Watch This: The Oscars ignored this stirring war drama, but it’s a staple in Korea

Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. This week: With the Academy Awards coming this Sunday, we’re highlighting work by master filmmakers who never won the Best Director Oscar.

Battle Hymn (1957)

Like many classical Hollywood filmmakers, Douglas Sirk gained his reputation as an artist when “rediscovered” by auteurist critics and feminist scholars. Melodramas like All That Heaven Allows and Imitation Of Life were commercial hits, but critics of the era dismissed his focus on female domesticity through overexaggerated colors and performances. But one Sirk film became an immediate classic halfway around the world. Battle Hymn looks like total Oscar fodder by today’s standards: a Korean war drama based on a real-life pastor who saved the lives of hundreds of orphans. (It won a Golden Globe for “Promoting International Understanding.”) While forgotten in the United States, Battle Hymn has …

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