Friday, November 13, 2009

Latest Oscar-nominee seen: Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)


This movie is like an injection. You have to get through with it to become a real OSCAR NERD. So now I can officially say: I've finally seen Mourning Becomes Electra.
Now, this is a tedious movie and at some moments simply unbelievably boring. But there are scenes (Roz is in all of them), which are magnificetly acted.
The story was based on a Eugene O'Neill play, which is sort of an updated Greek tragedy, so it's full of revenge, adultery, suicide and Katina Paxinu.
Let's just start with the weak points of the movie. It's going to be quite a long list. First, the direction and the performances are so theatrical, exaggerated gestures, big screams, cries and embraces. Katina Paxinu gives two performances in this movie: the first of them is by all means great and it lasts for about 15 minutes. The second one is quite uneven and very long. Sometimes she's just plain awful, but there are some scenes which she really nails. The first one should have been nominated for an Oscar. Michael Redgrave is good, but far from great. Again, he's overacting and I felt like as if I was at a theatre. He's a great actor, but I feel that this role was rather supporting but there are some simply brilliant moments for which he deserved that Oscar nom.
And now the good point: Rosalind Russel. Boy, was she a damn brilliant actress! I'm not saying that I'm a great fan of hers because I'm not, even though His Girl Friday is one of my favorite films (actually I think THAT was her greatest performance and she should have won for that one too, and hell she wasn't even nominated). But she's also brilliant in this movie (well, much better than the mediocore Loretta Young), in some scenes she's just unbelievable (especially at the beginning and at the end of the film), and although she sometimes overacts (just a bit) she definitely SHOULD HAVE WON that Oscar.
I don't even understand how Loretta Young won. I mean Roz had everything on her side: overdue and respected actress, brilliant performance worthy of an Oscar, industrial support, and frontrunner status. Poor, Roz it must have been awful for her. And what made them vote for Loretta? She wasn't overdue or anything? I guess the guys counting the votes were bad at maths because that's the only reasonable explanation.
Oh and a pleasant surprise: Kirk Douglas. He was quite good and subtle, he was also a good point.
To sum up, you must see this movie, but not because it's that great.
My Grade: 6/10
Nominations: Best Actor (Michael Redgrave); Best Actress (Rosalind Russel)
My wins: Best Actress (Russel)

2 comments:

seminalcinemaoutfit.com said...

Great review!

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Danyulengelke said...

Great review!

We're linking to your article for Academy Monday at SeminalCinemaOutfit.com

Keep up the good work!