Sunday, January 08, 2017

Happy Movies War Is Over

It's 1946.  The War has ended, and Hollywood hopes to return to normal.  Will it?  (Little did it know that something truly devastating was just around the corner--television).

The only thing I know for sure is anyone's list from this year is likely to have a lot of film noir.  Anyway, here's Jesse Walker's top ten:

1.   It's A Wonderful Life.
2.   My Darling Clementine
3.   The Big Sleep
4.   Notorious
5.   The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers
6.   Gilda
7.   The Killers
8.   The Hair-Raising Hare
9.   Beauty And The Beast
10. The Postman Always Rings Twice

It's A Wonderful Life may be Capra's greatest, which is saying a lot.  It's amazing it's as good as it is, considering how weak his oeuvre is after WWII.  It also shows just how dark a vision he has.

Like so much other Ford, I'm not much of a fan of My Darling Clementine.  It looks great, and some of the performers are good, but I find it fairly dull.

Beauty And The Beast is a classic, and the only foreign film on the list.  Not much European or Japanese stuff here--I wonder why?  (Actually, you've got Italian neorealism in 1946, but not on Jesse's list.)

The Hair-Raising Hare is great, but is a Bugs Bunny short.

Then there's noir.  The Big Sleep may be my favorite film of the year--it's certainly one of Hawks most entertaining films, and I don't know if Bogart has ever been better. Notorious, though a bit overrated, is top-notch Hitchcock.  The Strange Love Of Mother Ivers is alright, but not top ten.  Another okay yet overrated film is The Postman Always Rings TwiceThe Killers, introducing Burt Lancaster, is a fine noir of the period.  Gilda, though it features Rita Hayworth at her best, isn't really much of a film. 

Let me note the absence of The Best Years Of Our Lives--the most honored film of 1946, as well as the biggest hit.  For quite a while it was consider THE post-war film, and is still honored in many circles, and yet Jesse doesn't include it in his top ten (while I might).  People would have laughed at you if you said back then that an exciting but trivial detective film like The Big Sleep is better, but reputations change.

Other films that would make my top ten:

Cluny Brown (lesser Lubitsch, but still pretty good)

Monsieur Beaucaire

Road To Utopia (the best road film along with Morocco)

Other films I like:

Blue Skies, The Diary Of A Chambermaid, The Harvey Girls, Humoresque, Jivin' In Be-Bop, Make Mine Music, A Night In Casablanca (the last real Marx Brothers film), Paisan, Shoeshine,

Other films of note:

Angel On My Shoulder, Anna And The King Of Siam, The Beast With Five Fingers, Because Of Him, Black Beauty, The Blue Dahlia, The Chase, Cinderella Jones, Cloak And Dagger, Crisis, Dragonwyck, Duel In The Sun, Easy To Wed, The Green Years, If I’m Lucky, The Jolson Story, Let There Be Light, Little Giant, Love Laughs At Andy Hardy (a failed comeback for the series, which was very popular, but never that great to begin with), Magnificent Doll, My Reputation, Of Human Bondage, The Razor’s Edge, San Quentin, Sioux City Sue, Sister Kenny, The Spiral Staircase, Spook Busters, Terror By Night, Till The Clouds Roll By, Three Wise Fools, The Time Of Their Lives (Abbott and Costello were experimenting), To Each His Own, Tomorrow Is Forever, Two Guys From Milwaukee, Two Years Before The Mast, Undercurrent, The Verdict, The Virginian, Wake Up And Dream, Without Reservations, The Yearling


Blogger Jesse said...

Neorealism: I haven't seen Shoeshine, and I think Paisan is lesser Rossellini (though still good).

Japanese film: Oddly, I'm not sure I've seen any Japanese films from this year.

John Ford: You know, usually I agree with you that he's overpraised, but Clementine is just about perfect.

Monsieur Beaucaire: Now THERE is an overpraised film. (But I agree that Road to Utopia is really funny. I haven't seen Cluny Brown.)

The only other films on your other-films-I-like list that I've seen are A Night in Casablanca (pretty good, but they did much better) and Diary of a Chambermaid (a real disappointment for me; the Buñuel version is way better).

11:39 AM, January 08, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I haven't seen Beaucaire in many years, so perhaps it doesn't hold up as well as I remember.

A Night In Casablanca was a comeback film for the Marx Brothers. It's obviously not a classic like their early stuff, but of their later, weaker work it holds up better than most.

By chance I saw Paisan last week. I agree while it's good it has an overblown reputation.

Cluny Brown doesn't get a lot of attention, but I consider it a gem (if a flawed gem). I'd call it Lubitsch's last great film except it's the last film he actually directed. We'll never know what would have happened if he'd lived longer--we don't know if he could have continued his sort of work in a new era.

You don't often list musicals, but if you want to see the kind of great stuff the Freed unit at MGM released on a fairly regular basis, The Harvey Girls is an excellent example.

1:01 PM, January 08, 2017  
Blogger Jesse said...

