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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Cold Bishop
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 9:45 pm
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#301 Post by Cold Bishop » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:19 am

RE: Quai des Orfevres
I certainly think it loses out in the battle with Le Corbeau, but it's a masterpiece for that final scene (and final line) between Louis Jouvet and Simone Renant alone. A perfect cinematic moment.

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tarpilot
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:48 am

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#302 Post by tarpilot » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:19 am

Thanks for the words on Julia Ross, knives; I love Lewis and have yet to catch that one. Have you seen So Dark the Night? Might squeak on to the bottom of my list if only for Guffey's photography.

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

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#303 Post by knives » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:34 am

Cold Bishop wrote:RE: Quai des Orfevres
I certainly think it loses out in the battle with Le Corbeau, but it's a masterpiece for that final scene (and final line) between Louis Jouvet and Simone Renant alone. A perfect cinematic moment.
Absolutely. That whole ridiculous climax makes any of the bumps on the road worth it.
tarpilot wrote:Thanks for the words on Julia Ross, knives; I love Lewis and have yet to catch that one. Have you seen So Dark the Night? Might squeak on to the bottom of my list if only for Guffey's photography.
I'll have to pencil that one in, but it sure does sound familiar. Possibly watched it before I was 'watching' movies. I know they're planning to release Julia Ross on the next noir set (it's more of a horror movie, but whatever) though I don't think that comes out in time for this list. I also want to put in a good word in for Invisible Ghost which is probably the best of the '40s Lugosi films (though that really doesn't say much). It's certainly not list material, but it's easily the most fun and traditionally best Sam Katzman produced film. It definitely tests Lewis' ability to use melodrama so as to stretch stupid scenarios into something sort of legitimate.

masterofoneinchpunch
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:24 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#304 Post by masterofoneinchpunch » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:32 pm

knives wrote:I also want to put in a good word in for Invisible Ghost which is probably the best of the '40s Lugosi films (though that really doesn't say much). It's certainly not list material, but it's easily the most fun and traditionally best Sam Katzman produced film. It definitely tests Lewis' ability to use melodrama so as to stretch stupid scenarios into something sort of legitimate.
I think it depends on whether Lugosi is the lead or just a supporting actor. My two favorite with him in it for the decade is The Body Snatcher (Robert Wise, 1945) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Charles Barton, 1948). I liked him in Night Monster (Ford Beebe, 1942) as well, just not top 50-100 material.

But you have me intrigued with Invisible Ghost. Is there a good DVD R1/R0 release of it? Is the Roan Group release any good?
Last edited by masterofoneinchpunch on Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#305 Post by knives » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:36 pm

I have some crap PD release with White Zombie, Black Dragons, and a few others on it so I wouldn't be able to tell what the best release is.

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

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#306 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:42 am

I watched Preminger's Whirlpool a couple of days ago now, and was so nonplussed that I thought I'd let it sit in my mind for a bit in case that made the experience any clearer. It hasn't. It wasn't a confusing movie, particularly, but I'm somewhat baffled by what it is that was intended to be compelling about what I was watching- the whole thing played out like a low-tier episode of Columbo sans Peter Falk. I mean, the cast was great (though Richard Conte seemed miscast, the other three leads seemed admirably suited), it looked good, I wasn't actually having a bad time at any point, but I've come to expect more from Preminger in this era. I think it's the least of the movies of his that I've seen.

Is it well regarded? Did I miss some key element? There was a commentary on the disc, but it was fucking Richard Shickel, so that wasn't helpful.

edit: I've just seen that this is Domino's top movie of the decade, so hopefully there is something I was missing. I'm totally prepared to believe that.

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#307 Post by knives » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:54 am

It's probably my top Preminger for the decade too. I'd give a better defense than that, but I'm really tired right now and suffering through The Creeping Terror. I'm sure Domino will phrase everything better than me or give a better point of view, but I love that creeping terror of uncertainty. It takes the whodunnit element of Laura ratchets things up to eleven and makes the stakes higher. This battle for her sanity between two potentially unsavory characters is such a fascinating thing to observe and of course the climax is just terrifying.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#308 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:49 pm

Just watched Hangmen Also Die!- it wasn't a great print, and I get the feeling it was a cut version, but nonetheless, damn. Weirdly, it's perhaps the most humanist and collectivist Lang I've ever seen, far more optimistic than say Army of Shadows (even if the greatest single act against the Nazis takes place before the movie begins.)

