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LawrenceA

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This was the year of what I call the 'feminist war film' (not feminist like the term is defined today, but these films showed women in new positions of power).

 

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My list:

1. SO PROUDLY WE HAIL! (feminist war film)
2. THE HUMAN COMEDY (drama)
3. WATCH ON THE RHINE (drama)
4. THE MORE THE MERRIER (romantic comedy)
5. HEAVEN CAN WAIT (romantic comedy)
6. THE OX-BOW INCIDENT (literary adaptation)
7. MADAME CURIE (biographical drama)
8. SHADOW OF A DOUBT (psychological thriller)
9. STAGE DOOR CANTEEN (morale booster)
10. BATAAN (war film) and SAHARA (war film)

Honorable Mentions:

THE CONSTANT NYMPH (literary adaptation)
CRY 'HAVOC' (feminist war film)
FLESH AND FANTASY (anthology)
FOREVER AND A DAY (British anthology)
THE GENTLE SEX (British feminist war film)

HANGMEN ALSO DIE! (political thriller)
HOLY MATRIMONY (comedy)
I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (horror)
JANE EYRE (literary adaptation)
LASSIE COME HOME (literary adaptation)
MILLIONS LIKE US (British feminist war film)
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (musical horror)
THE SONG OF BERNADETTE (biographical religious drama)
STORMY WEATHER (musical)
SWEET ROSIE O’GRADY (musical)
TENDER COMRADE (feminist war film)

 

Notable Performers: Charles Coburn; Jean Arthur; Mickey Rooney; Joan Fontaine; Paul Lukas; and of course, Lassie.

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1942 Favorites

 

Casablanca

 
Cat People
 
The Man Who Came to Dinner
A model of a play adapted for the screen. Great ensemble, I particularly love Jimmy Durante and Ann Sheridan.

 

Mrs. Miniver

A masterpiece of filmmaking and, incidentally, propaganda. Beautifully done on all counts. One of my favorite lines is spoken by the haughty Lady Beldon (Dame May Whitty), who laments the inevitable coming of war: "I hate war, because it gives little people a chance to do something important."

 

Now Voyager

As I've said in my 1940 list, I prefer the nice Bette.
 

Random Harvest
Glorious on all counts. The mood created in this film shows how magical old Hollywood could be at its best.
 
Roxie Hart
I prefer this to Chicago, which is based on the same play. The black bottom dance scene is brilliant (though not exactly an authentic black bottom). Very snappy Wellman direction, and the bookend scenes at William Frawley's bar are evocative.
 
Tortilla Flat
This film has one of the best example of a hierophany in any movie: the dogs' vision of St. Francis. Frank Morgan's performance is one of the great supporting performances of all time.
 
Woman of the Year
The first and my favorite of the Tracy-Hepburn canon. This is where they met.
 
Yankee Doodle Dandy
 
Other 1942 films of note:
 
I saw Went the Day Well at the Film Forum a few years ago. If Kay Miniver were in the film, she'd have kicked and stabbed the German flyer instead of just slapping him.
 
My Gal Sal is a typically fun Fox period musical. 

 

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Nice choices as usual,Swithin. I haven't seen ROXIE HART yet, but they show it often on FXM, so I'll be sure to catch it next time.

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For 1943 - 81 films seen

 

1.  The Ox-Bow Incident

2.  For Whom the Bell Tolls

3.  Sahara

4.  The More the Merrier

5.  The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

6.  Day of Wrath

7.  Madame Curie

8.  Shadow of a Doubt

9.  Ossessione

10. We Dive at Dawn

 

Here are just some from my runner up list: The Meanest Man in the World, Destination Tokyo, Desert Victory, Five Graves to Cairo, Jane Eyre and Fires Were Started aka I Was a Fireman.

 

I have yet to see Forever and a Day from your list, Lawrence.  

 

 

Once you take Casablanca (1942) out of the equation for 1943 I think you are left with a year with no real exceptional films.  And the number of plain good films hasn't been this shallow since the early 1930's.  No doubt this is because of the drain on the talent base due to the war.

 

Bogie's curio: Sanshiro Sugata Part One 

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OK: First for 1942:

 

1.) "Casablanca"--wins in a walk.  Everything works, down to the music.

