Listed as one of the 100 greatest films of all time, Elmer Gantry is an entertaining, powerful melodrama with memorable performances by Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy and Shirley Jones. It is the controversial telling of Sinclair Lewis’ novel regarding the charismatically engaging, but scandalous Midwestern salesman turned preacher in the 1920s.
Burt Lancaster comes on the screen with an obvious penchant for smooth talking, and the need for drink, but when he meets traveling revivalist female preacher, Jean Simmons, he falls for her, and soon decides to become an Evangelist.
They become loved and idolized, while Elmer continues to indulge in his past sins, and a jealous former lover wants revenge for being jilted.
One of the Best films of 1960, over the years it has become even more loved and revered. Winner of 5 Academy Award nominations and 3 Wins including Best Actor for Burt Lancaster and Supporting Actress Shirley Jones.
Touted as the most American film ever made, John Wayne’s “supposedly” directorial debut, The Alamo, became more of an Oscar campaign than any other movie prior. Both Wayne who starred as Davy Crockett, and Chill Wills campaigned relentlessly for the movie and Chill for his supporting actor nomination. Wayne tirelessly campaigned for the film, suggesting with ads that it would be unpatriotic not to vote for the film – “the most expensive picture ever made on American soil”
Sons & Lovers was adapted from the autobiographical book by D.H. Lawrence. A dramatic look at family, love and how that love can destroy us, and damage us. One of the most powerful character driven dramas of it’s time, Sons& Lovers was a great vehicle for it’s stars Trevor Howard and Wendy Hiller, both nominated for acting awards.
A young Dean Stockwell plays their youngest son, Paul. He was also very good in this film, but overlooked by the Academy. The cinematography was superb and won the Award that year for Freddie Francis. A good movie, with powerful performances is many times overlooked.
After his previous successes with From Here to Eternity, High Noon and Oklahoma, Director Fred Zinnemann again brought a powerful hit with the Sundowners. Starring Robert Mitchum (who was not nominated) and Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov gave outstanding performances in a tight woven drama, that today has not garnered a following.
The story of an Irish sheep-herding family in Australia during the 1920s, a wife determined to keep her husband stable and set, and the husband that dreams to have it all. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards, it came home empty handed.
Nominated 10 times and winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (co-written by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond), Best B/W Art Direction/Set Decoration, and Best Film Editing, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment has been said to be his best work.
The story of an up and coming young men played by Jack Lemmon, who secretly lends out his apartment to other company executives for adulterous sexual affairs and liaisons. This is fine until he realizes that the young elevator girl, played by Shirley MacLaine, whom he has feelings for is being taken for trysts by his married boss (Fred MacMurray) to his apartment.
This movie was a glimpse at what had happened to corporate America during the 1960’s when a lowly but ambitious accountant prostitutes his own standards and moral integrity and allows himself to be exploited just so that he can get ahead. Powerful and engaging performances by Lemmon, MacLaine and Fred MacMurray (one of the omitted of 1960) as well as Ray Walston and Edie Adams.
The Apartment, today is still a moving and entertaining film, even if somewhat out-dated. It is listed as one of the 100 Greatest Movies of all time. Was it the Best Picture of 1960? Many will dispute that. Was it the Best Picture out of the nominees? There is no question there. But then Psycho wasn’t nominated…