Saturday, February 10, 2007

31 days of Oscar: day 10

This month, Turner Classic Movies celebrates movies and the Academy Awards by presenting 31 Days of Oscar. Each Day from Feb.1 through March 3, a different category of the awards will be the theme of the day; featuring films that were nominated or won in that category. The Shelf will be joining in the celebration by giving you our Oscar pick of the Day!

Today's category is Best Special/Visual Effects - Nominees and Winners (part one). If you are a fan of Ray Harryhausen, Batman, Raquel Welch or action and adventure in general, today is your day. Here's today's schedule (all times are EST):

6:15 AM Secret Command (’44)
7:45 AM Dr. Cyclops (’40)
9:15 AM Krakatoa, East of Java (’69)
11:30 AM One Million B.C. (’40)
1:00 PM A Thousand and One Nights (’45)
2:45 PM 2001: A Space Odyssey (’68)
5:30 PM Marooned (’69)
8:00 PM 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (’54)
10:30 PM Batman Returns (’92)
12:45 AM Only Angels Have Wings (’39)
3:00 AM Starship Troopers (’97)

And our Oscar pick goes to... Only Angels Have Wings! Howard Hawks takes a script and turns it into a tense, dramatic tear jerker of an action film about airmail pilots in South America. Cary Grant plays Geoff Carter, the lead pilot, in an excellent dramatic performance. Jean Arthur also stars as Bonnie Lee, a tourist who meets Carter while between boats. She falls for him, but he tries to remain distant and avoid falling for her. Later Carter's old flame Judy (Rita Hayworth) returns and things get complicated. Thomas Mitchell turns in another great performance as veteran pilot Kid Dabb. The constant danger these pilots are in flying in and out of the South American fog and mountains is palpable and the tension is a constant presence throughout the movie. The effects are well done and only add to the atmosphere, and never take away or distract from the story. That makes it a winner for Best Effects in my book.
Only Angels Have Wings was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Effects and Best Cinematography, but did not win. You can watch the film today on TCM, or you can order the DVD through the usual online retailers and the TCM shop. Only Angels Have Wings was previously released as a single disc some time ago under the Columbia Classics Label. It was also rereleased last year on DVD as part of the great The Cary Grant Box Set.

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