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1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

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1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Sáb Dic 27, 2008 12:34 am

1001 films you must see before you die
Part IV: 1940-1944



132
His girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)




The Front Page, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's classic 1928 newspaper play, has had three official film versions and contributed structural DNA to half the movies ever made about professional camaraderie and fierce love-hate friendships. Lewis Milestone's 1931 movie is well respected (Billy Wilder's 1974 version isn't), but this is one case where the remake towers brilliantined head and blocked shoulders above the original.
Howard Hawks had the inspired notion of making Hildy Johnson--the ace newsman whom demonic editor Walter Burns is trying to keep from quitting and getting married--a she instead of a he. What's more, she's not only Walter's star reporter but also his ex-wife. When Hildy (Rosalind Russell) comes to tell Walter (Cary Grant) she's leaving the newspaper business, he bamboozles her into carrying out one last assignment--a death-row interview with a little nebbish (John Qualen) convicted of killing a policeman. It sounds like a snap, but before you can say screwball comedy, the press room of the Criminal Courts Building has become ground zero for all the lunacy a jailbreak, a shooting, an impromptu suicide, a corrupt city administration, and the most Machiavellian "hero" in the American cinema can supply.
His Girl Friday is one of the, oh, five greatest dialogue comedies ever made; Hawks had his cast play it at breakneck speed, and audiences hyperventilate trying to finish with one laugh so they can do justice to the four that have accumulated in the meantime. Russell, not Hawks's first choice to play Hildy, is triumphant in the part, holding her own as "one of the guys" and creating an enduring feminist icon. Grant is a force of nature, giving a performance of such concentrated frenzy and diamond brilliance that you owe it to yourself to devote at least one viewing of the movie to watching him alone. But then you have to go back (lucky you) and watch it again for the sake of the press-room gang--Roscoe Karns, Porter Hall, Cliff Edwards, Regis Toomey, Frank Jenks, and others--the kind of ensemble work that gets character actors onto Parnassus.



Última edición por JM el Vie Oct 23, 2009 12:56 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Sáb Dic 27, 2008 1:02 am

133
Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)




Rebecca is an ageless, timeless adult movie about a woman who marries a widower but fears she lives in the shadow of her predecessor. This was Hitchcock's first American feature, and it garnered the Best Picture statue at the 1941 Academy Awards. In today's films, most twists and surprises are ridiculous or just gratuitous, so it's sobering to look back on this film where every revelation not only shocks, but makes organic sense with the story line. Laurence Olivier is dashing and weak, fierce and cowed. Joan Fontaine is strong yet submissive, defiant yet accommodating. There isn't a false moment or misstep, but the film must have killed the employment outlook of any women named Danvers for about 20 years. Brilliant stuff.



Última edición por JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 2:34 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Sáb Dic 27, 2008 4:11 am

134
Fantasia
(Samuel Armstrong, James Algar, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen, David Hand, Hamilton Luske, Jim Handley, Ford Beebe, Thornton Hee, Norm Ferguson & Wilfred Jackson, 1940)




Groundbreaking on several counts, not the least of which was an innovative use of animation and stereophonic sound, this ambitious Disney feature has lost nothing to time since its release in 1940. Classical music was interpreted by Disney animators, resulting in surreal fantasy and playful escapism. Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra provided the music for eight segments by the composers Tchaikovsky, Moussorgsky, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Ponchielli, Bach, Dukas, and Schubert. Not all the sequences were created equally, but a few are simply glorious, such as "Night on Bald Mountain," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and "The Nutcracker Suite." The animation ranges from subtly delicate to fiercely bold. The screen bursts with color and action as creatures transmute and convention is thrust aside. The painstaking detail and saturated hues are unique to this film, unmatched even by more advanced technology.





