Welcome to Vintage Paparazzi.

Announcing Photoplay’s Gold Medal Winners For 1949

Presenting . . . The Photoplay Gold Medal Awards pi 1949. Won for the most popular performances and the most popular picture of the year.

Chosen by you, the movie-going public of America, in the only popularity poll of its kind in the world—the poll conducted by Audience Research, Inc., by which you can state your choices for best-liked performances and films.

The Gold Medal Winners . . . Jane Wyman, Jimmy Stewart and “The Stratton Story.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you, the motion picture audience of the United States, once again have determined the best-liked in the world of films. To the chosen goes the symbol of the people’s choice, the honored Gold Medals first awarded in 1919. And, this year, the winners have an added honor. For you have chosen your stars not merely on the basis of popularity, but, for the first time, you have chosen the actor and the actress whose performances you have most enjoyed in a film seen by you during the past year.

You chose Jane Wyman as the winner of the Gold Medal for her poignant performance in “Johnny Belinda.” You chose Jimmy Stewart for his most appealing performance as Monty Stratton in “The Stratton Story.” And, as the most enjoyed of all films of the year, “The Stratton Story” itself.

You were equally definite in choosing the next four most popular men and women stars in enjoyable performances. Among women, and in alphabetical order, after Miss Wyman you most enjoyed: June Allyson in “Little Women,” Ingrid Bergman in “Joan of Arc,” Olivia de Havilland in “The Snake Pit” and Loretta Young in “Mother Is a Freshman.”

For men stars, you selected these four after James Stewart (again in alphabetical order): William Bendix in “The Life of Riley,” Kirk Douglas in “Champion,” Cary Grant in “I Was a Male War Bride” and Bob Hope in “Sorrowful Jones.”

You will notice an interesting fact about these Most Enjoyed Ten—there is only one newcomer among them. This is Kirk Douglas, whose rise has been exceptionally rapid. He was in only two pictures last year—“Champion” and “A Letter to Three Wives”; and in 1948 also in two movies, “My Dear Secretary” and “I Walk Alone.” Yet this young man, completely unknown to you two years ago, is now among the ten screen players whose performances you most enjoyed in 1949!



One other comment, this one solely concerning the five men stars whose acting ability you most enjoyed: Three hot contenders for the First Five had to be dropped because their pictures had not been seen by enough people at the time this goes to press. If enough people had seen their pictures, there is reason to believe that these three men might have made a place for themselves on your most-enjoyed list: Laurence Olivier in “Hamlet,” Gary Cooper in “Task Force” and Larry Parks in “Jolson Sings Again.”

And now for the ten leading pictures of 1949, according to the enjoyment of you, the people. The number one picture in popularity was “The Stratton Story.” After that, in alphabetical order, they go: “Champion,” “Home of the Brave,” “House of Strangers,” “I Was a Male War Bride,” “Johnny Belinda,” “Little Women,” “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College,” “Red River” and “Take Me out to the Ball Game.”

A surprising fact emerges from your choices here—a fact in direct opposition to the prevailing theory that you, the people, are hungry for escape comedies because of the uncertainties of the times. There is only one musical comedy on this list and only two light-dialogue comedies. There also is one Western—“Red River.” But six of your favorite ten pictures in 1949 are dramas.

You have been as fickle as usual in choosing the pictures you most enjoyed for the year. Six months ago, at the 1949 halfway mark, you had eight entirely different pictures on your Top Ten list! Only two pictures that you liked six months ago are still here at the end of the year. These are “Johnny Belinda” and “Red River.”

Now, let’s touch on a most interesting phase of your 1949 reactions to the Hollywood stars—your reactions to their off-screen behavior.

To begin with, let us examine one of the women stars whose previous record has been one of superb acting ability and of clean-cut personal living as a wife and mother—Ingrid Bergman. She has always held an almost saintly position in the minds of you, the people. Yet, for the past several months she has been astounding the world with her unexpected behavior. But, so far, there has been no sign of a marked slackening of interest in Miss Bergman. She is still immensely popular.

Now let us take a look at another Hollywood star whose love life has also been headlined for most of the year 1949—Rita Hayworth.

Rita’s box-office appeal is as strong as it ever was—for a far different reason than in the case of Miss Bergman. Rita has never been enshrined in the public mind as has Ingrid Bergman; she has always been regarded in a more casual light. We are of the opinion that nothing Rita does is likely to hurt her at the box office . . . short of murder. You, the people, will love her just the same.

And now to hastily wind up our study of gossip about the stars, and how it affects your opinion of them: Despite published rumors to the effect that Shirley Temple’s divorce has hurt her at the box Office, there is absolutely no evidence to support such a theory. Shirley’s popularity is unharmed. We further find that the headlined divorce, romance, and remarriage of Tyrone Power has helped his popularity; in a consistent, unspectacular way his rating with you, the people, is rising steadily. To end on a ridiculous note, let us add that Humphrey Bogart’s defense of a panda in a New York night club harmed his popularity not a whit!

Now for the Hollywood personalities who showed the greatest leap in popularity in 1949.

There are two men whom you have pushed far ahead in popularity—Kirk Douglas and Montgomery Clift. They showed the biggest upward surge in public acclaim of any men in Hollywood.

Two comparatively new actresses have made great strides in popularity. They are Wanda Hendrix and Jean Peters. Then there are two established actresses who have shown amazing increase in popularity. They are June Allyson and Jane Wyman. It’s unusual for a star of June’s high standing to make such strides—but her roles in “Little Women” and “The Stratton Story” accomplished this.

Among the large group of American girls who are between the ages of twelve and seventeen, Elizabeth Taylor was the biggest box-office draw in the year 1949. One reason this is of particular interest is that for the three preceding years girls preferred men to women stars—liked Van Johnson in 1946 and Alan Ladd in the years 1947 and 1948.

Boys in the same age group (between twelve and seventeen) have decidedly different ideas. They liked Bob Hope better than any other actor or actress in 1949. This meant they shifted their affections from Abbott and Costello, whom they had preferred to any other performers in 1947 and 1948. In 1946, the year the girls were going for Van Johnson, the boys were solidly behind Bing Crosby.

The adult public agrees about Bob Hope in 1949, as far as comedians go, for both men and women of adult age decided that Bob Hope was the funniest comedian on the screen this past year.

That is the round-up of your likes, dislikes and general reactions to your favorite form of entertainment in 1949. Through our researchers in Audience Research, Inc., you have made your decisions as to your most enjoyed actors, actresses, and pictures—and the Photoplay Gold Medal Awards go to those selected by you, the people.




No Comments
Leave a Comment