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1940- an underrated year


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It seems like 1940 doesn't get much attention because of the way 1939 is viewed. But I was looking at a few different 1940 lists recently, and think that was a really good year, especially because it offered a lot of different types of good movies.

 

 

My top 10:

 

1. Rebecca

2. Remember the Night

3. Grapes of Wrath, The

4. Great Dictator, The

5. All This and Heaven Too

6. Kitty Foyle

7. Night Train to Munich

8. Mortal Storm, The

9. Philadelphia Story, The

10. Stranger on the Third Floor

 

Best of the rest: Foreign Correspondent, The Letter, My Favorite Wife, His Girl Friday, The Shop Around the Corner.

Underrated: It All Came True

 

Best Actor: Henry Fonda (Grapes of Wrath, The)

Best Actress: Ginger Rogers (Kitty Foyle)

Supporting Actor: Jack Oakie (Great Dictator, The)

Supporting Actress: Judith Anderson (Rebecca)

 

Titles watched: 103

 

Looking forward to hearing from others

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1. It All Came True

2. Fantasia

3. The Great Dictator

4. Torrid Zone

5. Waterloo Bridge

6. The Grapes of Wrath

7. They Drive By Night

8. A Chump at Oxford

9. City for Conquest

10. My Love Came Back

 

Best Actor: Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator)

Best Actress: Ann Sheridan (It All Came True)

Supporting Actor: Humphrey Bogart (It All Came True)

Supporting Actress: Una O'Connor (It All Came True)

 

Titles Watched: 16

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1940 wasn't a great year for movies compared to 1950, but there were a few pretty good ones.

 

*1. His Girl Friday*

*2. The Great McGinty*

*3. The Letter*

*4. The Philadelphia Story*

(Big gap)

5. They Drive By Night

6. Christmas in July

7. Babies For Sale (early Glenn Ford)

8. Girls of the Road (in spite of the Breen ending)

9. Remember the Night

10. Foreign Correspondent

 

Best Actor: Brian Donlevy (The Great McGinty)

Best Actress: Bette Davis (The Letter)

Supporting Actor: Akim Tamaroff (The Great McGinty)

Supporting Actress: Ida Lupino (They Drive By Night)

 

Titles watched: about 80-85

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I love the idea of this thread! Good job. I think we should do this for each year of the 1940s. I particularly like where posters include the number of films they have personally viewed from said year.

 

But what is the total possible? Figuring in the poverty row productions that were generated by Hollywood during the year (I suppose this could be expanded to add in British releases too).

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I love the idea of this thread! Good job. I think we should do this for each year of the 1940s. I particularly like where posters include the number of films they have personally viewed from said year.

 

I'll stick my toe in the water with 1941.

 

1. Pepe Le Moko (Gabin) Glad I caught this on Gabin's SUTS day

2. The Lady Eve

3. I Wake Up Screaming (TCM needs to get this from FOX)

4. Ladies in Retirement (Lupino & Louis Hayward)

5. The Devil and Daniel Webster (that ending!)

6. High Sierra

7. The Maltese Falcon

8. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

9. When Ladies Meet (Garson and Crawford)

10. Swamp Water (another Walter Huston classic)

 

Best of the rest: A Woman's Face, The Devil in Miss Jones, Remorques (another Gabin), Sullivan's Travels

Underrated: Meet Boston ****

 

Best Actor: Jean Gabin (Pepe LeMoko)

Best Actress: Barbara Stanwyck (The Lady Eve)

Supporting Actor: Walter Huston (The Devil and Daniel Webster)

Supporting Actress: Mary Astor (The Maltese Falcon)

 

Titles watched: 81, and yes, that's including Citizen Kane

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I'm glad somebody finally mentioned Bogie's star-making vehicle here, Andy.

 

(...of course I'm talkin' about "High Sierra")

 

...edit to follow...

 

OOPS, just re-checked this one Andy, and it appears "High Sierra" was released in '41, not '40)

 

Edited by: Dargo2 on Dec 31, 2013 9:53 AM

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OOPS, just re-checked this one Andy, and it appears "High Sierra" was released in '41, not '40)

 

So were all the others on that second list, which was in response to TopBilled's suggestion to list other years of the 40's. I listed my 1940 choices earlier.