Última edición por JM el Vie Oct 23, 2009 12:57 pm, editado 5 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Sáb Dic 27, 2008 4:11 am

135
The Philadelphia story (George Cukor, 1940)




Re-creating the role she originated in Philip Barry's wickedly witty Broadway play, Katharine Hepburn stars as the spoiled and snobby socialite Tracy Lord in this sparkling 1940 screen adaptation of The Philadelphia Story, one of the great romantic comedies from the golden age of MGM studios. Applying her impossibly high ideals to everyone but herself, Tracy is about to marry a stuffy executive when her congenial ex-husband (Cary Grant), arrives to protect his former father-in-law from a potentially scandalous tabloid exposé. In an Oscar-winning role, James Stewart is the scandal reporter who falls for Tracy as her wedding day arrives, throwing her into a dizzying state of premarital jitters. Who will join Tracy at the altar? Snappy dialogue flows like sparkling wine under the sophisticated direction of George Cukor in this film that turned the tide of Hepburn's career from "box-office poison" to glamorous Hollywood star.



Última edición por JM el Vie Oct 23, 2009 11:03 am, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Sáb Dic 27, 2008 4:12 am

136
The grapes of wrath (John Ford, 1940)




Ranking No. 21 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American films, this 1940 classic is a bit dated in its noble sentimentality, but it remains a luminous example of Hollywood classicism from the peerless director of mythic Americana, John Ford. Adapted by Nunnally Johnson from John Steinbeck's classic novel, the film tells a simple story about Oklahoma farmers leaving the depression-era dustbowl for the promised land of California, but it's the story's emotional resonance and theme of human perseverance that makes the movie so richly and timelessly rewarding. It's all about the humble Joad family's cross-country trek to escape the economic devastation of their ruined farmland, beginning when Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) returns from a four-year prison term to discover that his family home is empty. He's reunited with his family just as they're setting out for the westbound journey, and thus begins an odyssey of saddening losses and strengthening hopes. As Ma Joad, Oscar-winner Jane Darwell is the embodiment of one of America's greatest social tragedies and the "Okie" spirit of pressing forward against all odds (as she says, "because we're the people"). A documentary-styled production for which Ford and cinematographer Gregg Toland demanded painstaking authenticity, The Grapes of Wrath is much more than a classy, old-fashioned history lesson. With dialogue and scenes that rank among the most moving and memorable ever filmed, it's a classic among classics--simply put, one of the finest films ever made.



Última edición por JM el Vie Oct 23, 2009 12:46 pm, editado 3 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Sáb Dic 27, 2008 4:12 am

137
Dance, girl, dance (Dorothy Arzner, 1940)




Dance, Girl, Dance is a film released in 1940, directed by Dorothy Arzner.
In 2007, Dance, Girl, Dance was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", describing it as Arzner's "most intriguing film" and a "meditation on the disparity between art and commerce. The dancers, played by Maureen O'Hara and Lucille Ball, strive to preserve their own feminist integrity, while fighting for their place in the spotlight and for the love of male lead Louis Hayward."
Good friends Judy and Bubbles are both dancers. While Bubbles uses her good looks and blatant sexuality to land jobs, Judy is a dedicated ballerina.



Última edición por JM el Vie Oct 23, 2009 12:55 pm, editado 1 vez

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 12:53 pm

138
Pinocchio (Hamilton Luske & Ben Sharpsteen, 1940)




This Disney masterpiece from 1940 will hold up forever precisely because it doesn't restrain or temper the most elemental emotions and themes germane to its story. Based on the Collodi tale about a wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy, Pinocchio is among the most magical, mythical, and frightening films to come from the studio in its long history. A number of scenes make permanent impressions on young minds (just ask Steven Spielberg, who quoted the film more than once in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and the songs ("When You Wish upon a Star") can't be beat.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 12:55 pm

