Movie Article

Oscar Classics

EW reviews seven Oscar classics -- We give grades to ''Kitty Foyle,'' ''Captains Courageous,'' and five others

EW reviews seven Oscar classics

A line or an attitude may date a film, but Warner's series shows that fine performances can have a longer shelf life. Ginger Rogers' winning turn as a spunky shopgirl in Kitty Foyle still fizzes, even if her dilemma — marry a poor man or be a tycoon's mistress? — doesn't. Captains Courageous deftly pairs Freddie Bartholomew's brat overboard with Best Actor Spencer Tracy's Portuguese fisherman who rescues and reforms him. The distaff Oscar winner that year, Luise Rainer, shone as a Chinese peasant in The Good Earth, despite a Viennese accent, as she and husband Paul Muni endure revolution and a locust attack. No accent for Best Actress Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda, who, as a deaf-mute farm girl, uses facial expressions with a silent star's skill. And the classy Lust for Life won Anthony Quinn a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as swaggering painter Paul Gauguin (''Women — I like'em fat and vicious and not too smart''). Not so hot is Best Picture Cimarron, surveying Oklahoma history with awkward ethnic stereotypes while deploring mistreatment of minorities. And Best Actor Wallace Beery's flabby pug in the syrupy The Champ no longer looks like a knockout, just a jab. Kitty: B Captains: A Earth, Belinda, Lust: A- Cimarron, Champ: C+

Originally posted Jan 27, 2006 Published in issue #861 Feb 03, 2006 Order article reprints