Thursday, February 8, 2024

What Should Have Won Best Picture-1952


I am talking about the Best Picture of 1952 which, I consider, the stupidest win ever. Mind you I still have not seen “Around The World In 80 Days” with David Niven but this was a year Chock (or is that chalk?) full of great films and this movie, although entertaining, just doesn’t measure up to any of the others. I am going to choose 3 movies, the winner, a nominee and one that didn’t get any recognition for Best Picture and the one, I think, should have won although, ask me, on another day, and I might choose one of the nominees. 

The nominees for this year were “The Quiet Man”, “The Greatest Show On Earth”, “High Noon”, “Ivanhoe”, and “Moulin Rouge” and this is, gulp, the winner…


I like circus movies and this is a good flick starring a ton of major stars headed by Charlton Heston, Cornell Wilde and Betty Hutton with James Stewart, Dorothy Lamour and many others in supporting roles. This is a Cecil B DeMille production about the trials and tribulations of a circus and the people working on them including a love triangle and a big train wreck. It’s fun but why it won, I just don’t get it when you realize that “High Noon” and “The Quiet Man” were also best picture nominees. I love Jimmy Stewart but this should not have been nominated. 


This is one of my favourite films! It stars the great John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara as 2 people who fall in love when Wayne moves to Ireland to his mom’s home. When he see O’Hara he is instantly attracted but doesn’t understand the culture and how important her dowry means to her. Her brother, played by Victor McLaglin, refuses to give her her dowry nor his blessing and she is, upset that Wayne refuses to fight for what she feels is important. This is a superb film comedy directed by John Ford with many of his troupe in the film including the 3 principles, Ward Bond and Barry Fitzgerald. When Wayne’s character has had enough you are right with him and agree with his way of handling the dowry, his wife and her brother. The epic fight scene goes down in history as one of the best fight scenes captured on camera.


I am dumbfounded that this brilliant musical was not nominated for best picture and I would choose this as my best picture. Mind you I go back and forth between this, “The Quiet Man” and “High Noon” but this musical is brilliant, not only in the dancing and singing but the story holds it up on its own even if there was no singing or dancing. It is very funny headed by Jean Hagan as a spoiled silent screen actress playing a beautiful, queenly lady but, in reality, can’t talk, is nasty and is as stupid as dumbnut. It takes place when silent movies are becoming a thing of the past and everyone is in a panic to make films , “All Singing-All Dancing” extravaganzas. It stars Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds in this film with Cyd Charisse making a wow appearance as a Louise Brooks Femme Fatale dancing sinuously around Gene Kelly. This would be my choice but The Quiet Man is a very, very close second.

This year also had the films, “ The Bad and The Beautiful”, “The Lavender Hill Mob”, “Viva Zapata”, “Come Back, Little Sheba”, “My Cousin Rachel”, “Rashomon” and “ Five Fingers”.

Which film would you choose as Best Picture? 

So, what year would you like me to choose and which category but, no best sound, documentary etc.. because I would not know them. The main awards and even best cinematography, art direction and costumes are all a go. 


  1. Those were good films. I've seen but don't remember much about 80 Days. I do remember it was funny.

  2. Hi, Birgit!

    I know how you feel about the unfairness of Oscar nominations and wins, dear friend. To this day, I am still circulating a petition to have Way...Way Out (starring Jerry Lewis and Connie Stevens) declared Best Picture. Care to sign?

    I love circus movies, and have seen The Greatest Show On Earth (1952), Trapeze (1956) starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, The Big Circus (1959) starring Victor Mature, Red Buttons, Rhonda Fleming and David Nelson (of Ozzy & Harriet fame) plus the suspenseful horror movie Circus Of Horrors (1960) starring Anton Diffring.

    As I have stated many times before, I don't care for John Wayne, and therefore would not pick The Quiet Man as Best Picture. I would not choose Singing In The Rain because the singing and dancing are deal-breakers. :) My Pick To Click is a film I studied in college, the anti-Western film High Noon starring Gary Cooper who won Best Actor for his performance. In an interview, John Wayne blasted High Noon, calling it "the most un-American thing I've ever seen in my whole life." As an "answer movie" to High Noon, and to show us how real Western heroes are supposed to behave, Wayne teamed-up with director Howard Hawks to make Rio Bravo (1959). Bonus tidbits: Hawks is the director responsible for The Thing from Another World (1951) and was married to socialite and fashion icon Slim Keith currently being played by Diane Lane in Feud: Capote vs The Swans. Mrs. Shady and I are thoroughly enjoying the 8-part series on Hulu and we highly recommend it.

    Be on alert, dear friend, because Shady's Comet has circled around and is heading back your way. It will be visible on the southern horizon this coming Monday as it begins its monthly 3-day journey across the blogosphere. I hope to see you then!

    Enjoy the rest of your week and please give my buddy Harley a skunk-biscuit and a good smoochin' and tell him they're from Shady!

