At long last, it’s the big one. The one film that represents the pinnacle of motion picture artistry for the year 1914. The end of the night and the end of the Century Awards is nigh. I wasn’t sure, going in, that there would be a lot of good candidates for best picture of 1914. It seemed like movies were still developing, and so many were short, underdeveloped movies, I was expecting a somewhat disappointing array of choices.
Happily, that did not turn out to be the case. There were a surprising number of features released in that year, and considerable quality among them as well. Possibly the best known among modern audiences is the comedy “Tillie’s Punctured Romance,” which still holds up against the best work Chaplin would do in later years. International fans all know about “Cabiria” of course, and I’ve raved about it and its influence enough tonight. D.W. Griffith’s first feature “Judith of Bethulia” admittedly hasn’t gotten a lot of love at this year’s Century Awards (I can just imagine Griffith’s exit interview), but it still deserves to be recognized as a major step forward in American filmmaking. Similarly, Cecil B. DeMille’s debut feature “The Squaw Man” represents great storytelling from a very new talent. Evgeni Bauer demonstrated that Russia had great film talent as well with “Silent Witnesses,” and finally the unusual female-focus of “Salomy Jane” gave it a place in the nominations for the year.
With no further ado, the nominations for best picture of 1914 are:
- Tillie’s Punctured Romance (Mack Sennett)
- Cabiria (Giovanni Pastrone)
- Judith of Bethulia (Biograph Pictures)
- The Squaw Man (Cecil B. DeMille & Jesse L. Lasky)
- Silent Witnesses (Evgeni Bauer)
- Salomy Jane (Alexander E. Beyfuss)
And, the envelope please…The winner is… “Cabiria!”
It’s been a night dominated by this name, and no wonder. As interesting and rewarding as it’s been to see all of the movies of 1914, “Cabiria” really is the one that stands the test of time. Its influence 100 years later is undeniable, and it remains an accessible, enjoyable view.
OK, that’s all folks! Have a good night and thanks for reading! Seriously, with the number of hits I got on this blog tonight, I feel like I won the award! Thank you all so much!