Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And the Real Winners from 1944 Are ...

First off, thank you to everyone who took my poll. The winning movie for 1944, according to you, would have been "Laura," a wonderful and deserving selection. You have good taste!

As for the real winners from 1944 (and what a great photo from Life magazine above) were "Going My Way" for best picture, Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald for best actor and supporting actor from "Going My Way," Ingrid Bergman for best actress for "Gaslight," and Ethel Barrymore for best supporting actress for "None But the Lonely Heart."

"Going My Way" had a great run -- the top box office draw of the year and winner of six Oscars (the others were for best director, original story and the song "Swinging on a Star"). But before the naysaying begins, also note that "Going My Way" won the New York Film Critics award that year (with "Hail the Conquering Hero" as the runner-up).

I do like "Going My Way," very much so. It may not have the artistry of some of the others, and its episodic nature may not be as compelling as the strong narratives in "Double Indemnity" or "Laura." But its gentle charms are many, and it's a film you really need to think about within the context of 1944. This type of reassuring fare meant a lot to audiences. My mother said it was the first film she saw in a theater and remembers it fondly. In fact, a few years ago we watched it together, and I'm really glad we did. I know she enjoyed it.

If you want me to do a full-blown review of the movie, let me know. I'd be happy to oblige. Otherwise, I'll wrap up my salute to the 1944 best picture race and thank everyone for tuning in. It's been fun!

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