The 17th Academy Awards in 1945

Bette Davis

Bette Davis in her film Debut, "Bad Sister"
Bette Davis in her film Debut, "Bad Sister" | Source

Every year people buzz about the upcoming Academy Awards and people all over the world watch the ceremony on television. What about the old Academy Awards that showcase the classic films of eras gone by? Over the years there have been changes to the ceremonies and the way they were conducted. For example, 1945 was the first year the category of Best Motion Picture was limited to only five movies. In keeping with the war effort this was the last year the Oscar statuette was made of plaster.

Held in March, this year's ceremony was again held at Grauman's Chinese. Bob Hope was a co-host with John Cromwell. Many may not be familiar with Mr. Cromwell. Mr. Cromwell was an actor, director and producer. In 1930 he directed "Tom Sawyer" which starred Jackie Coogan. I know this is stretching even film history buff's imaginations. Maybe you remember him from playing a role in "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" in 1940? He played John Brown.

How about a bit of trivia before we go on to the Oscars? Did you know the Oscar statuette was actually modeled after a real person? That person was Emilio Fernandez. It seems Mr. Fernandez was an actor who was friends with Delores Del Rio, a famous silent film star. When her husband was looking for a model for the statuette she suggested Fernandez. The rest is history.

Now, let's go to the Oscars.

Going My Way

Who doesn't love this heart-touching, musical, comedy, drama, really what more could you ask for? Well, apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way. "Going My Way" was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won seven! Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Original Motion Picture Story, Best Music, Song, Best Cinematography, Black and White, and finally Best Film Editing, all awarded to "Going My Way". While we're at it, who doesn't love Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald? When I was younger I thought he was just so cute, Barry Fitzgerald that is. Actually, I still do.

A lovely story about young Father Chuck O'Malley who has come to take over St. Dominic's Church from old Father Fitzgibbon. I don't have to tell you there are many differences of opinion between the young priest and the old priest, but Father O'Malley is a shrewd operator and treads very carefully with Father Fitzgibbon. There is their difference over the boys in the parish. The boys keep getting in trouble and Father Fitzgibbon doesn't fret about it since they attend Mass every Sunday. Father O'Malley on the other hand wants to do something about it. He winds up forming a choir where the boys sing more than Church songs. Father Fitzgibbon doesn't like the noise and decides to ask the Bishop to move Father O'Malley. There he finds out O'Mally is supposed to be in charge.

Like a child, Father Fitzgibbon runs away but he returns. Father O'Malley puts him to bed with an Irish lullaby. Of course there's a female interest, she's the love Father O'Malley had before he became a priest. She still has feelings for him so she is only too willing to help him and his boys choir out, not to mention Father Fitzgibbon.

You thought I was going to tell you what happened? Then you don't know me. I love to have my readers do their own research and watch the movies for themselves. You will see familiar faces like William Frawley and Frank McHugh and Risë Stevens who in real life was a Contralto of the Metropolitan Opera Society. She played Father O'Malley's past love interest. I will say, in addition to the beautiful song, "Going My Way" Father O'Malley and his boys sing "Would You Like to Swing on a Star". Now you know I'm not going to tell you the ending or the gift Father O'Malley gives Father Fitzgibbon, but if you've seen the movie, don't tell the others, let them find out for themselves.

Bing Crosby sings "TOO-RA-LOO-RA-LOO-RA" from Going My Way

Photo from Gaslight

Charles Boyer as Gregory and Ingrid Bergman as Paula.
Charles Boyer as Gregory and Ingrid Bergman as Paula. | Source

Gaslight

Moving to a totally different film we have "Gaslight", winner of Best Actress for Ingrid Bergman and Best Art Direction. If you like suspense thriller's this one's for you. A true psychological suspense thriller. Oh, and here we have another box-stander. Charles Boyer was shorter than Ingrid Bergman so he stood on a box in scenes with her. I wonder how many other actors stood on boxes in those days? Well, in this film, Angela Lansbury, the maid of questionable character had to wear high platform shoes to give her the illusion of being taller than Ingrid Bergman it also made her more intimidating to Ms. Bergman's character Paula. This was Angela Lansbury's first movie role.

Called a 'noirish' film, it follows Paula (Ingrid Bergman) as she marries a shall we say French, gentleman piano player who tells her he's always wanted to live in a London mansion. As luck would have it Paula owns a London mansion, 9 Thornton Square. The one her aunt was killed in nine years ago. She says she's not afraid to go back there now that she has Gregory. She's been away "recuperating" in Italy and that is where she met the dashing piano player. This, my friends, is where it starts.

