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and the Academy Award goes to….Paul Gambaccini

I am often critical of “film reviewers” who showboat their egos or supposed wit -the two Rosses, Jonathan and Deborah, are the worst examples – but do not understand the grammar of cinema. I would exclude Paul Gambaccini who presents a show on radio 4 on Saturday mornings around the time of the Oscar awards.

The Oscar awards are a strange institution: it has to be considering that Alfred Hitchcock, Kurosawa and Luis Bunuel were never awarded best director but Paul Gambaccini, with the help of cinema historian David Thomson and a reviewer, does his best to unravel it.

Over the course of my life Casablanca remans my favourite film, others tend to go up and down. I thought I knew all the trivia about Casablanca: none of the actors knew the ending, no one says “Play it Again Sam” and few that there are only 4 American actors in the cast. However I did learn that the cafe on which the play and film are based is one in Cap Ferrat.

In Godfather 1 I never knew a script based on the book was hawked around for a year and no studio wanted it.

Sometimes Paul Gambaccini, admirable presenter that he is, lets his democratic liberalism get in the way of proper assessment.

Thus on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest he drew an analogy to 70s America of Vietnam, Nixon and Watergate when director Milos Forman made it abundantly clear that the real comparison to the mental institute was his own Soviet bloc Czechoslovakia.

On the rivals to Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, Thomson panned The Longest Day as being ill-made.

Personally I thought it an excellent war film which presented the German military perspective  well.

Generally speaking I am impressed by the research , critique and above the context of the Oscar films presented.

Here is a link to them – OSCAR FILMS

 

 

About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts