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.

David Niven

David Niven starred in "Around the World in 80 Days"
David Niven starred in "Around the World in 80 Days" | Source

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

Name
Movie
Award
Yul Brynner
The King and I
Best Actor
James Dean
Giant
Best Actor
Kirk Douglas
Lust for Life
Best Actor
Rock Hudson
Giant
Best Actor
Laurence Olivier
Richard III
Best Actor
Ingrid Bergman
Anastasia
Best Actress
Caroll Baker
Baby Doll
Best Actress
Katherine Hepburn
The Rainmaker
Best Actress
Nancy Kelly
The Bad Seed
Best Actress
Deborah Kerr
The King and I
Best Actress
Winners are in bold text.

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
  • Giant
  • The Ten Commandments

Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in Giant

Source

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

Source

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.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

"Bringing you movies that are part of your memories."

Like what you've read? I've written about a lot of different topics with a focus on old movies and nature. If you want to see more of what I've written stop by my profile page.

More by this Author


32 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

This was during my serious movie-going days. I saw the Ten Commandments with my parents and remember standing in line for tickets at the old Roxy Theater in Tacoma.

Obviously I love this series....when you get to the 80's it will all be new stuff for me because I was drunk most of that decade. :)

Great job once again, Mary.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Gee Bill, comments like yours make this series even more fun....I keep learning about your life as we go through the series. Glad you enjoyed.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

The ten commandments, what an amazing film! so many to choose from here, and some I didn't know! I still love watching them they are so much better than the films today, great hub mary, voted up and shared, nell


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

I don't think I ever hear of the special effects of the parting of the Red Sea. Was it huge fans? That is a movie I will never forget.

Superb hub.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Oh yes, David Niven was a hit with my mum and dad. Thanks for sharing this!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Now, you are really getting into my zone with the 1956 movies! Really loved "The Ten Commandments" and Charleston Heston, as it is just a thrill to watch, over and over! Thanks for taking us down memory lane, good memory lane that is! A lot here are favorites of mine, "Around the World in 80 Days" and "The King and I", hmm, now I am thinking this may have been my favorite year, but all the years so far have all had amazing movies. Woo . . . on that James Dean photo there! And the Moby Dick one is amazing too, very dramatic to add to this hub.

Excellent write and very interesting!

Voted up ++++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper


Careermommy profile image

Careermommy 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

You are a great wealth of entertainment information. I loved the Bad Seed. Although it didn't win any awards, it was nice seeing it on this list. Great hub.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Those were the days. thank you


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Nell. I'm a great lover of the old films and agree with you totally. Thanks for the votes and share.

WND, the parting of the Red Sea was done with two separate water tanks, and a blue screen for the actors. The water was emptied from the tanks then filmed in reverse with the actors superimposed over the water. Glad you enjoyed.

Michele, Niven was a favorite of many. He had that way about him.

It was a good year Faith. I had to limit myself when picking from all the movies offered though there was no doubt I would include "The Ten Commandments". So glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for the votes and share. God bless and have a wonderful day.

Careermommy, thank you for the compliment. I can remember being so surprised and chilled by "The Bad Seed".

Thank YOU Mhatter!


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Hi, Mary!

You continue to do a spectacular job of researching and writing this niche series. Something you wrote piqued my interest. I've always been curious about how DeMille pulled off the parting of the Red Sea. Do you have a handy link or other form of reference I can check out? If not, no problem. Saw this movie when I was a little boy and would then wonder, every time we went fishing or swimming after that, what it would be like to see that happen right in front of me. In my opinion, this movie should have taken home the Best Picture award. Loved "Around the World in Eighty Days," but I'm thinking too many great stars in one movie may have created a political reason for this film to take home the bacon. I love this series, and I'm so very proud of its author! Aloha, my friend!

Joe


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

In my answer to WND I explained the parting of the sea (well in the movie, not how I would've done it)...TCM has a whole story about the movie and how it was made. http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/92507/The-Ten-Comma...

I like your take on why Around the World won. I have to admit I never thought of that even though it was staring me in the face. See, your intuition and observatory powers are great ;)

Lastly, your pride in this author makes this author beam!!! Aloha.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

Til I must admit this little peek at the times gone by really entertained me.. enjoyed it with my second cup of coffee..bless you


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

So glad I could entertain you Frank as you always entertain me!


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Mary. A great year for the movies. I loved Around the World in 80 Days, the Ten Commandments, The King and I, etc... Even though this was a few years before I was born I've seen most of these movies. They sure don't make them like they used to. I absolutely love this series, stick with it. Voted up, shared, etc...


