Monthly Archives: May 2010
Malick was one of the most acclaimed directors in the 1970s, with two highly acclaimed dramas – 1973’s Badlands and 1978’s Days of Heaven. He then disappeared for nearly twenty years before production of The Thin Red Line started. The result is an astounding WWII ensemble based on the novel of the same name by James Jones (who’s other book, From Here To Eternity was turned into a film in 1953 and won 8 Oscars). There is a version of The Thin Red Line from 1964 that I’m told is more true to the book; I’ve yet to see it. I also don’t really care if it’s more true to the book because I love what Malick did with this story. This film is one of my Top Ten Films of All Time. It was nominated for 7 Oscars in 1998 although it didn’t win a single award. It was up against Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare In Love, Elizabeth and Life Is Beautiful.
I know there is at least one book on this subject and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but thanks to TCM showing several movies from that year, I have to agree completely. What I mean by Cinema, is Hollywood and American Cinema, because a lot of how it changed was based on things French New Wave directors had already been doing for almost ten years.
One way to see this change is by looking at the five films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars that year. Four of the films are harbingers of the new Hollywood. One is old guard and because of that in addition I want to talk about another film that, although nominated for four Oscars, was not up for Best Picture.
The five films up for Best Picture were Bonnie & Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and In The Heat of the Night. The film sixth film I’m going to discuss is In Cold Blood.
This film was up for five Oscars, including Best Picture, ultimately losing to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. Richard Dreyfuss did, however, win Best Actor – at 29 he was the youngest winner until Adrien Brody won for 2002’s The Pianist. Dreyfuss also won Best Actor at the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, the Kansas City Film Critics and the LA Film Critics for his portrayal of some-time Shakespearean actor Elliot Garfield. Marsha Mason was also up for Best Actress, Quinn Cummings for Best Supporting Actress and Neil Simon for Best Original Screenplay – his only nomination in that category (he was nominated in the Adapted Screenplay category 3 times).
This film is one of the all-time great ensembles out there. It features stellar performances from so many great actors. It also is so wonderfully stylized, from the costumes to the sets to Jerry Goldsmith’s phenomenal score. The film was nominated for 9 Academy Awards in 1997. Although it lost Best Picture to Titanic, Kim Basinger walked away with the Best Supporting Actress award as did the Adapted Screenplay by Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson.