Thursday, June 3, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #360: Oscar-winning Screenplay

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. For several of the months this year, the first Thursday is given over to various Oscar categories. In June, that category is "Screenplay", which is technically a bit of a misnomer since the Academy has used different names for the category. Original Screenplay, for example, only became the name for the category in 1940; before that, the Academy had "Original Story" and "Screenplay", the latter of which could be an adaptation. Indeed, the very early awards ceremonies had a writing category of "Adaptation". The Academy's database for searching the Oscars has a catch-all search category for "Writing", and searching on that brings up multiple winners each year. I used that search to pick the movies, although as it turns out my three selections are all in the non-adaptation category:

Princess O'Rourke (1943). Winner: Norman Krasna. Olivia de Havilland plays the Princess, in the US to wait out World War II and in need of a suitably husband to produce a male heir for her country. Robert Cummings plays O'Rourke, a pilot who will be flying her to California. Due to misunderstandings the princess ends up with too many tranquilizers and O'Rourke has to take her back to New York. He falls in love with her, not realizing she's a princess since she was traveling incognito.

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947). Winner: Sidney Sheldon. Cary Grant plays the bachelor, a playboy who keeps getting in legal difficulties. Shirley Temple plays the bobby-soxer, who has a crush on the bachelor. Temple's much older sister (Myrna Loy) is a judge who sentences the bachelor to disabuse the bobby-soxer of her infatuation by "dating" her. All sorts of complications ensue as the bachelor and the judge wind up falling for each other even though the judge is engaged to another man. Sidney Sheldon would go on to create the TV series I Dream of Jeannie in the 1960s, and write trashy airport novels like Rage of Angels in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Hospital (1971). Winner: Paddy Chayefsky. Extremely dark comedy about a New York hospital where the chief of staff (George C. Scott) is beset by all sorts of problems. His personal life is a mess; there are protests going on outside the hospital; but worst of all, somebody is committing a string of murders in the hospital. If you've seen Network (also written by Chayefsky and better known), you know the sort of material to expect. Highly recommended as long as you don't have any scheduled medical procedures coming up.


joel65913 said...

I LOVE The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer!! It has a huge advantage by having the incredible lineup of Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins and Harry Davenport but the clever script keeps what could have been a salacious mess from becoming that. Instead its a charmingly sweet, if unbelievable, slice of hilarity.

I agree about The Hospital being something not to watch before you have to go to one but a clever incisive drama with a super cast.

Princess O'Rourke won an Oscar? It's a pleasant little trifle and a nice change of pace for Olivia de Havilland and looking at its competition that year it was a thin field but even so it's awfully flyaway to take a top prize.

Mine are all original screenplay winners as well.

The Sting (1973)-David S. Ward-When their mutual friend is murdered in 30’s Chicago small-time crook Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) teams with seasoned conman Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to exact revenge on crime boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) who ordered the hit. Joining with an odd assortment of colorful associates they formulate a long con to settle the score. Jaunty caper flick was a reuniting for the stars and director of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid ending up being showered with Oscars (7 in total including Best Picture as well as three other nominations) and leading to a jazz revival courtesy of its Scott Joplin musical score.

Chinatown (1974)-Robert Towne-What he assumes will be a routine infidelity stakeout soon becomes an incredibly complex web of deceit and murder for L.A. private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) when he discovers he was hired by an imposter and is being used as a pawn in a game with deadly stakes. Smart, stylish mystery amassed 11 Oscar nominations but only Towne won for his original screenplay.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)-Frank Pierson-Young and desperate Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) and his not terribly bright buddy Sal Naturile (John Cazale) attempt to pull off a bank heist in Brooklyn that quickly goes wrong. Trapped inside with the tellers a standoff, first with NYPD Sgt. Moretti (Charles Durning) and then FBI agent Sheldon (James Broderick) escalates into a media circus leading to a tense conclusion. Forceful, incisive drama garnered six Oscar nominations but again only Pierson actually picked up the award for his screenplay.

Brittani Burnham said...

I really enjoyed Network so I'll have to check out The Hospital. That sounds intriguing, and I don't have any procedures coming up.

Birgit said...

I like Princess O’Roarke which is a nice movie but I am surprised it won. I still have to see The Bobby sober which is strange since I had the ability to see it many times but didn’t take the chance...yet. I saw The Hospital when I was a young teen and remembered as being funny and more spot onas a typical hospital than what we normally see. I need to watch it again.

Sara said...

The Hospital definitely sounds like something I want to check out. I adore George C. Scott.