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Well, I'll repeat my choices for 1940:

 

Best Picture

 

*His Girl Friday*

Fantasia

The Philadelphia Story

Pinocchio

The Grapes of Wrath

The Great Dictator

The Shop Around the Corner

The Thief of Baghdad

The Broadway Melody of 1940

The Bank Dick

 

Best Actor

 

*Cary Grant, His Girl Friday*

Cary Grant, The Philadelphia Story

Henry Fonda, The Grapes of Wrath

Charles Chaplin, The Great Dictator

James Stewart, The Shop Around the Corner

 

Beat Actress

 

*Katherine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story*

Rosalind Russell, His Girl Frdiay

Margaret Sullavan, The Shop Around the Corner

Bette Davis, The Letter

Eleanor Powell, The Broadway Melody of 1940.

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What is the total possible?

 

That's is a very good question.

 

As a kid and teenager, most films I saw were double-features, which means the studios that owned the theaters had to turn out not 52 films a year but 104 films a year, plus cartoons and shorts.

 

That would be for films that ran about 1 hour and 10 minutes up to maybe 1 hour 20 minutes.

 

Some studios turned out fewer but longer films, and also had long cartoons, newsreels and maybe a short too.

 

I often wonder how many films all of Hollywood turned out in each year of the 1930s and 40s.

 

You can go to each year at this link, but this list is only done from people's memories of films they know and add to the list. Many more films than these were made each year:

 

http://www.myvideostore.com/content/movies/year.html?client=&year=1940

 

There were many great short films in the old days, such as THREE ON A MATCH (1932), running only 63 minutes.

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>If you add British, cartoons and shorts, it would have to 600-700, don't you think.

 

Yes, that sounds correct.

 

By the way, there are three Warner Brothers B films from 1940 that will air on TCM Sunday Jan. 5th: FATHER IS A PRINCE; ALWAYS A BRIDE; and TEAR GAS SQUAD (which I happen to think is very good with Dennis Morgan and John Payne both singing). On Tuesday the 7th, we have HIS GIRL FRIDAY airing as part of a day-long tribute to Columbia Pictures in honor of its 90th anniversary.

 

>How about your top 10 list?

 

1. REBECCA (at the top of my all-time Classic Top Ten)

2. REMEMBER THE NIGHT (also on my all-time Classic Top Ten)

3. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY

4. GASLIGHT (original British version)

5. THE BANK DICK

6. THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER

7. DARK COMMAND

8. WATERLOO BRIDGE

9. BROTHER ORCHID

10. ESCAPE and THE GREAT DICTATOR (tie)

 

Honorable mentions: THE GRAPES OF WRATH; THE LONG VOYAGE HOME; ARISE MY LOVE; THE SEA HAWK; FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT; MY FAVORITE WIFE; THE MORTAL STORM; MY LITTLE CHICKADEE.

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Andy,

 

I think we have two titles in common for 1941. Here's my list for that year:

 

1. CITIZEN KANE (on my all-time Classic Top Ten)

2. HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY

3. BALL OF FIRE

4. SWAMP WATER

5. THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES

6. THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON

7. THAT HAMILTON WOMAN

8. THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS

9. THE LADY EVE

10. DIVE BOMBER and THE WOLF MAN (tie)

 

Honorable mentions: MEET JOHN DOE; COTTAGE TO LET; HELLZAPOPPIN'; HERE COMES MR. JORDAN and SUSPICION.

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I notice that most of the "Best Actress" lists are missing that year's winner, Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle . Does anyone think she deserved the Oscar that year? ;) Personally, I'd have given it to Bette Davis for The Letter -she gave such a taut and nuanced performance in it.

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Andy,

 

I think we have two titles in common for 1941....

