Monday, September 25, 2023

1965 Alternate Oscars

I've said it before, which has never stopped me from saying it (or anything else) again — Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music gives the greatest performance by an actress in a musical in the history of Hollywood. The only real challengers in my mind are Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins and Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria.

Okay, so I like Julie Andrews.

That said, does that make The Sound of Music the best movie of 1965? Well ...

I have some problems with The Sound of Music. The supporting work of Eleanor Parker and Christopher Plummer — two actors I really like, mind you — is hammy in the extreme. And Ben Wright (as the cranky Nazi) acts like he's parachuted in from an episode of Hogan's Heroes.

Worse, the storyline — a sweet romance between a young novitiate and a father of forty — never meshes with the subplot of the looming Nazi Anschluss. It's not that you can't mix romance and politics — the love triangle in Casablanca, for example, is inextricably intertwined with the anti-fascist politics of its main characters — but in The Sound of Music, one has nothing to do with the other. Maria and the Captain will or won't fall in love regardless of what happens to Austria, and the movie is really over when the wedding bells ring and the nuns sing "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria."
But then you've got to get all those kids over the Alps to America so the movie grinds on for another thirty minutes. Can't they just buy tickets on the Concorde and be done with it?

Still, I've never warmed to the movie's top two competitors (at least among the alternate Oscar crowd). Doctor Zhivago, an epic tale of romance during the Russian Revolution, is well acted but neverending; and Roman Polanski's Repulsion, starring Catharine Deneuve as a sexually-repressed woman who turns homicidal over a long weekend, is just a bit too arty for my tastes.

That leaves Chimes at Midnight, Orson Welles's take on Falstaff and Prince Hal, which is brilliant but nobody, not even Welles fans, has ever seen it. And while the music in the Beatles' Help! is fantastic, the story is ... wait, is there a story?

So I'm going with The Sound of Music. But I'm not making a fuss about it.

Feel free to disagree with me. You always do!

My choices are noted with a ★. A tie is indicated with a ✪. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. Best foreign-language picture winners are noted with an ƒ. A historical winner who won in a different category is noted with a ✱.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Belle de jour !!