Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic and the Great War.
It's far from the greatest Best Picture winner, or the most ground-breaking, but it's also quite watchable. I am always a sucker for this type of fare, and it's stoic sense of old Victorian world loss in the face of 20th Century blues hits a lot of poignant notes. It's far too stagey (one of those teething early talkies with overly theatrical acting and direction), and way too adherent to character convention and shared historical events. There is an overdose of all-too-predictably applied histrionics and soapbox sermons.
Yet, despite all this, it's the type of drama I readily crave, again and again, and Coward has always had an efficient and lifelong bachelor feel for these types of playwright scenarios. If…
Cavalcade won the Best Picture Oscar in 1932-33 and it seems to have been hated ever since. Currently, it is not available on DVD, but it is worth looking for and enjoying, especially for the Downton Abbey set.
It is dated, but no more-so than most other film from the era, and it has aged better than many. The story, from Noel Coward, tells of late 19th Century England and western civilization via two families: the Marryots and Bridges. It is one of his few plays not to be revived, probably because of the epic scale. Well that and it would not hold up to a gritty reboot or a Disney-style musical treatment.
Coward's stage play was adapted for the…
An early winner of a Best Picture Oscar, which of course doesn't mean it was the best film around that year, but which doesn't deserve the contempt that it seems to receive in modern reviews. The story of two British families is told from 1899 to 1933 - two British families from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Some of the accents were a bit dodgy (especially the working class accents) and some of the storylines were unsubtle, but this wasn't as bad as I expected.
It was odd to think that in 1933 the Second Boer War (which the film starts with) was as recent as the Winter of Discontent is to us now!
Apparently this early best picture winner is a bit hard to find. Thanks, TCM! Anyway, the film revolves around a family of British elites from the start of the Boer war up to the end of World War One. It's an ambitious premise, particularly for 1933, but the film mostly falls flat on it's face. I think the central problem is that the film doesn't feel like one story following this family grow and change, but a bunch of isolated shorts focusing on the same characters. The film is also plagued with some really stiff acting. People either act bored, or over the top. This is especially true of the Boer War segment, where everyone just cries. Then there's the…
Well this was fun. Noel Coward's bizarre, episodic exploration of early 20th century England has some nice ideas and moments, but ultimately the writing is too poor, the acting too stiff, and the direction too stagy for the story to take off. I call to comparison E. L. Doctorow's famous novel Ragtime, and the subsequent film and musical adaptations it inspired: Ragtime tells the story of America at the turn of the 20th century; the difference between Ragtime and Cavalcade is that Ragtime actually seems interested in investing in the characters as human beings, not just as means to get to the next historical event. That's Cavalcade's biggest problem--none of these people matter. They're just there so they can die…
Easily the most boring of all the Best Picture winners. Not only does it rarely ever feel like an important part of early cinema, but its unfathomable melodrama makes it feel like an exaggerated spoof. Everything is spoon-fed to the audience -- to the point where you're left constantly listening to monologues that basically insult your intelligence. Diana Wynyard does nothing but look out into space, retelling the plot and fashioning in her thoughts and feelings. Speaking of which, she was nominated for Lead Actress!? Must have been an unspeakably bad year in that category.
The entire thing takes place over a course of 34 years and you're supposed to feel connected to each event they show by having some…
Cavalcade isn't the aimless mess The Broadway Melody and Cimarron are as early Best Picture winners, but it's so nearly executed that it lacks any sort of adventurousness. It's a saccharine look at a British family from New Years 1899 to New Years in the early 1930s (1933?) They go through the Boer War and World War I. This is ripe for great drama, and I like David Lean's cinematic work with playwright Noel Coward, but here, with Coward's play, it is stripped of intrigue and complexity and is merely an IMPORTANT movie.
The lovers talk about their future, and move aside to reveal they are on the Titanic. It ends with a toast for ALL HUMANITY it seems. It…
A tough movie to watch -- I can take long, slow movies with stage-like acting, but I just didn't connect with any of the characters, and as the story plodded on, not going anywhere interesting, I soon lost interest.
A rich British family experiences the troubles of turn-of-the-century England. AMPAS sure loves movies like this; they gave "Forrest Gump" Best Picture too. But while "Gump" can be fun, this film is a godawful bore. Diana Wynyard is stiffer than a hip replacement on a cold night with only the annoying Una O'Connor providing any kind of emotion to the film. It's lazily-written and unbelievable. Very possibly the worst of all Best Picture winners.
After seeing Frank Lloyd's Mutiny on the Bounty, I had high hopes for this film about the British Cavalcade as the fought during the early 1900's. In a story spanning many decades, it succeeds better than the similarly paced Best Picture winner Cimarron.
Overall, it is a slow film that takes a long time to get going. If you like pompous Brits, then you may stand a chance of liking these very stilted characters who are rather acidic at points. I admit that is a big reason that I don't immediately like this movie. British people were way too petty for my tastes and it took about 70 minutes of a 111 minute movie to get why I should care.…
Upstairs/downstairs history of a London family from 1899-1933, with an anti-war message. I enjoyed this despite the disadvantages of watching in parts on YouTube with a less than wonderful print. Dana Wynyard, who played the matriarch, was truly wonderful in the role -- very understated yet full of feeling. With Clive Brooke as her husband and Una O'Connor as their housemaid, later turned pubkeeper. It's kind of sad to think that by the time this was made another war and more sadness were already on the horizon.
British people doing British things all throughout turn-of-the-British-century British history.
Cavalcade's biggest problem is not that it hasn't aged well, because sometimes you can try to let that pass when you're watching films from this era; its main problem is that it's boring and extremely sentimental, and even though the plot had some interesting moments, that some of the acting was decent, and that in general there was competent filmmaking involved, it's pretty forgettable.
This film has aged very poorly. It feels clunky and completely contrived, failing to gain any emotional depth out of its "epic" story.
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- The Broadway Melody
As we near the kickoff to Oscar season, I figured it would be appropriate for the site to have a…
- À nous la liberté
- About Schmidt
- Absence of Malice
- Adam's Rib
From the NYT website:
This list is drawn from the second edition of The New York Times Guide to the…