29th Academy Awards - 1957
The Ten Commandments "Prelude"
Introduction to 1957 (29th) Academy Awards
The movies of 1956, the year the 1957 Academy Awards are given for, were plentiful and many are remembered fondly today. I know "The Ten Commandments" did not receive the Best Picture Award even though it was nominated. I also know it is one of my favorite movies, partly because it stars Charlton Heston, and partly because it was just a great movie! It is an epic film and the parting of the Red Sea as well as the great chariot race are scenes never to be forgotten. It did win an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and anyone who has seen the movie knows why. DeMille kept secret his effects for the parting of the Red Sea for many years. Just as an aside, "The Ten Commandments" was the highest grossing film of 1956.
This was a year of many great movies stars, from Kirk Douglas to Anthony Perkins with many more in between. Who will ever forget James Dean or Katherine Hepburn? Epics and musicals were only part of what we were offered in 1956. The sensual themes of "Baby Doll", the film adaptation of Shakespeare's "Richard III", see what I mean? A great variety of films as well.
Other Stars Appearing in Around the World in 80 Days
- Robert Morley
- Noel Coward
- John Gielgud
- Trevor Howard
- Martine Carol
- Charles Boyer
- Jose Greco
- Cesar Romero
- Red Skelton
- Marlene Dietrich
- Frank Sinatra
- Edward R. Murrow
To name just a few!
Around the World in 80 Days
In 1852, Phineas Fogg claims he can travel around the world in just eighty days. After placing a 20,000 pound bet, Fogg and his man servant Passepartout (Cantinflas) set out in a hot air balloon. Suspicions arise that Fogg has stolen 20,000 pounds from the Bank of England. Inspector Fix sets out in hot pursuit of Fogg. Fogg is played brilliantly by David Niven, the consummate gentleman.
Fogg and Passepartout travel from Paris to Spain to India then Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, San Francisco, New Mexico, and Colorado. Of course there are adventures and a few mis-adventures along the way. Fogg is however, always the proper gentleman. Passepartout is the comic relief. The love interest around the world, is played by Shirley MacLaine.
Along with their adventures is a cast of over forty well known performers.
Of course there are many balloon scenes but there are also ocean crossings, bull fights, a kidnapping, a rescue from a funeral pire and so much more.
"Around the World in 80 Days" won Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Color, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Writing, and Best Screenplay, Adapted, AND was nominated for three other Awards. If you haven't seen it, put it on your list.
Marlene Dietrich - Around the World in 80 Days
Nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress
The King and I
Lust for Life
The Bad Seed
The King and I
The Bad Seed
While "The Bad Seed" was nominated for four Academy Awards, it won none. It is one of those movies you may have heard of but probably didn't see. It is a horror-thriller. Back in 1956 horror movies involving children weren't as widespread as they are today.
Due to censorship rules at the time this movie was made, the movie could not follow the novel it was based on. Rather than divulge the ending of the movie, or the book for that matter, I will just say censorship made it necessary to show that "crime does not pay".
This is an eerie black and white film. There are many moments when you are wondering is Rhoda (played by Patty McCormack) really an evil child? How could an innocent eight year old be a heartless killer? You will see in this movie as her "personality" shows itself.
If you like thrillers, horror-thrillers as this movie is called, it is a creepy one to watch.
The Bad Seed
Movies Nominated for Best Motion Picture
- Around the World in 80 Days
- The King and I
- Friendly Persuasion
- The Ten Commandments
Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in Giant
From the novel by Edna Ferber this movie truly is a giant. It follows the book and hosts a cast of stars. Its hard to say who is or was the most famous but certainly the death of James Dean before the film's release led somewhat, to it's mystique.,
A story about wealth and greed next to bigotry it was believed to be historically significant for its portrayal of the families and times in Texas particularly relating to oil discoveries. It is about a rich and powerful Texas ranching family that is faced with the coming of oil to Texas. Of course that's not the whole story.
Here's the ground work; Bick Benedict, played by Rock Hudson, marries socialite Leslie Lynnton, played by Elizabeth Taylor and brings her back to his ranch. His sister Luz Benedict, played by Mercedes McCambridge is jealous of his new wife. Jett Rink, played by James Dean is a ranch hand who wants to find his own fame and fortune. He also happens to fall in love with Leslie. When Luz dies (I'll let you watch the movie to find out the details of this tragedy) she leaves a piece of land to Jett. You can probably guess, Jett finds oil on his land. Bick offers to buy it back but Jett will have none of it. In the meantime Bick and Leslie have twins and then a daughter. Jett tries to get Bick to dig for oil but Bick's only agrees after he realizes his children really aren't interested in the ranch.
There is a Bick-Rink rivalry that continues throughout. The casualties along the way are interesting and make this the blockbuster it is.
Nominated for ten Academy Awards it only won Best Director.
James Dean in Giant
Giant - Video of James Dean & Elizabeth Taylor
Facts about the 29th Academy Awards and the Year 1956 Movies
- The year of the epic film with "The Ten Commandments" and "War and Peace"
- According to Wikipedia, James Dean became the only actor to receive a second posthumous – and consecutive – nomination for acting.
- The classic movie "The Searchers", still considered to be one of the best westerns of all time did not receive one nomination.
- Wikipedia also tells us this was the second time since the introduction of the Supporting Actor and Actress awards that Best Picture, Best Director, and all four acting Oscars were given to different films. This would not happen again until the 78th Academy Awards.
- "Giant" received ten nominations.
- "Somebody Up There Likes Me" and "War and Peace" received three nominations.
- Elvis Presley made his first movie, "Love Me Tender" in 1956.
- Robby the Robot appeared in the 1956 MGM movie, "Forbidden Planet".
- The classic novel "Moby Dick" was made into a movie, of the same name, starring Gregory Peck.
Moby Dick Illustration from the Novel
29th Academy Awards
Do you think "Around the World in 80 Days" should have won best picture?See results without voting
I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Looking at the classic movies is always a thrill for me. I could watch them over and over. Let me know how you feel. Did you find the movies of 1956 interesting and worthy of Academy Awards? What about the movies the Academy didn't even acknowledge? Sometimes those movies are as good as or better than the actual winners. Please leave a comment and visit my other Academy Award hubs.
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