139
The mortal storm (Frank Borzage, 1940)




The Mortal Storm is a 1940 film that was one of the most direct anti-Nazi Hollywood films released before the American entry into the Second World War. It stars James Stewart as a German who refuses to join the rest of his small Bavarian town in supporting Nazism. He falls in love with "non-Aryan" Freya Roth (Margaret Sullavan), the daughter of a Junker mother and a "non-Aryan" father.
Freya and her father are implied to be Jews but the word "Jew" is never used, and they are only identified as "non-Aryans"; in addition, Freya's half brothers are all members of the Nazi Party. Though it is understood that the film is set in Germany, the name of the country is rarely mentioned except at the very beginning in a short text of introduction. MGM purposely did not mention the name of the country or the religion of Freya's family because of the large German market for its films, but it was to no avail—the movie infuriated the Nazi government and it led to all MGM films being banned in Germany.
The supporting cast includes Robert Young (Father Knows Best), Robert Stack (The Untouchables), Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz), Dan Dailey, Ward Bond, Maria Ouspenskaya, William T. Orr, and Bonita Granville.
The film is based on the 1938 novel The Mortal Storm by the British writer Phyllis Bottome.



Última edición por JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 1:45 pm, editado 1 vez

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 1:36 pm

140
The bank dick (Edward F. Cline, 1940)




High on the list of W.C. Fields's achievements is this 74-minute feature from 1940, rich in his brilliantly rambling inspiration. Fields plays Egbert Sousé (pronounced Soo 'zay, of course), who manages to foil a bank robbery, tilt a glass in the Black Pussy Cafe, and marry his daughter to Og Oggilby (Grady Sutton) before the closing credits. Maintaining his usual and deliberate half-step behind the rest of the world, Fields's characteristic persona gets a truly worthy movie here that always seems, wonderfully, to be on the verge of racing ahead of him.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 1:42 pm

141
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)




Arguably the greatest of American films, Orson Welles's 1941 masterpiece, made when he was only 26, still unfurls like a dream and carries the viewer along the mysterious currents of time and memory to reach a mature (if ambiguous) conclusion: people are the sum of their contradictions, and can't be known easily. Welles plays newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, taken from his mother as a boy and made the ward of a rich industrialist. The result is that every well-meaning or tyrannical or self-destructive move he makes for the rest of his life appears in some way to be a reaction to that deeply wounding event. Written by Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz, and photographed by Gregg Toland, the film is the sum of Welles's awesome ambitions as an artist in Hollywood. He pushes the limits of then-available technology to create a true magic show, a visual and aural feast that almost seems to be rising up from a viewer's subconsciousness. As Kane, Welles even ushers in the influence of Bertolt Brecht on film acting. This is truly a one-of-a-kind work, and in many ways is still the most modern of modern films from the 20th century.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 1:47 pm

142
The lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)




In 1941, Barbara Stanwyck was offered two screwball roles equally suited to her tart intelligence, deft comic timing, and undeniable sex appeal, and it's a photo finish as to which was funnier--showgirl-on-the-lam Sugarpuss O'Shea, the title character in Howard Hawks's Ball of Fire, or con artist Jean Harrington a.k.a. Lady Eve Sidwich, the delirious fulcrum for this classic Preston Sturges comedy. Under Sturges's typically antic microscope, the collision between the gold-digging Harrington and the very rich, very hapless brewery-heir-turned-herpetologist Charles Pike (a wonderfully callow, guileless Henry Fonda) yields ample opportunity for the writer-director to skewer issues of class and sex; as always, Sturges is bold in pushing the censors' envelope, capturing a palpable erotic heat between the canny Jean and the literally feverish Charlie, who, after a year up the Amazon, is instantly smitten by the mere sight of her shapely ankles (in hindsight, a precursor to her subsequent effect in Double Indemnity). To give away the plot machinations driving the farce would spoil the fun, beyond confirming impersonations, mixed signals, and misunderstandings as the turns in a consistently rollicking ride that makes good use of Charles Coburn and screwball character veterans Eugene Pallette, William Demarest, and Eric Blore.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 1:52 pm

143
The wolf man (George Waggner, 1941)




Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
And the autumn moon is bright.

