Sunday, July 30, 2006

Best Supporting Actress 1961


Our friend StinkyLulu has some very bad news over at his blog. Get there and give him your support. But the man is one of those tireless, unstoppable bloggers I'm in slight awe of, and I'm delighted to say that his ongoing supporting actress project isn't taking a breather even on this saddest of Sundays. I've been remiss this month in not managing to see all five of the nominated performances from 1961 — blame the unavailability of Summer and Smoke either on DVD or VHS in this country, and me being too slow off the mark to track it down elsewhere. (Thanks for the offer, though, Nick!) As a result, Una Merkel's nominated performance will have to pass without comment here (let's just say fellow supporting actress smackdowners weren't over-impressed.) Still, it was a quality year otherwise: the veteran character actress Fay Bainter, in William Wyler's second stab at adapting The Children's Hour, is rivetingly over-receptive to the vicious gossip cooked up by her granddaughter; Judy Garland acquits herself really pretty well in Stanley Kramer's all-star tribute to Nazi shame, Judgment at Nuremberg (while hardly putting brilliant Best Actor-winner Maximillian Schell in the shade); Lotte Lenya is poisonously watchable pimping out gigolos to ageing American tourists in the Tennessee Williams-derived The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone; and Rita Moreno — though this should be news to no one — is quite the best thing in West Side Story. Head over to stinky's and see what the others thought; thanks Nat, again, for the banner and the clipreel.

On a side note, more, soon, if I ever get round to a long review, on why even Kate Hudson's bearable in Iain Softley's rather overlooked Louisiana spook story The Skeleton Key, why the same movie has the best use of Gena Rowlands in donkey's years, and how it stands out in the dubious oeuvre of twist-fond screenwriter Ehren Kruger (Reindeer Games, The Ring) for being tightly ingenious, satisfyingly grim, and surprisingly witty on a second viewing. Well worth a rental folks.

6 comments:

Goran said...

Oh hey, you're back! Woo hoo! Welcome back

NATHANIEL R said...

yes welcome back. and I agree on Schell. I usually hate loud screaming man performances but... my god I thought he shaded nearly every unhinged moment. good stuff. lots of undercurrents, etc...

TF said...

Humn, Skeleton Key is a problem. Happy as I am to watch Kate scoot round the South in her flip-flops and VW, the ending is just too grim compared to the rest for my tastes. It makes the film feel lopsided, as though H.P. Lovecraft got hold of the last ten minutes. Nightwatch trash, Mirrormask a joy, incidentally. You were absolutely right.

martinqblank said...

Everybody knows the ending of "The Skeleton Key" would have been 77.75% improved if Sarsgaard and Kate Hudson had performed a lively calypso a la Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara in "Beetlejuice"...

tim r said...

You're quite right. "A beautiful bunch of rrripe BANANAS! Daylight come and I worn-a go hoome..."

Still, watch it again and check out Rowlands flirting with Sarsgaard in the opening scenes, it's really funny. Obviously I would, if I were Gena Rowlands or indeed anyone in any of Sarsgaard's films. But now you're distracting me.

Ali said...

I really enjoyed The Skeleton Key too, which was much more thrilling and entertaining than the Japanese horror remakes of late. I'd like to watch it again one of these days.

When is the next guest director oeuvre?!