Best Actor nomination

The Noose (1928) | Jamie Daily

The Noose (1928)
1st Academy Awards 1929
Nominated for Best Actor (Richard Barthelmess).
Vaulted Film

 

Apparently The Noose is kept in the archives at the Library of Congress–essentially it is still in the Warner Bros. Vault and has yet to be released.  If anyone knows where or if I could find it, I would greatly appreciate it.  As it is, I assume that one day I will be able to watch this film but am very disappointed that I don’t get to watch Richard Barthelmess in action again quite yet.

 

In the first ever Oscar nominations, everything was different.  The winners were announced ahead of time, only silent films were nominated, the attendees purchased tickets, and the talent could be nominated for their body of work within the set date restrictions, not just for a single piece.  Barthelmess’ performance in The Noose was supposedly to complement his success in The Patent Leather Kid.

 

From a bit of research, it looks like it will be difficult to locate quite a few of the films from this year.  Even though this is upsetting and certainly upsets my goal of watching every nominated film… ever… there’s nothing I can really do about it.  So I will move on and stop complaining about it.

 

I found this review online (Alice Joyce on Standford.edu) and instead of summarizing a movie that I have not seen, I thought it would be interesting to share a review from 1928.

 

“From Variety, March 21, 1928

 

THE NOOSE

 

“First National production and release. Richard Barthelmess starred, Alice JoyceLina BasquetteThelma Todd, Montague Love and Robert T. Haines featured Scenario adapted from the stage play by Willard Mack and H.H. Van Loan. At Strand, New York, week March 17. Running time, around 75 minutes.

Nickie Elkins Richard Barthelmess
Buck Gordon Montague Love
Jim Conley Robert E. O’Connor
Tommy Jay Eaton
Dot Lina Basquette
Phyllis Thelma Todd
Seth McNillan Ed Brady
Dave Fred Warren
Bill Chase William Davidson
Mrs. Bancroft Alice Joyce
The Warden William Walling
The Governor Robert T. Haines
Craig Ernest Hilliard
Priest Emile Chautard
Judge Romaine Fielding
Cabaret Girls Yola d’Avril, Corliss Palmer,

Kay English, Cecil Brunner,

Janice Peters, Ruth Lord,

May Atwood

“”The Noose,” with Richard Barthelmess, gives First National a drawing program feature that will stand well up to follow Barthelmess’ great hit in “The Patent Leather Kid.” It’s an extremely well directed and played drama, with meller tendencies, a touch of the underworld with a real cabaret scene one of the standouts, but underneath the rest a virile story of suspensive qualities that are all taken advantage of. It’s in.

“This picture is said to have been taken under the natural light, or at least the cabaret scene was. Natural light is indicated throughout. If the first of that kind, its defects can be remedied if natural light is thought beneficial. While the trade may detect a different lighting scheme, it’s doubtful if the lays will. At times the photography is misty and not always uniform in light, a greyish tint often appearing. That followed into the cabaret scenes for the side rooms, employed there, but on the floor the lighting was evenly bright. At the Burbank studios when this scene was taken it was said that the heat form the big arcs was terrific on the people beneath them.

“Toward the finish of “The Noose” extraordinary suspense is maintained and it’s two-sided. First is whether Nickie Elkins will be hanged and he is walking toward the gallows for some time, while the other is whether the Governor’s wife will confess to her husband that Nickie is her son. Neither happens. What did happen was that Mrs. Governor phones the warden over her husband’s private wire ordering the execution stopped, and the Governor, when advised, calling the boy before him, to intimate that a pardon would be forthcoming.

“Nickie had shot and killed his father, Buck Gordon, within five minutes after Buck had told the lad who his parents were. His mother was the Governor’s wife, said Buck, and if he were sent away for killing another gangster, Nickie would have to appeal to his mother to save him. Upon Nickie’s refusal, Buck said he would shake down the Governor’s wife himself then for the freedom and the coin. Nickie said he wouldn’t and, to prove it, shot his father, who had brought him up from babyhood without Nickie aware of his father or mother.

“Other than the cabaret scene, no action of moment. A bit of shooting, but the play’s action very slight.

“Barthelmess’ Nickie a natural for him, although Barthelmess is more likable in action. That’s where he shines. Nevertheless, Barthelmess has a distinctive individuality on the screen, and it’s very valuable for few own it. He always suggests impulsiveness, and that’s suspense in itself, continually.

“Lina Basquette does Dot, the cabaret girl, nicely. In the prison and Governor’s room scenes, Miss Basquette was admirable. She’s in love with Nickie, who was about to be regenerated by a “nice lady from uptown” just as he bumped off his suddenly discovered dad. Thelma Todd as the nice lady only had to see that her very blonde hair was marcelled.