If you haven't heard this piece of horror-movie doggerel before, you'll never forget it after seeing The Wolf Man for two reasons: it's a spooky piece of rhyme and nearly everybody in the picture recites it at one time or another. Set in a fog-bound studio-built Wales, The Wolf Man tells the doom-laden tale of Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), who returns to the estate of his wealthy father (Claude Rains). (Yes, Chaney's American, but the movie explains this, awkwardly.) Bitten by a werewolf, Talbot suffers the classic fate of the victims of lycanthropy: at the full moon, he turns into a werewolf, a transformation ingeniously devised by makeup maestro Jack Pierce. Pierce was the man who turned Boris Karloff into the Frankenstein monster, and his werewolf makeup became equally famous, with its canine snout and bushy hairdo--and, of course, seriously sharp dental work. The Wolf Man was a smash hit, giving Universal Pictures a new monster for their already crowded stable, and Chaney found himself following in the footsteps (or paw prints) of his father, who had essayed a monster or two in the silent era. This is a classy horror outing, with strong atmosphere and a thoughtful script by Curt Siodmak--well, except for the stiff romantic bits between Chaney and Evelyn Ankers. It's also got Bela Lugosi (briefly) and Maria Ouspenskaya, the prunelike Russian actress who foretells doom like nobody's business.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 1:53 pm

144
The Maltese falcon (John Huston, 1941)




Still the tightest, sharpest, and most cynical of Hollywood's official deathless classics, bracingly tough even by post-Tarantino standards. Humphrey Bogart is Dashiell Hammett's definitive private eye, Sam Spade, struggling to keep his hard-boiled cool as the double-crosses pile up around his ankles. The plot, which dances all around the stolen Middle Eastern statuette of the title, is too baroque to try to follow, and it doesn't make a bit of difference. The dialogue, much of it lifted straight from Hammett, is delivered with whip-crack speed and sneering ferocity, as Bogie faces off against Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, fends off the duplicitous advances of Mary Astor, and roughs up a cringing "gunsel" played by Elisha Cook Jr. It's an action movie of sorts, at least by implication: the characters always seem keyed up, right on the verge of erupting into violence. This is a turning-point picture in several respects: John Huston (The African Queen) made his directorial debut here in 1941, and Bogart, who had mostly played bad guys, was a last-minute substitution for George Raft, who must have been kicking himself for years afterward. This is the role that made Bogart a star and established his trend-setting (and still influential) antihero persona.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 1:56 pm

145
Sergeant York (Howard Hawks, 1941)




Gary Cooper plays Alvin York, the real-life country lad and sharpshooter drafted to fight during World War I but blocked from killing by his pacifist sentiments. Howard Hawks makes a rousing, heroic film out of the tale, and Cooper gives one of his best performances (for which he won an Oscar). The 1941 feature seems as much a valentine to wartime America (and a not-so-subtle piece of propaganda) as anything, with Hawks capturing splendidly shot scenes of life in York's home state of Tennessee, which in turn provide a striking contrast to the battlefield. A key scene in the film, in which York is presented with an argument in favor of killing in war, is still thought provoking.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 2:18 pm

146
Dumbo (Ben Sharpsteen, 1941)




A Disney "classic" that actually is a classic, Dumbo should be part of your video collection whether or not you have children. The storytelling was never as lean as in Dumbo, the songs rarely as haunting (or just plain weird), the characters rarely so well defined. The film pits the "cold, cruel, heartless" world that can't accept abnormality against a plucky, and mute, hero. Jumbo Jr. (Dumbo is a mean-spirited nickname) is ostracized from the circus pack shortly after his delivery by the stork because of his big ears. His mother sticks up for him and is shackled. He's jeered by children (an insightful scene has one boy poking fun at Dumbo's ears, even though the youngster's ears are also ungainly), used by the circus folk, and demoted to appearing with the clowns. Only the decent Timothy Q. Mouse looks out for the little guy. Concerns about the un-PC "Jim Crow" crows, who mock Dumbo with the wonderful "When I See an Elephant Fly," should be moderated by remembering that the crows are the only social group in the film who act kindly to the little outcast. If you don't mist up during the "Baby Mine" scene, you may be legally pronounced dead.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 2:26 pm