  3. I admit I haven't seen all those classic movies (Rashomon is amazing, though), however the Oscars have always been a weird political and nonsensical award show. I don't know what it was like back then, but in modern day thousands of "Academy members" get to vote for each category, whether they've seen the movies or not. Often films get picked because it's something the voter has heard of, or is familiar with the director/actor's other work.

    I gave up caring about the Oscars when Disney's "Big Hero 6" beat "Song of the Sea" for Best Animated film. Song of the Sea is one of the best animated movies of the last twenty years. Big Hero 6 was... fine. But the voters were more familiar with Disney, so they got the nod.

  4. Of your three picks I have only seen Singin in the Rain and loved it. I cannot abide John Wayne so avoid his movies. I saw the BBC production of 80 days and enjoyed it. I did see and enjoy My Cousin Rachel and Come Back Little Sheba.
    There are several years where the winner was a real dud for me. I hated The English Patient.

  5. If I had to pick, I'd go with Ivanhoe. YOU have a pain free day.

  6. Whenever I read your posts I want to stop everything and watch a movie! I don't believe I've ever seen Singin in the Rain, just the clips from it that've shown up so often through the years. I'd love to see it and The Quiet Man.

  7. High Noon is a favourite, and I would have picked that one. Greatest Show on Earth was a good movie too, though. I haven't seen the John Wayne film, but it sounds intriguing. Something different for him. I'm not a huge fan of musicals, but I love Gene Kelly's! There was something so appealing about him and he was a great talent. More interesting than Fred Astaire, IMO.

  8. Birgit ~

    I am with you on this. 'The Greatest Show On Earth' was an OK movie but... C'mon!

    My #1 choice for the Best Picture Oscar in 1952 would definitely be 'The Quiet Man'. I love it, and my Ma loved it before me (and turned me onto it a godzillion years ago). My *very close* second choice would be the fantastic 'Singin' In The Rain', unquestionably one of the all-time great musical classics. I think it's probably safe to say that anyone who doesn't like 'S.I.T.R.' simply won't like *any* musical.

    Another movie I enjoy a great deal from 1952 is the zany comedy 'Son Of Paleface', with Bob Hope, Jane Russell, and Roy Rogers. It's certainly not a 'Best Picture' type of movie, but a great deal of fun, if one likes really silly comedies (a la 'Better Off Dead', 'Airplane', 'Pink Panther' movies, et al.)

    As for 'High Noon' . . .

    Although my favorite film genre is Westerns, I consider 'High Noon' to be unquestionably one of the most overrated movies ever made. So much so that 19 years ago I felt compelled to write extensively about that *thing* :


    >>... "So, what year would you like me to choose and which category"

    How about 'Best Picture' and the year 1983?
    I have a reason for selecting this, but I'll save my commentary for when/if you write about it.

    ~ D-FensDogG

  9. First of all as someone who HAS suffered through the horror show that is Around the World in 80 Days I can tell you, you are missing nothing by not having seen it. It's my personal choice for worst Best Picture winner ever.

    I love The Greatest Show on Earth in all its blowsy, garish overblown silliness and there are many Best Picture winners that I like much less but it never should have BEEN a BP winner or even a nominee and that win has damaged its reputation tremendously. I think had it lost it would be considered an entertaining spectacle with a good cast and a typical goofy De Mille story but not savaged the way it is.

    "The Quiet Man" has its devotees but I am not among them. I certainly don't hate it but as far as the Duke's films it's no "The Searchers" or "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".

    I recognize "Singin' in the Rain" as an achievement but harbor no great affection for it as a whole (though I adore Debbie and Jean Hagen in it). It probably suffered from the win the year before of the insufferable An American in Paris but its exclusion from the nominees is insane.

    Of the actual nominees there should have been no other winner than "High Noon"! Its loss is pure politics at work and the studios running scared when the film's screenwriter Carl Foreman was blacklisted. Very much a black eye on the Academy's part.

    However in an open field "High Noon" would have come in second for me to yet another unnominated film-Nicholas Ray's spare rodeo drama "The Lusty Men" starring Robert Mitchum, Susan Hayward and Arthur Kennedy. It's an appallingly neglected mini masterpiece with award level performances by all three leads. Mitchum would have been my winner for this year in Best Actor and I would have rather seen Susan nominated for this than the nod she did receive for "With a Song in My Heart". Although I love that movie totally and she's terrific in it I think a performance that has to be created out of whole cloth as she did with the complex Louise Merritt is more challenging than a historical personage such as Jane Froman.

  10. Of the movies you mentioned, I've only seen Singing in the Rain. It's funny which films hold up and which don't.

  11. Wow, that's a pretty good year!

    Of the five nominated, High Noon is certainly the one with the strongest legacy. The Greatest Show on Earth is considered by many to be the worst to ever win.

    I'm with you on Singing in the Rain. At least in my family, it's no contest.

  12. Hope you're having a grand weekend.

  13. It seems like as a youngster I watched "The Quiet Man" and "Singing in the Rain" but I can only remember bits of these films so now I'm not sure if I actually saw the whole production or just pieces. I love seeing what old movies you share! It's such a fun treat! :)