1941-1950

George Waggner – Gunfighters (1947)


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Quote:
After being forced to shoot a friend in a duel, fast-gun Randolph Scott swears to take off his gunbelt forever but finds himself drawn to the middle of a range war when he’s blamed for the murder of his best friend. Now Scott must prove to the dead man’s kid brother (John Miles) that he’s innocent. Naturally, Scott is forced to strap on guns once more to bring an end to the tyranny of local land baron Griff Barnett, his devious foreman Bruce Cabot, hired gunslinger Forrest Tucker (in a really underwritten, wasted role) and mean, crooked deputy Grant Withers. To complicate matters, Scott becomes involved with the land baron’s two daughters, nice girl Dorothy Hart and conniving Barbara Britton who is in love with Cabot. Alan Le May’s script from Zane Grey’s TWIN SOMBREROS seems to need a bit more “polish”, but Scott is terrific as always, plus the gorgeous Sedona locations (abetted by Vasquez Rocks, Jauregui Ranch and Monogram Ranch) in Cinecolor are enough to recommend this one. Read More »

Robert Hamer – Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)


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Synopsis:
Director Robert Hamer’s fiendishly funny Kind Hearts and Coronets stands as one of Ealing Studios’ greatest triumphs, and one of the most wickedly black comedies ever made. Dennis Price is sublime as an embittered young commoner determined to avenge his mother’s unjust disinheritance by ascending to her family’s dukedom. Unfortunately, eight relatives—all played by the incomparable Alec Guinness—must be eliminated before he can do so. Read More »

Michael Curtiz – Mildred Pierce (1945)


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Quote:
Mildred Pierce (1945) is a classic, post-war film noir mixed with typical soap-operish elements of the woman’s melodramatic picture or “weeper,” including a strand of a typical murder mystery often told by flashback. The family melodrama was significantly modified from its original source due to pressures of the Production Code regarding its sordidness – namely, the incestual behavior of the dissolute playboy character named Monte. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Törst AKA Thirst (1949)



A couple traveling across a war-ravaged Europe. A disintegrating marriage. A ballet dancer’s scarred past. Her friend’s psychological agony. Meanwhile, a widow resists seductions from two different persons – her psychiatrist and a lesbian friend. Told in flashbacks and multiple narrative threads, Ingmar Bergman’s Thirst shows people enslaved to memory and united in isolation. Read More »

Dave O’Brien – Sure Cures (1946)



Quote:
This is another of the Pete Smith Specialities, which was co-written and directed by Dave O’Brien, who plays the poor fool with the hiccoughs. He tries various “remedies” to “cure” himself (some of which Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition might have applauded) to no avail. It’s all great fun, for everyone but the poor twit. O’Brien frequently played a character not likely to be joining Mensa any time soon in these shorts. This runs on TCM as filler fairly often and virtually every March as part of the “31 Days of Oscar”. Most recommended. Read More »

Ted Tetzlaff – A Dangerous Profession (1949)


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Plot: Ex-policeman Vince Kane is a partner with Joe Farley as bail bond brokers, but retains his ties and friendship with the police and Detective Nick Ferrone. Ferrone picks up Claude Brackette, a brokerage clerk, as a suspect in the securities robbery in which a policeman was killed, and Kane goes with him when the detective searches Brackett’s apartment, and Kane finds that Brackett’s wife, Lucy, is his former sweetheart. She insists her husband is innocent and pleads with Kane to get him out on bail but she has only $4,000 of the $25,000 needed. A mysterious emissary puts up $12,000 and Kanes, over Farley’s protest, makes up the rest from the company’s money. Brackett is murdered after his release. For Lucy, Kane investigates and finds that Brackett had dealings with night club owner Jerry McKay and a hoodlum named Roy Collins. Suspecting McKay was in back of the robbery, Kane begins a campaign in which he himself behaves like a crook, and demands a heavy bride from McKay for his silence. Farley denounces this tactic, and is met by Kane for a payment also, or he will be branded in league with the crooks. Written by Les Adams Read More »

Hiroshi Shimizu – Kanzashi aka Ornamental Hairpin (1941)


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Synopsis
Based on an Ibuse Masuji short story, this delightful escapist drama is set at a hot spring resort providing sanctuary to people of vastly different backgrounds and personalities bounded by one thing: their common desire to not leave. The resort’s patrons include a Tokyo woman (Tanaka Kinuyo) with a mysterious past who develops a brief relationship with a wounded soldier (Ryu Chishu). A comedic piece filmed and set during wartime Japan, Kanzashi makes a statement with its lightness. Read More »