Oscar 1957: Foreign Language Nominees

Oscar 1957: Foreign Language Nominees

In the second year of the foreign-language Oscar category, the five nominees were:
Fellini’s “The Nights of Cabiria” from Italy, which won, “The Devil Came at Night” from the Federal Republic of Germany, “Gates of Paris” from France, “Mother India” from India, and “Nine Lives” from Norway.

The Nights of Cabiria

Starring Giulietta Masina in one of greatest performances, Fellini’s masterpiece relates in a realistic yet serio-comic way the adventures of a Roman prostitute, who manages to remain upbeat and even optimistic despite an endless series of disasters and mishaps.

Cabiria” benefits from a sharp script, penned by Fellini, regular collaborators, Ennio Flaiano and Tullio Pinelli, and the young Pier Paolo Pasolini, before he struck on his own as a major director.

Made back to back with the 1956 Oscar-winning “La Strada,” also with Giulietta Masina, “Nights of Cabiria” placed Fellini at the forefront of international director, making a string of innovative hits, such as “La Dolce Vita” and “81/2.”

The Devil Came at Night

“The Devil Came at Night” was directed by Robert Siodmak, bets-known for his American film noir in the 1940s, upon return to Germany. Based on a real-life case, set in WWII, this suspenseful drama concerns an investigator of a series of murders, who discovers that the killer is a member of the Gestapo, but the Gestapo covers up the evidence, and instead blames an innocent man.

The film was released under different titles, including “The Devil Strikes at Night,” Nazi Terror at Night,” and Nights When the Devil Came,” which is the closeset to the German title, “Nachts Wenn der Teufel Kamm.”

Gates of Paris

In Rene Clair’s character-driven drama, “Gates of Paris,” the great actor Pierre Brasseur plays an aimless, layabout alcoholic, who hides a fugitive from the police but then ends up killing him. Clair (1898-1981) had achieved fame in the early 1930s with a number of classics, such as “A Nous La Liberte” and “July 14.” During WWII was among the French directors who emigrated to Hollywood, where he made “The Flame of New Orleans” and the cult item, “I Married a Witch” (1942), among others.

Mother India

Directed by Mehboob, “Mother India” has been compared to Satyajit Ray’s classic, “Father Panchali.” This powerful drama focuses on the survival struggles of one family after the father is disabled. When the son murders the man who collects debts from them, the mother, protecting the family’s honor, kills her own blood.

Nine Lives

Based on the life of Jan Baalsrud, this biopic-adventure, scripted and helmed by Arne Skouen, concerns a Norwegian sailor who struggles to survive Nature after his ship is destroyed by the Germans in WWII.