No this isn’t some big new years resolution or anything, just me trying to accomplish something. Well this isn’t even accomplishing, just doing something fun. As some of you know I am a big fan of movie making. In some respects I can be considered a bit of a movie snob, not so much of an art house goon like my friend Dan. But I wouldn’t be caught dead seeing a Transformer movie, or anything else starring Megan Fox.
Okay, I know you are saying to yourself what is this fat man talking about. I have always been a fan of old time movies as well. Television channels like Fox Movie and Turner Movie classics have helped me watch some of these great old time movies but not enough. I have always wanted to go back and watch the movies that won the Academy Award for best picture, but its hard to always find when these movies can be on these channels.
This Christmas not really wanting or needing anything I decided to get a Netflix subscription. With that subscription I have decided to embark on that journey of watching every Academy Award winning film. Now I have seen in full and more than once 29 of the 81 films so I have a bunch to see, most of which are from the 20s-60s. I have decided to try and go in order as best as Netflix could fulfill that request for me.
Be sure to check in early and often this year as I will be giving a full review of each movie. Now some of the first few reviews may boar some because some of the movies may not be that interesting. However there are some real intriguing movies early on like; All Quiet on the Western Front, Mutiny on the Bounty, and Gone with the Wind. Then there are also movies like How Green was my Valley which famously beat out Citizen Kane for best picture in 1941 (these two movies I will watch together). And then there are some absolute classics; Cassablanca, From Here to Eternity, On the Waterfront, Ben-Hur, Westside Story and Lawrence of Arabia.
The first two movies up are the 2nd and 3rd winners. From 1929 the first musical to win, The Broadway Melody and next will be an adaptation from the great novel 1930’s All Quiet on the Western Front.
The first musical, and only second picture, to win the Academy Award for best film, this tells the story of two sisters who come to New York to star on Broadway. They come at the behest of a singer/songwriter who wants to marry the older more talented sister but winds up vying for the affection of the younger taller, blonder, more beautiful sister.
It is so interesting to watch movies from the older era because of the lack of camera movement and shots. There were probably only 3 types of camera shots in the entire movie. This makes editing more important, you cant stick with a shot too long otherwise it gets boring. This makes long scenes in one set location somewhat difficult. However the director in this movie helps that a long by having a lot of character movement throughout the scenes.
The movie seems really provocative for its time. There is a lot of men and women together, dancing and kissing and obvious sexual innuendo of women sleeping with different men. Also there are several scenes in Broadway dressing rooms and bathrooms of women changing and wearing very little clothing.
The movie has a decent story, one that could likely be told in a movie today. There isn’t much action, it is more song and dialogue driven but in its era I can see how it works. Overall I would give it a 6 of 10. It is worth watching if you are really into old movies but isn’t something that you would re-watch or use to teach anyone about filmmaking.