Yet it's nonetheless pretty hardcore, suffused with a real sense of what it's like to live under fascists, and what sacrifices must be made to show any meaningful resistance. Using familiar, very American actors- notably Walter Brennan and Brian Donlevy- heightens the sense that this is a nightmare taking place in a real and familiar context, and in many ways the very Hollywoodishness of it makes it that much more startling. I'm going to watch Went the Day Well? next, but it's going to be difficult to compete with this one.

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swo17
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#309 Post by swo17 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:07 pm

There is indeed about a minute cut from the film. This review discusses the best release available of the film including that lost minute. That release is OOP but I recently ordered a copy from ebay here. I haven't received the disc yet to confirm that it's legit but I can report back when it shows up.

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#310 Post by knives » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:16 pm

Just popping in to say don't forget Bob Clampett. I have a whole bunch of films I should unload on. I've been lazy in posting but not watching.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#311 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:21 pm

I feel like everyone's gotten a little lazy on this one, haha

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#312 Post by knives » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:55 pm

Time for some serious posting then.
This Gun for Hire
While I Married a Witch remains my favorite Lake this one is still amazingly strong with a handful of great performances. Ladd really convinces me for the first time with his slightly deranged and pretty amazing performance, but Cregar steals the show as usual by turning his threatening character into such a pathetic sad sack. I doubt anyone else would have considered going that route, but it makes his performance and by extension the film all the better. Certainly a contender for the bottom.

There's a whole bunch of cartoons I've been watching, but I really want to emphasize the Clampett's Horton Hatches the Egg and Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid which are better than I remember. They're about as perfect as animation gets.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
It certainly isn't the worst Crosby film I've seen though that doesn't speak to much. A thoroughly average affair ruined slightly for me because my stupid library covered the DVD with stickers so I couldn't see the Wilder it's paired with. There's a few okay jokes and Twain has been mucked with far worse.

The Paleface
A reasonably fun and a little zany comedy ruined in hindsight by it's superior sequel. There's enough bits of genius in Tashlin's script (especially that last joke) that even the old school McLeod direction doesn't hamper the film which probably needed a louder director. Certainly worth checking out even for non-Tashlin completists even if it's not perfect.

Till the Clouds Roll By
I watched this (available on Hulu) mostly because Minnelli was advertised as directing a few scenes and the two are prominently his, but the rest of the film holds up pretty well as an awfully good if not great film. Structurally there's a lot of fascinating things that make me feel it's a significantly more accessible proto-The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach. It's not perfect, but it's certainly better than the same old biopic over and over again.

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swo17
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#313 Post by swo17 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:25 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:I feel like everyone's gotten a little lazy on this one, haha
For my part, I've been watching just as much as ever for this project, but I still feel like I'm playing catch-up to a large extent with the first several pages of this thread, and those films that I am really enjoying I feel like I can't add much beyond what's already been said. Hopefully people are taking advantage of all the great discussion and recommendations that happened early on, even if they've slowed down in the past month or so. (This shouldn't be that surprising though given how in-depth some of the early contributions were. domino for instance appears to be working at least one project ahead of the rest of us :wink:)

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lubitsch
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#314 Post by lubitsch » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:20 pm

To live things up, here's a guide for German films of the decade. Obviously this time the major historical date 1945 is very much a cutoff point because German film production - which ran at a steady and only slightly lower rate than in the 30s throughout the war - collapsed and only slowly rose with 50 films made in 1946-48 before surpassing in 1949 the war output level. I somehow doubt that anyone will seriously vote for Third Reich propaganda films, no matter if antisemitic, antidemocratic, anti-British or whatever else. From a filmic point of view they rarely are among the more inspired films, some made with a lack of interest by the directors, some with bizarre gusto, but they aren't that interesting and certainly not for our purposes, so I drop them from the discussion.

