Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A World Gone Mad

Jesse Walker now takes us to 1943.  The big story, of course, was World War II, which meant European and Japanese films were struggling, while American films were extra patriotic (and a lot of top talent was working for the war effort and not Hollywood).  What will this all mean for the top ten?  Let's have a look:

1. Shadow of a Doubt
2. Meshes of the Afternoon
3. Le Corbeau
4. Red Hot Riding Hood
5. Ossessione
6. The Ox-Bow Incident
7. I Walked with a Zombie
8. Five Graves to Cairo
9. Day of Wrath
10. The Eternal Return

Shadow Of A Doubt is allegedly Hitchcock's personal favorite.  I don't rate it so highly, but it deserves a spot on the top 20.  (I like the early small-town stuff better before it turns into the crazy killer story.)

I haven't seen Meshes Of The Afternoon.  I'm not a huge fan of Clouzot, but I guess Le Corbeau stands out in this year. "Red Hot Riding Hood" is a short--a great one, to be sure, but Jesse knows I don't include them in such lists.

Ossessione is pretty good.  The Ox-Bow Incident I've always found a bit too earnest and programmatic (at least it isn't too long).  I Walked With A Zombie is pretty cool, though it's hard for a lot of people to appreciate Tourneur these days.

Five Graves To Cairo is a little-seen gem from Billy Wilder.  There does seem some to be some propaganda tacked on at the end, though it's easy enough to ignore.  In Days Of Wrath Dreyer makes a film about a different time but is just as relevant.  Haven't seen The Eternal Return, though it sounds like the kind of thing I'd go for.

11. Tortoise Wins by a Hare
12. Journey Into Fear
13. Dumb-Hounded
14. Stormy Weather
15. The Seventh Victim
16. The Fallen Sparrow
17. Tin Pan Alley Cats
18. Falling Hare
19. Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves
20. What's Buzzin' Buzzard?

Okay, Jesse, we get it--animated shorts were the best things out there in 1943. I agree, but they're hard to compare with features.

Journey Into Fear has in interesting look and cast (and title), but I don't think it's a great movie.  Stormy Weather is an interesting oddity, with some very talented people involved. Haven't watched The Seventh Victim, but I'd love to see Ward Cleaver in a film noir. Haven't seen The Fallen Sparrow either.

In general, 1943 wasn't much of a year for film, but I can name at least one other title that would have made my top ten:  The Sky's The Limit, Fred Astaire's most underrated musical.

Other films I liked:

Air Force, The Gang’s All Here (Busbv Berkeley's last hurrah?), Heaven Can Wait, Higher And Higher, The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp, The More The Merrier

Other films of note:

Best Foot Forward, Corvette K-225, The Count Of Monte Cristo, Crazy House, The Dancing Masters, The Desert Song, Destination Tokyo, Dubarry Was A Lady, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, Gildersleeves On Broadway, Gung Ho!, A Guy Named Joe, Hangmen Also Die!, Hit The Ice, The Human Comedy, I Dood It, Jane Eyre, Jitterbugs, Keeper Of The Flame, Kid Dynamite, Lady Of Burlesque, Madame Curie, Mission To Moscow, Mr. Lucky, My Friend Flicka, The North Star, The Outlaw, Passport To Suez, Presenting Lily Mars, Riding High, Sahara, So Proudly We Hail!, Son Of Dracula, The Song Of Bernadette, Stage Door Canteen, Tender Comrade, Thank Your Lucky Stars, This Is The Army, This Land Is Mine, Watch On The Rhine


Blogger Jesse said...

A side note: Colonel Blimp is my least favorite Archers movie, but I haven't seen the uncut version; it's possible that it would vault onto my list if I did.

The Sky's The Limit looks intriguing; I'll have to check it out.

7:02 AM, January 08, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Blimp obviously has a reputation. You may want to see the uncut version, though my complaint with it is it's probably too long.

9:07 AM, January 08, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about those Capra war documentaries? They're kind of cool, in the annals of American propaganda.

11:57 AM, January 08, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Journey Into Fear has a reputation because a lot of people mistakenly think Orson Welles directed it.

2:43 PM, January 08, 2014  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Love that concept. Do you suppose there's a similar dynamic to "The Third Man"?

11:09 AM, January 09, 2014  
Blogger Jesse said...

Anon: I've seen a lot of credible writers claim that Welles directed parts of Journey Into Fear w/o getting credit for it onscreen. You don't think they're right?

11:45 AM, January 09, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The Third Man was a huge international hit from the start. It's always been highly regarded (as opposed to Journey Into Fear). Too highly regarded, in my opinion.

1:48 PM, January 09, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bogdanovich once asked Welles who directed the tour de force ledge sequence from the climax of Journey into Fear, and his response was something like, whoever was standing closest to the camera. His point was that it was a true collaborative Mercury effort. Welles must have had input in his own scenes (his performance is pretty flamboyant, so that part is nothing to brag about), but remember that's a small part of the film. For the first month of Journey's production, Welles was directing Ambersons, and for the last 6 weeks or so, Welles was in South America, so even with his steady diet of black coffee and amphetamines, there was only such much he could have physically could have done. I think it's fair to say this is a Norman Foster directing job, with Welles as the uncredited producer and a heavy dose of Welles' style. Welles' style could be successfully copied, particularly if you used his collaborators -- ever see the Devil and Daniel Webster?

BTW, I think I would have put this in my top ten as well.

12:19 PM, January 12, 2014  
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