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The 34th Academy Awards - 1962

Updated on December 4, 2013
tillsontitan profile image

Mary has been a movie fan since she was a little girl. She watched movies every night of the week on Million Dollar Theater..

Bob Hope in 1986

Most people who think of the Academy Awards think of Bob Hope!
Most people who think of the Academy Awards think of Bob Hope! | Source

34th Academy Awards

Academy Awards

Thirty four years of Awards. This was a glorious year for me. Not only did I love the Oscar winner for Best Picture but I was fifteen. Can you remember a better time in your life than when you were fifteen? I knew everything and my love for movies hadn't changed a bit. You did know everything at fifteen didn't you? I mean no one is smarter than a fifteen year old.

Now imagine being fifteen in the early sixties! John F. Kennedy was President, Johnny Carson took over the Tonight Show, Shirley Booth was playing Hazel on television, and A Man for All Seasons was playing on Broadway. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, "The Twist" was declared impure and banned in Catholic Schools, and filming began on "Dr. No". This was quite a year (1962).

The Academy Awards were held on April 9 in Santa Monica, California and Bob Hope was the host for the seventh time. A man named Stan Berman snuck into the Awards, up on stage and presented Bob Hope with his 1938 trophy and for the first time a musical swept the Awards....what a year. And the movies, this was a year of truly great and memorable movies and performances by some favorite stars.

Natalie Wood in West Side Story


West Side Story

A musical adapted from the Broadway play based on the story of Romeo and Juliet with a modern twist. This musical won ten Awards. Natalie Wood starred as Maria, a perfect choice. Her innocent beauty had been seen in Hollywood since she was a child. Her "Romeo" whose name was Tony, was played by a lesser known actor, Richard Beymer. Of course everyone knows Rita Moreno and her acting in this film was outstanding. She plays the love interest of Maria's brother Bernardo and Maria's friend. Bernardo was played by George Chakiris.

Remember I was fifteen so I hadn't heard of all of these actors but by the time I had seen the movie I loved all of them. My girlfriend's father was a prop man so he was on the set of this movie. You can see his truck in one of the scenes on the street in the opening scene. If you watch the video you'll see a blue van, that's his!

Back to the movie. Not only was the story a good one and the actors great, but the musical score and songs were outstanding. Even if you've never seen the movie you've probably heard some of the songs like "Somewhere", "Maria", or "The Jets" because when you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way! That would be one of the warring gangs, the one Tony belonged to. No one can forget the performance by Russ Tamblyn as Riff, the leader of the Jets. Bernardo belonged to the Sharks. (The Montagues and Capulets if you will.)

While the story and actors are familiar, if you haven't seen this movie you are missing a true classical, both as a musical and as a love story. There is no way to do it justice in this short space so I would highly recommend you see it.

West Side Story - Opening

Maximilian Schell in Judgement at Nuremberb


Judgement at Nuremberg

A very moving film about war crimes committed by the leadership of Nazi Germany. Four judges preside over the hearing of four Nazi judges who are accused of crimes against humanity. The trial is based on the actual Judges' Trial before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal in 1947. What made the film most outstanding for its time was the use of actual footage taken by soldiers in concentration camps during the war. Huge piles of dead bodies are shown together with other atrocities the soldiers witnessed.

The cast is superlative and includes Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Maximilian Schell, Werner Klemperer,Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, William Shatner, and Montgomery Clift. The courtroom drama is at times palpable. The introduction of the defendants gives you a glimpse into their personalities as the trial begins.

Testimony by a frightened German woman, Judy Garland, is sad and moving. She tells how her elderly Jewish friend was falsely accused of having sex with her and being accused of polluting the Arian race. As a result he was put to death.

How does one go along with genocide? What makes a man kill innocent people "for the good of the country"? Burt Lancaster as Ernst Janning finally admits he was wrong to follow orders. All of the men are sentenced to prison but their attorney, Hans Rolf played by Maxmillian Schnell defiantly says that all of them will be free in five years.