147
High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941)




This 1941 melodrama is memorable for both its strong central performances and their intimations of how the previous decade's crime dramas would evolve into film noir--no accident, given the solid direction of veteran Raoul Walsh and the hand of screenwriter John Huston, who teamed with the author of its novelistic source, W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar). In the central character of Roy "Mad Dog" Earle, a fictional peer to John Dillinger, Humphrey Bogart finds a defining role that anticipates the underlying fatalism and moral ambiguity visible in the career-making roles soon to follow, including Sam Spade in Huston's directorial debut, The Maltese Falcon.
Earle suggests a prescient variation on the enraged sociopaths that were fixtures of the gangster melodramas that shaped Bogart's early screen image. Pardoned from a long prison stretch, the weary robber is clearly more eager to savor his new freedom than immediately swing back into action. But his early release has been engineered by a mobster who wants Earle to pull off a high-stakes burglary, setting in motion a plot that is a prototype for doomed-heist capers--a small, yet potent subgenre that would later include Huston's The Asphalt Jungle and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing.
What gives High Sierra its power, however, isn't the crime itself but Earle's collision with the younger, brasher confederates picked to help him, and the hard-edged but vulnerable taxi dancer they're competing for, played forcefully by Ida Lupino, who actually received top billing. Her attraction to the reluctant Earle is complicated by a convoluted subplot designed to showcase then starlet Joan Leslie, but the movie finally moves into its most gripping moments when the wounded Earle, pursued by police, flees ever higher toward the mountains. His final, suicidal showdown would become a cliché of sorts in lesser films, but here it provides a wrenching climax sealed by Lupino's vivid final scene.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 21, 2009 12:35 pm

148
Sullivan's travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)




Writer-director Preston Sturges's third feature, 1941's Sullivan's Travels, remains the antic auteur's most ambitious screen effort. Having added the producer's stripe to his duties, Sturges combines breezy romantic comedy, arch Hollywood satire, and social essay into a single, screwball story line.
The titular pilgrim is John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), an Ivy League grad who's enjoyed a meteoric rise as the director behind escapist movies like Ants in Your Pants of 1938, but is now determined to raise his sights toward more exalted, serious-minded cinematic art. His proposed breakthrough, portentously titled O Brother, Where Art Thou?, elicits a studio response closer to "Oh, brother," given the director's utter lack of first-hand experience on the wrong side of the tracks.
Instead of capitulating, Sullivan sets off disguised as a tramp, ready to meet life's crueler lessons face-to-face--albeit followed at a discreet distance by a motor home filled with studio handlers and reporters. His ludicrous odyssey may give the boy director no real insight, but it gives Sturges the chance to inject some reliably fine gags and a romantic subplot featuring the luminous Veronica Lake. It's at this juncture that Sturges the writer's darker objective throws a jolting shift in tone. Suffice it to say that just when a comic, upbeat denouement seems imminent, Sullivan travels instead from the sunlit California of the comedy's early reels toward a darker, relentlessly downbeat world influenced more by the social realism of the movies the hero desperately wants to make. By the final reel, Sturges has flirted with real tragedy, turning his conclusion into a meditation on his own seemingly carefree, dizzily comic art.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 21, 2009 12:38 pm

149
How green was my valley (John Ford, 1941)




John Ford's beautiful, heartfelt drama about a close-knit family of Welsh coal miners is one of the greatest films of Hollywood's golden age--a gentle masterpiece that beat Citizen Kane in the Best Picture race for the 1941 Academy Awards. The picture also won Oscars for Best Director (Ford), Best Supporting Actor (Donald Crisp), Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography; all of those awards were richly deserved, even if they came at the expense of Kane and Orson Welles. Based on the novel by Richard Llewellyn, the film focuses its eventful story on 10-year-old Huw (Roddy McDowall), youngest of seven children to Mr. and Mrs. Morgan (Donald Crisp, Sarah Allgood), a hardy couple who've seen the best and worst of times in their South Wales mining town. They're facing one of the worst times as Mr. Morgan refuses to join a miners union whose members have begun a long-term strike. Family tensions grow and Huw must learn many of life's harsher lessons under the tutelage of the local preacher (Walter Pidgeon), who has fallen in love with Huw's sister (Maureen O'Hara). As various crises are confronted and devastating losses endured, How Green Was My Valley unfolds as a rich, moving portrait of family strength and integrity. It's also a nod to a simpler, more innocent time--and to the preciousness of memory and the inevitable passage from youth to adulthood. An all-time classic, not to be missed.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 21, 2009 12:40 pm

