Sunday, March 29, 2009


* West Side Story
was the movie of the year. George Chakras and Rita Moreno both won as supporting roles. One of the milestones of music and dance on film, Romeo and Juliet is updated for the 20th century, set on the mean streets of New York where rival gangs fight and fateful lovers are torn apart. Swept the 1961 Oscars including awards for the Bernstein/Sondheim score.

Judgment at Nuremberg
Starring Maximilian Schell as best actor. Spencer Tracy was nominated as was Montgomery Clift. Nominated for best supporting actress was Judy Garland. After the end of World War II, the world gradually became aware of the full extent of the war crimes perpetrated by the Third Reich. In 1948, a series of trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, by an international tribunal, headed by American legal and military officials, with the intent of bringing to justice those guilty of crimes against humanity. However, by that time most of the major figures of the Nazi regime were either dead or long missing, and in the resulting legal proceedings American judges often found themselves confronting the question of how much responsibility someone held who had "just followed orders."

The Hustler: Paul Newman was nominated for best actor, as were George C Scott and Jackie Gleason. Lead female role nominee; Piper Laurie. "Fast" Eddie Felson is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. His bravado causes him to challenge the legendary "Minnesota Fats" to a high-stakes match, but he loses in a heartbreaking marathon. Now broke and without his long-time manager, Felson faces an uphill battle to regain his confidence and his game. It isn't until he hits rock bottom that he agrees to join up with ruthless and cutthroat manager Bert Gordon. Gordon agrees to take him on the road to learn the ropes. But Felson soon realizes that making it to the top could cost him his soul, and perhaps his girlfriend. Will he decide that this is too steep a price to pay in time to save himself?

The Guns of Navarone are huge Nazi cannons, installed on an Aegean island behind enemy lines. Anthony Quayle is the officer assigned by the British to lead a task force to put the guns out of commission. When Quayle is injured, the mission winds up in the relatively inexperienced hands of Gregory Peck.

Fanny When her boyfriend leaves her pregnant and sails off to sea, a young French girl marries an older man for security. Problems arise when the boyfriend returns to claim his woman and son. Remade from 1932

Splendor in the Grass stared Natalie Wood, nominated for best actress and Warren Beatty. The movie was a screen play by William Inge. The story of two Kansas high school sweethearts growing up in the late 1920s through the stock market crash of 1929. Bud and Deanie are very much in love, but the pressures of sex in society creates a rift in their relationship. Bud's father encourages him to leave Deanie to find "another kind of girl" which drives Deanie into madness. She is committed into an institution while Bud reluctantly obeys his father and enrolls in Yale. The crash of '29 hits and changes the lives of both their families. Together they learn the harsh lesson of love and life in the '20s and sadly go their separate ways.

Summer and Smoke was credited with a nomination of Geraldine Page repeats her stage role as minister's daughter Alma Wine miller, who lives a spinsterish existence in her WWI-era Mississippi home town. Though her hateful mother has nothing but nasty things to say about men, Alma carries a torch for her handsome next-door neighbor and lifelong friend, Dr. John Buchanan, played by Laurence Harvey. The doctor prefers the companionship of Rosa, Rita Moreno, a "wrong side of the tracks" girl who is as open and freewheeling as Alma is shy and repressed. Desperate for Buchanan's attention, Alma begins behaving with uncharacteristic affection towards him. He misreads her signals and attempts to seduce her. Already on the edge, Alma goes ballistic, literally running out of Buchanan's life. When the doctor throws an engagement party for himself and Rosa, the neurotic Alma tells Buchanan's father that a wantonly immoral get-together is taking place in the doctor's home. And yes, it is another Tennessee Williams play turned movie.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s starred Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. Audrey Hepburn shines in this peppy and poignant romance based on the novella by Truman Capote as the bright-eyed free spirit Holly Golightly, who lives the high life in New York City by dating wealthy men until she becomes entangled with her humble neighbor (George Peppard). My all time personal favorite movie!

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