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February 24, 2009

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DVD of the Week – A Few Best Picture Winners, 1930s-1960s

by HELEN GEIB

Ask me what I think of the Oscars and you’ll hear far more criticism than praise, especially when it comes to the best picture category. But while the Academy’s track record in recognizing the best films leaves a lot to be desired, the Oscar has found its way to many good films and a few great ones over the years. This week I spotlight four of those films, one for each decade from the 1930s through the 1960s.

 1930s

It Happened One Night (1934) is one of the great films, a sparkling romantic comedy directed by Frank Capra and starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Truly a must-see for all movie lovers.

 1940s

Another of the greats, The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is a perceptive, understated, and deeply moving study of the struggles faced by three returning servicemen and their families in adjusting to post-war life. The fine cast includes Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Harold Russell (all pictured above), Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, and Cathy O’Donnell; the film was directed by William Wyler.

 1950s

A film that should need no introduction, David Lean’s The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957) is one of the cinema’s finest prisoner of war dramas. Alec Guiness plays the commander of the mostly British POWs held in a Japanese camp in Burma, Sessue Hayakawa plays the camp commander, and William Holden is a cynical American POW determined to escape.

 1960s

Adapted by Robert Bolt from his acclaimed play and directed by Fred Zinneman, A Man for All Seasons (1966) is a powerful and intelligent biopic of Thomas More, martyred under King Henry VIII upon the establishment of the Anglican Church. Paul Scofield stars as More, with Robert Shaw as Henry and Leo McKern as Thomas Cromwell.

New releases this week: Sex Drive, What Just Happened


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  1. Adele Hoskin
    Feb 25 2009

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