This is certainly a film worth watching but be warned it is very emotional and hard to watch the actual footage.

Judgement at Nuremberg Trial Begins

Academy Award Nominations 1962

Best Picture
Best Actor
Best Actress
West Side Story
Maximillian Schnell - Judgement at Nuremberg
Sophia Loren - Two Women
Charles Boyer - Fanny
Audrey Hepburn - Breakfast at Tiffany's
Judgement at Nuremberg
Paul Newman - The Hustler
Piper Laurie - The Hustler
The Hustler
Spencer Tracy - Judgement at Nuremberg
Geraldine Page - Summer and Smoke
Guns of Navarone
Stuart Whitman - The Mark
Natalie Wood - Splendor in the Grass

Did you see AND understand Splendor in the Grass?

See results

Splendor in the Grass

Trying to pick only three movies to write about here was very difficult as this year was chuck full of good movies. I chose Splendor in the Grass for a number of reasons. First, I like Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, well what can I say, who doesn't like him? By the way this was Warren Beatty's movie debut. Second, it was a movie about teenage angst and parents who weren't quite getting their teenagers - one suggesting abstinence from sex while the other was suggesting a prostitute to relieve sexual tension, and lastly, parts of the movie were filmed here in Rosendale, in the hamlet of High Falls. Yes, the scenes of falls were filmed here. It is said the Director/Producer Elia Kazan had a summer home in High Falls and when a drought occured where he originally planned to film the water scene, he ultimately chose High Falls, NY. Though I lived in Queens at the time my friends here spoke very highly of the actors in this movie saying they were all friendly and treated everyone in the town like old friends.

The story of Deanie played by Natalie Wood and Bud played by Warren Beatty. High school sweethearts in the throes of their sexuality.

Turner Classic Movie describes this film in one sentence, Sexual repression drives a small-town Kansas girl mad during the roaring twenties." That my friends is actually the basis of this movie. Wanting to "go further" and explore their sexuality yet afraid to take that step.

I found the ending sad but many may not. Certainly a movie to watch as an adult and see what you think.

Splendor in the Grass - With Scenes at High Falls, NY

1962 Academy Awards and Movies

What a year for films and Academy Awards. Who could forget The Hustler or Guns of Navarone? Certainly you remember Breakfast at Tiffany's. What about The Children's Hour, El Cid or Flower Drum Song? Yes, 1961 was a great year for movies and the Academy Awards as always, nominated the best.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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


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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Glad you enjoyed my recap Glimmer. You might like some of the movies you are not familiar with, great performances for sure.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      6 years ago

      I have to say this was not my favorite year for movies, but West Side Story is great. I am not familiar with some of the ones on the list. Another interesting recap.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      You're right Deb. I can't imagine not seeing West Side Story. Thanks for the compliment.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Who has not seen West Side Story? Truly a classic. Great reviews as always, Mary, and a good way to get an education on movies.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Oh Genna you've added so much with your wonderful comment. It certainly was a year of many fine movies. Splendor in the Grass did leave me with tears and yes, when I watch it again, I cry again! Thank you for reading, voting and sharing my friend.

      Thank you Maria. I had a peaceful birthday and a quiet weekend...not something I'm used to anymore ;)

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Mary,

      Indeed this was a year of some of the greatest. West Side Story is an absolute favorite...have seen over a dozen times and adore the soundtrack.

      Excellent selection and showcasing of these classics, as usual.

      Hope you had a wonderful birthday and are having a peaceful weekend.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Mary;

      Wow! When I read this great hub and see the list of nominations, I can only say, “They certainly don’t make films like this anymore.” “Judgment at Nuremberg,” (one of my favorite Tracy films; Schell was brilliant and deserved his Oscar); “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; “Splendor in the Grass”; “Summer and Smoke”; “Westside Story”; “The Hustler” and "Two Women.” How can one possibly choose? I would have given them all Oscars.