I will have to check out both Cluny Brown and The Harvey Girls.

A Night in Casablanca was, weirdly, the first Marx Brothers movie I saw. So I overrated it for a while, not realizing that their earlier movies were so much better. I still have a sentimental attachment to it.

1:07 PM, January 08, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Yearling was a beautiful film, and I think it was a pretty big hit, though apparently not any more. Same for The Razor's Edge.

2:14 PM, January 08, 2017  
Blogger Bream Halibut said...

Haven't seen Jesse's top two.

Films I liked from 1946: Deadline at Dawn, The Big Sleep, Cluny Brown, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (Hair-Raising Hare is excellent, but I have Water, Water Every Hare on my 1952 list, as well as a few other Bugs cartoons throughout the 40s, so it's out), and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Films I thought were okay: The Killers, The Stranger, The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers, Beauty and the Beast, Gilda, The Battle of Rails.

Didn't like No Regrets for Our Youth or A Matter of Life and Death (The Archers are good, just not this movie, except for the scene where he wakes up on the beach).

1:30 PM, January 09, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

As can be seen by the previous comment, I left out some pretty big titles in my lists--in my defense, I'm writing this stuff pretty fast. Still, I'm I missed The Stranger, A Matter Of Life And Death and No Regrets For Our Youth.

1:58 PM, January 09, 2017  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Running really late this year - I have to leave my 2017 predictions in the 2016 film review!

First, 2016 was pretty good for me:

In the S.Ct. - Enwel v. Abbott did uphold (unanimously) proportional representation based on total population in house districts. My other predictions were about Obamacare cases, and weren't decided given the political and court situation, and now the likely repeal of the ACA.

Obvioulsy, didn't predict Trump winning election, but: 1) Congress passed no Climate Change legislation; 2) Republicans held House and narrowly held Senate (though without unseating Michael Bennett); and 3) Major Terrorist attack in the US (Orlando, though maybe not directly linked to ISIS).

Internationally, 1) Major Terrorist attack in Germany before year-end; 2) ISIS still fighting; 3) Assad still ruling Syria; and 4) Russia in the thick of things in the Levant. Oh, and Castro dies (like a stopped a clock, had to get that right eventually).

Economy - 2016 GDP not final, but looks to be coming in around 2% for the year, capping 8 years below 3% growth. The Fed raised interest rates once (not twice, as I predicted). Anticipating a Democratic takeover of the Senate and White House, I predicted a DOW below 17,000. Glad to be wrong.

And in fun stuff, AFC defeated the Panthers, Phelps won more than 2 more gold medals (5 actually), and DiCaprio got his Oscar!

Now, for 2017:


Lee v. Tam - Kennedy will lead a majority (6-2 or 5-3) striking down the Patent/Trademark office decision to bar registration of the name "Slants" by an Asian American band on grounds it is a disparaging term. This may pave the way for the Wash. Redskins winning challenge to their disparaging trademark.

LA County v. Mendez - 5/4 the Court will overturn 9th Cir. ruling that police who use excessive force lose their immunity from personal prosecution.

And with Trump promising a nomination within 2 weeks, here's my bold prediction for the Scalia replacement: Don Willett, TX S.Ct. Trump's choice will be based on personal interviews, and Willett is known as "the tweeting judge." He doesn't take things so seriously.

Second choice, Diane Sykes, 7th Cir., as a thank-you to Wisconsin (she'll be first choice if Ginsburg leaves in next few years). Thomas Lee, U. Of Chicago Law grad is on the list, but doesn'thave sufficient track record to satisfy Senate Republicans (assuming Trump cares about that).


Congress will pass no significant legislation to combat Climate Change.

The Clintons will not leave the public sphere, continuing to be the toast of Hollywood, DC and NY functions. The Bushes will leave the public sphere.


Andrea Merkl will lose or withdraw from Germany's election.

Marine Le Pen will not win the French election.

The US embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem.

Trump will not reinstate sanctions on Cuba (it's not good for business). The left will be in a quandry trying to decide whether to be happy that communist Cuba is open to visit, or angry that Trump's company will try and build a hotel there.


GDP in 2017 will exceed 3% growth.

Unemployment will be above 5%.

And I'll counter LA Guy, the DOW will remain below 20,000 by year end, due to Trump policies damaging the stock of many blue chips. This is what populists do - create scapegoats.


Cubs will not repeat in the World Series (one win a century is enough to keep the fan base).

The Apprentice, with Arnold as host, will be canceled (or Arnold will be fired).

The Twin Peaks revival on Showtime will be a winner (or at least renewed for a second season).

The Star Trek revival on CBS pay channel will fail (and perhaps the whole channel with it).

Guardians of Galaxy II will be the highest grossing picture of the year. (No real insight here, just don't like LA Guy's Star Wars pick, though he is probably right).

Happy Trump Year!

7:49 AM, January 12, 2017  
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1:56 AM, June 27, 2018  

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