 

2.) "The Magnificent Ambersons"--Orson Welles film is still magnificent, even chopped up by its releasing studio (RKO).  The camerawork alone gets it in the Top Ten.

 

3.) "For Me And My Gal"--Judy Garland & Gene Kelly in his first film; heavy on the flag waving, also heavy on the music.

 

4.) "Woman of the Year"--Romantic comedy is dated, yet chemistry crackles between Katharine Hepburn and Tracy--makes films' faults less apparent (to me).

 

5.)  "Across The Pacific"--Schizophrenic film  can't decide whether it's a spy drama, romantic comedy, or film noir; in addition, is Not PC--but this reteaming of Bogart, Astor, & Greenstreet is Much more enjoyable than a film like "Mrs. Miniver" (which I can't sit through--it's like chugging a bottle of cough syrup, IMO). ATP shouldn't work, but does.

 

6.) "The Black Swan"--Arguably the Best Technicolored swashbuckler of Tyrone Powers' career.  Has an unbeatable supporting cast; Maureen O'Hara, George Sanders, Laird Cregar, etc.  Grand fun.  Leon Shamroys' cinematography won an Oscar.

 

7.) "You Were Never Lovelier"--Astaire and Hayworth and a Jerome Kern score.  Marvelous.

 

8.) "I Married A Witch"--Fredric March is stiff, and Veronica Lake steals the film from him.  Underrated comedy.

 

9.) "Cat People"--Scary film from Jacques Tourneur about a hereditary curse.

 

10.) "Now, Voyager"--Bette Davis soap opera, exceedingly well done.

 

 

Now, 1943:

 

1.) "Shadow of a Doubt"--Top notch Hitchcock thriller with Joseph Cotten & Teresa Wright.

 

2.) "Five Graves to Cairo"--Overlooked Billy Wilder WW II film--marvelous, bitingly funny, thriller.

 

3.) "Sahara"--Very good wartime yarn, with Bogart outsmarting all.

 

4.) "For Whom The Bell Tolls"--Terrific performances by Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, and Katrina Paxinou (she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar) make the film.

 

5.) "The Ox-Bow Incident--Undeniably effective but preachy film.

 

6.) "Phantom of the Opera"--Emphasis is on music until last half hour.

 

7.)  "The Leopard Man"--Underrated Jacques Tourneur thriller.

 

8.) "Heaven Can Wait"--Ernst Lubitsch fun--Ameche and Tierney are a good couple.

 

9.) "Stormy Weather"--The Nicholas Bros. in a dance number that must be seen to be believed--& Lena Horne and Cab Calloway.

 

10.) "Girl Crazy"--Mickey and Judy directed by Busby Berkeley/Norman Taurog, and a Gershwin score.

 

Funniest film of 1943 (and maybe of the 1940's)--"The Gang's All Here".  I almost laughed myself into an asthma attack watching it; "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" has to be seen to be believed.

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My current choices for performances for 1943 are:

 

Best Actor

 

Walter Pidgeon, Madame Curie

 

Best Actress

 

Jean Arthur, The More the Merrier

 

Best Supporting Actor

 

Charles Coburn, The More the Merrier

 

Best Supporting Actress

 

Katina Paxinou, For Whom the Bell Tolls

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1943 

 

1. Heaven Can Wait

2. The More the Merrier

3. Shadow of a Doubt

4. Edge of Darkness

5. Old Acquaintance 

6. Bataan

7. Girl Crazy

8. The Constant Nymph

9. Destination Tokyo

10. No Time for Love

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A lot to comment on here...

 

 

Bogie, I'm really surprised you haven't seen FOREVER AND A DAY. You seem to have seen most everything British related. I really enjoyed FIRES WERE STARTED as well, and OSSESSIONE almost made my list. I don't know THE MEANEST MAN IN THE WORLD, WE DIVE AT DAWN, or DESERT VICTORY.

 

 

film lover, I'm glad you concur about THE BLACK SWAN. I've always really liked it. I haven't seen FOR ME AND MY GAL, STORMY WEATHER, or THE GANG'S ALL HERE.

 

 

speedracer, the only one of your picks I don't know is NO TIME FOR LOVE.

 

 

Top, out of yours I haven't seen THE GENTLE SEX, HOLY MATRIMONY, MILLIONS LIKE US, SWEET ROSIE O'GRADY, or TENDER COMRADE.

 

 

I've seen substantially less films from 1943 than from nearly any year from the post-silent era. I always assumed that there were less released, but maybe it's that there were less worth reshowing over the years.

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1943 Favorites

 

Day of Wrath
I've always felt sorry for Herlof's Marte. Bernie Sanders wouldn't tout this version of Denmark!
 

Forever and a Day

An American in London during the blitz plans to sell his family home there and learns of its history. A rich, episodic film featuring just about every British actor in Hollywood. All of the segments are excellent; the one I remember best features Roland Young and Gladys Cooper.
 
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
Perhaps my favorite of the monster combo films. Plus a great operetta segment!
 
The Man in Gray
Stewart Granger to Margaret Lockwood (about Phyllis Calvert, who is married to James Mason): 
“I’m not a gentleman. And I swear by God that if she comes to any harm through you, I’ll break that lovely neck of yours with less regret than I’d stamp on a snake."
 
Meshes of the Afternoon
Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid's avant garde beauty.
 
Ossessione
The first time the postman rang.
 
Stormy Weather
Pioneering film capturing many great musical performances.
 
Watch on the Rhine
Paul Lukas fights against fascism, and Beulah Bondi speaks with a French accent. What more do you want?
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A lot to comment on here...

 

 

Bogie, I'm really surprised you haven't seen FOREVER AND A DAY. You seem to have seen most everything British related. I really enjoyed FIRES WERE STARTED as well, and OSSESSIONE almost made my list. I don't know THE MEANEST MAN IN THE WORLD, WE DIVE AT DAWN, or DESERT VICTORY.

 

 

film lover, I'm glad you concur about THE BLACK SWAN. I've always really liked it. I haven't seen FOR ME AND MY GAL, STORMY WEATHER, or THE GANG'S ALL HERE.

 

 

speedracer, the only one of your picks I don't know is NO TIME FOR LOVE.

 

 

I've seen substantially less films from 1943 than from nearly any year from the post-silent era. I always assumed that there were less released, but maybe it's that there were less worth reshowing over the years.

 

For Me and My Gal is Gene Kelly's film debut.  It is also Judy Garland's first film where she portrays an adult character.  It's a musical, but the music comes about because Kelly and Garland's characters are practicing for a show.  There is a character, portrayed by Martha Eggerth, whose singing I could do without, but the most interesting thing about her role is that the bodice of her gown is blurred out because it was thought that her cleavage was too provoactive for a 1942 audience.  Kelly also has a great dramatic moment in the film.  Garland and Kelly made a great team.

 

No Time for Love stars Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.  Colbert portrays a photographer who is assigned to cover the building of a tunnel underneath the Hudson River in NYC.  MacMurray portrays one of the construction workers.  Colbert ends up saving MacMurray's character from a potentially fatal accident.  She finds herself becoming attracted to MacMurray's character, even though they don't have anything in common and he's a complete 180 from the usual men she's interested in.  She ends up hiring MacMurray's character to be her assistant.  This is a fun, lightweight film.  MacMurray is in a beefcake type role and there is a hilariously cheesy fantasy sequence where Colbert dreams about "Superman" (MacMurray) saving her.  Colbert and MacMurray made many films together and this one, and The Egg and I, are two of my favorites. 

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Swithin, great unique choices once again. THE MAN IN GRAY is the only film from the 1940's that's included in the "1001 Movies to See" book that I haven't seen. And I concur with the Universal monster movie love.

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As for the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die, we have listed all of the 1943 choices. They are:

 

 

FIRES WERE STARTED

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP

THE MAN IN GRAY

MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON

OSSESSIONE

THE OX-BOW INCIDENT

THE SEVENTH VICTIM

SHADOW OF A DOUBT

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Swithin, great unique choices once again. THE MAN IN GRAY is the only film from the 1940's that's included in the "1001 Movies to See" book that I haven't seen. And I concur with the Universal monster movie love.