 

5. THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES

9. THE LADY EVE

 

The Devil and Miss Jones is one of my favorite romantic screwballs, both for Coburn and for Jean Arthur. But I have to admit that in my pre-AFI days when my knowledge of "classic" movies was limited pretty much to the likes of Casablanca and GWTW, the first time I saw The Devil and Miss Jones listed I thought it was that porno movie, "The Devil *in* Miss Jones". ;) And I don't think I was the only one who made that mistaken connection.

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I'd add THE MAN I MARRIED with Joan Bennett and Francis Lederer to that list. Wonderful movie, fast-moving and riveting.

 

To the person who asked if people didn't believe Ginger Rogers deserved the Best Actress Oscar that year and said they would have given it to Bette Davis for THE LETTER, I would have given it to Joan Fontaine for REBECCA. Thought her performance was magnificent.

 

BLU

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If dagoldenage doesn't mind, I would like to keep posting lists for each year in the 40s. We could say the 1940s are an underrated decade.

 

Here's my list for 1942:

 

1. MRS. MINIVER

2. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS

3. REAP THE WILD WIND

4. THE TALK OF THE TOWN

5. NOW, VOYAGER

6. TO BE OR NOT TO BE

7. THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES

8. THE PALM BEACH STORY

9. THE GLASS KEY

10. THE BIG STREET

 

Honorable mentions: I MARRIED A WITCH; KINGS ROW; THE GREAT MAN'S LADY; and GENTLEMAN JIM.

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TopBilled, you're right about Swamp Water. What really hits home with me is that when I start going over these movies, I realize that I never saw the great majority of them until TCM (and to a much lesser extent the FMC) came along.

 

I don't really have lots of favorites until the WW2 glut ends and the noir era begins, but here's what I get for *1942*:

 

1. The Hard Way (my favorite Lupino movie)

2. The Glass Key

3. This Gun For Hire

4. Casablanca

5. In This Our Life (Bette Davis as pure evil)

6. Johnny Eager

7. Tales of Manhattan (another movie that TCM needs to get from Fox)

8. Moontide (I'll take Gabin and Lupino over any screen couple)

9. Orchestra Wives

10. Rings on Her Finger (another great Laird Cregar performance)

 

Best of the rest: Now, Voyager, Juke Girl, The Man Who Came to Dinner, To Be Or Not To Be, All Through the Night (dirty Nattzis and Fifth Col-yoo-mists!)

 

Underrated: Everything from 5 through 10 on the above list

 

Worst Movie: The sound version of The Gold Rush. What on Earth was Charlie Chaplin thinking? It's as if he took a perfect prime rib and dunked it in cold brine and mayonnaise.

 

Best Actor: Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca)

Best Actress: Ida Lupino (The Hard Way)

Supporting Actor: Laird Cregar (This Gun For Hire)

Supporting Actress: Joan Leslie (The Hard Way)

 

Titles watched: 67

 

Note: The Hard Way, like Casablanca, wasn't released until early 1943, but until recently I've always seen it listed as a 1942 movie, and that's how I've always thought of it.

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One thing to keep in mind about yearly film output in the 1940s, as more countries fell to Hitler, the film markets in those countries were closed to American films. This affected film revenues and studios cut back on the number of films they made.

 

Those film markets didn't reopen until after the War and by then Hollywood was affected by the Paramount case that stripped the studios of their ability to own theaters as well as the changing tastes of post-War audiences.

 

This also affected the number of films released each other, Studios would often re-release older films on the bottom of double bills rather than produce more films.

 

I think the 1930s were the high point for the number of films released each year as audience numbers were never as high again as they had been in the Depression.

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Here's my list for 1943:

 

1. SO PROUDLY WE HAIL!

2. STAGE DOOR CANTEEN

3. WATCH ON THE RHINE

4. THE MORE THE MERRIER

5. BATAAN

6. THE HUMAN COMEDY

7. MADAME CURIE

8. THE OX-BOW INCIDENT

9. SHADOW OF A DOUBT

10. HELLO, FRISCO, HELLO and HEAVEN CAN WAIT (tie)

 

Honorable mentions: TENDER COMRADE; I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE; JANE EYRE; LASSIE COME HOME; NO TIME FOR LOVE; and SAHARA.

 

Edited by: TopBilled on Jan 2, 2014 10:15 AM

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