Is Gregory (played by Charles Boyer) trying to drive Paula insane or is Paula really insane? Are the footsteps in the attic real? What about the flickering gaslights? We watch as Paul gradually begins to become unhinged. And then along comes Cameron, who happens to be Joseph Cotton, and who thinks Paula bears an uncanny resemblance to her aunt, the late opera singer. In the meantime Gregory has accused his wife of losing a brooch he gave her, of losing a picture that was hanging on the wall, and then there's the footsteps. Of course Gregory telling Paula that her mother was admitted to an insane asylum doesn't hurt his case any.

Did I mention Cameron just happens to be a detective who is very taken with Paula? He begins trying to see her alone which Gregory cunning avoids, and also posts a policeman to watch the goings on at 9 Thornton Square.

This is that kind of film. You need to pay attention from beginning to end so that you don't miss any of the clues that are right there for you to see. At first you're not sure of Paula's mental status either, but then you begin to suspect Gregory. I highly recommend watching this one.

Gaslight

Other 1945 Academy Award Winners

Recipient
Award
Movie
Ethel Barrymore
Best Supporting Actress
None But the Lonely Heart
Max Steiner
Best Dramatic or Comedy Score
Since You Went Away
Stoloff & Dragon
Best Musical Score
Cover Girl
Leon Shamroy
Best Cinematography, Color
Wilson
Joseph LaShelle
Best Cinematograpy, Blck an Wht
Laura
Barbara McLean
Best Film Editing
Laura

More Nominees

  • Since You Went Away
  • Wilson
  • Laura
  • Mrs. Parkington
  • The Seventh Cross
  • Lifeboat
  • Dragon Seed
  • Meet Me in St. Louis
  • A Guy Named Joe
  • Two Girls and a Sailor

Other 1945 Nominees

While "Going My Way" and "Gaslight" predominated the Academy Awards, they were certainly not the only classic film nominees in 1945.

In the "film noir" category we have quite the twister in "Double Indemnity". Though it was nominated for seven Academy Awards, it didn't win any. An insurance salesman is sucked in by a beautiful woman who wants to get rid of her husband. "Double Indemnity" is an insurance term whereby an accidental death brings double the insurance policy amount. Starring Fred McMacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson who has the job of checking on insurance claims and weeding out the fake ones. He and MacMurray work together which gives this movie that "wonder what's going to happen next" appeal. Great performances by all three and certainly one to watch to find out what happens.

Then there's "Mr. Skeffington" starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains. This is a typical Bette Davis film. She is taken with her own beauty as is everyone else. She marries Mr. Skeffington because her brother Tippy stole money from him. A noted part of this movie is that Mr. Skeffington is a Jew in high society in 1914. Their marriage is not ideal as she continues to flirt with other men. Over the years he has ignored Davis' behavior with other men but finally sought comfort with his secretaries. Davis uses this as an excuse to divorce him. When their baby daughter grows up she wants to live with her father. Of course there is so much more to this movie but you'll have to watch it to find out.

As you can see from the list I've provided there were a lot of good movies and even trying to just write a synopsis is difficult without making this long and tedious to read. The last film I will mention though is "The Fighting Sullivans" which was originally released as "The Sullivans". Perhaps you've heard of them? They were five brothers killed during WWII. They requested that they all serve on the same ship and so all went down with the ship, the USS Juneau. A Naval snafu is most likely responsible for the death of the fifth Sullivan. According to allmovie.com this movie was originally banned in many places because of how it might affect others who had lost sons in the War.

This movie introduces the Sullivan boys through their baptisms. Then follows their lives growing up. Normal boys fighting each other and getting into trouble but with close family ties and bonds to each other. The "war" aspect of this film is minimal. It is more about the family and their love of home, family, and country.

The remaining Sullivan family members actually acted as consultants on the movie. Definitely a move worth watching. I have read that this movie was the inspiration for "Saving Private Ryan".

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to the Academy Awards and will leave a comment sharing your feelings on these movies.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

Double Indemnity

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Comments 25 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

Fun to read the synopsis of these movies. YOu are moving right along. Great idea for a series and hope it brings many views.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Another great one, Mary! I never saw Gaslight...not sure how I missed that one. You do a great job with the synopsis of each movie. Thanks again for a great read.


Sheri Faye profile image

Sheri Faye 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

Another good one. I just love this series you are doing. It must be fun to write too!


PaisleeGal profile image

PaisleeGal 3 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Mary... another great hub on Oscar. Interesting trivia about the statue history. Just wondering, have you discovered what Oscar is now made of and it's worth?

