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

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#351 Post by knives » Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:54 pm

Tommaso wrote:
knives wrote:They are the best film maker of the decade after all.
As far as consistent quality with a considerable output is concerned, certainly. But don't forget about Ophuls and Cocteau, for instance, both of whom made at least one film that is the equal of the best P&P films in this decade (Letter from an unknown woman and La belle et la bete, respectively).
Certainly considering that, but I figured best implied a great mixture of quantity and quality. I can't think of a director that came out with that healthy an amount of films without at least a failure in the bunch for the decade at least.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#352 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:56 pm

knives wrote: I can't think of a director that came out with that healthy an amount of films without at least a failure in the bunch for the decade at least.
Sturges this decade, as I argued somewhere in this thread

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#353 Post by knives » Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:59 pm

I should have probably added 'with that many great films also' though I don't think fondly of Sturges. Even my favorite of his films is going to be very far from my list.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#354 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:07 pm

Oh Knives, you so crazy

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

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#355 Post by tarpilot » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:09 pm

X-|
Last edited by tarpilot on Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#356 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:10 pm

(Preston Sturges)

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tarpilot
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#357 Post by tarpilot » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:12 pm

X-|
Last edited by tarpilot on Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#358 Post by knives » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:58 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:Oh Knives, you so crazy
That's what they say.

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Murdoch
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:59 pm
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#359 Post by Murdoch » Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:25 pm

Tommaso wrote:Well, The Red Shoes is the obvious number one for me, followed by A Canterbury Tale and IKWIG.
I Know Where I'm Going has easily my favorite ending to any romance, those final lines are just perfection.

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#360 Post by knives » Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:23 am

So anyone else going to be voting for some shorts? I'm certainly going to have Horton Hatches the Egg (I can't get that song out of my head) and maybe a few other Clampett's (I think he's now officially usurped Freleng and Jones for me as to the Schelsinger boys) and this is the best of his '40s work as far as I've seen.

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

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#361 Post by Tommaso » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:38 am

I'll be voting for some Maya Deren, but I haven't yet decided which one it's going to be. Some vote-splitting for this director is likely to occur.

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antnield
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:59 pm
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#362 Post by antnield » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:59 am

My provisional top 50 contains ten shorts, five of which make the current top ten. Deren, Jennings, McLaren and Warners animation amongst them.

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Gropius
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:47 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#363 Post by Gropius » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:08 am

knives wrote:So anyone else going to be voting for some shorts?
Jennings's Listen to Britain will probably be in my Top 5. Franju's Le Sang des bêtes and Deren's Ritual in Transfigured Time (and Meshes... if there's room) will also figure, and probably Anger's Puce Moment. Sure there will be several others - hope to dig up something less canonical.

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Wu.Qinghua
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:31 pm

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#364 Post by Wu.Qinghua » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:32 am

I'm not fond of Jennings' Listen to Britain but Diary for Timothy will definitely make my list. It's on archive.org so you don't have to wait for the next Jennings box if you want to have a look at it.

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Bill Thompson
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#365 Post by Bill Thompson » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:03 pm

I currently have seven shorts on my list.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#366 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:05 pm

Der Fuehrer's Face is the only short on my list for now, and I'll be surprised if it holds on between now and February.

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swo17
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#367 Post by swo17 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:58 pm

If you like Der Fuehrer's Face (or, for that matter, if you have a pulse) be sure to check out Tex Avery's Blitz Wolf, his take on the Three Little Pigs with Hitler playing the wolf. (Available on the WB Academy Awards Animation Collection - Winners & Nominees.)

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#368 Post by knives » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:19 pm

I guess this is as good a time as any to say I don't really like Avery's work. There are certainly many great films he made and I respect greatly his importance in American animation (definitely top five in that regard), but he very easily fell into the one sort of slapstick that I just don't like and he desperately needed a protagonist like Droopy to curb his more mean spirited antics. I'm still going to try to promote the hell out of Horton Hatches the Egg though.

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knives
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#369 Post by knives » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:39 pm

Just thought I'd share a pair of Wojciech Has shorts that are available on youtube. Haven't seen them yet, but they're here to diversify all the same. Parowóz P7-47, Ulica Brzozowa, and Harmonia.