So what to watch from 1940-45? Unfortunately by 1940 most of the major artists of the 30s were silenced and driven into exile (Schünzel, Wysbar, Hochbaum). However some new talents stepped in of which the greatest surely is Helmut Käutner. Käutner made a nice Keller adaptation, Kleider machen Leute and an equally nice musical comedy, Wir machen Musik (both without subs) as well as a fluid comedy drama Auf Wiedersehn Franziska (for which subs exist), but he's most famous for his last three films which often are considered the best three films of the Third Reich which is just a slight exaggeration. But obviously each of these three should be seen by the participants of this list, Romanze in Moll is a elegant literary drama after Maupassant in Ophüls style, Große Freiheit Nr. 7 takes place in the Hamburgian red light distric St. Pauli and gives Hans Albers a colorful role as an aging seaman falling in love with a young woman all filmed in beautiful Agfacolor. Finally Unter den Brücken filmed during the end of the war is the story of two men on a barge shipping the rural river canals, meeting a young girl and falling in love with her, a very intimate, poetic film by general consensus considered the best of the Third Reich. There's an English subbed DVD for the latter film, for the other two English subs exist on the internet, maybe we'll upload the films to a file hoster for a short time since Romanze perversely was only released by the German postal service (!) together with a Käutner memorial stamp. Those who consider buying Unter den Brücken should consider the German sound classics box mentioned here viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11774" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; For this decade you get the technically impressive Titanic as well as THE superproduction of the Third Reich, Münchhausen. This one is a bonanza of colorful sets, nostalgic special effects as well as a parade of stars with a very fine script written by Erich Kästner whose writing ban was lifted for the occasion, there are some obvious satirical stabs at the Third Reich which were apparently tolerated for this prestige production. Both films are also out from Kino.
Then we have the dark genius Veit Harlan who is obviously most famous for Jud Süß, but his artistic legacy is his Agfacolor melodrama trilogy, Die goldene Stadt, Immensee and Opfergang. Subs exist for all three, but only the first was released on DVD. Especially the last film reaches delirious heights of gloom and doom, permeated with death and decay filmed in expressive color. The third great director is Willi Forst who carved a niche for himself as illustrator of the Viennese culture, he delivers the third trilogy in this post, Operette, Wiener Blut and Wiener Mädeln, unfortunately no heroic subtitler has tackled them yet which will limit their chances, but they are graceful, stylish, sentimental fantasies about the good old Vienna as it never was. Another great director who just now was honored with a DVD release http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/movie/detail/-/ ... um/7759411" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; collecting two of his only three features is Peter Pewas. His film Der verzauberte Tag is an absolute knockout masterpiece at the level of the others, telling a story of two young women, one a practical street wise girl, the other an idealistic dreamer who plunges into a romantic affair. Very expressive visually and unusually sensitive, it found no favour with Goebbels, english subs were written, the DVD has none. And last but not least there's also a German animation genius, Hans Fischerkoesen, who made Verwitterte Melodie, Der Schneemann and the slightly lesser Das dumme Gänslein, his films are collected here in a DVD compilation of Third Reich animation http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/movie/detail/-/ ... um/9732489" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , no english subs, but these films have no dialogue.
Beyond those we have a few unique films where good directors rose to the occasion. Gustav Ucicky directed Der Postmeister, a Pushkin adaptation giving great roles to Heinrich George and Hilde Krahl, the film almost holds a candle to Käutner's Romanze, english subs exist. Josef von Baky directed after Münchhausen the insanely dark Via Mala which was forbidden right away, the first 20 minutes are a very strange mixture of melodrama and Ingmar Bergman where the family father, a looming drunkard terrorizes his family who freezes in oppressively shot framings. The rest of the film can't hold the level but it's still a very impressive affair, no subs yet. Hans Steinhoff a dedicated Nazi made nevertheless the intensely dramatic heimat film Die Geierwally with Heidemarie Hatheyer as an impressive lead in a very energetic film. He also directed a not too shabby Rembrandt which is a match for Korda's version with Laughton. Finally one has to mention that some films were made which centered on Berlin (before it was bombed to rubble), Zwei in einer großen Stadt tells about a romance between a young woman a soldier on leave, Wolfgang Liebeneiner's Großstadtmelodie about a young woman who wants to become a photographer and battles her way to the top. Pretty unusual stuff for the era with a great role for Hilde Krahl and both films extensively use locations, the latter consciously connecting with Ruttmann's famous silent Berlin - Symphonie einer Großstadt. There's even a stylish Agfacolor musical with Marika Rökk, Die Frau meiner Träume, featuring two fine musical numbers, but for all of these films the lack of English subs will prevent a greater success, hopefully one or two films will get them within the next months. Oh yes, there's also the most popular film of the Third Reich, Die Feuerzangenbowle, with Heinz Rühmann who goes back to school as an adult and plays jokes on his teachers. Cute, little film but nothing which would impress international viewers.

