1940s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#476 Post by Gregory » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:53 pm

swo17 wrote:A heads-up: Ophuls' Letter from an Unknown Woman, which is as exceptional as it is unavailable in R1 (i.e. completely), will air on TCM next Monday night.
thirtyframesasecond wrote:Letter from an unknown woman is almost certainly going to be in my top ten or thereabouts. It's an astonishing film. Domino mentioned Rebecca as Joan Fontaine's signature performance but I always consider it to be Lise in this. It's incredibly moving.
Agreed: both Letter From and Rebecca will be in my top 5 (impossible for me to meaningfully rank things at such a highly distinguished level of achievement). I like Reckless Moment nearly as much. Caught trails further behind. It's very good, but I think Ryan is too much of a cartoonish villain here. The problem isn't Ryan as an actor but the character: so one-sided -- and the nature of the marriage so obviously superficial and horrific -- that it makes Bel Geddes's character's dilemma less complex and interesting to me than, say, Crawford's in Daisy Kenyon.
For those who can't catch the TCM screening of Letter From, the Second Sight is good quality and a good value (includes a nice Tag Gallagher video essay), and there's probably still plenty of time for folks to import it and watch it before the deadline.

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domino harvey
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#477 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:04 pm

thirtyframesasecond wrote:Letter from an unknown woman is almost certainly going to be in my top ten or thereabouts. It's an astonishing film. Domino mentioned Rebecca as Joan Fontaine's signature performance but I always consider it to be Lise in this. It's incredibly moving.
It's a great film and likely the only Ophuls from the decade to make my list-- unless the Exile is really something, that is

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#478 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:11 am

I just watched The Big Steal, and I agree with Domino that it's fun and well made piece of fluff- it's interesting, as it feels far more like an action movie than anything else I've seen under the noir banner, and it's also something of a vacation movie along the lines of To Catch a Thief. It seems to exist mostly as an excuse for banter, jokes about boorish American tourists, and fistfights.

I can't see myself voting for it, but I'm certainly glad to have watched it.

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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#479 Post by swo17 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:17 pm

I've got a few lists in already, so I suppose it's time to start teasing. Though this will of course bear little resemblance to how the final list looks, the current top 10 doesn't have too many surprises...other than including two shorts, one of them only a point behind 1st place!

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Cold Bishop
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 9:45 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#480 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:21 pm

Just a reminder (and friendly warning): I'm making certain to watch at least one of everyone's Spotlight (I already have a few viewed and awaiting write-ups) before my final list... so if you're planning on paying it forward, now's the time to get to my two (And if you can only watch one, I recommend the Cavalcanti).

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#481 Post by knives » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:23 pm

Planing on watching the Tourneur tonight actually. 19 000 to go.

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swo17
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#482 Post by swo17 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:25 pm

I'll second the rec for Cold Bishop's spotlight They Made Me a Fugitive. It's definitely making my list. Try to pick up the R2 release if you can--the Kino leaves a lot to be desired.

And yes, proper list project etiquette is to watch as many of the spotlight titles as you can, especially if you suggested some yourself.
Last edited by swo17 on Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#483 Post by knives » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:27 pm

Does anyone know if the R2 The Boy with the Green Hair is any good. I figure I can maybe get the Cavalcanti if I go super cheap.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#484 Post by zedz » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:37 pm

It's a rather mediocre transfer (of a rather mediocre - but certainly odd! - film), as I recall. But I got it dirt cheap from amazon.

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swo17
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#485 Post by swo17 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:39 pm

If you're looking for super cheap cart fillers on Amazon UK, there's always my horror spotlight Katalin Varga, only £4.49!

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Cold Bishop
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#486 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:39 pm

I'd doubt it'd be better than the Warner Archives transfer (if not the same), it being a Technicolor film whose negative seems to be in bad shape.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#487 Post by knives » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:42 pm

As long as it were the same I'd be comfortable. With the questions though I guess I'll finally bite on Sammy Going South. Thanks for the pointer Swo.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#488 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:53 pm

I've only got the Kino of Fugitive, but I'll bump it and Went the Day Well? up to the top of my to-watch list. I'm a little annoyed, I picked up the Shimizu Eclipse set without noticing that the relevant spotlight titles aren't actually in there- I guess I'll have to go backchannels for those guys.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#489 Post by zedz » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:02 pm

You won't regret the Shimizu purchase, 40s list or no 40s list.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#490 Post by knives » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:07 pm

Double what Zedz said. Mr. Thank You is one of the best films I've ever seen period and is worth MSRP alone. That's not even going into how great the others are (though for the reasons of this list I'd say it's one '40s film is it's weakest though that's like saying it's the worst tasting cheeto).

