Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cavalcade of Academy Awards

Oscar statuetteI got up for a few minutes after the end of What Price Hollywood? this morning, and missed the beginning of the next short, which is a shame because it's a bit of a mystery. TCM's schedule lists it as Cavalcade of Academy Awards, from 1940, looking at the first 12 years of the Oscars. The first half looks back at the first 11 years, showing a lot of clips from award winners, while the second half is a recap of the awards for 1939; that is, the Oscars ceremony for which Gone With the Wind was the big winner.

Unfortunately, TCM's database lists little information on this 30-minute short, while IMDb lists nothing with the title Cavalcade of Academy Awards, and surprisingly, nothing with the title "Academy Awards" made between 1939 and 1941. Then again, it's not as though there was television to broadcast the awards ceremony.

It's too bad that there's so little information on this since there are some questions I wish I could answer. First goes back to the very first Oscars, for which Lewis Milestone won an award for the Best Director of a Comedy. This short actually showed a clip from that film, Two Arabian Knights, which surprised me since the film had been considered lost for many years until a copy wsa discovered in the Howard Hughes archives and a restoration was completed in 2004. This short also has a clip of Emil Jannings in The Way of All Flesh, another film which is considered mostly lost, except for a scene at the end which shows up here and in a documentary called Fragments which I mentioned last December.

When they get to 1937, one of the Oscars for A Star Is Born is mentioned (presumably the screenplay Oscar, but I wasn't paying attention). It's one of the movies famous for being an early Technicolor movie, with David O. Selznick wanting the movie in color to make it look more glitzy, like people's fantasies of Hollywood. However, the clip shown here is in black-and-white. That wouldn't be too surprising, except that when they get to Gone With the Wind, the clips are in color, albeit with color nowhere near as brilliant as you'll see in the original movie. (I mentioned this back in March 2008.) And once they start showing the color clips from Gone With the Wind, we get a finale in not particularly good color including a lineup of Oscar statuettes.

Anybody know anything more about this film?

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