After 1945 with film production rebuilding out of chaos a series of interesting film were made which stylistically often reach back to Weimar connecting with its realistic and expressionistic legacy while tackling the Third Reich. One doesn't read about it very often or at all and the films are critizised for being half-hearted, but they are often quite frank, far more so than e.g. Italian Neorealism who completely bypasses Fascism except for Rossellini who throws homphobic slurs at evil Nazis in Rome Open City and Deutschland im Jahre Null, the latter being the worst of the German rubble films (as they are known) I've seen.
The great director of the years 1946-49 is Wolfgang Staudte making Die Mörder sind unter uns as well as Rotation both released as English subbed DVDs, the first film is already quite frank about German war crimes, all filmed amongst expressively lit ruins, the second one is a clinical analysis of the normal German who watched as a bystander crimes happen. Helmut Käutner also made some fine films, In jenen Tagen is a very sensitive episode film telling the story of a car and the people who owned it between 1933 and 1945, he continued with the outlandishly stylish Der Apfel ist ab a satiric fantasy with wild sets, both films could use subtitles, that's unfortunately the problem for all following films.
The knockout film of the era is arguably the completely unknown Wozzeck a stylistic bonanza of tilted shots, lighting effects, expressionistic acting and so on. Director George C. Klaren declared in 1947 conscious return to Weimar expressionism and being at a major position in the just created East German DEFA he certainly fulfilled his intention making the probably most stylized film of the decade. If no subs appear until February, get yourself an english translation of Büchner's play and you know what it's all about. Its West German counterpart was Liebe 47, the adaptation of the great success of the rubble literature, the drama Draußen vor der Tür by Wolfgang Borchert. Wolfgang Liebeneiner expanded the experiences of a war veteran plagued by the demons of his war experiences with the story of a woman who has gone through equally hard times and unleashes a similar visual bravado that he already demonstrated in the 1939 comedy Der Florentiner Hut. Eugen York made Morituri, a film about concentration camp refugees hiding from the Nazis in occupied Poland, again very stylish and dramatically convincing though the women are a tad too gorgeous. Kurt Meisel directed a Russian drama in the style of Der Postmeister and his Tragödie einer Leidenschaft, the one film in this paragraph where there's a German DVD with English subs, is a very fine moody drama told in a flashback within a flashback. Even better is the brilliant crime film Mordprozeß Dr. Jordan by crime film specialist Erich Engels who took a real case and formed a story which starts as a crime drama develops into a court thriller then into a prison drama, a social drama ending as a melodram. Sounds wild but works very well. Two other notable West German films were Berliner Ballade a satiric portrait of the times with the extensive use of a voice over and the more successful Film ohne Titel made by Käutner's assistant Rudolf Jugert where a director, a scriptwriter and a star (Willy Fritsch) meet and discuss which kind of film they should make. A couple comes along their story is told, but they don't know the ending which is presented in multiple versions (a gloomy rubble film, a grotesque happy ending) before they ask the couple, but at the end they still don't have a title for the film and well that's the translation of Film ohne Titel.
Beyond Staudte's and Klaren's films the East German DEFA produced other fine filme, there's Kurt Maetzig's Ehe im Schatten, a tragic story of an actor who committs suicide with his Jewish wife when the pressure grows too intense (modeled after a real case) and Erich Engel's (no this is not the same guy as the one with the crime film, that one was Erich Engels with an s at the end) Affaire Blum which also takes a real case from the Weimar Republic to show how a blindly antisemitic police investigation runs amok. The realistic early sound films of Weimar were also revived, Gerhard Lamprecht who more or less hibernated throughout the Third Reich rose to the occasion with the fine, children oriented Irgendwo in Berlin showing a far more incisive portrait of children in the rubble than Rosselini's bull**** about pedophiliac Nazi's seducing children into exterminating their parents as not worthy to live. Maetzig made Die Buntkarierten a family saga spanning the last decades with a fine eye for detail, he's still alive at 100 years.

I hope for the German viewers that they search out a few of the lesser known films and maybe provide even subs for a handful of them, while the international viewers shouldn't miss the dozen of subtitled films.

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Tommaso
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#315 Post by Tommaso » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:43 pm

All right, just before I go to bed, let me say that for once (and this is indeed a completely unusual thing!) I agree with everything in Lubitsch's heroic summary of the German filmic legacy of the 40s as far as I've seen the films, and I'll take it as a starting point for some comments and promotion soon. But before I enter into details: run, don't walk, and get that Peter Pewas set, or at least the subbed version of Der verzauberte Tag from elsewhere. This is one of the greatest films from a director noone has ever heard of. I mean it, really. More soon.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#316 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:57 pm

Just finished Great Expectations- though the altered ending (and particularly the giant, heroic music that accompanies it) is a little silly, it's a wonderful movie, and I think where I have issues with it are largely the places I had issues with the book- it seems to abandon the beautifully intricate examination of class and what class means that took up most of the first half in favor of some sort of silly derring-do, and never really lets Pip's character fall far enough for his turnarounds to have much impact. I could have used more of Guinness' Pocket, too.

