1941-1950

Howard Hawks – The Big Sleep (1946)

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Summoned by the dying General Sternwood, Philip Marlowe is asked to deal with several problems that are troubling his family. Marlowe finds that each problem centers about the disappearance of Sternwood’s favoured employee who has left with a mobster’s wife. Each of the problems becomes a cover for something else as Marlowe probes. Read More »

George Cukor – Two-Faced Woman (1941)

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Plot Synopsis by Paul Brenner
Attempting to Americanize Greta Garbo to appeal to American audiences (since most of the foreign markets for Hollywood product had been cut off due to World War II), M.G.M.’s Two-Faced Woman succeeded in making Garbo angry enough to announce her retirement from the screen. Two-Faced Woman was Garbo’s final screen appearance, as the legendary actress slipped into a reclusive existence that lasted until her death. This George Cukor romantic comedy casts Garbo as ski instructor Karin Borg Blake. She gives lessons to wealthy American playboy Larry Blake (Melvyn Douglas), and the two fall in love and marry even though Larry has a girlfriend named Griselda Vaughn (Constance Bennett) waiting for him back in New York. Returning to New York, Karin fears that Griselda will win Larry back. In an effort to foil Larry’s imagined dalliance, Karin poses as her own twin sister, Katherine, hoping to get Larry to fall in love with her instead of Griselda. Larry is onto the scheme and plays along with her, pretending to fall in love with Katherine. But this infuriates Karin, who can’t believe that her husband would fall in love with her sister, and she storms back to her ski resort..
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Lindsay Anderson – Meet the Pioneers (1948)

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Meet the Pioneers (1948), Anderson’s first film, a documentary short about a mining engineering firm. Read More »

Christian-Jaque – Un revenant (1946)

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A full decade ahead of the New Wavelet Christian Jacque, Louis Jouvet and a belle equipe were showing the Godards and Truffauts how the Big Boys do it and neither Godard nor Truffaut ever made anything even remotely as good as this and Godard never will. It all comes together like clockwork from Henri Jeanson’s caustic script, written at times with a quill dipped in vitriol, to Christian Jaque’s perfect direction which coaxes performances close to perfection from Louis Jouvet on down. Ludmilla Tcherina is especially effective in her very first film which gives her lots of chances to remind us that she was first and foremost a great ballerina and Francois Perier shines as the callow youth besotted with her to the point of attempted suicide. Louis Seigner was still popping up fairly regularly in films at this time (1946) and etches a standout portrait of a ruthless businessman prepared to sacrifice his son on the altar of Mammon and let us not forget Marguerite Moreno adding yet another unforgettable portrait to her gallery of grotesques. Read More »

Sergei M. Eisenstein – Ivan Groznyy I (Иван Грозный) AKA Ivan the Terrible Part 1 (1944)

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From Turner Classic Movies:
On the day of his coronation as the first Tsar of Russia, the former archduke of Moscow, Ivan IV (Nikolai Cherkasov), finds himself inheriting a deeply troubled empire. The Russian people are divided into estranged clans including the Tartars and the aristocratic boyars, led by the evil, black-cloaked princess and Ivan’s aunt Euphrosinia Staritskaya (Serafima Birman). Read More »

Walter Colmes – Accomplice (1946)

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Private Eye Simon Lash is hired by an old flame to find her missing husband. Read More »

Leonid Varlamov – Red Army Parade 1941 (1941)

Quote:
On November 7th a traditional parade of the Red Army on the occasion of 24th anniversary of the October Revolution took place on Red Square in Moscow. Army units were leaving for the Western front right from the parade. Read More »