Monday, August 19, 2019


This is my choice (choices) for Best Picture for the year 1954.  My criteria is that I can only use films that are on the 1001 list. To make it a little easier on myself, I am using the rules of the first Academy Award and name a winner for Best Picture (won by Wings for 1927-1928) and Best and Unique and Artistic Picture (won by Sunrise from 1927-1928). 

This year is often noted as being the best year of the Classic Movie era. There are a lot of potential choices here, but my two winners seem pretty clear.

And the nominees on the entries from every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die are...
Johnny Guitar
On the Waterfront
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Les Diaboliques
Animal Farm
Rear Window
A Star is Born
The Barefoot Contessa
La Strada
Silver Lode
Carmen Jones
Sansho the Baliff
Salt of the Earth
And the winner for the Best Picture of 1954 is…Rear Window

Rear Window

In Rear Window, Stewart plays Jeff Jeffries, a photographer with a broken leg and an impossibly beautiful society girlfriend (Grace Kelly) who likes to bitch at him about his lifestyle and talk about eating at Twenty-One. Jeffries has little to do but sit around his apartment and spy on his neighbors, who seem to, luckily for the movie audience, not believe in curtains. We, the viewer, get to put ourselves in the postion of Jeffries, also the viewer, and live vicariously through him. Of course, he witnesses foul play from one of these neighbors and putting together the puzzle pieces as to what is going on is most of the fun in one of my favorite Hitchcock movies.

Rear Window

And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1954 is...The Seven Samurai
The Seven Samurai

I had never seen an Akira Kurosawa movie until about fifteen years ago when I decided to finally pick up a copy of The Seven Samurai from the Criterion Collection. And after my viewing, I have to admit I was blown away. It's definitely on the short list of greatest films of all-time by any definition. 

It's the story of seven samurai warriors hired by villagers to save their village from the onslaught of oncoming bandits. It's great as an adventure film, a philosophical treatise of good vs. evil, right and wrong and there are so many stories within the film's many characters, that one can watch it many times and always get something new out of it. I liked it watching it for the third or fourth time this time out and hope not to wait so long before watching it again.

The Seven Samurai was remade in America as The Magnificent Seven, but that film pales when put up against the original in my opinion.

The Seven Samurai