None the less, it's one of the better Dickens adaptions I've seen, and I'm excited to see Oliver Twist now- particularly as I thought Lean's work with child actors here was excellent. I'm not yet converted to the camp that believes Lean was a better director pre-Bridge over the River Kwai, but there's no question that his work here is broadly at the same level as Powell and Carol Reed's around the same time, which is to say beautiful in a minimalist, restrained sort of way.

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#317 Post by knives » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:15 pm

Twist is easily the better of the two films so you'll certainly be head over heels. The climax again kind of doesn't work, but it's not something I hold against the film and really all of the performances are arguably the best in Lean's career. Especially Robert Newton who's Pleasence in Flesh and the Fiends scary.

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#318 Post by knives » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:08 am

The Three Pilots
This one really took me by surprise. It's not a great film, but it still managed to be very good and really only propagandist in mood and general subject. It also came across as very American influenced to the degree that it really has no difference beyond language with your average Regan film. The humour while kind of goofy and typical for this sort of thing rang true enough within the confines of a studio style. The characters naturally are the standouts. They can be dicks, but they seem so isolated to themselves that it's enjoyable in the way that hanging out with friends are. In fact it reminded me a lot of a sitcom format in the way they have the characters interact and try to develop a relationship with the audience. It morphs certain points to better suit it's setting, but the most important strengths remain in a very likable if tad generic way. So, by no means perfect the film is still better than I was lead to believe films from this period of Italian film making were. Actually I think I may have to take that back because it wears this coat so well that it might have sneaked a little bit of greatness in there.

Gigi's not the musical, but still alright. It would be a perfectly enjoyable movie if it weren't for the massive shoes that it has to fill now. Likewise To the Shores of Tripoli isn't a terrible movie, but there are so many better war movies from the period even just considering Scott's output in the genre from the period. It's bland more than anything else.

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#319 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:55 am

I'd take Brief Encounter and Great Expectations over his 'epic' films any day of the week. Brief Encounter should figure quite highly in my eventual list.
matrixschmatrix wrote:Just finished Great Expectations- though the altered ending (and particularly the giant, heroic music that accompanies it) is a little silly, it's a wonderful movie, and I think where I have issues with it are largely the places I had issues with the book- it seems to abandon the beautifully intricate examination of class and what class means that took up most of the first half in favor of some sort of silly derring-do, and never really lets Pip's character fall far enough for his turnarounds to have much impact. I could have used more of Guinness' Pocket, too.

None the less, it's one of the better Dickens adaptions I've seen, and I'm excited to see Oliver Twist now- particularly as I thought Lean's work with child actors here was excellent. I'm not yet converted to the camp that believes Lean was a better director pre-Bridge over the River Kwai, but there's no question that his work here is broadly at the same level as Powell and Carol Reed's around the same time, which is to say beautiful in a minimalist, restrained sort of way.

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gcgiles1dollarbin
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#320 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:43 pm

zedz wrote:Ritual in Transfigured Time (Deren, 1946) - one of my absolute favourite dance films, mainly because so much of it exists in the charged grey zone between dance and everyday movement, particularly in that central section at the party, one of my all time favourite passages of experimental film. (Domino, you might even get something out of this one! YouTube)
I second this with great enthusiasm, especially for anyone who thinks Deren is a broker in banal Freudian imagery (as I thought upon seeing Meshes of the Afternoon for the first time years and years ago; I have, of course, since revised that opinion of both Deren and MotA).

I also want to get in line for the Hangover Square bandwagon. One of my favorites.

Here are a few other spotlights that I don't believe have been mentioned with regard to this list:

The Accused (1949, William Dieterle)

Hold Back the Dawn (1941, Mitchell Leisen)

The Strange Woman (1946, Edgar G. Ulmer)

EDIT: I have been told via PM that it would be helpful to provide some reasons for the choices above, including information regarding access. So, here goes:

The Accused—Dubious sexual politics, but otherwise a great noir from a female protagonist’s point of view. Loretta Young has never looked so gorgeous, and Milton Krasner’s photography (as I recall) has a pearlescence, particularly during moonlit scenes, that serves as a tragic counterpoint to the plot. As far as I know, it’s not available on disc, nor has it been broadcast for a long time (that’s not much help, is it). I saw it in a theater, and I wish others could easily see it.

