||May 12, 2007
Not only were many extremely successful and highly popular movies overlooked at Awards time, but some of Hollywood's greatest stars and acclaimed directors never received any such recognition.
Barnes & Noble.com
NOOK Book by Barnes & Noble
Informative Movie Books
These Movies Won No Hollywood Awards
Either overlooked or outvoted, here is a survey of famous movies that failed to shine in the bright lights of Hollywood awards:
Despite their enormous appeal to general moviegoers, both Errol Flynn's "Four's a Crowd" and "Footsteps in the Dark" failed to ignite a single spark among award committees. Admittedly, these are not Flynn's most well-remembered crowd-pleasers, which makes it harder to understand why director William Wyler's acclaimed "Detective Story" (it figured on the Ten Best lists of every critic in the country) also won no Hollywood awards at all. Nor did "Footlight Parade", although James Cagney's bravura performance was one of the factors that made this Busby Berkeley musical even more popular when first released (number 8 at U.S. ticket windows) than it is today.
Critical acclaim and contemporary popularity also failed to help Fritz Lang's "Metropolis". Or "On Moonlight Bay" (such a huge success for Doris Day, it inspired a sequel), "Poor Little Rich Girl" (boxoffice giant Shirley Temple joined by Alice Faye and Jack Haley), "Queen Christina" (often cited as the legendary Garbo's best film), "Rhythm on the Range" (only western outing for Bing Crosby in his salad days. In fact, his only other western was the 1964 "Stagecoach"), "Rhythm on the River" (Crosby at his boxoffice zenith again, this time joined by Mary Martin, Basil Rathbone and Oscar Levant), "She Done Him Wrong" (Mae West's smash hit with both hat-tossing critics and adoring public), "Storm Warning" (Doris Day in her first dramatic role), "Sunnyside Up" (rave reviews and a boxoffice stampede for talkie debuts of Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, with some of DeSylva, Brown and Henderson's most memorable melodies including "I'm a Dreamer, Aren't We All"), "Wee Willie Winkie" (Shirley Temple directed by John Ford, another sensational boxoffice bonanza), "Words and Music" (the critics praised it, moviegoers loved it--number 9 at USA ticket windows); "Carrie" (although censored in the USA to remove its most horrific scene, William Wyler's no-holds-barred picturization of the Dreiser novel, held both critics and public spellbound).
That's just a brief runthrough of some of the movies that captured the praises of both professional reviewers and general moviegoers, but won no awards from Hollywood.
Then there are the movies that captured awards everywhere else but Hollywood, and the films the critics hated but compelled intending audiences to queue up for miles.
I've also detailed a number of surprises like Albert Lewin's "Pandora and the Flying Dutchman", Otto Preminger's "Fallen Angel", Michael Curtiz's "Flamingo Road" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Young and Innocent" that captured little attention when first released but have since amassed a considerable cult following.
Finally, I've devoted 26 pages to a monograph and revealing interview with Henry Hathaway, one of Hollywood's master directors. Despite the ongoing popularity of his movies with both fans and connoisseurs, he won no awards either.
The distributor has changed the title and the cover of some ebook editions. The title is now "These Great Movies Won No Hollywood Awards," but the book's content is exactly the same.
Ross Adams in DRESS CIRCLE magazine:
An interesting and unusual title for a book, "These Movies Won No Hollywood Awards" is nonetheless a great new entry in the John Howard Reid series. 142 movies are covered in this volume, with the special added attraction of two articles about director Henry Hathaway and his movies. John was the first critic to make people aware of Hathaway's importance. At first, only the French critics agreed with John, but eventually reviewers worldwide came to the party. Hathaway is now recognized as one of the great masters of the cinema. As for the films reviewed in this volume, they include Affair in Trinidad, Beau James, Betty in Blunderland, Bitter Rice, The Blue Veil, The Bohemian Girl, The Browning Version, Carrie, Dancing Lady, Destry, Detective Story, Footlight Parade, Mr Denning Drives North, My Wild Irish Rose, On Moonlight Bay, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, Phone Call from a Stranger, The Prisoner of Zenda, Queen Christina, She Done Him Wrong, De Mille's first version of The Ten Commandments, Wee Willie Winkie, Woman of Affairs, A Yank at Oxford, You Can't Cheat an Honest Man and scores of others. Why are these films so important? "Affair in Trinidad" was Rita Hayworth's big comeback film after a four-year absence from the screen. Although it was a huge boxoffice success, the movie was panned by the critics. As Hayworth, who produced the movie herself, said later, "It wasn't really a movie. It was a culmination of compromises made by everyone from the gateman at Columbia right up to Harry Cohn himself." At least Rita had a typical role and didn't disappoint her fans. Bob Hope, however, lost a great deal of his own money on his production, "Beau James", in which he cast himself in a straight part, rather than a comedy role. In Reid's opinion, Hope did extremely well by the title character. In fact, he describes Hope's effort as "one of his best performances ever!" But most picture-goers avoided the movie. Fortunately, few people would disagree with Reid's next inclusion, "Betty in Blunderland" which is widely regarded as the best Betty Boop of all time! Next up is "Bitter Rice", a sensational international success which made both its stars, Silvana Mangano and Vittorio Gassman, household words. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer even offered both stars Hollywood contracts. Gassman accepted and was soon cast opposite the studio’s top-ranking Elizabeth Taylor. Another super-popular movie, "The Blue Veil", earned a Golden Globe award for Jane Wyman. Less fortunate and far less publicized was Thelma Todd, whose last role in "The Bohemian Girl" was heavily butchered by the studio. She was reduced to 9th billing in the hope that no-one would notice her. True, she has a song, but it's dubbed; and she then disappears without any explanation at all after this initial scene! To sum up: A fascinating book!
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