Best Films of the 40s

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Best Films of the 40s

Postby wpqx » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:40 am

Ok so maybe it won't be as easy for some of you, but partially to simplify my recommendations of classic Hollywood film, I felt like weighing in on another decade. If you haven't seen many films from the 1940's shame on you, get to a video store. Due to lack of foreign films made during WWII, this list will seem even more prejudiced towards American films than usual, but it was the golden age.

The Philadelphia Story (US - George Cukor)
The Great Dictator (US - Charles Chaplin)
Fantasia (US - James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford I. Beebe, Walt Disney, Graham Heid, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen, Norman Wright, Sylvia Moberly-Holland, Albert Heath, Bianca Majolie, Jim Handley, T. Hee)
The Grapes of Wrath (US - John Ford)
Rebecca (US - Alfred Hitchcock)

Citizen Kane (US - Orson Welles)
Dumbo (US - Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen)
The Maltese Falcon (US - John Huston)
Meet John Doe (US - Frank Capra)
The Lady Eve (US - Preston Sturges)
The Little Foxes (US - William Wyler)
Hold Back the Dawn (US - Mitchell Liesen)
Hellzapoppin (US - H. C. Potter)

Sullivans Travels (US - Preston Sturges)
The Palm Beach Story (US - Preston Sturges)
The Magnificent Ambersons (US - Orson Welles)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (US - Michael Curtiz)

Meshes in the Afternoon (US - Maya Daren)
Heaven Can Wait (US - Ernst Lubitsch)
Casablanca (US - Michael Curtiz)

Meet Me In St. Louis (US - Vincente Minnelli)
Laura (US - Otto Preminger)
Lifeboat (US - Alfred Hitchcock)

To Have and Have Not (US - Howard Hawks)
Children of Paradise (France - Marcel Carne)
Mildred Pierce (US - Michael Curtiz)
Open City (Italy - Roberto Rossellini)
Fallen Angel (US - Otto Preminger)
Scarlet Street (US - Fritz Lang)
Way to the Stars (UK - Anthony Asquith)

Somewhere in the Night (US - Joseph Mankiewicz)
Brief Encounter (UK - David Lean)
Great Expectations (UK - David Lean)
A Matter of Life and Death/Stairway to Heaven (UK - Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
Beauty and the Beast (France - Jean Cocteau)
The Best Years of Our Lives (US - William Wyler)

A Gentlemans Agreement (US - Elia Kazan)
Miracle on 34th Street (US - George Seaton)
Out of the Past (US - Jacques Tourneur)

Treasure of the Sierra Madre (US - John Huston)
The Three Godfathers (US - John Ford)
Force of Evil (US - Abraham Polansky)
Oliver Twist (UK - David Lean)
Unfaithfully Yours (US - Preston Sturges)
Hamlet (UK - Laurence Olivier)

White Heat (US - Raoul Walsh)
The Bicycle Thief (Italy - Vittorio De Seca)
On the Town (US - Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen)
The Third Man (UK - Carol Reed)
They Live By Night (US - Nicholas Ray)
Twelve OClock High (US - Henry King)
The Devils Wanton (Sweden - Ingmar Bergman)

A few years may seem skewed to you, but I listed them based upon when they were shown theatrically (Oscar contention). I elected not to include short cartoons as my list would quickly turn into the Tex Avery show. Lots of "bubbling under" contenders which may or may not be added. I just hope I can throw a few more foreign films on that bunch.

Re: Best Films of the 40s

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:15 am

A few more "important" foreign films of the 40s:

The 47 Ronin - Mizoguchi
Day of Wrath - Dreyer
Ivan the Terrible, Part 1 - Eisenstein
Spring in a Small Town - Fei
Late Spring - Ozu
Germany Year Zero - Rossellini
Le Silence de la Mer - Melville
The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family - Ozu

Re: Best Films of the 40s

Postby wpqx » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:07 am

Other than Toda, I've seen all of those they're just at varying degrees of "near misses". I'll try working on it, but I'm returning again to my "cinematic schizophrenia" which essentially means I'm working on everything.

Re: Best Films of the 40s

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:20 am

I need to go over a few of these myself. Who knows, I might even review a couple of 'em. 1942's Kinema Junpo winner Toda Family isn't currently available in the U.S. But its English subtitled HK DVD (NTSC but Region-3) from Panorama, which was issued back in 2005, could be had very affordably.

I must say I was a little surprised by a lack of Lang, but I guess your list right now is highly selective, and his films might also be "bubbling under."

Re: Best Films of the 40s

Postby wpqx » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:00 am

Facets has some of those HK imports, so I'll check about Toda. Once you mentioned Lang I double checked and totally forgot about Scarlet Street. In all honesty I haven't been as impressed with Lang's forties work. Someone from Facets has promised me a copy of Man Hunt for a couple months now, so things may change soon.

Re: Best Films of the 40s

Postby A » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:05 am

You don't want to see my list. It is simply embarassing.
The 40s are the weakest decade in my book, meaning that I've seen far too little films to make any coherent judgment. Until I'm more familiar with it, I'll pass on this one.

Still, some of wpqx's choices and arsaib's recommendations would make it onto my own Best Of compilation.

Re: Best Films of the 40s

Postby wpqx » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:10 am

Well I hope you can at least look at my list as a starting off point and a list of suggestions to help you improve your 1940's film literacy.

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