Absorbing drama about American POWs in a German World War II camp. Apparently, someone amongst the prisoners is a traitor, but who? Fascinating assortment of characters exhibit real camaraderie. Although there is an expected gravity underlying the proceedings, never before has a POW camp been enlivened by so much humor. Even legendary film director Otto Preminger as the evil camp commander, appears humorously benevolent. In the hands of a lesser director, the mix of comedy and drama would be jarring, but writer-director Billy Wilder flawlessly adapts the 1951 Broadway play with a discerning eye. Actor William Holden is also brilliant as the cynical and self centered prisoner, J.J. Sefton, ostracized for the preferential treatment he receives from the enemy. It’s a brilliant achievement that earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor. His portrayal anchors a film already overflowing with brilliant performances.
Archive for 1953
Leisurely paced WWII story about the months preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. Best remembered for the romantic rendezvous between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr embracing on the beach as the waves crash over them. Be that as it may, this film is better appreciated as an acting powerhouse featuring one of the greatest casts of any film. Montgomery Clift is memorable as a private whose life is made miserable by an army captain when he refuses to fight in the regiment’s boxing team. Burt Lancaster is also excellent as a sergeant involved in an affair with his commander’s wife. Too emotionally sentimental to be a war movie and too macho to be a romantic drama. This entertaining (albeit overrated) literary adaptation fits somewhere in the middle. Received thirteen Academy Award nominations and won eight, including Best Picture.
Three women go to great lengths to land a rich husband. Marilyn Monroe playing ditsy Pola Debevoise is the most memorable. The script’s take on sexual politics of the 50s is a lighthearted and witty forerunner to the prurient “Sex and the City” which would debut 45 years later. Stylish romantic comedy was the first film to be shot in Cinemascope.
Bright, colorful, lively Cole Porter musical inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Originally filmed in 3D.