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

Wonderful write up. You deserve credit for bringing out these facts to delight people like me.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

There were some really blockbuster films that year, Mary, and you did them proud, m'dear. I loved 'Giant,' 'Around the World in 80 Days,' 'Ten Commandments,' and 'The King and I.' In the latter movie, Yul Brynner was ahead of his time with his sexy shaven head.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Mary,

I don't know about other movies but The King and I is fantastic. This is a wonderful movie to relieve your stress. Based on the true story of the Thai King and the British teacher, this movie is funny, humorous as well as interesting.

Thanks for sharing another wonderful article on the series.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I just watched "Around the World" on my Roku box a week ago, and I still enjoy it. There were so many great movies in 1957, it's hard for me to pick a favorite.

Great job. Voted UP, etc. and shared.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

So Bill, you're telling me I am definitely your senior ;) They were certainly movies to watch then and now. Glad you're enjoying my series there are many more to come. Thanks for the votes and shares, always appreciated.

MG Singh, I am so glad you enjoyed my hub so much! Thank you for stopping by.

drbj you are so right about Yul Brynner. He had moxie too!

Thank you Vinaya, for reading another article in my series! Yes, the King and I was fascinating. Maybe I should write a hub about the true King and teacher ;)

I know Mary, some years there are just so many good films. My husband is particularly disturbed about Tonto in the new Long Ranger movie....things just aren't the same. Thanks for the votes and shares.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I just found the tagline and I love it....it is perfect....now, do me a favor and put it in bold so it stands out....well done, Mary!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Bill. Will bold right away!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Lots of great movies here, but the Bad Seed is definitely one that I don't want to see, with those macabre elements. It actually left me with a sickening feeling, like the kid that pulls wings off flies. As always, great reviews that a movie company would be proud to print.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks aviannovice. Bad Seed was a depressing and difficult movie to watch for sure. I appreciate the great compliment btw.


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

What a great list of old movies! I can't believe that I'm seen every one of these. 'The Bad Seed' is still a controversial topic: nature or nurture? People who study serial killers are still looking for the answer to that question. Voted up.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for adding that interesting information. "The Bad Seed" is not a movie you hear a lot about now for sure. Thanks for the vote.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

......well my most marvelous Mary this all happened a year before I was born but when I get to hang out with you I always feel like I am being 'reborn.'

They certainly don't make movie stars like they used to and many of the stars on this page shall never be replaced and I am glad that I was old enough to remember all of these names.

Thank you for your labor of love. I can tell you are quite a film buff and you always put together a world class presentation.

I will post and link on my FB page for all to see and read and here I sit wishing you peace and happiness and good health from Colin and his cat crew at lake erie time 5:27pm


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

What a lovely comment Colin though I almost favor calling you Epi for some reason. Hmm, so I am you senior ;)

I do love old movies and researching them brings back memories as I turn up facts I didn't know or had forgotten.

You are so kind to put a link on your FB page! We're getting thundre storms here at the temperature has dropped to the high 80s. Hope all is well with you and your crew. Have a good night.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I’m so sorry I’m late commenting, Mary. (This summer has been a little crazy.)

1956 was quite a year for films. David Niven was also a superb writer – very literate, compelling, witty and candid. Years ago, I read two memoirs he wrote: ‘The Moon’s a Balloon,’ (based on the film, ‘Around the world in 80 Days’) and ‘Bring on the Empty Horses.’ They were recommended to me by an older family friend of my Dad’s who was impressed with his writing style.

‘The King and I’ was wonderful – my favorite, although I was moved beyond tears with ‘The Ten Commandments.’ But this year was so rich with the epic and the diversity of themes – all amazing in their quality.

One again, I love your series, Mary, and look forward to each installment. Thank you!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Oops - I forgot to add that 'The Moon's a Balloon' title is based on that film's title -- the book was not about the film. This book was an autobiography of Niven's that begins with his youth and gradually progresses to his days in Hollywood as an actor.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks so much for your wonderful comment Genna. I knew Niven was a great writer having read his autobiography. Certainly a great variety of movies in 1956, "The Ten Commandments" being one of my favorite movies of all times!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

Around the World in 80 days....Love that movie and David Niven. I did not realize that The Searchers never received a nomination. That is on my list of all time great westerns. I can watch it over and over and never get tired of it. Interesting hub.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Funny you should mention "The Searchers", we watched it on Time Warner Cable yesterday! Thanks for reading my friend.

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