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Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#491 Post by Gregory » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:17 pm

The spotlight reminder got me to go back for a few I'd missed earlier. I'll watch Juke Girl, Murderers Are Among Us, and I don't remember The Strange Woman very well so I'll give that one another spin.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#492 Post by knives » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:28 am

Just finished La main du diable and while for the most part I have nothing special to say I was wondering if anyone else noticed a similarity between the man in black here and in Lost Highway amongst a few other odd similarities?

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TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#493 Post by TMDaines » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:18 pm

Tommaso wrote:Der verzauberte Tag (Peter Pewas, 1943). No one has ever heard about this director, right? That also included me before the German label absolut medien released a 2-disc-set of most of his works last year, a set which has provoked enthusiastic reactions by many people who have seen it and who didn't need subs (which the set unfortunately does not provide). Here is a master film director that was easily the equal of the best of his peers at the time, but who was totally neglected due to the man's uncompromising nature in an environment not exactly friendly to artistic films.
I watched this earlier and it definitely leaves up to the hype you and lubitsch gave it. Absolutely fanastic. Beautiful in-camera visuals, a touching realism combined with a melodrama that never feels overplayed. I'd love to really write more but I'd rather watch it again first. Brilliant, brilliant film. The Pewas set would have been worth it for that alone, so I'm really looking forward to the second disc!

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Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#494 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:10 pm

Good to hear that, and well, I'd love to hear what you think of Straßenbekanntschaft, the main feature on the second disc. It's equally sensitive in its portrayal of women in immediate post-war Germany, has perhaps even more lyrical light-and-shade photography, and as a film about the life in a country in ruins (both physically and, more importantly, 'spiritually') it outdoes practically everything else I've seen on the topic made before Fassbinder's "Maria Braun" (all right, perhaps not exactly an ideal comparison...) by its capacity for simple observation without any moralising. In any case, please everyone forget Germania anno zero, it almost feels ridiculous in comparison.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#495 Post by knives » Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:37 am

Saw both versions from this decade of The Postman Always Rings Twice (what does that even mean in the context of this story) rather by accident and I have to admit I found the Hollywood version significantly better than Visconti's. Neither will make my list, but the difference I feel will at least provide some good conversation. Ossessione was pretty good (and very ambitious) for a first time with a camera director (I believe he was already seasoned on the stage by this point), but that really pales compared to the leaner, more concise, and more visually compelling Garnett version. It's also really well acted with Turner giving maybe her best performance and Garfield possibly doing the same.

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tojoed
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:47 am
Location: Cambridge, England

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#496 Post by tojoed » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:19 am

knives wrote:Saw both versions from this decade of The Postman Always Rings Twice (what does that even mean in the context of this story?)...
A Rosenbaum (not him) has a go at explaining.

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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#497 Post by swo17 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:47 pm

Roger Ebert just recently added Ivan the Terrible to his Great Movies list, though he sort of seems to hate it.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#498 Post by matrixschmatrix » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:12 pm

I'm baffled that he lists Nevsky as an unambiguously 'great' movie while shitting on this one as being empty pomp and visual grandeur- I'd definitely say it's the other way round.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#499 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:23 pm

swo17 wrote:Roger Ebert just recently added Ivan the Terrible to his Great Movies list, though he sort of seems to hate it.
That review is as equivocal as his review of Birth of a Nation (maybe more so, as he at least offers Birth of a Nation real praise). I think the penultimate paragraph reveals why he wrote it, or rather felt he had to write it, and you can tell from his tone that he somewhat begrudges the movie for not quite failing its reputation.

Perhaps he's right that few love Ivan the Terrible, but he's wrong if he thinks that means people don't love the experience of watching it. It's a wonderfully grandiose and lurid flight into phantasmagoria. The artifice of Tsardom and the Russian court recoiling further and further into its own fakery until the world itself becomes an artificial, unhuman nightmare. A hell of an experience.

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Brian C
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#500 Post by Brian C » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:30 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:I'm baffled that he lists Nevsky as an unambiguously 'great' movie while shitting on this one as being empty pomp and visual grandeur- I'd definitely say it's the other way round.
Where does he write about Nevsky? I don't see a reference to it in this review and I can't find a separate review by him. It would be baffling if he preferred it to Ivan given his criticisms of the later films here.

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