Pete Sheppard: Good luck to you, Gladys. I sure hope you make a name for yourself, if that’s what you want. If that’s what you really want, you’ll get it.
Gladys Glover: How?
Pete Sheppard: I don’t know. Just a theory of mine: that not only ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’. . .but, ‘where’s there’s a way, there’s a will’. See?
I absolutely adore this film. Since it was recently added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, I thought it would be a great time to explore this film. It’s one that is often overlooked and I think there’s some irrational anger aimed at it because of Judy Holliday’s win over both Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. and Bette Davis in All About Eve. But I think that is a load of baloney. This is a great film and while Holliday’s performance may not have reached the iconic status of those other two performances, it is most definitely a deserved win. Billie Dawn is a remarkable character and Holliday plays her to perfection. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one: Best B&W Costume Design, Best Screenplay, Best Actress Judy Holliday (won), Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Father of the Bride, King Solomon’s Mines, Sunset Blvd. and winner All About Eve.
Ella Peterson: Susanswerphone.
Larry Hastings: [on the phone] This is Larry Hastings calling; any messages?
Ella Peterson: Just a moment. Blake Barton, the actor, called. He wants to know if there’s a part for him in your new production, “The Midas Touch”.
Larry Hastings: [on the phone] Blake Barton? Never! I’m sick of actors who won’t wear suits and who sound as if they’ve got a mouthful of marbles.
So I managed to watch a little bit less new-to-me films in August than I did in July. That’s okay, though, because I saw so many great films at the Castro theatre (I’m quite the regular there now). I saw The Big Sleep, Key Largo, Moulin Rouge!, Meek’s Cutoff (new-to-me), Limbo (new-to-me), Bad Education, Law of Desire (new-to-me), Talk To Her, All About My Mother, The Flower of My Secret (new-to-me), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (new-to-me), 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: The Year We Make Contact (new-to-me), Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Days of Heaven, Badlands, The Philadelphia Story and Holiday. All of those were double features except Moulin Rouge! and all of them were well worth the admission price. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: nothing beats seeing a great film on the big screen. I’m just glad all these great films were showing in the month between the summer semester and the fall semester so I had time to see them. I also read a handful of screenplays (hey, I’m studying to get an MFA in screenwriting, I better be reading screenplays!) So far I’ve read L.A. Confidential, The Piano, Good Will Hunting, American Beauty, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The English Patient, The Last Detail and Chinatown. It sure is interesting to see how a story starts out on the page and winds up the same, but different, on the big screen. As for my new-to-me list, most of the films I saw I loved (this was another month were it was hard to come up with just five featured films), but I also saw a few I really hated. Today is the first day of the fall semester and I’m taking three classes, so I have no idea what my free time is going to be like or how many new-to-me films I’ll manage to watch. Gonna shoot for at least one new-to-me a day though. As always, the full list of my August new-to-me films is after the cut.
Billie Dawn: All that stuff I’ve been studying, what Paul’s been telling me. It just mixed me up. But when you hit me before it was like everything knocked itself together in my head and made sense. All of the sudden I realized what it means. How some people are always giving and some taking; and it’s not fair. So I’m not gonna let you anymore. [beat] Or anybody else.
When I first netflixed this film I watched it three times before sending it back – twice back-to-back and then a third time the next morning. I was completely blown away with how wonderful it was, from start to finish. I know a lot of people consider Some Like It Hot to be Billy Wilder’s best film and as much as I like that one, I have to disagree and go with Sunset Blvd. It is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning three for black-and-white Art Direction, Best Writing – story and screenplay and Best Score. For Best Picture it was up against Father of the Bride, King Solomon’s Mines, Born Yesterday and lost to All About Eve. All About Eve wound up winning six Oscars in all. Another tight race that year was Best Actress, Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd. was up against Bette Davis and Anne Baxter in All About Eve, but all three lost to Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday. Having watched all three of those films within a few days of each other it is my belief that, although Holliday’s performance was stunning, the other three women spilt the vote so severely that Holliday won by default. I’ll say it up front, I enjoyed All About Eve, but I deeply love Sunset Blvd. and think it is by and far the greater of the two films.
Beware: there be spoilers after the cut.