- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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So Wrong It's Right
Notorious regarded as one of big bad bombs of the 1960s (in the school of "Valley of the Dolls" and "Return to Peyton Place"), "The Oscar" certainly shows its age and script creakiness to a 21st Century audience. But as a long-time, highly critical and yet often very forgiving movie-lover, I must point out: this high-end Hollywood soaper blast from the past keeps its essential cred with the audience in that it never commits the unpardonable offense of being boring. Hopping as if on speed from crisis to crisis, the script manages to get a little more compelling with each new sin committed by its sociopathic, desperate movie star anti-hero Stephen Boyd as "Frankie Fane" (even the name is wrong). Poor Boyd - per Wikipedia, offscreen a truly decent and good-hearted actor who died far too young, never having fully achieved his promise - this could have been his breakthrough role, if only he had been directed to flash a little charm and humor into the proceedings. However, his 2-dimensional performance gets a little more grounded as the show continues, and Boyd is smart to inject grace notes of craziness throughout, elevating the proceedings far above the tale of simply a 'Hollywood heel'. Unsave-able, though, is the terrible Elke Sommer in a laughably wooden performance, while Eleanor Parker is under-used, and Joseph Cotten rather the wrong creed as the tough producer. Notably lacking are any production scenes - why didn't we see Mr. Fane on the set of his Oscar-nominated show? - just as big a lapse as the complete failure to show him as an actor with any charm, grace, or talent: was he meant to be Brando-esque? Boyd is sadly left flapping in the wind, though his several shirtless scenes display his fine physique to full effect, and no one can say he doesn't try hard. Parenthetically, it's ironic that an uncredited Frank Sinatra, certainly in life notoriously as evil and sociopathic as Mr. Fane, should have won the coveted Oscar at the finale.
"If you like Las Vegas-style "music" for the geriatric set, then that is Bennett's milieu, and he does well there. But, he cannot act." Wow, that is a very offensive statement since many of the viewers of TCM are in the "geriatric" set and fans of Tony Bennett. Putting the word music in quotes is also very offensive. This genre of music was very popular at its onset and is still popular with many people today. Back to my rating. How could three screenwriters get is so wrong? Yes, this movie did not have a great screenplay to work from, however, it is entertaining and there are some fine moments and I always enjoy seeing Elke Sommer and Jill St. John as well as the many other fine actors. When I first saw this film I placed it between 1964 and 1967. So it is critically dated and that makes it even more of an essential. There are a lot of fans of this genre. This type of movie was very popular during a certain period of time and is rather documentary in some ways. The hairstyles and clothing styles are very familiar as are other aspects of the set. There is so much in this movie to like that one can almost overlook that it is not such a good film by today's standards. If you can overlook the flaws and take it for what it was in its time, it can be an enjoyable film with a cautionary tale to tell.
- Terry Walker
I saw the movie "The Oscar" on TCM on television for the first time. It goes to prove that a stable of good actors cannot make a poor movie good. This could have been a good drama--the plot was o.k.--it might well have been interesting. But the way it unfolded, and particularly how unbelievable the main character, Frankie Fane, was, destroyed it. One almost would think it was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek parody, except for all the big-time stars who played in the movie. They didn't come cheap, I'm sure. The persona of the lead character was so overdone that its manifestations whipsawed around all over the screen, so that any real sense of the Frankie Fane's character was lost. One could see what we were SUPPOSED to understand was the character of Frankie Fane, but one never really FEELS his character. We might as well be reading it off a typed page. The character Frankie Fane was totally unrealistic in the way he was presented. Poor Tony Bennett was totally miscast as Frankie Fane's buddy. If you like Las Vegas-style "music" for the geriatric set, then that is Bennett's milieu, and he does well there. But, he cannot act. Milton Berle was cast in a straight role. And, he played it straight and he carried it off well. Berle can act, as we know. But, it was so against type, that it just didn't seem right. Someone other than as world-class comedian should have been cast in that role. The other major stars had not much more than cameo appearances, with the exceptions of Elke Sommer and Jill St. John. They, and the other major stars, were credible in their rolls, thought the characters played by Sommer and St. John seemed a more than a tad unreal and unbelievable. If you ever get a chance to see "The Oscar" -- don't waste your time.
I'll be Frank...
