1941-1950

John Farrow – Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)

UCLA Film & Television Archive writes:
Right from the opening sequence in which a seemingly possessed young heiress (Gail Russell) throws herself desperately in front of a moving train, this haunted noir comes packed with “highly-charged atmosphere” (Variety). At the center of all the doom is Edward G. Robinson as John Triton, a stage mentalist who suddenly discovers he can actually see the future and becomes overwhelmed by grim, fatalistic visions. Jerome Cowan plays his partner who exploits Triton’s powers for profit until Triton disappears. Ironically enough, this saga of man tormented by the future unfolds largely in flashback as the young woman’s boyfriend (John Lund) searches for the reason behind her suicide attempt. Director John Farrow keeps this adaptation of a Cornell Woolrich novel moving at a brisk thriller’s pace through deepening shadows. Read More »

Robert Wise – The Body Snatcher (1945)

Synopsis:
In Edinburgh in 1831, Dr. Wolfe MacFarlane runs a medical school where Donald Fettes is a student. Fettes is interested in helping a young girl who has lost the use of her legs. He is certain that MacFarlane’s surgical skills could be put to great use but he is reluctant to do so. The good Dr. MacFarlane has a secret that soon becomes all too obvious to young Fettes, who has only recently been promoted as his assistant: he has been paying a local cabbie, John Gray, to supply him with dead bodies for anatomical research. Gray constantly harasses MacFarlane and clearly has a hold over him dating to a famous trial many years before where Gray refused to identify the man for whom he was robbing graves. Fettes isn’t aware of any of this but soon realizes exactly how Gray obtains the bodies they use in their anatomy classes. Read More »

Vincente Minnelli – Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Synopsis:
St. Louis 1903. The well-off Smith family has four beautiful daughters, including Esther and little Tootie. 17-year old Esther has fallen in love with the boy next door who has just moved in, John. He however barely notices her at first. The family is shocked when Mr. Smith reveals that he has been transfered to a nice position in New York, which means that the family has to leave St. Louis and the St. Louis Fair. Read More »

William Wyler – Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Synopsis:
This is the story of an English middle class family through the first years of World War II. Clem Miniver is a successful architect and his beautiful wife Kay is the anchor that keeps the family together. With two young children at home, Kay keeps busy in the quaint English village they call home. She is well-liked by everyone and the local station master has even named his new rose after her. When their son Vincent, Vin to everyone, comes home from Oxford for the summer he is immediately attracted to Carol Beldon, granddaughter of Lady Beldon. Their idyllic life is shattered in September 1939 when England is forced to declare war on Germany. Soon Vin is in the RAF and everyone has to put up with the hardship of war including blackouts and air raids. Read More »

George Stevens – Penny Serenade (1941)

Synopsis:
As Julie prepares to leave her husband Roger, she begins to play through a stack of recordings, each of which reminds her of events in their lives together. One of them is the song that was playing when she and Roger first met in a music store. Other songs remind her of their courtship, their marriage, their desire for a child, and the joys and sorrows that they have shared. A flood of memories comes back to her as she ponders their present problems and how they arose. Read More »

Norman Foster – Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948)

Quote:
Bill Saunders, a former prisoner of war living in England, whose experiences have left him unstable and violent, gets into a bar fight in which he in kills a man and then flees. He hides out with the assistance of a nurse, Jane Wharton, who believes his story that the killing was an accident. Read More »

Luigi Zampa – Campane a martello AKA Alarm Bells (1949)

Agostina is a maid turned prostitute during World War II. She sends all the money she makes to the local priest in her home village for safekeeping. After the war is over, Agostina and her friend plan to open a clothing store so they return to her home island to collect the money from the priest. But after arriving there, Agostina learns in shock that the priest has been dead for more than a year and that his eccentric successor mistook the received money for donations and spent all of it on building a new orphanage for war orphans. To make matters worse, other islanders think that Agostina is now a millionaire and beg her to help them financially. Read More »