Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Battle of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1970

[Patton coincided with 4th-o-July festivities. America!]
Settling in with any Oscar winning Best Picture for the first time, has one guarantee-the reveal of a timeless scene.

Time may strip away the complete experience that at one time snagged a film an honored award, but the lasting stamp on history has left behind many memorable snapshots. So much so, these scenes often become bigger than the film itself.

Making out on a beach amidst a crashing wave can't even be done without pulling up that From Here To Eternity image-trench coast, fedoras, and intriguing fog cover in Casablanca, will never be something to regret today, tomorrow, or even for the rest of our lives-and any boat becomes the Titanic, as anybody who's anybody, has headed directly to the bow of a boat to comically flail about and bellow, "Jack...I'm flying!"

Pacing back and forth, delivering a dramatic speech in front of an American flag, may not be as fun to recreate as any of those, but it doesn't make it less classic; Patton, the Best Picture of 1970, and its memorable opening scene, continues to be one of the most replicated scenes in film history.

One tough cookie, like General S. Patton, would have never dreamed that a speech delivered to his troops would be replicated on a show for children, but since the coolest cats are working at PBS, basically, you ain't nothin' unless Sesame Street dedicates time to paying homage. [Side note: Twin Beaks!]

The Oscars (get it. Oscar.) love their war pictures, and while a sense of dread could fall over those who hate these kinds of movies, yet are attempting this Oscar challenge, take one suggestion; go in with an open mind.

Based on the real battles fought by Patton and his troops during WWII, there is the usual battle scenes-full of sweeping air strikes, long military strategy scenes, and what not.

Patton ends up moving away from a typical war movie, and is held together for the entire 2 1/2 hours, by the quick moving script by Francis Ford Coppola, and George C. Scott as Patton-a bad-ass, in every sense of the term. Single-handedly (like a mad man), he takes on a diving fighter plane, bullets flying everywhere, with just a hand gun!

Although, his actions are not always heroic. He hits soldiers that he deems as cowards and lives in lavish accommodations (and not to mention has several man-servants at his beck and call. What is that about?) while his men fight it out in tents, which all looks a little skeptical for anyone hoping to be respected.

Surprisingly the romantic, Patton has a passion for heroic tales, and continually recalls the powerful military leaders from throughout time. He believes he is destined to be one of them, but his pompous attitude may prevent him from taking his triumphant spot in history.

The classic opening to Patton makes for a powerful introduction, which captures everything the main character is about within five minutes. While the whole film was more intriguing than expected, it is now easy to see why that, single punch of a scene, is more often recalled than the entire film.

It's worthwhile to see how classic scenes fit in to the rest of a film, but for now, instead of any repeat viewings of Patton, I think the only Oscar I'll stick with, is one that can be found in the trash.

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