Was Edith Head hired to assure that this movie would win at least one "Oscar"?
- Cary Moy
Brutish. Easily the best word to describe Stephen Boyd's Frankie Fane in this movie. So much so that his photograph should be placed next to the definition in the dictionary. Yes, this film is ginormously bad, but it's still highly entertaining...just as long as you watch it like the characters in Mystery Science Theater 3000. Actually it's not a total disaster; Hedda Hopper, who died the same year this movie was released, made a cameo. And then there's that ending. The first time I saw Frankie clapping (or was he trying to smash the atoms between the palms of his hands), I thought he was going to have a heart attack...or a stroke...or a nervous breakdown...or all three at once. Relax, folks. He only got a severely bruised ego and a serious dose of attitude adjustment.
i wonder how much of this movie was badly done on purpose?? it seems to me that it was. found myself with my mouth open at how overacted everything was. boyd looked like a stiff puppet. tony bennet looks like a greasy little kid... but what a cast! i would love to see this again
Campy But Not Cool
- Bruce Reber
I watched "The Oscar" on TCM Sunday night 3/7/10 for the second time, and this has to be one of the campiest, trashiest films to ever come out of Hollywood. While it's apparently trying to be about the dark side of the movie industry in the style of "Sunset Blvd." and "The Bad And The Beautiful" (both of them way superior to boot), it comes off as a Grade-A disaster with an all-star cast (what wasted talent!). I can't believe that stars of such stature would even think of allowing themselves to be part of such an awful film as this. "The Oscar" is campy, but sure not cool, and an example of just how bad a film can be (like Joe Gillis commented about Norma Desmond's script for "Salome" in the above mentioned "Sunset Blvd.", "Sometimes you find out just how bad writing can be-this one promised to go the limit!").
The birth of the hollywood cliche'
Give this movie credit for spawning ever hollywood cliche' we now suffer from: The out of control, ego driven star, the groupee hangeron, the has been looking for a comeback, the truthful, unselfish agent.... Even more amazing that big stars would agree to be in the film. Did they read the script ? But, who could pass up the chance to work with the talented Stephen Boyd ? Maybe it was just the chance to wear an Edith Head gown.
Great 60's movie
I actually thought it was a great 60's riches wealth movie. It had a great cast and I liked how the movie took place
- Laura J
I too must say that I was prepared for a great movie considering the cast which was A-1. However, this movie was terrible, but like the other commenter said I too could not stop watching it. I cant say I would see it again, but everytime I went to change it, I could not. Worth seeing one time. I actually liked Tony Bennett and am suprised he didnt do more acting.
one of the best bad movies ever
- wolf olroth
the movie version is totally different from the novel by charles sale but no matter -- it is still one of THE best bad movies ever made!!! Stephen Boyd fortunately had the sheer star charisma to make any piece of junk watchable (see Billy Rose's Jumbo) and Elke Sommer and Jill St John are at their phenomenal 60's glamourous best. Edith Head got an oscar nomination for the costumes -- the film is an excellent example of that 60's overblown yet oddly hip and cool art direction/costume design faze the movies went through in that decade. Can't wait til this gem is put out on dvd as I find I can watch it over and over w/o getting bored -- 60's trash movies are my absolute favourite genre and The Oscar is one of the best!!!! Don't turn your nose up at it - you will love it in all its chipped glory. Eleanor Parker is particularly awful and Tony Bennett shld stick to singing but I still love it!!
Like A Train Wreck!
- Charles Nero
This movie is absolutely bad. But, like a train wreck, I couldn't stop watching it. It is one of the movies I remember from my childhood. The childhood memory of this film is right up there with The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Yeah, it's bad, but oh, so good. Stephen Boyd plays the same role he always played: evil, conniving, Messala from Ben Hur. Boyd is like a macho drag queen and he is utterly fascinating to watch, especially in the final scene when everything unravels. You know he's going to be on the streets, hustling or advertising his wares in the back pages of sleazy magazines.
- Frank Fane
One of the worst acted films ever. Probably was a good book but awful on the screen. Elke Sommer stunning, ditto Miss Merle Oberon.