Waiting on the next one!

Voted up and interesting.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Carol, I do love writing this. I don't know what the views are but I'm having fun.

Oh Bill you have to see Gaslight, I know you'd like it! Thanks for the compliment.

Sheri, yes, it is fun. I know the movies but have to research additional facts.

PaisleeGal the Oscars are made of a combination of metals then coated with 24 carat gold plate. The next one will be a week or so but it'll be here.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

This is an outstanding article about a wonderful group of movies and stars. I have a copy of Going My Way, and watch it every few years. I never did see Gaslight, but want to do so, that and Rebecca. Seeing Fred McMurray as a bad guy (as I recall) was great. Most of his career, it seems like he played the nice dad type (My Three Sons).

I remember Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester on the Adams Family, very funny part.


TheKatsMeow profile image

TheKatsMeow 3 years ago from Canada

Yes the next Academy awards installment is in! This is a great Hub, I hadn't heard of many of these, and I am going to bookmark this for later reference. I like to watch old movies at least once a month and I can't wait to watch these ones :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald are must see, but you already know that xstatic! Yes, Fred MacMurray was the bad guy, he got suckered in but he was still the bad guy. Thanks so much for stopping by, I love sharing my hubs with you.

TheKatsMeow how nice of you to follow my "installments". You won't regret watching any of these I'm sure.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

I liked Gaslight, Mary, but I loved Double Indemnity and Going My Way and the musical, Cover Girl. In fact, I saw the latter just last week on cable TV. Some good movies are still around.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

No film noirs around anymore, they had that added thrill and wonder about them. "Cover Girl" was great. You can't beat anything with Eve Arden in it.


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

It is so much fun reading about the old movies and when the actors and actresses were young. Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Fred McMurray. I don't recall his bad guy position. It would be interesting to see.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

WND I don't know if I would call him a 'bad guy' so much as a sucker. Barbara Stanwyck really sucked him into it! You should watch it, its not how we normally picture Fred MacMurray.


AudraLeigh 3 years ago

I love your series!!! You keep writing movies I need to watch! Bing is aweome...cool video clip! Great piece! Now I see Bette Davis' eyes!


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

I was thinking of the term "Gaslighting" as I read this.....meaning that a person misinforms in order to make another party doubt himself. I have not had the benefit of watching the show..but will try to catch it on the MGM channel! Hopefully they'll show it. Thanks for sharing, Mary....something for me to watch tonight!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. I have seen all of these (many times),


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Series is a great idea looking forward to next and wanting more from each one


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

So happy you're enjoying this series almost as much as I am Audra!

True Michelle. Hope you're able to catch the movie.

Thank you dear Mhatter for reading.

DDE so nice of you to always stop by and read each 'chapter' of this series.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Thinking about films noir, about the last two I recall were Body Heat (1981) and Chinatown (1974). Loved them both!


byshea profile image

byshea 3 years ago

I love this whole series on the Oscars that you are doing. I find myself looking for some of these movies when scanning the Classic Movie channel.

I must say that Bette Davis was a great actress that just became more creepy to me as the years wore on. I also have a hard time taking Fred MacMurry seriously after growing up watching reruns of My Three Sons.

Thanks again!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

You are taking us far back, Mary, and you've made me realize with a shock that there were people in 1944 who were just as exited about Oscar rewards as we are today, and that while the world was in war. People are amazing 'animals'.

Very interesting, informative and well-written hub :)


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Mary. Another great job, I really enjoy these. I'm not as familiar with the movies of 1944 but it gives me a few to put on my list. Keep them coming.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I just love this series, Mary, and these wonderful trips down memory lane on the red mile at Oscar time. Bette Davis is one of my all time favorite actresses. Her “bumpy night” comment was a true classic. Ingrid Bergman is another favorite because my mother looked so much like her; they could have been twins. Sadly, good film noir is a thing of the past. I look forward to the next installment. :-)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

xstatic, they were two great films!

If you watched Bette Davis in Baby Jane then yes, she was creepy. Fred MacMurray certainly wasn't known for his darker roles byshea.

True Martie. The Oscars have been 'exciting' for people since the twenties. So glad you enjoyed.

bdegiulio, I'll keep 'em coming so you can add to your list ;)

Genna they were certainly two great ladies. Your mother must've been a beauty! Hope you keep enjoying.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Mary,

Though I have never been a member of movie group, I have attended screening of oldies. I will love to watch some of these movies.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

You would probably enjoy them Vinaya as they would give you a look at America during that time period.

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