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Results of the 40s Best Picture Nominee Poll


Guest obrienmundy
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Guest obrienmundy

A few weeks ago, I asked in the thread "A Favor" if you all could help participate in a poll I was doing for the IMDb. Many of you helped me, for which I thank you immensely. This thread will show the results of the poll, starting from the bottom and going up. I hope you enjoy the results, they are the work of 66 people and have not been altered in any way. And now, the results!

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Very interesting exercise, obrienmundy! Of course I'll never understand why Wilson doesn't score higher. I think it's one of the great films of all time!

 

You really don't understand?    How about the lead being played by Alexander Knox and the picture being about President Wilson.

 

Neither one ranks very high in terms of being well known in their given field or having 'big' personalities.   

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You really don't understand?    How about the lead being played by Alexander Knox and the picture being about President Wilson.

 

Neither one ranks very high in terms of being well known in their given field or having 'big' personalities.   

 

For it being an Oscar winner, I've never even heard of Wilson.  Apparently it was a pet project of Darryl F. Zanuck who admired Woodrow Wilson.  Watching a biopic of President Wilson doesn't sound very interesting, to me anyway, but I'm not big on politics. Reading the Wikipedia entry, it apparently was a costly flop and people were prohibited from mentioning it in Zanuck's presence.  Apparently, Franklin D. Roosevelt screened this film at a conference with Winston Churchill and Churchill, unimpressed, left in the middle of the film to go to bed. 

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You really don't understand?    How about the lead being played by Alexander Knox and the picture being about President Wilson.

 

Neither one ranks very high in terms of being well known in their given field or having 'big' personalities.   

I tend to take these things as movies. That's why I hardly ever watch RO -- his intros tend to be about the "stars," not about the films.

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Somehow I can see a hagiography about a president who praised The Birth of a Nation not making the top 500 cut, let alone the top 50. The fact that the film was also vetted by the subject's daughter doesn't exactly inspire one's confidence in its objectivity.

 

(Full disclosure:  I went to Woodrow Wilson High School, so the above comment may be more sympathetic to the movie than it would be otherwise.) ;)

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I tend to take these things as movies. That's why I hardly ever watch RO -- his intros tend to be about the "stars," not about the films.

 

I'm not sure I'm following what you mean by 'take these things as movies'.   If you mean you're just judging the movie 'as is' I get that but for one to do that one has to first see the movie.     My point was that it can be difficult to get one to see a movie that doesn't feature a major star and does feature a leading man that is somewhat bland and uninteresting as well as a historical character that can also be classified like that. 

 

I have seen the movie and to me it was only OK.    But I can understand why others wouldn't even wish to see it (or that it would be low on their bucket list) based on what they may read about the movie.  

 

e.g. if we were talking about a movie on Teddy Roosevelt starring Orson Welles the odds are a lot higher more people would have seeked out that film.   

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I'm not sure I'm following what you mean by 'take these things as movies'.   If you mean you're just judging the movie 'as is' I get that but for one to do that one has to first see the movie.     My point was that it can be difficult to get one to see a movie that doesn't feature a major star and does feature a leading man that is somewhat bland and uninteresting as well as a historical character that can also be classified like that. 

 

I have seen the movie and to me it was only OK.    But I can understand why others wouldn't even wish to see it (or that it would be low on their bucket list) based on what they may read about the movie.  

 

e.g. if we were talking about a movie on Teddy Roosevelt starring Orson Welles the odds are a lot higher more people would have seeked out that film.   

How many fiction movies about ordinary men and women have we watched, and enjoyed? Why should a film about the President who envisioned the League of Nations be boring? It's a big biopic, and yes it's hagiographic; but no more so than Henry V, who fared better in this poll. And, like all Hollywood biopics, it's not history (please let's not have that discussion again), but there's a lot of history in it. And I think Knox gives a great performance. It's a big, old Hollywood epic, so relax and enjoy it. You get to hear Charles Coburn sing, you get perhaps the best depiction of an old-time Presidential convention ever put into a Hollywood film; and you get a lot of great figures from the past, including a crusty old Henry Cabot Lodge, brilliantly played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. And you get newsreel footage of the real Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Marie Dressler, and Al Jolson.