150
The Palm Beach story (Preston Sturges, 1942)




Among the earliest writers to set his sights on the director's chair, Preston Sturges brought a frank, unsentimental view of the war between the sexes to his mid-'40s features that exemplify his style, as demonstrated in this prescient 1942 gem. Architect Tom Jeffers (Joel McCrea) and his wife, Gerry (Claudette Colbert), further refine the archetypal Sturges couple--the male embodying strength, idealism, and a certain naivete, the female ultimately stronger, smarter, and (as revealed early on in an astonishing speech by Colbert) clearer-eyed and more pragmatic about the subtext of sex. This giddy shaggy-dog story follows the couple's split, and Gerry's subsequent flight to Palm Beach. This head-snapping frolic is paced by double-entendres and lampooning looks at the very rich, with standout performances by the predatory Princess Centimillia (the delicious Mary Astor), who's more than ready to comfort Tom, and the wealthy, dim-witted John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee, staking out a new career, post-crooner, as comic foil), Gerry's new suitor. Even the predictable reunion of the star-crossed lovers is achieved with an antic surrealism. Sturges's strength in building strong character ensembles is matched by his affection for coupling screwball dialogue with physical slapstick, seldom to better effect than in the drunken target practice of the Ale and Quail Club, who make Colbert's train ride to Florida a different kind of shoot-'em-up.


The Palm Beach Story

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 21, 2009 12:44 pm

151
Now, voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942)




In this 1942 melodrama, founded on the novel by Olivia Higgins Prouty (who also wrote the novel on which Stella Dallas was based), Bette Davis stars as Charlotte Vale, a dowdy, repressed woman who, overwhelmed by her domineering mother, is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She finds help at a sanitarium from a kind psychiatrist (Claude Rains), who turns her into a beautiful, confident woman. As a new person, she takes a pleasure cruise, where she meets Jerry (Paul Henreid), an architect trapped in an unhappy marriage, saddled with a troubled daughter. The two fall in love, but, of course, the romance is doomed. Yet their paths cross on occasion, and, despite their feelings, Charlotte finds satisfaction in helping Jerry's depressed child. The film will seem familiar to new viewers--the campy style was the pattern for many tearjerkers to come, and its most famous line has been oft repeated ("Don't ask for the moon--we have the stars"). But the heartstrings are tugged, and as Paul Henreid chivalrously lights two cigarettes and hands one over to the doleful-eyed Davis, pull out the box of tissues--you're gonna need 'em.


JM

Cantidad de envíos : 1944
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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 21, 2009 12:46 pm

152
Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)




A truly perfect movie, the 1942 Casablanca still wows viewers today, and for good reason. Its unique story of a love triangle set against terribly high stakes in the war against a monster is sophisticated instead of outlandish, intriguing instead of garish. Humphrey Bogart plays the allegedly apolitical club owner in unoccupied French territory that is nevertheless crawling with Nazis; Ingrid Bergman is the lover who mysteriously deserted him in Paris; and Paul Heinreid is her heroic, slightly bewildered husband. Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Conrad Veidt are among what may be the best supporting cast in the history of Hollywood films. This is certainly among the most spirited and ennobling movies ever made.


