Monday, January 04, 2016

War Is Over

Jesse Walker is now back to the movies of 1945.  It was a pivotal year in history, with the end of WWII.  The war had been tough on movies in Europe and Japan, and Hollywood had suffered somewhat with a loss of some of its stars.

Here's Jesse's top ten.

1. I Know Where I'm Going!
2. Ivan the Terrible, Part One
3. Scarlet Street
4. Open City
5. Isle of the Dead
6. Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne
7. The Spiral Staircase
8. The Picture of Dorian Gray
9. Children of Paradise
10. Detour

A lot of foreign pictures made during tough times.

Powell and Pressburger are best known for big and colorful films, but I Know Where I'm Going!, a small black and white work, may be their best. Ivan The Terrible Part 1 is something, though I'm not entirely sure what.  After you're done you know you've seen something, at least.  Open City is a classic of the neorealist movement.  I've never seen #6, though in this day and age, you'd think I'd get around to it.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray is a well done, fairly faithful adaptation of Wilde.  And it has the painting, which you keep waiting to glimpse (in color) as it gets more gruesome. It's a sort of miracle that Children Of Paradise got made at all in the midst of the German occupation, and I'd call it the best film of the year.

This being 1945, we get some fun noir films--Scarlet Street, The Spiral Staircase and the zero-budget Detour.  Speaking of low budget, you've got Isle Of The Dead. Not the best Lewton production, but not bad.

11. Fallen Angel
12. The Body Snatcher
13. My Name Is Julia Ross
14. Draftee Daffy
15. Mildred Pierce 
16. Le Vampire
17. Swing Shift Cinderella
18. Wonder Man
19. The Screwy Truant
20. The Wicked Lady
A number of shorts here that I'm going to ignore.
This is 1945, so we get more noir with Fallen Angel, My Name Is Julia Ross and Mildred Pierce, all enjoyable. The Body Snatcher is pretty good horror with Karloff and Lugosi.  The Wicked Lady was a big hit in its day but it's never done much for me. Danny Kaye could easily have been an eccentric performer doing supporting comic bits in movies but thanks to films like Wonder Man became a star.  I think he's okay and the film's okay--your reaction will probably depend on how you feel about him.
Here are some other films that might make my top ten:
Anchor’s Aweigh
Dead Of Night
The Lost Weekend (the Oscar winner which Jesse acknowledges but doesn't think much of)
Other films I like:
Along Came Jones, And Then There Were None, Brief Encounter, The Clock, Dillinger, Here Come The Co-Eds, It’s In The Bag, Mom And Dad (for historical reasons), The Naughty Nineties, Rhapsody In Blue, A Royal Scandal (Lubitsch without Lubitsch), The Southerner (Renoir in America), State Fair, Yolanda And The Thief (not good Astaire, but even his worst is pretty good), Ziegfeld Follies (in parts)


Other films of note:


Abbott and Costello in Hollywood, Back to Bataan, A Bell For Adano, The Bells of St. Mary's, Blithe Spirit, Blood On The Sun, Brewster's Millions, Caesar and Cleopatra, Captain Kidd, Christmas in Connecticut, Confidential Agent, Conflict, The Corn Is Green, Cornered, Dakota, Dick Tracy, Docks of New York, The Enchanted CottageFlame of Barbary Coast, The Great Flamarion, Guest Wife, Hangover Square, Hotel Berlin, House of DraculaJohnny Angel, Lady on a Train, Leave Her to Heaven, Love Letters, The Man in Half Moon Street, Murder He Says, Objective, Burma!, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, Pride of the Marines, The Rake's Progress, San Antonio, Saratoga TrunkSherlock Holmes and the House of Fear, Son of Lassie, A Song to Remember, The Spanish Main, Spellbound, The Stork Club, The Story of G.I. Joe, They Were Expendable, The Thin Man Goes Home, Thunderhead, Son of Flicka, Tonight and Every Night, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Waterloo Road, Without Love, The Woman in Green


Blogger Jesse said...

Dead of Night was too much of a mixed bag to make it onto my list—often an issue with anthology films—but I agree it's good. I've never seen Anchors Aweigh (though I always get it mixed up with On the Town, which I did see).

6:56 AM, January 04, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would put in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, which is not only a good drama, but also showed Elia Kazan had the chops as a film director.

10:20 AM, January 04, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read up on Mom And Dad. Now that's a film I want to see. An educational film on sex hygiene that went from town to town and made millions because it showed dirty stuff you couldn't see anywhere else.

10:28 PM, January 04, 2016  
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