1941-1950

Curtis Bernhardt – Possessed (1947)

Quote:
Joan Crawford won an Academy award in 1945 for Mildred Pierce, and, two years later, she was trying her utmost to win another. Her gripping, melodramatic star turn helped make Possessed a hit and a prime example of post-war film noir. Crawford can’t find happiness with either Van Heflin or Raymond Massey, and her fiery emotions drive her into a lethal frenzy. Based on Rita Weiman’s book One Man’s Secret, Possessed is told almost entirely in flashbacks, the goal being to figure out what drove Crawford’s character crazy. As a dark psychological study, this is Hollywood at its moodiest; love has rarely seemed so perilous and fraught with anxiety. German director Curtis Bernhardt was known for making emotional films that appealed to women. Crawford got her Oscar nomination, but Loretta Young won the statuette that year for The Farmer’s Daughter. Read More »

Christian-Jaque – Singoalla AKA Gypsy Fury AKA The Wind Is My Lover (1949)

Claimed as being the most expensive movie made in Sweden up to this date Singoalla is a tale about doomed love and stolen treasures in 14th century Sweden. And gypsies.

Based on a musty 1857 novel by Viktor Rydberg. Read More »

John Huston & Vincent Sherman – Across the Pacific (1942)

Synopsis:
Rick Leland makes no secret of the fact he has no loyalty to his home country after he is court-martialed, kicked out of the Army, and boards a Japanese ship for the Orient in late 1941. But has Leland really been booted out, or is there some other motive for his getting close to fellow passenger Doctor Lorenz? Any motive for getting close to attractive traveler Alberta Marlow would however seem pretty obvious. Read More »

Richard M. Grey – A Gunman Has Escaped (1948)

A tough guy with a habit of calling other men sweetheart, accidentally shoots a man who tries to prevent him fleeing a robbery, then forces his two accomplices to go on the run with him. While all over the news reports, they hide out as labourers on a smallholding, and in true film style one instantly falls for the owner’s daughter. But ringleader Eddie doesn’t care for anything, and has become trigger-happy to the point of delirium. Read More »

King Vidor – The Fountainhead (1949)

Quote:
The hero of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is Howard Roark (Gary Cooper), a fiercely independent architect obviously patterned after Frank Lloyd Wright. Rather than compromise his ideals, Roark takes menial work as a quarryman to finance his projects. He falls in love with heiress Dominique (Patricia Neal), but ends the relationship when he has the opportunity to construct buildings according to his own wishes. Dominique marries a newspaper tycoon (Raymond Massey) who at first conducts a vitriolic campaign against the “radical” Roark, but eventually becomes his strongest supporter. Upon being given a public-housing contract on the proviso that his plans not be changed in any way, Roark is aghast to learn that his designs will be radically altered. Roark sneaks into the unfinished structure at night, makes certain no one else is around, and dynamites the project into oblivion. Read More »

René Clément – La bataille du rail AKA The Battle of the Rails (1946)

La Bataille du Rail (Battle of the Rails) is regarded by many cineastes as the one truly great French “resistance” film. Based on fact, the episodic plotline details the courageous efforts by French railray workers to sabotage Nazi reinforcement-troop trains. The film’s thesis is that this underground activity was largely responsible for the allied victory on D-Day. Writer-director Rene Clement enhanced the reality of the story by filming on actual locations and using genuine railway employees and resistance fighters in the cast. Admittedly slow going at times, La Bataille du Rail is more successful as a morale-booster than as pure entertainment. Read More »

William Beaudine – Don’t Gamble with Strangers (1946)

Plot:
When Mike Sarno (Kane Richmond) out-cheats Fay Benton (Bernadene Hayes) in a crooked poker game, the two gamblers bury the hatchet and agree to become partners in crime. Posing as brother and sister, the pair finally hits the big time when Mike runs into a gambler (Phil Van Zandt) who owes him a debt and takes over his casino to square it. Read More »