Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards Redux (1931-1932)

Universal Studio's cycle of classic horror movies officially began in early 1931 with Bela Lugosi's Dracula, but for me, it's Frankenstein that really kicked it off. Boris Karloff and James Whale only made three movies together—Frankenstein, The Old Dark House and Bride of Frankenstein—but it feels like more than that, maybe because this trio of movies established so many of the conventions of the genre. Or maybe because they're just that good.

1932 also saw the release of Scarface, the best gangster movie made before The Godfather despite starring Paul Muni rather than James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart or Edward G. Robinson. But Howard Hawks directed it and given that he makes a serious claim to the title of best American director ever, maybe I shouldn't be surprised after all.

As for the actress awards, I was tempted when I expanded the Katies to the "Golden Globe" format to bump Joan Crawford up from supporting to lead and give her the award for drama. But I like Mae Clarke, the girl who got the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, and I've got a later award in mind for Joan. Feel free to argue with me. My mind is subject to change.

winner: Frankenstein (prod. Carl Laemmle, Jr.)
nominees: Freaks (prod. Tod Browning); Grand Hotel (prod. Irving Thalberg); Scarface (prod. Howard Hughes); Waterloo Bridge (prod. Carl Laemmle Jr.)
Must-See: The Champ; Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde; Emma; Five Star Final; Frankenstein; Freaks; Grand Hotel; Scarface; Shanghai Express; Skyscraper Souls; Tabu: A Story Of The South Seas; Waterloo Bridge; What Price Hollywood?

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: The Music Box (prod. Hal Roach)
nominees: Monkey Business (prod. Herman J. Mankiewicz); Private Lives (prod. Irving Thalberg); The Smiling Lieutenant (prod. Ernst Lubitsch)
Must-See Comedy/Musical: The Guardsman; Monkey Business; The Music Box; One Hour With You; Private Lives; Red-Headed Woman; The Smiling Lieutenant

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: À Nous La Liberté (prod. Frank Clifford)
nominees: La Chienne (prod. Pierre Braunberger and Roger Richebé); I Was Born, But ... (prod. Shochiku Film); Mädchen in Uniform (prod. Carl Froelich and Friedrich Pflughaupt); Marius (prod. Robert Kane and Marcel Pagnol)
Must-See Foreign Language Pictures: À Nous La Liberté; La Chienne; I Was Born, But ...; Mädchen In Uniform; Marius

ACTOR (Drama)
<winner: Fredric March (Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde)
nominees: Wallace Beery (The Champ); Paul Muni (Scarface); Edward G. Robinson (Five Star Final); Warren William (Skyscraper Souls)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (The Music Box)
nominees: James Cagney (Blonde Crazy); Maurice Chevalier (The Smiling Lieutenant and One Hour With You); The Marx Brothers (Monkey Business); Robert Montgomery (Private Lives)

winner: Mae Clarke (Waterloo Bridge)
nominees: Constance Bennett (What Price Hollywood?); Marlene Dietrich (Shanghai Express); Barbara Stanwyck (The Miracle Woman); Dorothea Wieck (Mädchen in Uniform)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Norma Shearer (Private Lives)
nominees: Joan Blondell (Blonde Crazy); Claudette Colbert (The Smiling Lieutenant); Lynn Fontanne (The Guardsman); Jean Harlow (Platinum Blonde and Red-Headed Woman)

winner: Howard Hawks (Scarface)
nominees: Tod Browning (Freaks); Edmund Goulding (Grand Hotel); Rouben Mamoulian (Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde); James Whale (Frankenstein and Waterloo Bridge)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: René Clair (À Nous La Liberté)
nominees: Sidney Franklin (The Guardsman and Private Lives); Ernst Lubitsch (The Smiling Lieutenant and One Hour With You); Yasujirô Ozu (I Was Born, But ...); James Parrott (The Music Box)

winner: Lionel Barrymore (Grand Hotel)
nominees: John Barrymore (Grand Hotel); Boris Karloff (Frankenstein); Raimu (Marius); Roland Young (The Guardsman and One Hour With You)

winner: Miriam Hopkins (The Smiling Lieutenant and Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde)
nominees: Joan Crawford (Grand Hotel); Ann Dvorak (Scarface); Aline MacMahon (Five Star Final); Anna May Wong (Shanghai Express)

winner: Ben Hecht; continuity and dialogue by Seton I. Miller, John Lee Mahin and W.R. Burnett; from a novel by Armitage Trail (Scarface)
nominees: René Clair (À Nous La Liberté); Frances Marion (story), Leonard Praskins (dialogue continuity) and Wanda Tuchock (additional dialogue) (The Champ); Christa Winsloe and Friedrich Dammann (as F.D. Andam); from the play by Christa Winsloe (Mädchen in Uniform); S.J. Perelman and Will B. Johnstone (screenplay); Arthur Sheekman (additional dialogue) (Monkey Business)

Lee Garmes (Shanghai Express and Scarface) (Cinematography); C. Roy Hunter (Frankenstein) (Sound); Charles D. Hall and Kenneth Strickfaden (Frankenstein) (Art Direction-Set Decoration); Jack Pierce and Pauline Eells (Frankenstein) (Makeup); Wally Westmore (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) (Special Effects)


Erik Beck said...

I go with Scarface over Frankenstein, but they're both good choices. But I list Horse Feathers as eligible here - I assume you must have it in 32-33, because I can't imagine you passing it over.

And much as I love March, I go with Muni. But I've always considered Beery's performance to be his worst hamminess come to life. And I definitely go with Dietrich for the win here.

And I list Vampyr as being eligible here - it is my #2 Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay as well as my Best Foreign Film. You have it in another year perhaps?

So glad to see you finally moving forward in time. As someone who took over a month to get from 1995 to 1996 recently, I feel your pain.

Mythical Monkey said...

Vampyr and Horse Feathers I treat as 1932-33 movies, although I'm not sure in retrospect I remember why. If I had treated Horse Feathers as a 1931-32 movie, the Marx Brothers would have won for comedy and then Charles Laughton would have won for his comedic turn as Henry VIII a year later. I think Horse Feathers is actually the purest distillation of what the Marx boys were all about, the music being part of it.

And Vampyr is one of the greatest vampire movies of all time.

Ginger Ingenue said...

Yep. Every time I watch HORSE FEATHERS I think, This is the best one because it's equal. They all get to sing or play music. They all get a chance to shine. Even Zeppo!


I can't wait to see Mae Clarke in WATERLOO BRIDGE. TCM finally aired it again last year (seems to be a pretty rare title) and I taped it, but it's been boxed up for months now along with almost all my other movies.

I'm glad to know she gave a great performance! I was mostly gonna watch it just to see the original, and didn't know there was really much to it...

WIM GRUNDY! said...

Finally found FIVE STAR FINAL on TCM. Karloff is fine in it as a supporting actor as well!