I first saw this movie during that crazy month of February in 2011 when I watched 131 films in 28 days. That was a good month. Jackie Cooper, the star of this film, died just a few months after I watched it. Skippy was inspired by a very popular comic strip from the era by Percy Crosby. I could see how the film today might be a tough watch for modern audiences. It’s a bit rough as it was made during the sound transition and it shows aspects of American life we try to forget existed (although they still exist). I mean by this, child abuse and classism. Only one of the parents int he film (from the wrong side of the tracks, natural) appears to be what we would call abusive, most of the adults treat the kids rather harshly. This can be jarring in an era where, if you saw someone talking to their kid they way they do in this film, you’d probably interfere. Skippy was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Director (won) and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were East Lynne, The Front Page, Trader Horn and winner Cimarron.
Sky Masterson: We just got time to catch the last plane to New York.
Sergeant Sarah Brown: People miss planes. It happens.
Sky Masterson: Yeah? It also happens that people win with loaded dice.
Sergeant Sarah Brown: I know what I’m doing.
Sky Masterson: Do you, kid? [beat] I don’t.
Kendra over at Viv and Larry is hosting an Oliviers appreciation blogathon and I have been trying to figure out what I wanted to write about for my contribution for awhile. Laurence Olivier was nominated for eleven Academy Awards over a five decades (nine for Best Actor, one for Best Supporting Actor and one for Best Director), as well as receiving two honorary awards. His only competitive win was Best Actor for Hamlet (the film also won Best Picture). Vivien Leigh was only nominated for two Academy Awards over the years, both for Best Actress: Gone With The Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. She won both times. Two were married for twenty years (it ended in divorce), made a handful of films together and worked extensively together in the theater. Have you got all of that? So, obviously, there is a lot of material there and a lot of ways to approach writing about them, together or separately. I finally decided to take a look at two of their Oscar-nominated performances, in separate films, that touch on madness. Beware: there are quite a bit of spoilers after the cut.