1941-1950

Otto Preminger – The Fan (1949)

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Synopsis:
Lord Windermere appears to all -including to his young wife Margaret – as the perfect husband. But their happy marriage is placed at risk when Lord Windermere starts spending his afternoons with an adventuress who is working her way through London’s high society, Mrs. Erlynne. Worse, Windermere gives her big sums of money. To crown it all he asks his wife to invite the detestable woman to her own birthday party. Upset and outraged, the puritan Lady Windermere decides to leave her husband and goes to Lord Robert Darlington, who has been courting her for some time. Unfortunately she leaves her fan -the one Robert offered her for her birthday – in Robert’s house… Read More »

Hiroshi Inagaki – Muhomatsu no issho AKA The Life of Matsu the Untamed (1943)

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This simple human-interest/love story belies the cinematic triumph of its creation. Although shown in 1981 at Japan House in New York, the film dates from 1943 and so was obviously first released in Japan during WWII. Its director, Hiroshi Inagaki remade the same story in 1958 with Toshiro Mifune in the starring role. In both versions of the story, somewhat less sentimental in the first try, the setting is the early 20th c. An unlettered but inwardly noble rickshaw man (Tsumasaburo Bando) has his heart-strings pulled by a little boy whose father, Captain Yoshioka, has been killed in the line of duty. As Muhomatsu (the rickshaw man) gradually assumes the role of surrogate father to the child, he begins to fall in love with the mother (Keiko Sonoi). The mother, however, is far above the illiterate Muhomatsu and their disparate social status offers no encouragement for the realization of his deepest feelings. Read More »

H.A. Lettow & Ernst Schäfer – Geheimnis Tibet – The Enigma of Tibet (1943)

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In 1938 Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler sponsored an expedition to Tibet lead by several Nazi SS scientists to study the regions flora and fauna, and to take scientific measurements of the Earths magnetic fields. The expedition was also sent to find traces of the orgins of the “Aryan” race in Tibet which was where Himmler thought evidence of could be found. This film is a Nazi era documentary of that expedition. Read More »

Mitchell Leisen – Song of Surrender (1949)

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Plot
Though her acting range was limited, Wanda Hendrix was cute as all get out, and this cuteness is pretty much all that’s required from her in Song of Surrender. The film is set in a small town of the early 1900s. Hendrix is cast as Abigail Hunt, the young bride of fiftyish museum curator Elisha Hunt (Claude Rains). Their connubial bliss is threatened when attorney Bruce Eldridge (Macdonald Carey) falls in love with Abigail, and she with him. When her neighbors discover her indiscretions, Abigail is driven from town. It is only during a near-tragedy that Abigail realizes that her true place is with her aging husband. Still, the script manages to wangle a happy ending for everyone concerned. Of interest in Song of Surrender is the utilization within the plotline of several vintage Enrico Caruso recordings. Read More »

René Le Hénaff – Le colonel Chabert (1943)

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Synopsis
Paris, 1817. The wealthy Countess Ferraud is distressed when she begins to receive letters from her husband, Colonel Chabert, who was reported to have died during the Napoleonic wars ten years before. After an attempt to have him committed to a lunatic asylum fails, the now destitute Chabert appeals to a lawyer Derville to help restore his identity and his fortune. The Countess has since remarried and has no intention of surrendering the wealth she inherited from Chabert… Read More »

William Keighley – The Street with No Name [+extra] (1948)

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Quote:
In Center City, a housewife is murdered in a night-club by a gang of thieves. When a security guard of a bank is killed by the same gun during a heist, the crime becomes a federal offense under FBI jurisdiction. When the prime suspect is released and executed in the same night, FBI Inspector George Briggs recruits the rookie agent Gene Cordell to follow the last paths of the victim undercover in the identity of George Manly. Gene meets the powerful gangster Alec Stiles in a gymnasium, and later he is invited to join his gang. Working with his also undercover liaison Cy Gordon, Gene finds evidences to incriminate Stiles. However, he discovers also that somebody from the precinct is feeding Stiles with classified information. Read More »

Yoon Yong-Kyu – Ma-eum-ui gohyang AKA A Hometown in Heart (1949)

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“A film that has garnered recognition for its cinematography and direction by eliminating sentimentality and unaffectedly capturing the quiet life of a mountain temple. A Hometown in Heart demonstrates the camera technique and directorial skill of movies that appeared after the liberation of Korea.”
A Hometown in Heart, adapted from playwright Ham Se-deok’s A Little Monk (Dong-seung), was hailed upon its release as “a masterpiece that marked a new pinnacle in Korean moviemaking after the liberation.” Eschewing new-school sentimentality to quietly express a boy’s longing for maternal love, the film unfolds the everyday lives of three generationsthe head monk, a young monk, and a little child monkagainst the backdrop of a quiet temple in the mountains. Read More »