Saturday, August 3, 2019


This is my choice (choices) for Best Picture for the year 1946.  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). 

Unlike 1945, 1946 gave me too many choices instead of too few.

And the nominees on the entries from every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die are...
The Best Years of Our Life
Brief Encounter
The Postman Always Rings Twice
My Darling Clementine
The Stranger
Beauty and the Beast
The Big Sleep
The Killers
A Matter of Life and Death
Great Expectations
Black Narcissus
It's a Wonderful Life

And the winner for the Best Picture of 1946 is…It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

There were so many worthwhile choices from this year, but how could I not go with the story of George Bailey, Bedford Falls and a guardian angel named Clarence? How many times have I seen this movie? Too many to count and it always hits the spot the right way. It's got to be the winner. The other category was a little harder.
It's a Wonderful Life

And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1946 is...A Matter of Life and Death

A Matter of Life and Death

Labeling which films should be categorized as Unique and Artistic is difficult. Maybe that's one reason the Academy dumped this award after one year.

A Matter of Life and Death doesn't have the epic narrative arc of the The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp or the scenic romanticism of I Know Where I'm Going!, but A Matter of Life and Death is the Powell/Pressburger film of the three that I enjoyed the most.

The plot of a doomed pilot that is snatched from the jaws of death accidentally and finds his true love is pretty similar plotwise to the later Heaven Can Wait. The film's fantasy elements and use of color and black and white film give the film an otherworldly effect similar to The Wizard of Oz. The section of the film with the pilot trying to make a case to stay on earth could have ventured into over sentimentalization, but never does. In fact, his trial before jurors from the after-life might be the highlight of the film.

The leads of David Niven and Kim Hunter in the film are fine. But the two performers that really stand out are Raymond Massey as the celestial prosecutor and Roger Livesy (who was in the other two films I mentioned and has one of the greatest screen voices of all-time) as the doctor.

A Matter of Life and Death

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