      Mary, I agree with you 100% about the undertones to Splendor, and also felt that the ending was sad. Whenever I think of Deanie in that final scene where she is Wordsworth, “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind..” my eyes well with tears every time.

      Great hub, Mary, as always. Voted up and shared. :-)

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I'm only too happy to remind you drbj while I'm reminding me ;) There sure were many great movies I guess it was a stellar year!

      Glad you enjoyed Bill. Who could forget Dear Officer Krupke? You know when I saw West Side Story in the movies they were selling booklets (more like magazines) about the movies! They sure don't do that anymore. Thanks so much for the votes and share.

      Ah dear Faith. How lucky are we that you grace HP and mores especially that you are a friend to me!! You bring such joy and love wherever you go.

      Thank you so for remembering my birthday. I'm shooting for the best but sometimes meteors get in my way! Hugs and love right back to you. Thanks for the votes and shares too.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Ah, there is good ole Bob Hope! What another wonderful year dear Mary! I almost missed this great hub, but so glad I did not and I am here now. How interesting that "Splendor in the Grass" was filmed right there in Rosendale!

      Oh, I do remember being 15, but my know it all year was 16 LOL.

      I truly love reading your wonderful series for they bring back a lot of memories and plus I get to update my list of movies to watch again or for the first time.

      Happy Birthday dear lady. I hope it is the best one ever, for you deserve the best this life has to offer for sure!

      Up ++++ and sharing

      Hugs and much love to you,

      Faith Reaper

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Another great addition here Mary. I loved watching the clip from West Side Story, great memories. Now I need to watch the whole thing again, it's been a long time. Keep them coming, we really enjoy these. Voted up, shared, etc....

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      So many great movies that year, Mary, thanks for reminding me. My favorites were West Side Story, Splendour in the Grass, The Hustler (with Paul Newman, sigh!), Breakfast at Tiffany's and the powerful Two Women with Sophia Loren. They just don't make movies like THAT any more.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Definitely WND, the singing and dancing along with the story made it a great movie.

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      West Side Story is great. Wonderful talent in that movie.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      DDE that's what's great about old movies, they bring back memories. Thanks for commenting.

      Eric, imagine watching Splendor in the Grass in school today? I don't think so. Thank YOU.

      Carol thanks for the positive comment and vote up.

    • carol3san profile image

      Carolyn Sands 

      6 years ago from Hollywood Florida

      It was a long time ago but I remember those movies well...especially West Side Story. It was a wonderful movie at the time. Nice hub. Voted up.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderfully done. We did not have a tv in 1962 but I watched all these movies through school. Man I loved that time. Thanks.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The 34th Academy Awards - 1962 great hub I watched Splendor in the Grass a a year ago really enjoyed it. Always something more to think about from your hubs going back in time is wonderful memories for many people.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Glad you enjoyed Paradise...I'm sure you won't be disappointed if you find Judgement at Nuremberg. You are so welcome.

      Thank you Bill, another year older and deeper in debt ;) Yes, Natalile Wood was beautiful, she had a delicate way about her. Your support means the world!

      PS - Seeing you here reminded me to add my tagline!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Birthday Mary!

      So many great films. Yes, seen them all. Wasn't Natalie Wood beautiful? Oh, what a crush I had on her as a teen. Sheez.....sigh!

      Great job as always, Mary. Thanks for the memories.


    • Paradise7 profile image


      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      I do remember seeing "West Side Story" but unfortunately not in the movie theatre but much later, on TV. I think I might have been a few years younger and so missed a great, great movie going experience. I really enjoyed this hub to pieces and now am going to look on Netflix for the movie "The Judgement at Nuremberg". Thanks so much.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Well Frank what do I say to the first at my party? Thank you? Not enough. Your comment is definitely a bolster and the thought that keeps me writing this type of hub. Glad you enjoy it so much.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      Til I really get a kick out of reading these types of Hub they should be Editor's choice because they are top notch I have seen the movies and I can relate and I am entertained.. bravo...:) Award winnning series you have here Frank


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