Monday, February 6, 2012

Ronald Reagan vs. the Oscars

Today marks the birth anniversary of Ronald Reagan, who was born on this day in 1911. TCM has its regular 31 Days of Oscar on February, so people born in February don't get the normal birthday salute that people born in other months of the year do. And as far as Reagan goes, he started his career playing the male lead in B movies which, while entertaining, were never going to be Oscar material

Still, you can catch Reagan later this week in Desperate Journey, which airs at 9:45 AM Wednesday. Reagan plays second fiddle to Errol Flynn in a movie about a World War II bomber crew who get shot down by the Nazis over eastern Germany, and have to make their way back to freedom by going through Germany and the Netherlands. (You'd think it might be easier to make their way across the Baltic to neutral Sweden, although I don't know what sort of agreement Sweden had with Germany regarding Allied figthers. It received an Oscar nomination for its special effects, and not for the acting, and certainly not for the screenplay. If you want to see a better movie in the same vein, you could watch One of Our Aircraft Is Missing overnight tonight at 1:30 AM. This one, made in Britain by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, has a British bomber crew get shot down over the Netherlands, where the Dutch resistance helps them escape. Or, you could have watched 49th Parallel last week, where the stranded folks trying to escape are the crew of a Nazi U-boat.

What else could TCM show on Reagan's birthday? Perhaps his best performance is in Kings Row. Not that he was nominated, but the movie itself received a Best Picture nomination. Reagan received top billing in The Hasty Heart, and does a fairly good job, although the acting nomination here went to Richard Todd. Reagan also had a supporting role in Dark Victory, but again, the acting honors went to somebody else, namely Bette Davis.

Reagan also appeared in Million Dollar Baby, but not the one that won the Best Picture Oscar.

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