Wednesday, February 07, 2007

31 days of Oscar: day 7

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 Actor- Nominees. Today's schedule includes one of the first films nominated for an Academy Award, Alibi, in 1929; which is also making its first airing on TCM. Here's today's schedule (all times are EST):

6:00 AM The Hustler (’61)
8:30 AM This Sporting Life (’63)
11:00 AM The Entertainer (’60)
1:00 PM The Last Angry Man (’59)
3:00 PM Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (’39)
5:15 PM Anatomy of a Murder (’59)
8:00 PM Inherit the Wind (’60)
10:15 PM Starman (’84)
12:15 AM Good Morning, Vietnam (’87)
2:30 AM The Last Detail (’73)
4:30 AM Alibi (’29)

And our Oscar pick goes to... Anatomy of a Murder! I could have easily picked Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which is one of my favorite Stewart films, but Anatomy of a Murder is such a great film, that I believe has more influence in today's television and even films than we realize. Otto Preminger's movie adaptation of the book of the same name, is one of the first "modern courtroom" movies which dealt some blows to the MPAA for its inclusion of words and themes dealing with rape. Most of the conventions of the courtroom drama and prosecutorial shows were influenced by this film. Anatomy of a Murder is sort of Matlock's and Law and Order's grandpappy. James Stewart really shines in his role as former prosecutor, Paul Biegler who would rather be out hooking a fish than trying to hook a witness on the stand, but finds himself defending a young army Lieutenant accused of murder. Things are further complicated when it's discovered than the man killed had raped the Lieutenant's wife. The film co stars Eve Arden, Ben Gazzara, Lee Rimick in her first major role, and a young George C. Scott as the State assistant DA. This was one of Scott's first film roles and his performance is excellent. I have always thought that this film could have been vey easily turned into a television show.

Anatomy of a Murder was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Picture. The film's soundtrack and score was written by Duke Ellington, who has a cameo in the film. Duke's score won a well deserved Grammy award.You can watch the film today on TCM, or you can order the DVD through the usual online retailers and the TCM shop. You can also pick up Duke Ellington's award-winning soundtrack here.

For more information on TCM's 31 Days of Oscar, visit the Turner Classic Movies website.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Now, Mr. Dancer, get off the panties. You've done enough damage.

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