Mitchell Leisen – Song of Surrender (1949)

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Plot
Though her acting range was limited, Wanda Hendrix was cute as all get out, and this cuteness is pretty much all that’s required from her in Song of Surrender. The film is set in a small town of the early 1900s. Hendrix is cast as Abigail Hunt, the young bride of fiftyish museum curator Elisha Hunt (Claude Rains). Their connubial bliss is threatened when attorney Bruce Eldridge (Macdonald Carey) falls in love with Abigail, and she with him. When her neighbors discover her indiscretions, Abigail is driven from town. It is only during a near-tragedy that Abigail realizes that her true place is with her aging husband. Still, the script manages to wangle a happy ending for everyone concerned. Of interest in Song of Surrender is the utilization within the plotline of several vintage Enrico Caruso recordings. Continue reading

René Le Hénaff – Le colonel Chabert (1943)

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Synopsis
Paris, 1817. The wealthy Countess Ferraud is distressed when she begins to receive letters from her husband, Colonel Chabert, who was reported to have died during the Napoleonic wars ten years before. After an attempt to have him committed to a lunatic asylum fails, the now destitute Chabert appeals to a lawyer Derville to help restore his identity and his fortune. The Countess has since remarried and has no intention of surrendering the wealth she inherited from Chabert… Continue reading

William Keighley – The Street with No Name [+extra] (1948)

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Quote:
In Center City, a housewife is murdered in a night-club by a gang of thieves. When a security guard of a bank is killed by the same gun during a heist, the crime becomes a federal offense under FBI jurisdiction. When the prime suspect is released and executed in the same night, FBI Inspector George Briggs recruits the rookie agent Gene Cordell to follow the last paths of the victim undercover in the identity of George Manly. Gene meets the powerful gangster Alec Stiles in a gymnasium, and later he is invited to join his gang. Working with his also undercover liaison Cy Gordon, Gene finds evidences to incriminate Stiles. However, he discovers also that somebody from the precinct is feeding Stiles with classified information. Continue reading

Yoon Yong-Kyu – Ma-eum-ui gohyang AKA A Hometown in Heart (1949)

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“A film that has garnered recognition for its cinematography and direction by eliminating sentimentality and unaffectedly capturing the quiet life of a mountain temple. A Hometown in Heart demonstrates the camera technique and directorial skill of movies that appeared after the liberation of Korea.”
A Hometown in Heart, adapted from playwright Ham Se-deok’s A Little Monk (Dong-seung), was hailed upon its release as “a masterpiece that marked a new pinnacle in Korean moviemaking after the liberation.” Eschewing new-school sentimentality to quietly express a boy’s longing for maternal love, the film unfolds the everyday lives of three generationsthe head monk, a young monk, and a little child monkagainst the backdrop of a quiet temple in the mountains. Continue reading

Maya Deren – Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946)

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Quote:
By her fourth film, Deren discussed in An Anagram that she felt special attention should be given to unique possibilities of time and that the form should be ritualistic as a whole. Ritual in Transfigured Time began in August and was completed it in 1946. It explored the fear of rejection and the freedom of expression in abandoning ritual, looking at the details as well as the bigger ideas of the nature and process of change. Continue reading

Henry Koster – Harvey (1950)

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synopsis
This whimsical fantasy about a local drunk’s 6′ 3 1/2″ imaginary rabbit pal was a smash hit (and a Pulitzer Prize winner) on Broadway and was then adapted into this likeable farce that’s also an allegory about tolerance. James Stewart stars as Elwood P. Dowd, a wealthy tippler whose sunny philosophy and inebriated antics are tolerated by most of the citizenry. That is, until Elwood begins claiming that he sees a “pooka” (a mischievous Irish spirit), which has taken the form of a man-sized bunny named Harvey. Although everyone is certain that Elwood has finally lost his mind, Harvey’s presence begins to have magically positive effects on the townsfolk, with the exception of Elwood’s own sister Veta (Josephine Hull), who, ironically, can also occasionally see Harvey. A snooty socialite, Veta is determined to marry off her daughter, Myrtle (Victoria Horne), to somebody equally respectable, and Elwood’s lunacy is interfering. When Veta attempts to have Elwood committed to an insane asylum, however, the result is that she is accidentally admitted instead of her brother. Then the institution’s director, Dr. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway), begins seeing Harvey, too. Hull, who reprised her part from the stage production, won an Oscar and a Golden Globe.by Karl Williams Continue reading

Stanley Haynes – Carnival (1946)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Of the many films (English and American) bearing the title Carnival, only one was based on the Compton MacKenzie novel of the same name. This 1946 melodrama stars Sally Gray as a 19th century ballet dancer who makes an unfortunate career move by marrying a taciturn Cornish farmer (Bernard Miles). Sally soon longs for the bright lights of the big city, and for the arms of her artist lover (Michael Wilding). Her husband is all too aware of this; and when the lover comes calling to renew the affair, the husband shoots Gray to death. The first film version of Compton MacKenzie’s Carnival was filmed in 1931 as Dance Pretty Lady. Continue reading