Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Captain Kidd (1945)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture - Werner Janssen

At the Academy Awards held on March 7, 1946, 21 films received nominations in the category of "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture," giving 20 composers or composing teams the chance to lose on Oscar night.  Werner Janssen had the rare opportunity to lose three times, having been nominated for Guest in the House and The Southerner in addition to his work for Captain Kidd, losing out on the trophy to Miklos Rozsa for Spellbound (interesting note: Rozsa also was nominated three times in the category, losing to himself with his scores for The Lost Weekend and A Song to Remember).

Janssen shouldn't have been too surprised not to win for Captain Kidd, as the score doesn't come anywhere close to matching his work on The Southerner, a far more worthy scoring effort.  Like the rest of Captain Kidd, Janssen's score is underwhelming.  The film plods along at an excruciatingly slow pace despite its 90 minute running time, and Randolph Scott's wooden acting only makes the time go by more slowly.  Scott found favor playing stoic roles in westerns, though after viewing Captain Kidd I'm starting to think his performances didn't exhibit stoicism as much as a complete lack of ability to portray any emotion.

Yet the worse offender is Charles Laughton, one of the greatest actors in film history.  Laughton's performance as the pirate Captain Kidd makes Dustin Hoffman's performance in Hook seem subtle and nuanced in comparison.  He can't be accused of phoning the role in, since he is guilty of putting in too much effort, but he appears not to have taken the role seriously, simply playing the role broadly and without any depth.  As Johnny Depp proved almost six decades later, a great actor can make even a ridiculous pirate character a memorable one.

I've already forgotten most of the plot of Captain Kidd, an indication of how forgettable it was as much as a reminder of my failing short-term memory, and it's one of those films that a few years from now when I come across the film on television, I won't be sure at first whether I've seen it or not.

Remaining: 3124 films, 857 Oscars, 5347 nominations

1 comment:

  1. Hey, we're doing identical projects! I found your review of Kind Lady and had written almost the same line about how it's what Michael Haneke would've directed in 1951. I'd love to compare notes sometime: