1941-1950

Johan Jacobsen – Soldaten og Jenny AKA Jenny and the Soldier (1947)

A good natured soldier with a killer right hand, falls in love with a beautiful girl who has a troubled past. Read More »

Aleksander Ford – Majdanek – cmentarzysko Europy aka Majdanek – Europe’s Cemetary (1945)

A documentary record shot on the 24th and 25th July 1944 of the concentration camp in Majdanek. Comparable to Resnais’ Nuit et bruillard, it’s filled with images of such staggering awfulness that they take on an almost abstract quality – one might regard the images of mountains of shoes, spectacles and hairbrushes as beautiful if one was unaware of the horrifying reality behind them. Read More »

H.C. Potter – Hellzapoppin’ (1941)

Plot: Ole and Chick are making a movie, but the director is not satisfied. So he brings them to a young writer, who outlines them an absurd story. They have to support Jeff and Kitty in setting up a musical revue in their garden and want to bring it up on Broadway. If Jeff is successful he can marry Kitty. But there is his rich friend Woody, who also loves Kitty, Chick’s sister Betty, who’s in love with a false Russian count, and detective Quimby. They all make the thing very complicated for Ole and Chick. After some mistakes they think that Kitty isn’t the right girl for Jeff and they start sabotaging the show, but the Broadway producer is impressed and signs the contract. That’s the story the writer tells them. For this he’s sued by the director. Read More »

Lewis Milestone – The North Star (1943)

In a peaceful Ukrainian village, the school year is just ending in June 1941. Five young friends set out for a walking trip to Kiev, but their travels are brutally interrupted when they are suddenly attacked by German planes, in the first wave of the Nazi assault on the Soviet Union. When the village itself is attacked and occupied, most of the men flee to the hills to form a guerrilla unit. The others resist the Nazis as well as possible, but soon the village is placed under the command of a Nazi doctor who begins using the town’s children as a source of constant blood transfusions for wounded German soldiers. Meanwhile, the small group of young persons tries desperately to take a supply of firearms to the guerrillas. Read More »

Robert Siodmak – The Spiral Staircase (1946)

Quote:
The wonderfully suspenseful psychological drama Spiral Staircase is the prototype of the “old dark house, lady in distress” thriller, full of dark corners, flickering candles and featuring a mysterious, menacing killer whose true identity remains hidden until the end. Helen Capel (Dorothy McGuire), mute because of a childhood trauma, cares for the owner of the house, the wealthy Mrs. Warren (Ethel Barrymore), a demanding, widowed invalid. Helen has quietly fallen in love with one of Mrs. Warren’s sons, Dr. Parry (Kent Smith), who she believes to be a gentle and understanding man. Helen’s peaceful life is changed forever when three local women, all with physical handicaps, are found murdered. Read More »

Fritz Lang – The Woman in the Window (1944)

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Fritz Lang’s The Woman in the Window (1944) is a riveting melodrama that’s only improved with age. Edward G. Robinson delivers a memorable performance as an everyday Joe who suddenly finds himself entangled in a murder, but Lang’s sense of adventure is the real draw. One shot in particular – a single-take transitional moment near the end of the film – simply has to be seen to be believed. Look for Robinson leaning forward in a leather chair during what appears to be the picture’s tragic climax, then watch what happens next….and good luck determining how Lang did it. Read More »

George Seaton – Miracle on 34th Street (1947)


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Doris Walker a no-nonsense Macy’s executive, desperately searches for a new store Santa. She hires Kris Kringle who insists that he’s the real Santa Claus. But, he has many skeptics like Doris and her six year old daughter, Susan. So Kris goes to court to try and prove it. Is he the real Santa Claus? Written by Kelly Read More »