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How many fiction movies about ordinary men and women have we watched, and enjoyed? Why should a film about the President who envisioned the League of Nations be boring? It's a big biopic, and yes it's hagiographic; but no more so than Henry V, who fared better in this poll. And, like all Hollywood biopics, it's not history (please let's not have that discussion again), but there's a lot of history in it. And I think Knox gives a great performance. It's a big, old Hollywood epic, so relax and enjoy it. You get to hear Charles Coburn sing, you get perhaps the best depiction of an old-time Presidential convention ever put into a Hollywood film; and you get a lot of great figures from the past, including a crusty old Henry Cabot Lodge, brilliantly played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. And you get newsreel footage of the real Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Marie Dressler, and Al Jolson.

 

Note that my point all along was to explain why I believe Wilson wasn't included as a top movie of the 40s (since you said you didn't understand why).    I never said those reasons were legit or reasonable reasons,  just that they may be the reason.    

 

You don't need to sell me on seeing the movie since, as I noted, I have seen it.     There can be only two reasons why the film wasn't listed by others at this forum;  Either they have seen it and didn't feel it was a top picture of the 40s, or they have NOT seen it.

 

So your question as to 'why' needs to be answered by those,  like Speedracer,  that have not seen the film.

 

Anyhow for those that have not seen it maybe what you have written here will get them to see it. 

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Note that my point all along was to explain why I believe Wilson wasn't included as a top movie of the 40s (since you said you didn't understand why).    I never said those reasons were legit or reasonable reasons,  just that they may be the reason.    

 

You don't need to sell me on seeing the movie since, as I noted, I have seen it.     There can be only two reasons why the film wasn't listed by others at this forum;  Either they have seen it and didn't feel it was a top picture of the 40s, or they have NOT seen it.

 

So your question as to 'why' needs to be answered by those,  like Speedracer,  that have not seen the film.

 

Anyhow for those that have not seen it maybe what you have written here will get them to see it. 

Quite right, and as always, it's also a question of taste. For example, related to other 40s movies, although I think two of John Huston's films made very late in his career are among the best films ever (Wise Blood and The Dead), I'm not a fan of The Maltese Falcon or The Treasure of Sierra Madre, which did very well in this 40s poll. As Huston himself has said, I defy anyone to find a style in my work. In fact, there is definitely a style, in my opinion, in the later work -- it's John Ford's style! Which I think is why I love Wise Blood and The Dead so much.

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Note that my point all along was to explain why I believe Wilson wasn't included as a top movie of the 40s (since you said you didn't understand why).    I never said those reasons were legit or reasonable reasons,  just that they may be the reason.    

 

You don't need to sell me on seeing the movie since, as I noted, I have seen it.     There can be only two reasons why the film wasn't listed by others at this forum;  Either they have seen it and didn't feel it was a top picture of the 40s, or they have NOT seen it.

 

So your question as to 'why' needs to be answered by those,  like Speedracer,  that have not seen the film.

 

Anyhow for those that have not seen it maybe what you have written here will get them to see it. 

I have not seen WILSON. Has it ever been shown on TCM? I know it was a Fox film in which Zanuck took much pride.

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Well it is a 20th Century \ Fox film so I assume TCM hasn't shown it and it is placed in a box next to all those Susan Hayward films we want to see! 

Actually tho it is a Fox film, Wilson was shown on TCM on February 8, 2013, probably a TCM premiere (I did a search and found a thread that I started). I forgot the context, but I think there was one. My Gal Sal, another Fox film, was shown on the same day.

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I can't complain too much about the results of the poll. After all, 11 of the top 13 were on my list, too. I was a little surprised that Random Harvest made the top ten. This is the kind of film a lot of critics don't like, but is popular with many viewers. Would you have predicted that it would wind up higher than Mildred Pierce?

