Judging by how fast she ripped through it — and by how much of it she read aloud to me — Katie-Bar-The-Door gives two thumbs-up to Marc Eliot's recently-published biography of the Duke, American Titan: Searching for John Wayne.
Criminally-underrated in his lifetime, many classic film fans have come to see that Wayne was actually one of the greatest actors in movie history. Why just last week, Entertainment Weekly included his turn as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers as one of the biggest Oscar snubs of all-time. He'd win my alternate Oscar for that one.
What about you? Do you think John Wayne should have won as Oscar? If so, for which performance? Here are some choices:
1944 was a very good year for actresses. The list of those I didn't nominate — Joan Bennett (The Woman In The Window), Claudette Colbert (Since You Went Away), Bette Davis (Mr. Skeffington), Joan Fontaine (Jane Eyre), Elizabeth Taylor (National Velvet), Gene Tierney (Laura) — would make a pretty good slate all by themselves. Can you imagine a lineup that strong coming of today's Hollywood?
No doubt like you, I've been wanting to see Norma Talmadge's biggest hit, Smilin' Through (1922), for a long time but to my knowledge, you can't buy it on DVD and it turns out the only copy I could find is in the Dutch Film Archive. With intertitles in Dutch, a language I don't speak.
So you get a lot of dialogue like this:
"Nu veertig jaar geleden ... op een mooien Junidag ... was ik de gelukkigste man ter wereld ... Monica en ik zouden worden vereenigd in den echt."
That's easy for him to say!
Fortunately, the Google knows all and with the help of its Translate site, I've been slugging my way through. Good movie. I think — it's hard to tell. If God had meant us to watch movies in a thirty second burst followed by an eight minute interruption, he would have given us AMC in the womb.
You can watch Smilin' Throughhere, but as for the translation, well, all I can say is, "Son, you're on your own."
Other possibilities included Ruth Chatterton (Dodsworth), Bette Davis (The Petrified Forest), Myrna Loy (After The Thin Man and Libeled Lady), Ginger Rogers (Swing Time) and Sylvia Sidney (Fury and Sabotage).
You can find and vote in previous polls by clicking here.
Named for Katie-Bar-The-Door, the Katies are "alternate Oscars"—who should have been nominated, who should have won—but really they're just an excuse to write a history of the movies from the Silent Era to the present day.
To see a list of nominees and winners by decade, as well as links to my essays about them, click the highlighted links:
Look at me—Joe College, with a touch of arthritis. Are my eyes really brown? Uh, no, they're green. Would we have the nerve to dive into the icy water and save a person from drowning? That's a key question. I, of course, can't swim, so I never have to face it. Say, haven't you anything better to do than to keep popping in here early every morning and asking a lot of fool questions?