Saturday, December 17, 2011

Double Feature: Johnny Belinda (1948) and Lilies of the Field (1963)

Johnny Belinda:

In this Oscar-winning drama, a young doctor (Lew Ayres) teaches Jane Wyman's deaf/mute character Belinda to use sign language. However, things fall apart when Belinda winds up pregnant and becomes the town scandal.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (Charles Bickford), Best Supporting Actress (Agnes Moorehead), Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Score (Drama or Comedy), and Best Sound. Though Wyman deserved her Best Actress Oscar, Olivia de Havilland did give a better performance in The Snake Pit that year.

Lilies of the Field:

Sidney Poitier gives an Oscar-winning performance in this comedy-drama about a simple African-American man who helps build a chapel for a group of German nuns. Through his efforts, the locals pull together to complete the chapel, ensuring a sanctuary for future generations.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress (Lilia Skala), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. While the film is slightly dated, Poitier is very charismatic in this performance and deserved his Academy Award.

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