The Secret of Santa Vittoria movie poster

Stanley Kramer’s win for Best Comedy or Musical was neither a critical nor box office success, even though it was based on a best-selling novel. But the award served as a fitting close to a glorious career of one of Hollywood’s most creative producers. True, after that he directed three other movies but they went largely unnoticed in contrast to his 20-year output, which resulted in 45 Golden Globe nominations for films he produced including those after 1958, which he directed as well:

1950 Cyrano de Bergerac 4 nomination, 2 wins, including Best Actor José Ferrer

1951 Death of a Salesman 4 wins including Best Actor Fredric March

1952 High Noon 7 nominations, 4 wins, including Best actor Gary Cooper

1953 The Happy Time, 4 nominations

1959 The Defiant Ones, 5 nominations, 1 win Best Drama

1960 Inherit the Wind, 2 nominations

1961 Judgment at Nuremberg, 6 nominations. 2 wins including Stanley Kramer Best director, Maximilian Schell Best Actor

1963 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, 2 nominations

1965 Ship of Fools, 3 nominations

1967 Guess Who’s to Coming Dinner, 6 nominations

The Secret of Santa Vittoria had a screenplay by Ben Maddow, who had written such classics as Intruder in the Dust, The Asphalt Jungle, and Johnny Guitar. Both of its stars were nominated for Golden Globes for Best Actor (Anthony Quinn) and Best Actress (Anna Magnani) in a musical or comedy. The surprise winner that year was Midnight Cowboy, the only X-rated movie ever to win an Oscar, although the X would translate to an R in today’s climate. In the Drama department, the Hollywood Foreign Press preferred Anne of a Thousand Days.

The biggest shocker of the evening was Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. The other nominees were Ingrid Bergman, Shirley MacLaine, and Barbra Streisand. And the surprise winner was Patty Duke for Me, Natalie. In accepting the award she agreed, “This is insanity.”

The HFPA was vindicated, however, when they were first to give John Wayne his long overdue recognition for True Grit. Best Actor in a Musical was Peter O’Toole for his singing role in the remake of Goodbye Mr. Chips.