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WILSON has aired on TCM at least twice. I know because I started it both times ... and didn't finish it either time. I didn't hate it, but it's really long and pretty dry. It's a little too much like sitting through a history lecture, and there are some painfully literal-minded scenes, like the montage of the various bills Wilson signed into law during his presidency, which is represented on screen by, well, a bunch of shots of him sitting at his desk signing bills into law, pausing with each bill so we can read the name of it. Possibly it picks up and gets a little more dramatic in the final third with the conflict over the League of Nations. I don't know. I haven't made it that far. I think Alexander Knox is a fine actor (loved him in SISTER KENNEY), but he doesn't bring any flair to his portrayal of Wilson at all. Maybe he felt it was an accurate portrayal. It's just not a very compelling one, given that he's on screen virtually every minute of the three hours.

 

On the other hand, it's not a total loss ... you've got greats like Charles Coburn, Thomas Mitchell, Cedric Hardwicke and Geraldine Fitzgerald in supporting roles. If and when it ever shows up on TCM again, I'll try to finish it.

 

My pick for No. 1 was GREAT EXPECTATIONS, and I'm pleased to see it almost made the Top 20. Interesting to see CITIZEN KANE that far down the list. Of course, it was No.1 on the SIGHT AND SOUND poll forever, until VERTIGO has finally surpassed it the last couple of votes. I think there's some finally some (mild) backlash against it. Not that it isn't brilliant, but it doesn't stay with you emotionally, like say, RANDOM HARVEST, which is maybe why that film did so well.

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WILSON has aired on TCM at least twice. I know because I started it both times ... and didn't finish it either time. I didn't hate it, but it's really long and pretty dry. It's a little too much like sitting through a history lecture, and there are some painfully literal-minded scenes, like the montage of the various bills Wilson signed into law during his presidency, which is represented on screen by, well, a bunch of shots of him sitting at his desk signing bills into law, pausing with each bill so we can read the name of it. Possibly it picks up and gets a little more dramatic in the final third with the conflict over the League of Nations. I don't know. I haven't made it that far. I think Alexander Knox is a fine actor (loved him in SISTER KENNEY), but he doesn't bring any flair to his portrayal of Wilson at all. Maybe he felt it was an accurate portrayal. It's just not a very compelling one, given that he's on screen virtually every minute of the three hours.

 

On the other hand, it's not a total loss ... you've got greats like Charles Coburn, Thomas Mitchell, Cedric Hardwicke and Geraldine Fitzgerald in supporting roles. If and when it ever shows up on TCM again, I'll try to finish it.

 

My pick for No. 1 was GREAT EXPECTATIONS, and I'm pleased to see it almost made the Top 20. Interesting to see CITIZEN KANE that far down the list. Of course, it was No.1 on the SIGHT AND SOUND poll forever, until VERTIGO has finally surpassed it the last couple of votes. I think there's some finally some (mild) backlash against it. Not that it isn't brilliant, but it doesn't stay with you emotionally, like say, RANDOM HARVEST, which is maybe why that film did so well.

Just shows how different tastes can be! I've enjoyed that Great Expectations, but I find it a stodgy too-many-words-on-screen film, despite the fine performances.  So different from Lean's later work, particularly A Passage to India, by which time the man had really learned how to use a camera and tell a story with images!

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I just noticed one of my favorite '40s movies didn't make the list at all: "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp"

 

(...well, I suppose Churchill would be happy about this anyway!)

 

Remember for this poll we could only select from best picture nominees.    The results would be different if we could select any film released in the 40s  (but with so many pictures to chose from the results might be all over the map). 

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Remember for this poll we could only select from best picture nominees.    The results would be different if we could select any film released in the 40s  (but with so many pictures to chose from the results might be all over the map). 

 

Aah! Didn't know that, James. Thanks.

 

(...and so in that case, I guess Winnie would be glad it wasn't nominated either, huh!) ;)

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If I didn't like you so much I could have made fun of you about not reading the title of this thread. 

 

Oh, no,  I think I just did!   :lol:

 

LOL

 

Yeah, I have to admit that THAT was even worse than how finance sometimes doesn't bother to read a majority of a thread before replyin' to it, huh!

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