JM

Cantidad de envíos : 1944
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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 21, 2009 12:49 pm

153
To be or not to be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)




Just as Roberto Benigni found himself on the receiving end of some finger-wagging for making a comedy set during the Holocaust, so the great Ernst Lubitsch caught some heat for this extraordinary 1942 satire set behind enemy lines during World War II. In his best performance on film, Jack Benny stars as Joseph Tura, the lead actor and head of a Polish theater troupe that is suddenly enlisted as a Resistance organization when an American pilot (Robert Stack) requires protection. The twist is that the pilot has been having a series of trysts with Tura's wife (Carole Lombard), the hilarious evidence being the disruptive departure of Stack's character from a theater audience each night as the hammy Tura unknowingly cues the lovers by launching into Hamlet's famous soliloquy. The remarkable script by Edwin Justus Mayer ingeniously folds the tensions of a betrayed marriage into the comic suspense surrounding Tura and company's efforts to pull off a Mission: Impossible-like sting on the local Nazi command. Many unforgettable moments and lines of dialogue adorn this black comedy, and the performances--most memorably Sig Ruman's crisp volleys with Benny--are a dream. Above it all, however, is Lubitsch's unmistakable Continentalism, his accent on Old World manners especially in a dangerous situation, suggesting the Nazis' very vulgarity was a reflection of their profound evil.


JM

Cantidad de envíos : 1944
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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 21, 2009 12:52 pm

154
Cat people (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)




Val Lewton's name is synonymous with the subtlest, most mysterious brand of horror filmmaking in Hollywood's golden age, and the nine horror classics he produced at RKO between 1942 and 1946 constitute the most remarkable cycle of creativity in B-movie history. He and director Jacques Tourneur scored with both a popular hit and a masterpiece in 1942: Cat People. The story involves a pretty young Serbian woman in Manhattan (Simone Simon) convinced that her ancestors had practiced animal worship during the Middle Ages--and that she herself might shape-change into a lithe, ravening panther if her passions were aroused. The film is uncannily successful in keeping the viewer guessing whether this is a phobia borne of morbid obsession and sexual repression, or a genuine, horrific possibility. There are two sequences of matchless artistry and almost unbearable suspense--a lonely, echoing walk through pools of lamplight alongside Central Park, and a late-night swim in a deserted indoor pool--that build to throat-grabbing climaxes and remain milestones in the history of screen horror.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 21, 2009 12:53 pm

155
The magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)




Citizen Kane is considered by many to be Orson Welles's masterpiece, but more than a few prominent critics have argued that his second film, 1942's The Magnificent Ambersons, is an even greater artistic achievement. It's certainly the source of the most painful injustice of Welles's brief career in Hollywood, having been seized from the director's control, drastically cut from over two hours to merely 88 minutes, and reshot with a different, upbeat ending that Welles vehemently disapproved of. Adapted by Welles from the novel by Booth Tarkington, it remains a truncated masterpiece, as impressive for what remains as for the even greater film it might have been. The story is set during the late 19th century and follows the rise and fall of the wealthy Amberson family of Indianapolis, Indiana. Central to the drama is George Amberson Minafer (Tim Holt), who is snobbishly to the manor born, and whose petty jealousies and truculent pride compel him to prevent a wealthy inventor (Joseph Cotten) from marrying his widowed mother (Dolores Costello). This in part is the cause of the Ambersons' downfall, and ultimately leads to George's humbling "comeuppance" at the film's dramatic conclusion. It's an absorbing tale of fading traditions and changing times, and it's also a magnificent showcase for Welles's cinematic audacity, famous among film students for its long, fluid shots and ambitious compositions. Responding to the film's drastic cutting and re-editing, Welles justifiably complained that "they destroyed the heart of the film, really." And yet, the director's stamp of genius is evident throughout--the work of a young master (Welles was only 26 when the film was made) that still shines despite its unfortunate fate.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

Mensaje  JM el Jue Oct 22, 2009 11:57 am

156
Yankee Doodle Dandy (Michael Curtiz, 1942)




James Cagney thrills in a rare (and limber) song-and-dance performance as composer-entertainer George M. Cohan. This nostalgic biography is told in flashbacks, covering Cohan's formative years becoming Broadway's brightest star and touching upon his loves, musicals, and artistic triumphs. Director Michael Curtiz (The Adventures of Robin Hood) offers Cagney ample opportunities to invent an utterly charming performance in what is practically a one-man show. If you've never seen Cagney as a hoofer, you're in for a treat: his dancing is as dynamic as anything else he's ever done on screen.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part IV: 1940-1944

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