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Screen Test of Time
27 minutes | Oct 17, 2021
Episode 174: A Place in the Sun
A master class in why method acting can actually make a performance less believable, A Place in the Sun is a real downer. Montgomery Clift gets typecast as a slack-jawed jerk who chases after yet another rich woman, but the twist is that, unlike in The Heiress, the woman he doesn't really care about and treats abhorrently isn’t the one he’s trying to marry. Elizabeth Taylor is beautiful, charming, and actually pretty good, in a role that makes a lot more sense than the one she had in Father of the Bride.
39 minutes | Oct 10, 2021
Episode 173: Born Yesterday
The final film in the 1950 Best Picture nominees, Born Yesterday start Judy Holliday giving an incredible performance as a ditzy chorus girl whose mobster boyfriend, played by Broderick Crawford, regrets forcing her to get smart. In any other year, Holliday’s performance would have still made this otherwise weirdly paced romantic comedy, with William Holden as the love interest, a serious contender for Best Picture, but the 1950 nominees were dominated by women in uniquely memorable roles. In the last episode for these nominees, will All About Eve stand the Screen Test of Time against Sunset Boulevard?
29 minutes | Oct 3, 2021
Episode 172: King Solomon's Mines
David refers to King Solomon’s Mines as the movie that dares to ask, “What if Trader Horn was in color?” but what it really answers is why the character of Allan Quatermain, who was as popular and well known at the turn of the 20th century as James Bond is today, and played here by Stewart Granger, disappeared entirely from the popular imagination.
41 minutes | Sep 19, 2021
Episode 170: Sunset Boulevard
Good news, Screen Testers! Suzan did not, in fact, hate Sunset Boulevard, so David will not, as he threatened last week, have to stop being her friend. It seems like 1950 is shaping up to be an extraordinary year already, and Sunset Boulevard is an early lead for our hosts’ choice for Best Picture.
36 minutes | Sep 12, 2021
Episode 169: Father of the Bride
The original Father of the Bride starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor may suffer a bit in light of the Steve Martin remake... even if it's maybe a better movie. As the first of the 1950 nominees, Father of the Bride has some stiff competition on its heels, and likely won't survive to be the best of the year, but it's still an enjoyable cupcake of a film, nonetheless.
25 minutes | Sep 5, 2021
Episode 168: Twelve O'Clock High
After last week’s episode, Suzan and David find themselves with a sense of déjà vu— another week, another boring war movie. Not even Gregory Peck’s good looks could save Twelve O’Clock High. Also, find out if the Academy chose correctly among the 1949 nominees, or if our hosts think they should have picked something else.
31 minutes | Aug 29, 2021
Episode 167: Battleground
An early attempt at the “Band of Brothers” style war movie (and about the 101st airborne, weirdly enough), Battleground is something of an unwieldy mess, with unmemorable characters, no real theme, and generally a step backward in competency compared to even the silent war movies nominated for the very first Oscars. But it does have one good speech.
37 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
Episode 166: All the King's Men
The winner of the 1949 awards, All the King’s Men is an interesting example of how a good movie can be made by accident… but can a film be accidentally great?
32 minutes | Aug 15, 2021
Episode 165: The Heiress
The Heiress is the second movie in 3 weeks where producers tried to make Olivia de Havilland "ugly" to win an Oscar. De Havilland plays, rather unconvincingly, a wealthy young woman in the mid-1800s courted by a gold digging Montgomery Clift as the ur-f*ck boy, who runs away and abandons her the minute her abusive jerk of a dad threatens to take away her inheritance. Despite its many flaws, once she is allowed to be an actual adult in the last 20 minutes of the film, Hell hath no fury like Olivia de Havilland scorned, which just might be worth the preceding hour and a half… maybe.
34 minutes | Aug 9, 2021
Episode 164: A Letter to Three Wives
Based on a serialized novel that was printed in Cosmo, A Letter to Three Wives is an absolutely bonkers film about an off-screen narrator running off with the husband of one of her so-called best friends, and then sending all of them a letter telling them to guess which one. Really. It is really about that.
