Friday, March 24, 2017

A Thousand Clowns (1965)

Not to ruin the title reveal within the movie, but I had no idea what this was about or what it referred to before watching. It's all the little versions of yourself that live in all of us and how they're all a little crazy.

Unemployed writer Murray Burns has no interest in selling out by getting a job that he scorns. He'd much rather live a bohemian lifestyle laughing at life itself. Unfortunately social services is threatening to take away his nephew ward unless he gets his act together.

Clever, funny, and heartfelt, this was a memorable one.

38 to go...

Room at the Top (1959)

Room at the Top was surprisingly provocative for a movie from the Production Code era, but judging from the British accents I'm guessing that's simply because it's not a Hollywood movie. I'm not aware, off the top of my head, of other foreign best picture nominees from the era that were graced with a nomination without being subject to the same regulations.

Our protagonist is a rather unlikeable fellow dividing his amorous attentions between the young, innocent, and rich Susan and the older, married Alice. He starts off with Alice just being on the side while he bides his time in pursuit of Susan. Then he falls in love with Alice and things get... complicated.

A very engaging and entertaining film, but the main character is just too much of a scoundrel, but, worse, in that 1950s way where the creators don't realize it.

39 to go...

The Emigrants (1972)

This film had long eluded me. The more than three-year gap since I had sought out past best picture nominees was largely due to my inability to find a copy of The Emigrants. Well, time has proved to be my greatest ally. When I started looking around again, it was now available to rent it on Amazon. Other films I'd missed are now online as well, so I'm hoping to make another run to catch 'em all.

The Emigrants is over three hours long and almost entirely in Swedish, but I still found it rather captivating. The first half is our main family struggling to make a go of it in Sweden. The third quarter is the miserable voyage by ship to American and the final portion is by train, paddleboat, and foot to their new home in Minnesota. The story is set in the 1840s and 1850s and struck home for me as I have ancestors who no doubt went through a very similar journey, just two decades later and from Norway.

[Note: I've finally joined all other lists' reckoning--including the Academy's--by removing the three nominees in the alternate best picture category from 1929 no longer recognized as having he same standing as the others. I'd already seen two of the three anyway, and will still try to see the third, but it does affect my counting].

40 to go...