Hold Back the Dawn—Leisen’s melodrama is about a European (Charles Boyer) languishing along the Mexican-U.S. border, hoping to gain American citizenship quickly through a marriage of convenience. Olivia de Havilland is excellent as the target of his campaign. Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder contribute a sharp script that transcends cheap sentiment and exploits the liminal world of expats. I’ve read that Boyer objected to the original ending and had it changed to something more conventional; I’m dying to know what it was originally. Available, I think, as a Region-2 Spanish disc from Universal, although I have only seen it in a theater.

The Strange Woman—I gush about Ulmer’s film in the second comment beneath this one. It’s a public domain title, so you can watch it virtually anywhere (here, for example), although I’ve never seen a quality print.
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tarpilot
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#321 Post by tarpilot » Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:50 pm

X-|
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gcgiles1dollarbin
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#322 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:49 pm

Yes, I'm an Ulmer acolyte! I've always felt, for example, that his close-ups of characters in crisis are frighteningly ambiguous; in The Strange Woman, look at Jenny Hager's face as her father is about to whip her, or Isaiah Poster's face as he stands behind the housekeeper tending to Jenny by her bedside. I would credit the actors, Hedy Lamarr and Gene Lockhart, if it weren't for the fact that, Pudovkin-style, the expressions wouldn't amount to much without the timing of the cuts. I also enjoy his... chiaroscuro, I guess? He occasionally uses bursts of light (from fires, lightning, etc.) to disrupt or disorient a smooth lap dissolve. I agree that there is a lot in Ulmer that would be straight-up noir if it didn't have such dreamy intensity (as opposed to the lock step of inevitability in canonical noirs). His work is eerily uncertain, even in the overdetermined realm of melodrama. I think "oneiric" is one qualifier you will never be able to escape when discussing Ulmer; there is a drowsy menace in all of his films.

And this is a style that works equally well with a low budget, which is why he could pull something beautiful out of a jar of pennies, as Bluebeard and Detour demonstrate. (It has been so long since I have seen Strange Illusion--his other great PRC--I'm not even sure I've seen it, if that makes any sense. I will definitely revisit.)

Perhaps that's why I love The Strange Woman: it gave him a chance to shine with a rich cast and a significant budget. I also love baroque melodrama; Carmen Dragon's score is insanely strident. It's too bad the film is in the crackling fuzzy limbo of public domain. I would love to see it restored somehow.

(Ruthless is another great '40s Ulmer, btw.)
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tarpilot
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#323 Post by tarpilot » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:51 pm

X-|
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the preacher
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#324 Post by the preacher » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:36 am

ARGENTINA

Here is a list of the most interesting Argentine films of the decade, unfortunately the poor quality of copies and the lack of subtitles is a major obstacle:
Historia de una noche (Luis Saslavsky, 1941)
Los martes orquídeas (Francisco Múgica, 1941)
La guerra gaucha (Lucas Demare, 1942)
Su mejor alumno (Lucas Demare, 1944)
La dama duende (Luis Saslavsky, 1945)
Pampa bárbara (Lucas Demare & Hugo Fregonese, 1945)
Donde mueren las palabras (Hugo Fregonese, 1946)
El ángel desnudo (Carlos Hugo Christensen, 1946)
Dios se lo pague (Luis César Amadori, 1948)
La muerte camina en la lluvia (Carlos Hugo Christensen, 1948)
Pelota de trapo (Leopoldo Torres Ríos, 1948)
Apenas un delincuente (Hugo Fregonese, 1949)

Films of the decade:
The Gaucho War

God Bless You
When ordinary labourer Juca comes up with an invention to make himself a wealthy man, he is thrust into despair when his boss steals the idea from him. His wife is so distraught she kills herself. Juca vows revenge on his now former boss from his new life as a beggar on the streets. this vow is complicated by the fact that Juca's new love interest begins to fall in love with the son of Juca’s ex-employer. A stylish and steamy melodrama, GOD BLESS YOU is a landmark film in Argentina’s cinematic history, a multiple award-winner, and the first Argentine film to be submitted for Oscar consideration in 1948. ~ Canadian Film Institute
Next: Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. :wink:

Perkins Cobb
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#325 Post by Perkins Cobb » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:03 pm

The All Day Entertainment version is where you want to go for The Strange Woman, which I also dimly remember liking quite a bit.

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