38 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
Episode 163: The Snake Pit
The Snake Pit, based on the autobiographical book of the same name, is the story of one woman’s experience inside a mental institution, and the treatment, both cruel and sympathetic, she receives at the hands of the mental health industry. Olivia de Havilland stars in one of those roles the Academy loves— typically pretty and elegant woman wears slightly less makeup and has somewhat disheveled hair for 2 hours and it’s considered oh-so-brave! Also, David and Suzan reveal their pick for the Best Picture of 1948— and it’s not the Academy’s.
34 minutes | Jul 25, 2021
Episode 162: The Red Shoes
For decades after its release, The Red Shoes remained the most popular dance film ever created, surely for the 20+ minute dream ballet sequence toward the middle of the film. But the rest of the movie’s plot, equally infuriating for its sexist love triangle and abuse apologia disguised as artistic genius, is a nightmare.
37 minutes | Jul 18, 2021
Episode 161: Johnny Belinda
Johnny Belinda, a movie named first for an infant child barely seen in the film and secondly for the so-called main character onto whom everyone around her projects their own feelings and presumptions rather than just let her express herself, begins the long and frustrating history of the Academy’s effusive celebration of able actors portraying disabled characters in Inspiration Porn.
34 minutes | Jul 11, 2021
Episode 160: Hamlet
This week, David and Suzan do what they do best: passionately tear a Shakespeare film adaptation to shreds. This time, it’s the 1948 winner, Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet. And we do mean Laurence Olivier’s, as he directed, starred in, produced, and even added text to this dour slog that, for some reason, became the gold standard for 20th century adaptations of the play, and is largely responsible for why so many people hate it.
37 minutes | Jul 4, 2021
Episode 159: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The nominees for 1948 start strong with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a classic that deserves the designation, starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, and Tim Holt as itinerant Americans searching for their fortune in 1920s Mexico. A stellar supporting cast, breathtaking on-location sets, and excellent direction from John Huston (The Maltese Falcon) make this a top notch flick. It’s the first movie of the year’s nominees, but it’s already the one to beat.
25 minutes | Jun 27, 2021
Episode 158: The Bishop's Wife
Take Cary Grant, cast him as a literal, from heaven, with supernatural powers angel trying to seduce the wife of a stuck up, cold, neglectful bishop, and then throw away any lascivious or even interesting ideas that inspires in you when you consider it, and you’ll have the shockingly lifeless The Bishop’s Wife. It’s definitely not the Best Picture that should have been for 1947, but find out what was in this episode!
30 minutes | Jun 20, 2021
Episode 157: Great Expectations
It's the unusual movie where the child actors at the beginning of the film have a better handle on their characters than the adult actors who play them for the rest of it, but this adaptation of Dickens's Great Expectations holds that distinction. Unfortunately, it makes the rest of the movie a tremendous letdown, and the film takes a confusing turn for the worse when its horribly miscast leads take over, and it muddles key elements of the novel's plot with unnecessary changes.
46 minutes | Jun 13, 2021
Episode 156: Gentleman's Agreement
The second of back to back movies dealing with anti-semitism, Gentleman’s Agreement is the serious message movie version, and, unsurprisingly by Academy Award standards, the winner of the two. But is it the best of the two? And is it really the best picture of 1947?
54 minutes | Jun 6, 2021
Episode 155: Crossfire
Contrary to our hosts’ expectation, Crossfire is not the obvious inspiration for the 90’s tabletop board game, but is both an enjoyable film noir and a compelling message movie— an unusual combination that nevertheless works really well, even as it has some obvious and glaring flaws.
47 minutes | May 30, 2021
Episode 154: Miracle on 34th Street
Believe it or not, Miracle on 34th Street was released just a couple of weeks later in the year in 1947 than this episode’s release date in 2021, despite being 100% about Santa Claus. The second Christmas movie our hosts have had to watch recently and entirely out of season, this one didn’t sit as well with David in an 80+ degree Los Angeles April as It’s A Wonderful Life a few weeks ago. Suzan seems to have an easier time with it, but realizes she’s seen very few Christmas movies to which she can compare it.
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