Sunday, July 29, 2018

1943 Alternate Oscars

My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔.

Some previously-published thoughts about Dooley Wilson, Humphrey Bogart and the ending of Casablanca.

Every now and then I see a complaint—or maybe just a plaintive wail—about the ending of Casablanca, along the lines of "But what about Sam?"

On an emotional level, I get it. Sam has followed Rick to hell and back, from at least Paris and probably before, all the way to this dead end job playing piano in the desert, and Rick just drops him like an unwieldy subplot, running off with Louie instead. What the fork, man?

But logically, it makes complete sense. I think Rick figures the trip to the airport is strictly a one way ticket. After he gets Lazlo and Ilsa on the plane, he is, at best, going to wind up in a concentration camp; more than likely, the Gestapo will stand him up against a wall and shoot him. That's not the sort of end you ask a good friend to share.

"Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of." Indeed.

That Rick gets away is wholly unexpected. You can't blame the man for that.

I like to think he and Louie went back and got Sam. It's the romantic in me. And Carl and Sasha, too, and the croupier and the doorman. And Yvonne. She was pretty hot even if she was no Ingrid Bergman, but then Ingrid Bergman is on her way to America with another man, so what the hell.

And then, because it's also a great movie, Rick busts the cast of The Maltese Falcon out of jail—and now we've got Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Mary Astor along for the ride, too. Actually, we can have Greenstreet there twice since he also played Ferrari in Casablanca, and Lord knows he was fat enough to play two characters.

You've got a pretty good size army together by now.

Actually, this is just about what happened in Passage to Marseille, where Bogart, Rains, Lorre and Greenstreet reunited to fight the Nazis. They even brought in Michael Curtiz to direct it.

Now if they'd only brought in Howard Koch and the Epstein brothers to write it ...

Sunday, July 22, 2018

1942 Alternate Oscars

My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔.

Another great year for actresses, with Bette Davis, Greer Garson, Veronica Lake and Carole Lombard all turning in the best performances of their careers (in my humble opinion). I made my choice, but the final choice, as always, is up to you.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1941 Alternate Oscars

My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔.

I previously wrote about Citizen Kane here. And I had a word or two to say about Mary Astor's surprisingly divisive performance in The Maltese Falcon here.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

1940 Alternate Oscars

The Three Stooges?! What the what?!

And yet the fact is, the Stooges are the best known comedy team in the history of film, still popular (or passionately unpopular) after all these years and I think they are long overdue for some critical recognition.

Did you know they once got an Oscar nomination? They did—or their work did anyway—for the 1934 two-reeler Men in Black. And in 2002, Punch Drunks was selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry.

1940 represents the team at their peak, with arguably the two finest shorts of their career, You Nazty Spy!—a pointed satire of Hitler that beat Chaplin's The Great Dictator into theaters by ten months—and A Plumbing We Will Go, with Curly's attempts to fix a leaky shower serving as the funniest demonstration of the worthlessness of good intentions ever committed to film.

Anyway, my choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. As always, your choices are your own.