***We're looking for contributors***

         

'Judgment at Nuremberg' & Joan Fontaine: Kramer's Best 'Message Movie' & Only Hitchcock Acting Oscar Winner

Judgment at Nuremberg with Maximilian Schell: Nazi Germany judges just obeying orders or?Judgment at Nuremberg with Maximilian Schell. Stanley Kramer's most effective “message movie,” the 1961 courtroom/political drama Judgment at Nuremberg is a fictionalized restaging of the post-World War II Judges' Trial of Nazi Germany judges and prosecutors held in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg in 1947. Besides its mostly effective all-star cast (Maximilian Schell, Spencer Tracy, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland) and top production values, Judgment at Nuremberg works so well because Kramer and Oscar-winning screenwriter Abby Mann refuse to turn the defeated Nazis into caricatures of evil. What we thus witness is the trial of a group of human beings who committed heinous acts when the occasion required/allowed them to. “Just obeying orders,” or…?

Packard Theater movies: From 'Judgment at Nuremberg & 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' to Colleen Moore & Martin Luther King Jr.

Five 2013 National Film Registry additions will be screened in January 2014 at the U.S. Library of Congress' Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper, Virginia. They're the following:

  • Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
  • Roger & Me (1989).
  • Pulp Fiction (1994).
  • Ella Cinders (1926).

Two landmark dramas of the 1960s

Directed by the perennially well-intentioned Stanley Kramer from a screenplay by Oscar winner Abby Mann (adapting his own teleplay), Judgment at Nuremberg is a surprisingly effective – sober, thoughtful, beautifully shot (cinematography by Ernest Laszlo), generally well-acted – dramatization of the post-World War II trials of Nazi Germany's power players.

The all-star cast includes Best Actor Academy Award winner Maximilian Schell, Best Actor nominee Spencer Tracy, Best Supporting Actor nominee Montgomery Clift (who reportedly worked for no fee), and Best Supporting Actress nominee Judy Garland, in addition to Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, Richard Widmark, and a pre-Star Trek William Shatner.

Centering on two dysfunctional heterosexual couples getting together for a night of fun, games, and disturbing personal revelations, Mike Nichols' Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as the older couple and the evening's hosts, and George Segal and Sandy Dennis as the younger visiting couple.

All four actors were nominated for Academy Awards. Elizabeth Taylor, delivering what is surely the most multilayered performance of her career, was the year's Best Actress. For her flawless characterization, Sandy Dennis was awarded the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Based on Edward Albee's Tony-winning play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was adapted by Ernest Lehmann (The King and I, North by Northwest). Not surprisingly, this raw and provocative psychological drama lost the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars to Academy-friendlier fare: Fred Zinnemann's sedate, good-looking, serious-minded A Man for All Seasons, adapted by Robert Bolt from his own play.

Silent era superstar & controversial documentarian + what passes for 'hip' filmmaking

Toplining Colleen Moore, one of the biggest film stars of the 1920s, Alfred E. Green's Ella Cinders follows a small-town beauty contest winner on her way to Hollywood. The movie itself isn't the greatest, but Moore is fun to watch. Lloyd Hughes is her handsome leading man.

Michael Moore's Roger & Me caused quite a stir after it failed to be nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award. In the film, Moore persistently attempts to talk to General Motors CEO Roger Smith following the closing of several auto plants in the director's hometown, Flint, Michigan.

Considered the epitome of cool in some quarters, Quentin Tarantino's highly influential, Los Angeles-set Pulp Fiction (1994) features an unnecessarily non-linear narrative; stilted dialogue about French fries, mayo, and other equally profound topics; some kinky same-sex rape (tinged with some rabid anti-gay bigotry); and, worst of all, a deliberate, sadistic exhibition of firearm violence.

On the positive side, Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Uma Thurman is excellent as a resurrected drug addict, Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson is appropriately sinister as a Bible-quoting hitman, and there's a groovy dance sequence that allows John Travolta to relive his Saturday Night Fever days.

Remembering Joan Fontaine

Joan Fontaine, who died last weekend, will be remembered with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941). In the suspense drama, Fontaine plays the innocent-looking but not-all-that-innocent wife of a suave, handsome man (Cary Grant) who may well be a cold-blooded killer.

Suspicion earned Fontaine, 24 at the time, that year's Best Actress Academy Award. She thus not only beat her older sister Olivia de Havilland – in the running for Mitchell Leisen's Hold Back the Dawn – but she also became the only performer to win an Oscar for a Hitchcock film.

There were two other Best Actress nominations in Fontaine's career: for Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940), in which she has a similar role to the one she played in Suspicion (the potential husband/murderer in Rebecca is Laurence Olivier), and Edmund Goulding's The Constant Nymph (1943), screened at the Packard Theater a few years ago.

Downhill Racer Robert Redford: Box office disappointment about arrogant and egocentric Olympic skierDownhill Racer with Robert Redford. A box office disappointment when it came out in 1969, Michael Ritchie's Downhill Racer stars potential 2014 Best Actor Oscar nominee Robert Redford as a U.S. Olympic skier whose arrogance and egotism lead to various “team effort” issues. The sports drama will be shown at the Packard Campus right on time for the – controversial – Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Also in the Downhill Racer cast: Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv, Karl Michael Vogler, and Jim McMullan.

Winter Olympics homage & Martin Luther King Jr.

