August was Summer Under The Stars at TCMHQ and I watched SO MANY MOVIES. A lot of what I watched was revisiting old favorites starring Janet Gaynor, Jean Harlow, Jean Arthur, and more incredible stars. But I also watched several new-to-me films (including five featuring Robert Montgomery!). I also saw a lot of great film in theaters and a few non-TCM gems. Overall, August was a great month of viewing. As always, a full list of what I watched and a few favorites can be found after the cut.
So I had planned to take a little break from Oscar Vault Monday last December when I finally wrote my 83rd piece, then somehow that little break became an eight month break. I’m sorry it took me so long to get back in the swing of things. For those who don’t remember how Oscar Vault Monday works, basically I take a look at a film that was nominated for Best Picture, but did not win. If you go through the archives there are some really great articles on some of the best cinema there ever was. I am excited to finally start again. I decided to start at the beginning this time around. I want to note that in the first year of the Academy Awards, there were actually two categories for Best Picture: Best Production, which is what is the equivalent of what we have now and Best Unique and Artistic Production. The latter category only existed in that first year and the films nominated were King Vidor’s The Crowd, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness and winner F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. I cannot recommend those three films enough. The films nominated in the category that is equivalent to what we have now were Seventh Heaven, Lewis Milestone’s The Racket and winner William A. Wellman’s Wings. Again, three films I cannot recommend highly enough. Seventh Heaven was also nominated for Best Actress Janet Gaynor (she won, and was also nominated for her work in Borzage’s Street Angel and Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans; this was the only year that performers could be nominated for multiple performances in the same category), Best Director, Drama Frank Borzage (he won; this is also a year where Best Director was split between Drama and Comedy, Lewis Milestone won Best Director, Comedy for Two Arabian Knights), Best Adapted Screenplay (won) and Best Art Direction. Beware, there are SOME SPOILERS, including the ending, after the cut.