmares.
"Why no I didn't  have to pay Monty off to win...honest! Girl Scouts honor!"
Winner: James Dunn (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
Nominees: Dan Duryea (Scarlet Street); Jack Carson (Mildred Pierce); George Sanders (The Picture of Dorian Gray); Walter Huston (And Then There Were None)
Thoughts: James Dunn gives one of the best performances I have ever seen as the ne'er-do-well father who just can't seem to do right. In real life, Dunn would struggle years later with bouts with alcohol and his career would stall. But he will have this one great performance left as his legacy.
James is all smiles after receiving his first Montie

Winner: Leave Her To Heaven
Nominees: The Picture of Dorian Gray; Anchors Aweigh; National Velvet; The Lost Weekend; Mildred Pierce
Thoughts: One of the most glorious looking films I have ever seen. I mean the color just leaps off the screen. Actresses Gene Tierney and Jeanne Crain look stunning. This was an easy choice for me.
Even Gene can't believe how beautiful the movie looks...
So final count has The Lost Weekend being the big winner with 3 Monties; followed by Christmas In Connecticut (2 Monties) and Mildred Pierce (2 Monties). I will be back with the 1946 edition soon. Hopefully it won't be as long a wait as this time was. Once again, sorry for the delay.




MovieFreak said...

Monty absolutely fabulous choice for Cinematography. Leave Her To Heaven is my vote for the best colored picture ever for the sheer reason that Gene Tierney's eyes are stunning. they are so gorgeously blue. but lets face it Gene Tierney is one of the only classic actresses who looks incredible in either black and white or color she was just so beautiful.
Christmas in Connecticut is so adorable. it is also one of my favorite Barbara Stanwyck films. she was so good and so funny. Dennis Morgan never looked more handsome :)

Patti said...

You did an awesome job on this post, Monty. And even though I am firmly in "The Lost Weekend" camp, I respect that you see things differently. (At least you let Ray Milland keep his much-deserved win!! I agree with you, the best performance of his career!).

I do completely adore "Christmas in Connecticut," but since I lean more to drama (especially meaty, hard-hitting drama), I would go with Joan Crawford or Gene Tierney for the best actress award. And that's being quite objective, because Barbara Stanwyck is my #3 gal...FAR above either Joan or Gene.

Oh, and I'm glad you gave Dan Duryea a Best Supporting Actor nomination for "Scarlet Street." A very under-rated and under-appreciated actor, he deserves the recognition.

SO with you on Ann Blyth. Wow, was she brilliant in Mildred Pierce!!

Can't wait to see what you do with 1946...the year of our beloved "The Best Years of Our Lives!!"

Kristen said...

I have Christmas in Connecticut planned to watch for Christmas this year (I've never seen it and it came recommended) and I have The Lost Weekend on my Tivo (best get on that!). Great work!


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