Russia's 2014 Winter Olympics have been mired in controversy – among the few who give a damn – following that country's recently enacted anti-gay laws. But controversy or no, the Packard Theater will be showing two Winter Olympics-related movies:

  • The Walt Disney Studios' Miracle (2004), a “true story” about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team beating them Red Russians.
  • Michael Ritchie's Downhill Racer (1969), starring Robert Redford as an ambitious, arrogant, egocentric skier who joins the U.S. Olympic ski team. Gene Hackman is his coach.

Also in January, the Packard Theater will present two made-for-TV Civil Rights documentaries in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day: CBS Reports' “Who Speaks for Birmingham?” and ABC Close-Up's “Walk in My Shoes,” both first aired in 1961.

Remembering Eleanor Parker

And finally, as part of “The Library of Congress Presents” film series, Culpeper's historic State Theatre will screen Robert Wise's 1965 Best Picture Oscar winner The Sound of Music, an Alpine musical starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and Eleanor Parker.

Like Joan Fontaine, three-time Best Actress Oscar nominee Parker (Caged, 1950; Detective Story, 1951; Interrupted Melody, 1955) also died earlier this month.

See below the full list of Packard Campus January 2014 screenings.

Packard Campus: January 2014 movies

Thursday, Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m.
55 DAYS AT PEKING (Allied Artists, 1963).
Dir.: Nicholas Ray.
Cast: Charlton Heston. David Niven. Ava Gardner.

Friday, Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m.
SUSPICION (RKO, 1941).
Dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
Cast: Cary Grant. Joan Fontaine.

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2:00 p.m.
THE LION KING (Disney, 1994).
Dir.: Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff.
Voice Cast:
Matthew Broderick. Jeremy Irons. James Earl Jones. Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Songs: Elton John & Tim Rice.

Thursday, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.
SANJURO (Toho, 1962).
Dir.: Akira Kurosawa.
Cast: Toshiro Mifune.

Friday, Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m.
JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (UA, 1961).
Dir.: Stanley Kramer.
Cast: Maximilian Schell. Spencer Tracy. Marlene Dietrich. Burt Lancaster. Richard Widmark. Montgomery Clift. Judy Garland. Werner Klemperer. William Shatner.

Saturday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m.
WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (Warner Bros., 1966).
Dir.: Mike Nichols.
Cast: Elizabeth Taylor. Richard Burton. George Segal. Sandy Dennis.

Thursday, Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m.
CIVIL RIGHTS TELEVISION DOCUMENTARIES (1961).

Thursday, Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.
ROGER & ME (Warner Bros., 1989).
Dir.: Michael Moore.

Friday, Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.
ELLA CINDERS (First National, 1926).
Dir.: Alfred E. Green.
Cast: Colleen Moore. Lloyd Hughes. Vera Lewis.

Saturday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m.
PULP FICTION (Miramax, 1994).
Dir.: Quentin Tarantino.
Cast: John Travolta. Samuel L. Jackson. Uma Thurman. Bruce Willis. Maria de Medeiros. Eric Stoltz.

Thursday, Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m.
MIRACLE (Disney, 2004).
Dir.: Gavin O'Connor.
Cast: Kurt Russell. Patricia Clarkson. Noah Emmerich. Sean McCann.

Friday, Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m.
DOWNHILL RACER (Paramount, 1969).
Dir.: Michael Ritchie.
Cast: Robert Redford. Gene Hackman.

 

'Library of Congress Presents' State Theatre screenings

Sunday, Jan. 5, 2:00 p.m.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (20th Century Fox, 1965).
Dir.: Robert Wise.
Cast: Julie Andrews. Christopher Plummer. Eleanor Parker.

Sunday, Jan. 1, 2:00 p.m.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (Paramount, 1981).
Dir.: Steven Spielberg.
Cast: Harrison Ford. Karen Allen.

Sunday, Jan. 19, 2:00 p.m.
ICE AGE (20th Century Fox, 2002).
Voice Cast: Ray Romano. Denis Leary. John Leguizamo.

Sunday, Jan. 26, 2:00 p.m.
MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (EMI, 1975).
Dir.: Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam.
Cast:
Terry Jones. Terry Gilliam. Graham Chapman. John Cleese. Eric Idle. Michael Palin.

Screenings are free at the Packard Theater. There is a $6 admission charge for the “Library of Congress Presents” film programs at the State Theater. For more information, click here.

 

Maximilian Schell Judgment at Nuremberg image: United Artists.

Robert Redford Downhill Racer image: Paramount Pictures.


         
'Judgment at Nuremberg' & Joan Fontaine: Kramer's Best 'Message Movie' & Only Hitchcock Acting Oscar Winner © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about ''Judgment at Nuremberg' & Joan Fontaine: Kramer's Best 'Message Movie' & Only Hitchcock Acting Oscar Winner'

COMMENTING RULES: It would be a waste of energy to disagree with and/or be deeply offended by the presentation of factual information. On the other hand, it's perfectly okay to disagree with and/or be deeply offended by the views & opinions found on this site.

Just bear in mind that *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative.

In other words: Feel free to add something reasonable & coherent – AND fact-based – to the discussion.

Spammy, abusive/bigoted, trollish/inflammatory, baseless (spreading misinformation, whether intentionally or not), and/or just plain demented comments will be zapped and offenders may be banned.

And finally, links found in comments will generally be deleted.

Most recent comments listed on top.