 

We're approaching the age of a certain type of British film made by Gainsborough Pictures, that I love, including The Man in Gray, Fanny by Gaslight, and Wicked Lady. (I was never much of a fan of the Blimp/Red Shoes style.)

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We're approaching the age of a certain type of British film made by Gainsborough Pictures, that I love, including The Man in Gray, Fanny by Gaslight, and Wicked Lady. (I was never much of a fan of the Blimp/Red Shoes style.)

Do you feel they are opposed in some way? I ask because I'm interested in the Gainsborough films, even beyond THE MAN IN GRAY. Criterion released a set of Gainsborough titles that I've wanted to check out. However, I'm a HUGE fan of Powell/Pressburger/Archers. They kind of dominate my 40's lists. If I like them, will I be turned off by Gainsborough? I know you can't truly speak to my reaction, but what do you see as the defining characteristics of each that set them apart for you? If you don't mind, of course.

 

The Criterion set includes THE MAN IN GRAY, MADONNA OF THE SEVEN MOONS, and THE WICKED LADY.

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Do you feel they are opposed in some way? I ask because I'm interested in the Gainsborough films, even beyond THE MAN IN GRAY. Criterion released a set of Gainsborough titles that I've wanted to check out. However, I'm a HUGE fan of Powell/Pressburger/Archers. They kind of dominate my 40's lists. If I like them, will I be turned off by Gainsborough? I know you can't truly speak to my reaction, but what do you see as the defining characteristics of each that set them apart for you? If you don't mind, of course.

 

The Criterion set includes THE MAN IN GRAY, MADONNA OF THE SEVEN MOONS, and THE WICKED LADY.

 

Oh no -- not opposed. It's all a question of taste. Just as there are different types/looks of American films, there are (obviously) with British films and directors as well. I enjoy some of the Powell/Pressberger films, but there's something about them that doesn't appeal to me. Maybe it's the look/style, I don't know. But I know I'm in the minority.

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We're approaching the age of a certain type of British film made by Gainsborough Pictures, that I love, including The Man in Gray, Fanny by Gaslight, and Wicked Lady. (I was never much of a fan of the Blimp/Red Shoes style.)

Two of the Gainsborough melodramas make upcoming lists for me..and one is on my Top-20 of all time. But they weren't mentioned by Swithin. And there are four Ann Todd melodramas on my lists. Her films were not usually produced at Gainsborough, mostly by other British film companies. 

 

Hmmm, four seems like a lot-- I guess Ann Todd must be one of my favourite British actresses from this period. I always thought Jean Simmons or Vivien Leigh were my top picks as far as British actresses went. :)

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Bogie, I'm really surprised you haven't seen FOREVER AND A DAY. 

 

Forever and a Day is a rarity. I haven't seen it in years.  That scene where Gladys Cooper, having heard of the death of her son in battle, keeps a stiff upper lip in public and then cries her heart out alone in her room, has stayed with me all these years. I've been looking for the film -- it was available for an outrageous price -- and now I see (just noticed this) it's on YouTube! 

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Two of the Gainsborough melodramas make upcoming lists for me..and one is on my Top-20 of all time. But they weren't mentioned by Swithin. And there are four Ann Todd melodramas on my lists, but her films were not usually produced at Gainsborough, mostly by other British film companies. 

 

Hmmm, four seems like a lot-- I guess Ann Todd must be one of my favourite British actresses from this period. I always thought Jean Simmons or Vivien Leigh were my top picks. :)

An English friend, now sadly gone from us, introduced to those films back in the 70s/80s, in his television room in Kensington. He was a mentor to me, in terms of British theater and film. His was a big fan of Patricia Roc, who was in many classic English films.

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Is anyone having "trouble" with a certain year, in terms of compiling a list? I have more honorable mentions than I know what to do with for 1948, but my top ten came together rather easily for '48 and most of the other years. Except 1945. I have rewritten that list several times. 

 

The reason '45 is difficult for me is because the first five slots filled in without much difficulty, but I have at least ten films battling for my attention for those other five slots.

 

Some of the problems I am having with 1945--

 

I don't feel Crawford gave the best female performance of the year, and that her work is the main going for MILDRED PIERCE which has a very contrived story. It's still in my top ten for '45, but I had to rate the film much lower than most people probably will.

