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The 35th Academy Awards - 1963
Crawford - Davis
35th Academy Awards
Do you remember an Academy Awards Ceremony hosted by Frank Sinatra? I didn't, but this one was. Held on April 8, 1963 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California, this ceremony, like the others before it, honored films that live in our memories and went on to become Hollywood classics and was hosted by Frank Sinatra.
If you read about the ceremony you will most surely find a blurb about Frank Sinatra almost being late for the ceremony. Seems he left his "parking ticket" home and almost was not allowed to park to get in.
Wikipedia trivia tells us Joan Crawford was furious that Bette Davis was nominated for an award and she wasn't. This was not the beginning of their 'catfight', it was actually something that went on for years before 1963. Actually in 1935 both actresses were courting actor Franchot Tone and there the bitterness began, during the filming of a movie aptly called "Dangerously". Along with that rivalry are the tales of Crawford's bisexuality. It is said she approached Davis in that manner and Davis turned her down. First the rebuff and then marrying Davis' love, Franchot Tone. Their bitterness toward each other lasted until they died.
At the ceremony Robert Goulet sang a medley of all the movie songs. In previous years each song was song separately. Everyone was surprised "Miracle Worker" was not nominated for Best Picture. There is no explaining Academy choices so many years people are surprised when a really good film isn't nominated. While the performances of Crawford and Davis in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" were right on target it certainly wasn't a movie that should be nominated for Best Picture (which it wasn't).
Well, enough about that. Let's move on to the movies that won!
Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia
This film won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, making it the fifth film in six years to win seven Awards. Albert Finney and Marlon Brando were considered for the role that made Peter O'Toole famous. Four hours long but filled with excellent performances by O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Arthur Kennedy, Alec Guiness, Anthony Quinn, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, and Jack Hawkins. No wonder no one noticed there were no female speaking roles in this movie.
This film is based on the life of T. E. Lawrence, a renowned British Army Officer. The hundreds of miles he traveled across the desert to strike the Turks without orders is amazing and intriguing. He just decided to go his own way.
The film is a four hour epic. Yes, I said four hours, a long time to sit through a movie and yet people loved it. Alex von Tunzelmann of "The Guardian" wrote, "It's essential to watch this film at the highest resolution possible on the biggest screen you can find....The desert shots are mind-blowing: glimmering mirages, whirling clouds of sand, teeny-weeny people and camels inching across massive, spectacular landscapes...." This is a movie that uses the desert, not just as a backdrop but as a vital part of the movie.
In this movie you see Lawrence as both crazy and strong. It shows the magnetism this man had. Was he a homosexual? There are elements in the film that certainly point to that but the main point is a man who flaunted convention and won a war against the Turks. He makes many allies along the way and draws you in with his beauty and simplicity with the living desert.
Is it a film for everyone? Probably not but it is epic because of the movie itself not its budget or money spent filming. If you haven't seen it, put it on your list. Really, a movie with young Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif...need I say more?
Peter O'Toole and Anthony Quinn
Academy Award Nominees for 1963
Lawrence of Arabia
Gregory Peck - To Kill a Mockingbird
Anne Bancroft - The Miracle Worker
The Longest Day
Burt Lancaster - Birdman of Alcatraz
Bette Davis - Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
The Music Man
Jack Lemmon - Days of Wine and Roses
Katharine Hepburn – Long Day's Journey Into Night
Mutiny on the Bounty
Marcello Mastroianni – Divorce, Italian Style
Geraldine Page – Sweet Bird of Youth
To Kill a Mockingbird
Peter O'Toole - Lawrence of Arabia
Lee Remick – Days of Wine and Roses
To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill A Mockingbird
"'…shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' That was the only time I ever hear Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. 'Your father's right,' she said. 'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'"
A true classic of American Literature made into a movie that has become just as much a classic. Harper Lee was ten years old when the "incident' she writes about occurred. If you have not read the book you most likely saw the movie. The hero is of course, Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck. A down home likable sort of attorney.
Atticus leads us through the unfair and undeserved rape charge against a young black man. In spite of the serious subject and tone it sets, there are many moving moments and the young girl Lee was, named Scout and played by Mary Badham, is six years old in the movie. Scout is really the protagonist and so endearing to watch as she tries to deal with what's going on around her.
If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I don't want to tell you any more and ruin this amazing story. Bump this one up to number one on your viewing wish list.
To Kill a Mockingbird
How many 1962 movies did you see?
Were There More?
Most certainly. From Baby Jane to Lolita this was a year full of movies, many worth watching, some questionable but certainly all Hollywood. What about Gypsy? The movie about renowned stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. A movie about a little girl and an obsessive mother, an obsessive mother that turns that little girl into a stripper with psychological problems. The performances of Natalie Wood as Gypsy and Rosalind Russel as her mother are certainly top notch.
Then there are those movies overlooked by the Academy but still good movies. Movies like The Manchurian Candidate or movies that may not be considered Academy material but were fun to watch like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? Did you see the number thirty-one film of the year? That would be Girls!Girls!Girls! starring Elvis Presley. I know, not the best scripted movie but oh the music and of course Elvis!
More? Yes. There was Advise and Consent, Cape Fear, Dr. No, Freud, and How the West Was Won to name just a few. You might want to look at some of the movies made in 1962!
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