1 Nomination, 0 Wins
If Michael Haneke had directed films within the studio system of the 1950's, Kind Lady is the type of film he might have made. Directed by the great John Sturges, the film stars Ethel Barrymore as Mary Herries, an art collector who is tricked by Henry Elcott (Maurice Evans) and his family and friends to allow them to live in her home as part of a scheme to sell her possessions. As Herries comes to understand the situation she is in, she struggles to escape, but Elcott and his co-conspirators have so firmly taken control of her life that she is unable to do so.
Filmmakers have long had a fascination with the individual trapped in his/her (and it's usually a her) own home, from the classics Gaslight and Wait Until Dark to the more recent Panic Room, The Strangers, and the aforementioned Haneke's Funny Games films, and Kind Lady is a part of that tradition. What Kind Lady lacks that the most successful of these films achieve is a sense of true suspense. Ethel Barrymore is such a strong figure that, despite her age, she never comes across as vulnerable. Her co-stars, with the exception of Angela Lansbury, seem not up to the task of matching Barrymore. Additionally, though the loss of her possessions is perhaps the most important thing to Mary Harries, the stakes are not high enough to the audience to provide enough suspense to sustain the film. Instead, the majority of the film left me flat, calmly waiting for someone to catch onto the scheme and restore order.
Kind Lady received its nomination for its black and white costume design, losing to A Place in the Sun, one of Edith Head's eight Oscars. The costume designers, Walter Plunkett and Gile Steele, faced the challenge of dressing characters who value above all the physical beauty of objects, and they succeeded wonderfully. Both the costume design and production design show a fine eye for detail, and though neither is particularly unique or creative, the attention to detail perfectly complements the film's characters.
Remaining: 3176 films, 882 Oscars, 5470 nominations