So I hadn’t seen this movie until yesterday, despite having heard nothing but great things about it for years. I cannot believe I waited so long to watch it. I guess it was because the film is classified as a “Western,” but it’s about as much a typical Western as The Thin Red Line is a typical War film. Another great aspect of the film is that it’s filmed in real time; it’s 84 minutes to be exact. The first hour goes by at a nice languid, yet tense pace; the last twenty minutes cram in as much action and intensity as if it were a whole other hour. Fabulous. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning four: Best Original Song (won), Best Original Score (won), Best Film Editing (won), Best Screenplay, Best Actor (won), Best Director and Best Picture. The other nominees for Best Picture that year were: Ivanhoe, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet Man and winner The Greatest Show On Earth. Side note: The Greatest Show On Earth is probably one of the most mediocre films to even be nominated for Best Picture, let alone win.
I’ve waited a long time (nearly a year!) to write about 1939 as it is widely regarded as the “greatest year in Hollywood history.” I’d also not seen all ten of the nominated films into just recently (thank you very much, TCM and your 31 Days of Oscar!). So after having watched this films it came down to picking one to write about. This was also difficult because Gone With The Wind (the winner that year) is my second favorite film of all time. So this is definitely not an “Oscar got it wrong” post, but instead I decided to go with one of the least talked about films from the year. This has got to be the best adaptation of Steinbeck’s heartbreaking novel of the same name. Everything about the film is pitch-perfect. The film was nominated for four Oscars, but failed to win a single award: Best Sound Recording, Best Original Score, Best Scoring and Best Picture. The other nominees that year were Dark Victory, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Ninotchka, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights and winner Gone With The Wind.