A Reconstruction era newspaper reader takes an unusual orphan under his wing

Hanks and Zengel

Tom Hanks in News of the World this past year was one of the first serious films I watched when talk of nominations began buzzing close to my ears. It was sometime in the heat of election season, which lasted through January, and it made me think of the state of news in the world today, which has seemed depressing during the last four years. Paulette Jiles’ novel, however, translated by Paul Greengrass onto screen, takes place in post-Civil War America in Texas, amidst Reconstruction and hard feelings…

Hitchcock broods with actors of the golden age.

original theatrical poster

Fresh off of his monumental victory for Gone with the Wind as Best Picture in 1940, David O. Selznick scored yet another Best Picture based on the 1938 novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maunier. The film is only half as long as Gone with the Wind, clocking in at 2 hours and 10 minutes, but like Gone with the Wind, it is set mostly in a large manor, except in England instead of the south. Du Maunier, some of her stories known for their slight skew of darkness, writes it on the…

The best Best Picture film in the Academy’s history, and a parade of whitewashed southern white supremacy

original movie poster

Watching Gone with the Wind was like eating steak, all the while coming to the realization that I’d only been tasting baby food while viewing the previous films that earned awards during the decade of the 1930’s. The longest motion picture up to the time had been The Great Ziegfeld, and it was an hour too long for my taste. Gone with the Wind was four hours, and it had an intermission. Its length was more tolerable than The Great Ziegfeld because its…

Frank Captra’s second Best Picture awared and third Best Director award.

The 1930’s brought comedies that many film critics consider escapist pieces because of their timeliness during the Great Depression, including the 1938 Best Picture Winner. Its director, Frank Capra, specifically known for this type of cinema, brought home a second Best Picture and third Best Director award for You Can’t Take It with You. It is a subtle farcical romantic comedy about star-crossed lovers from different sides of the tracks. …

The biography of an obscure French writer exposing French corruption at the turn of the 20th Century wins an Oscar.


When I came to The life of Emile Zola in the lineup of Academy Award movies, I had never heard of the author. He is not a historical figure who, to my recollection, emerged in any of my classes during my social studies degree. To be fair, my historical emphasis was more a survey of the World and US, and no French, so maybe Zola is merely someone who doesn’t stand out from a distance. …

The nuanced story behind the cinema spectacle


My ideas about Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, had already been sodden by it’s four main characters played in the movies: Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and Melanie. Upon casually remarking to a friend last year that I’d neither watched the film or read the book, it was apparent I should immediately do so, and several months later, I began with the film, which to me portrayed rather caricaturized characters all around, and a racist view of slavery. …

Musing on New Year’s goals and why I feel more positive

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

January is typically the month where people are diving into New Year’s Resolutions, if they choose to do so. Mid-January, like right now, has often been a make or break on then. Either do it or don’t.

I’m a psychotherapist by trade, so if I don’t, I usually give myself some kind of an out, so that I don’t completely fail right away, that buffers me from shutting down right away. But this year I didn’t have to do that. And this year I haven’t even written out all…

Hollywood’s first spectacle of glamour


Robert Leonard’s The Great Ziegfeld is an apt name for Robert Leonard’s 1937 film, as it is the first epic biopic chosen by the Academy, the first one being The Life of Emile Zola. The longest film chosen as Best Picture to date, and possibly the longest of its time, it pays tribute to Florenz Ziegfeld, creator of the Ziegfeld Follies, which were dance and performance pieces patterned off of those that had been observed by Ziegfeld in Paris. The story puts on display Mr. Ziegfeld’s desire to be a showman, promoting Eugen Sandow as…

How Frank Lloyd used anger, comedy and female window dressing to score a second Oscar for Best Picture.

Gable and Laughton ~Wikipedia

Frank Lloyd, two years fresh of having directed an epic piece of cinema that covered the beginning of the 20th Century, again won accolades for Mutiny on the Bounty, which won him accolades and Oscar nods, if not the statue itself, which went to John Ford for his work on The Informer. MGM, Lloyd’s studio had already completed several films per year that were nominated for best picture, but its last win had been Cavalcade, directed by Edmund Goulding.

Bringing laughter to moviegoers

With It Happened One Night, Director Frank Capra brings to the Great Depression a step up once again for the Best Picture category of the Oscars. If its predecessor, Cavalcade, was somber and reflective, It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, lost motion picture audiences in a whimsical, unpredictable romantic comedy. …

Patrick Ramsey

Writer, therapist, lover of traveling, slave of dark chocolate almonds - pronouns he / him / his - www.counselingwtx.net

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