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

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#370 Post by Gregory » Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:52 pm

I've seen no mention of Christ in Concrete, so I guess I'll spotlight that one. It's an impressively made film that looks at the Depression era (specifically the frustrations of a poor family headed by a bricklayer) in a quasi-noir style. It's also known as Give Us This Day. The DVD has been out of print for a while, but there are still not too expensive used copies that are well worth the price, in my opinion, and perhaps people will take the time to see if they can rent it or scour nearby libraries. I'd hate to see this became rare and inaccessible again, as it was for so long.
Anyway, I wrote a bit about it here, and again three posts below that.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#371 Post by domino harvey » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:10 pm

Devoted thread here, too It's not a bad bit of social realism, but I prefer Dmytryk's glossy Hollywood work to his art house fare here. Worth a look, especially for fans of the post-war Italian cinema of which it aspires

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Tommaso
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#372 Post by Tommaso » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:10 pm

I've just watched Anatole Litvak's 1948 The Snake Pit, and must say I'm ultra-impressed. Even though the film ultimately falls back to Freudianist childhood trauma to explain the mental problems of its protagonist, it's endlessly removed from what in retrospect feels like cheap trickery in a film like "Spellbound" , and gives a very intense portrait not only of mental illness, but even more so of the frightening ways of treating patients in mental institutions at the time. The way how Litvak underlines the electroshock treatment musically and editingwise is deeply unsettling, for instance, but so are the very believable portrayals of all the patients in the institution, who are at once disturbing and likeable at the same time. Olivia de Havilland's performance is fantastic, so much so that as a watcher you at least initially can never be fully sure how her state of mind really is. And of course the film ends with an only half-hidden appeal about how "when the insane persons unnumber the sane ones, they will take the 'sane' ones into charge" (quoted from memory).

Apparently the film indeed helped to change the conditions in mental hospitals in the US, which supposedly was badly needed. But even 63 years later it remains a very unusual and convincing film, I'd say.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#373 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:06 pm

It's on my list. One of the better examples of the subgenre that popped up during this period exploiting the public's fear of psychology, and Litvak makes his film as much a horror film as a social problem picture.

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Tommaso
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Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#374 Post by Tommaso » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:26 pm

Interesting, because I clearly didn't regard it as a horror film, unless you mean that the institution and the nurses are the real agents of horror here (the most frightening thing is that Freud portrait on the wall, actually). But even then, the picture is not quite clear in this respect, because after all there is the 'good doctor' who wants to help Virginia and ultimately succeeds. One of the things I liked about the film is that it isn't formulaic and doesn't really fit into a genre. Sure, there's the snake pit scene proper, visually amazing, but I saw this more like a dreamscape telling us about an inner reality, and de Havilland's character also seems to regard it this way when she says that it helped her to see some way out of her condition. In any case, I'll put the film on my list, too.

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

Re: 1940s List Discussion and Suggestions

#375 Post by knives » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:25 am

Been really insanely about giving serious comments on films, but that's just the sort of films I've been watching lately. Hopefully I Was a Male War Bride gives me something to mouth off about. Anyhoot.
Snafu
These shorts in general are the reason why I'm posting. For instructional videos they're really funny and high quality. The animators are giving even more length to their chain doing just about everything that comes to their mind (and proving just how smutty the '40s will go; just couldn't resist a booby trap joke). Of these I'd say Hot Spot, Fighting Tools, The Goldbrick, and Three Brothers are the best.

Batman
Figured I'd watch at least one serial for the decade in which they were most powerful and this one was going cheap (though for good reason). While entertaining in the worst sort of way the film is mostly uninteresting with a bland villain and heroes. Even amongst the individual episodes there's nothing compelling on screen. Was not worth the $10.

My Little Chickadee & Never Give a Sucker an Even Break
Hell of a difference in quality between these two. Re-watching the Fields movies all of which I haven't seen in about ten years. My Little Chickadee is easily the worst thing he ever did, overly long and overly bland. Fields does his best in the film, but even than the film feels overstuffed with nothing. The absolute worst aspect though is Mae West how is far more a parody of herself than any cartoon I've seen. I can see the possibility that she great pre-code, but here she's pathetic and annoying. OTOH his last film is pretty great. I'm not sure I liked the climax too much, but the meta-fiction and proto-The Truck majority of the film is a blast and it's great to see Fields absolutely unhinged. I don't know if he knew this would be his last film, but at times it feels like it and I'm glad it is such.

The Murderers Are Among Us
And thank you Matrix for bringing this one up. I'm at a loss for words to be honest. This film is so great and goes close to the edge so often just the fear that it might take a giant leap down had me biting my nails. This film is so wonderful and complex particularly in how it damns it's main character. I'm reminded of The Small Back Room in this regard and really this is on the same level as the Archer's film.

Larceny, Inc
This one is just fun. It's not great, but you haven't lived until you've seen Broderick Crawford and Edward G. Robinson get their three stooges on. The film is somewhat goofy, but never corny and the way the lead three redeem themselves feels realistic under the setting and never a forced thing. As far as arbitrarily Christmas movies go, there's worse to make a tradition out of.

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