 

Another problem I had is that there are some very good war films released right around the time the war ended, but many of them are quite similar in terms of their content. One of them I had to kick down into the honorable mentions group, but I felt like I was slighting a very decent film. Ultimately, it came down to a great film having a weak actress as the female lead that made me cut it loose from the top ten.

 

Also, as I examined films from 1945, I realised it was now suddenly the age of the post-war docudrama, but in a way, those titles almost seem to compete directly with the more 'hardcore' post-war noir. And so that required some tough judgment calls. LOL

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Is anyone having "trouble" with a certain year, in terms of compiling a list? I have more honorable mentions than I know what to do with for 1948, but my top ten came together rather easily for '48 and most of the other years. Except 1945. I have rewritten that list several times. 

Wait -- what happened to 44? I can't keep up with y'all! (I'm trying to stick to ten -- maybe twelve tops, without an honorable mention list, and I still can't keep up!)

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An English friend, now sadly gone from us, introduced to those films back in the 70s/80s, in his television room in Kensington. He was a mentor to me, in terms of British theater and film. His was a big fan of Patricia Roc, who was in many classic English films.

I love Patricia Roc, too. She's one of the reasons (along with Tourneur's direction) that the western CANYON PASSAGE rates so high with me. I wish she had found greater success in America.

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Wa

 

Wait -- what happened to 44? I can't keep up with y'all! (I'm trying to stick to ten -- maybe twelve tops, without an honorable mention list, and I still can't keep up!)

We haven't gotten to '44 or the rest of the '40s yet. I was just making conversation that some years come together more easily than others. And '45 is a real toughie for me. 

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I didn't have too much trouble with the remaining 40's. I have a lot of foreign-made films though. British, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and French titles abound. I mentioned that I have seen less films on certain years; 1947 in particular has the least films I've seen, but I didn't have trouble finding enough for the my list. My real trouble comes in the late 50's through the mid 60's. Nearly all of my choices are foreign or popcorn films. 1958 was so rough, even all the films in my top ten didn't rate higher than a 7 out of 10 grade from me.

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We haven't gotten to '44 or the rest of the '40s yet. I was just making conversation that some years come together more easily than others. And '45 is a real toughie for me. 

 

I only listed eight for 1943. There are many others that I liked, but I only wanted to list ones that I felt were really special to me. Maybe the war had something to do with the output in the mid-1940s. On the other hand, the war sort of made possible films starring older actors, like the Lorre/Greenstreet films.

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I didn't have too much trouble with the remaining 40's. I have a lot of foreign-made films though. British, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and French titles abound. I mentioned that I have seen less films on certain years; 1947 in particular has the least films I've seen, but I didn't have trouble finding enough for the my list. My real trouble comes in the late 50's through the mid 60's. Nearly all of my choices are foreign or popcorn films. 1958 was so rough, even all the films in my top ten didn't rate higher than a 7 out of 10 grade from me.

Thanks Lawrence for elaborating. Plugging in the foreign titles is not the hard part for me. It's rating the Hollywood fare against it, which is usually much lower than I previously thought.

 

For instance, going back to Crawford, I love her-- but saying she was the best performer of '45? Compare her to the amazing job Anna Magnani does in OPEN CITY, or the superb performance Wendy Hiller gives in I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING..and Margaret Rutherford, she just steals BLITHE SPIRIT and turns it into her own tour-de-force (when she is supposedly playing a supporting role). No way was Crawford the best actress that year. So it kind of makes me rate MILDRED PIERCE lower than I thought I would, because some of the Hollywood product, while entertaining, is just a little too formulaic and uninspiring compared to what the Brits and the Italians did in the same time period. 

 

Even back on home soil, put Crawford to the test against Betty Field in the independently produced film THE SOUTHERNER. Overall, a film like THE SOUTHERNER, with its insightful script and its supporting cast (including Beulah Bondi, Percy Kilbride, Blanche Yurka, Norman Lloyd and J. Carrol Naish) is just a lot richer than MILDRED PIERCE. 

 

So I don't want to bash Joan or MILDRED, but looking at what else was produced in 1945, they're both a bit substandard, sorry to say.

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