“Alice Joyce had a difficult emotional role as the governor’s wife. She looked the part, excepting when opposite Barthelmess, when she appeared too young, but Miss Joyce will probably not be miffed over that. She had to express extreme heart anguish and yet refrain from confessing to her husband even for a commutation or pardon that the condemned boy was her own son. That made it quite a serious moment of acting for her and also an unreal character, but she got by well enough under the conditions.

“Jay Eaton as Tommy, the stager of the floor show, minced it up a little for a laugh; the girls behind him displayed good coaching and legs. William Walling as the warden had but one chance, but made that bit look very good. Montague Love did the heavy Buck. That was soft for him, doing his best in looking the role. Robert T. Haines was another who perfectly looked the Governor, giving the part all the dignity it called for.

“Barthelmess’ backward leap into the front rank of the male b.o. cards will be helped along by this one.”

 

My favourite bit was when the author said that the show girls had “good coaching and legs.”  What was yours?

Sources: B+ Movie BlogAlice Joyce on Stanford.edu

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Saturday Night Fever (1977) Review | Jamie Daily

Saturday Night Fever (1977)
50th Academy Awards, 1978
3/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 Oscar: best actor (John Travolta).
Box Office: $237.1 million (Rotten Tomatoes).
Watched: July 7, 2012.
Rated: R

Saturday-Night-Fever_Karen-Lynn-Gorney_chiffon-dress-mid

First of all, I love the 70s.  Everything about this John Badham film screams the 70s.  The style, the hair, the dancing–it is a fantastic exploration of America’s past culture.  I loved it.  But watching something like this might make me think that everywhere in the States was like Brooklyn in ’76.  I’m already a fan of Travolta, although his acting is dated.  The fact that he was nominated for best actor shows that his acting was appreciated in the 70s.  Maybe it was the cinematography that made his acting dated–the lack of close up shots in comparison to now.  The long editing could also have played a part.  By this I mean that the editing is slow–especially in the beginning.  I noticed a lot of dead room in shots, and also a lot of repeats of shots.  For example, when in school, I was always told to avoid telling the audience the same thing over and over again.  We understand that he is walking down the street with a paint can and that the low angled shots imply he feels empowered, but now we would like some new information.

I am getting ahead of myself.  For those of you who are wondering, Saturday Night Fever is a classic–a coming of age film that represents the time after birth control and before AIDS.  It will forever be what people know John Travolta for.  It is his staple film, even more so than the 1977 hit Grease.  His character Tony is a Brooklyn native whose goal in life is to dance.  He works days at the local hardware store and blows all his money at the disco every weekend.  All of the girls love him, and one in particular (Annette) would do anything to have him.  He is in his own world, especially when he dances.  He loves the attention and is very well aware of his status among his peers.  One night at the disco, he sees a girl who is a dancer like no one he has ever seen before.  Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) is also a Brooklyn native.  She has just recently started a job in Manhattan.

In a sense, Saturday Night Fever is a character study with a lot of dancing.  A twist on Romeo and Juliet, which we are kindly clued in on through Tony and Stephanie’s first “coffee” date (which is really a tea date because that’s what all the women are drinking these days, didn’t you know?).  It becomes more and more obvious that Stephanie is a name dropper and wants so badly to be more than what she is.  She does everything she can to embarrass Tony and to put him down.  In her mind she is too good for Tony.  Tony likewise wants more than what he has–all he wants to do with his life is dance.  His father very clearly wants more for him, but what more can you ask from a 19-year-old who doesn’t want to go to college?

saturday-night-fever

When Tony and Stephanie find that they can’t communicate with words, they communicate through dance.  Tony’s life is all encompassed by dance–his life and dance are one in the same.  Therefore, if someone implies that he get an education or search out a career, his very life is being called into question.  The original BeeGees songs that back many of Tony’s scenes are representative of his inner monologue, stripping the film of its subtlety.  Everything in the film is very rhythmic.

I gave the film 3 out of 5 stars.  I’m not a huge fan of R rated films for the sex, nudity, drugs, and language, all of which are a huge part of Saturday Night Fever.  Also, the cinematography was exaggerated, the editing was loose, and the entire film was too long.  The acting was acceptable, as well as the dancing, but from someone who watches “So You Think You Can Dance” religiously, I was only mildly entertained.  If you would like to watch a dated, fictitious representation of Brooklyn in the 1970s, and see John Travolta in all his glory, this should definitely be added to your list of films to watch.

Have you seen Saturday Night Fever?  What did you think?

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Sources: IMDBRotten Tomatoeshttp://www.broadstreetreview.com/index.php/main/article/saturday_night_fever_revisited/http://parallax-view.org/2010/08/03/review-saturday-night-fever/