Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Double Feature: Blossoms in the Dust (1941) & The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Blossoms in the Dust:

Greer Garson teams up with Walter Pidgeon in their first of many pairings, as Edna Gladney and her husband Sam. After losing their child, Edna starts a nursery for children with working mothers, which she runs from home while Sam runs his wheat mill. She feels fulfilled caring for these children now that she hasn't a child of her own. When they go bankrupt and lose the mill, Edna operates a small adoption service, finding unwanted orphans new homes with respectable families. Unfortunately, she is forced out of her establishment for legal reasons and must start from scratch to acquire better facilities. It is here that she is inspired to pursue legal action against the "illegitimate" label that orphans must face, placing shame on them for their entire lives. While she pursues this, she continues to care for the orphans, trying to give them better homes and better lives in the process.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Art Direction (Color), and Best Cinematography (Color). It deservedly won Best Art Direction (Color).

The Ox-Bow Incident:

This classic western stars Henry Fonda as a visiting cowboy named Gil who gets mixed up in the murder of a local farmer. When the news comes through, he and his friend join the posse, which will track down the three men who stole some of the deceased's cattle and killed him. Once they find the men, the story really turns on its head. The three men appear to be innocent, claiming they bought the cattle from the farmer and that he was alive when they left him. Although this is possible, it isn't believed by most of the posse because the three men have the man's cattle, his gun, and no bill of sale. How can either side prove their case? The posse must decide what to do with the men, as both sides argue back and forth and amongst themselves. On a side note, this would make a great double feature with 12 Angry Men.

The film received a single nomination for Best Picture. Though it had no shot at beating Casablanca, it's a very worthy nominee that benefited from the Academy's ten-film lineup.

Trivia: Both films feature Marc Lawrence in a small, but pivotal, role.

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