Classic Movie Countdown: Best Picture #’s 14 and 13 — The Sound of Music (1965) and Marty (1955)

14. The Sound of Music (1965)

Other Nominated Films:
Darling, Doctor Zhivago, Ship of Fools, A Thousand Clowns

Now this is one of the weeks I’ve been looking forward to writing about! There are a lot of movies I’ve enjoyed watching, but these next two films are definitely up there as far as my all-time favorites go. Let’s begin with what the hills are alive of (I just couldn’t resist.) Nominated for ten Academy Awards, The Sound of Music became the highest-grossing film of all time in 1966, overtaking the top spot from the #3 film on my countdown list — which would again jump back to the #1 spot in 1971 usurping The Sound of Music…just a bit of trivia here. Anywho! Until about a month ago, I’d only seen clips and tidbits from The Sound of Music…sorry to say. But, after watching the whole film for the first time, I was completely blown away.  From the iconic opening scene when we see Maria twirling around on the beautiful mountainside amid the snow-capped Alps, to the suspenseful ending as the Von Trapp family tries to escape the Nazis — I was captivated in every way.  Not only was the film fun and romantic, and at times quite serious due to the historical implications — the Rogers and Hammerstein songs were simply magnificent and unforgettable!  Julie Andrews was so charismatic as the free-spirited Maria — truly phenomenal and easy to love.  And, although it’s no secret that Christopher Plummer (who played Captain Georg von Trapp) absolutely hated this movie, it doesn’t change the fact that this is one of his most memorable roles. Ranked as the #4 musical of all time by the American Film Institute, The Sound of Music is an experience you will never forget.

Nominated for 10 Oscars, Winner of 5

Best Director – Robert Wise (WON)
Best Film Editing – William Reynolds (WON)
Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment – Irwin Kostal (WON)
Best Picture – Robert Wise (WON)
Best Sound – James Corcoran (20th Century-Fox SSD), Fred Hynes (Todd-AO SSD) (WON)
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Julie Andrews
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Peggy Wood
Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Color – Borin Leven, Walter M. Scott, Ruby R. Levitt
Best Cinematography, Color – Ted D. McCord
Best Costume Design, Color – Dorothy Jeakins

Captain von Trapp: Fraulein, is it to be at every meal, or merely at dinnertime, that you intend on leading us all through this rare and wonderful new world of… indigestion?

13. Marty (1955)

Other Nominated Films:
Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, Mister Roberts, Picnic, Rose Tattoo

“What do you want to do tonight?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” All of us have said those words to a friend at some time or other — I know I have.  But, little did I know that I would be hearing those ‘all-too-familiar’ words in the film, Marty — and that, those words would help me immediately understand the character Marty and the world he lived in. We probably all know someone like Marty (Ernest Borgnine): a good-natured, average-looking guy who just hasn’t had much luck with love so he’s resigned himself to being a lonely bachelor. In this case, Marty lives with his mother, who is constantly nagging him to get married. One Saturday night, after being hounded by his mother to go out — Marty decides to go to the Stardust Ballroom where he ends up meeting Clara (Betsy Blair), a plain schoolteacher who is weeping on the roof because she was abandoned by her blind date.  Marty and Clara really hit it off – and we see the beginnings of a wonderful little romance start to form. Big happy ending, right?  Well not so fast…At this point — although you would think that his mother and friends would be very happy for him — Marty has to contend with their objections, criticisms and jealousy.  So Marty is faced with a heartfelt dilemma: does he acquiesce to the needs of others or does he forge ahead and pursue his love? The fact that the film Marty works so well without the typical” lonely but beautiful people finally meet” or the even more familiar “Cinderella transformation” makes the film particularly poignant and strong. Ernest Borgnine would go on to win an Oscar for his perfect performance, beating James Dean (East of Eden), Frank Sinatra (The Man with the Golden Arm), James Cagney (Love Me or Leave Me), and Spencer Tracy (Bad Day at Black Rock).

Nominated for 8 Oscars, Winner of 4
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Ernest Borgnine (WON)
Best Director – Delbert Mann (WON)
Best Picture – Harold Hecht (WON)
Best Writing, Screenplay – Paddy Chayefsky (WON)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Joe Mantell
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Betsy Blair
Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Black-and-White – Ted Haworth, Walter M. Simonds, Robert Priestley
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White – Joseph LaShelle

Marty Pilletti: You don’t like her. My mother don’t like her. She’s a dog and I’m a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a good time last night. I’m gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together, I’m gonna get down on my knees and I’m gonna beg that girl to marry me. If we make a party on New Year’s, I got a date for that party. You don’t like her? That’s too bad! Hey Ang, when are you going to get married? You’re 33 years old, and all your kid brothers and sisters are married. You oughta be ashamed of yourself.

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