The Last Stand of 'Old Hollywood':
- Barry Goub!er
I had wanted to see this movie for years, after only knowing the parody SCTV did in the early 80s ("The Nobel")...It exceeded all my expectations; I would say SCTV's version only exaggerated the film by about 10 percent! The real reason to watch is Tony Bennett as the jewish-Irishman Hymie Kelly (do you think we'd get it, with a name like that?):his performance is the opposite of his singing range, a 1-note, over-the-top set-devouring scream! The 'climactic' scene where he beats up Steven Boyd with a wastepaper basket must be seen to be believed! I really love this film, though, because it represents the final moments of classic Hollywood, before the poisonous influence of late-60s "youth culture"(beginning with BONNIE AND CLYDE) lead American movies down the path of tedious "naturalism" and nihilistic antiheroes...give me the "phony" world of THE OSCAR any day!
Bad Man Who Never Finds Redemption
- Georgia Clark
Stephen Boyd's portrayal of a man with a rotten soul is searing. His attitude toward everyone never changes and he is given more than one opportunity to turn his personal life around. However, there are some people who prefer the destructive life they live and can not be saved. I enjoyed seeing all the well-known actors from Hollywood in this 1966 production. The language, at times, seemed too stilted to be real and delivered in an "over-the-top" manner. Nevertheless, I plan to collect this Boyd film. He died too soon.
More fun than "Valley of the Dolls"!
Depressed? See "The Oscar" and call me in the morning.
- M. Oliver
I have been waiting forever for this movie to be shown and unfortunately I missed it last night. Please show it again! If possible, in the future....if a movie is missed, can it be shown a 2nd time in a month just in case someone misses the first showing. Again, please shown "The Oscar" again soon! It was a great movie.
The Oscar, At Last
- Yvonne Mitchell
I saw this movie tonight after not having seen it in years. I loved this film when it was initially released, and I still love it now. Great cast! My thanks to Bill Maher for selecting The Oscar as one of his movie picks and my thanks to TCM. I hope it will be shown again.
Cast members playing themselves!
- Eric Hartley
And "Thank You! Bill Mahre for choosing this movie to be shown on TCM! I was awestruck at the cast of characters in this movie and the parts they played. Broderick Crawford playing the part of the sheriff!? [shades of the TV series "Highway Patrol"] And Peter Lawford, the part he played, I was surprised to see he was willing to play that part. Having an idea how his career was going at that time, and where it was heading to in the years to come, it really seemed to mirror the sad reality for his lot in life. I was particularly impressed that the movie use the names of the real "A" list actors of that time, and even had some of them make cameo appearances as themselves . . . as well as seeing Hedda Hopper and Edith Head, too. And how often are we treated to see a youthful Tony Bennett, too. TCM user reviewer JeromeG111 said it well when he wrote: "This movie is wonderfully awful." I hope TCM will show this movie again!
Holy Cow ! This is heaven
- J Kevin lambert
This 1966 period and extremely lush production, with the most amazing all star cast all in there prime AND costumes by Edith Head is every campy movie lovers dream come true. I cant believe I had never seen or heard of it, and I thank Turner Classic Movies for airing it and beg to see it released on D.V.D.
This movie is wonderfully awful...everything about it over the top, and horrendous....and like a train wreck you can't tear your eyes away. For all it's faults however, it does show Hollywood at its worst. And I think it's a lot closer to being truthful than anyone there will admit.
Raised in Hollywood
- G. J. Kline
This is the VERY BEST camp film about Hollywood I have ever seen. I am thrilled it is being shown on TCM. It features an all star cast at the prime of their careers. If has great mid-century set design and costumes that speak of a period in time. It is not great like the Hollywood film "The Bad and the Beautiful." This film is sooo bad it is beautiful.
Sleezy, Cheezy and Easy to Laugh At!
- John Wilson RAZZIE Awards
Beloved by Bad Movie Buffs for over 40 years, this is the sordid tale of one really bad actor's climb all the way to the top in Tinsel Town -- An Oscar® nomination as Best Actor! Made with the full cooperation of the AMPAS, this one has more ham on display than any deli window, more blowhard/bloviating dialogue than the entire RKO movie library, and more laughable "insights" into how showbiz works than just about any other "Hollywood expose" ever made. Expose yourself to it NOW -- You'll be laughing so hard, you'll be glad you did!
- Mary L. Buchek
As a big fan of Stephen Boyd, this is one of my favorite movies. Hopefully there will be enough interest in this movie to make a DVD. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.