Tag Archives: 1940s

Robert Siodmak – Criss Cross (1949)

Plot Synopsis [AMG]Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) returns home after a few years of knocking around the country following his divorce from good-time girl Anna (Yvonne De Carlo). Getting his old job back driving an armored car, and not even convincing himself that he’s making a new start, he also wants his old wife back.When he finds Anna, he quickly learns that she is involved with gangster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). Nonetheless, they carry on a clandestine affair, with Steve foolishly believing that Anna will return to him. Even after she marries Slim, Steve, with her encouragement, masochistically clings to this doomed obsession. Read More »

Delmer Daves – Dark Passage (1947)

Quote:
Of the four movies Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall made together, Dark Passage is the forgotten stepchild. Sandwiched between The Big Sleep and Key Largo, Delmer Daves’ innovative and suspenseful mystery-thriller caused barely a ripple at the box office upon its initial release. Maybe the gritty, post-war themes of isolation and paranoia hit too close to home, or the use of a subjective camera alienated audiences. Whatever the reason, Dark Passage got a bum rap from critics and public alike. And while it may not rank up there with the best of Hollywood noir, the film flaunts enough style and substance to merit appreciation. Read More »

Raoul Walsh – High Sierra (1941)

Review (Time Out Film Guide)
A momentous gangster movie which took the genre out of its urban surroundings into the bleak sierras, and in so doing marked its transition into film noir. It isn’t just that Bogart’s Mad Dog Earle is a man ‘rushing towards death’, infallibly doomed and knowing it, from the moment he is paroled and through the half-hearted hold-up to his last stand on the mountainside. He also in a sense wills his own destruction, his dark despair fuelled by the betrayal of an innocent, clubfooted country girl whose operation he pays for, and who casually abandons him as soon as she can ‘have fun’. Terrific performances, terrific camerawork (Tony Gaudio), terrific dialogue (John Huston and WR Burnett from the latter’s novel), with Walsh – who in fact reworked the material as Colorado Territory eight years later – giving it something of the memorable melancholy of a Peckinpah Western. Read More »

Veit Harlan – Opfergang AKA The Great Sacrifice (1944)

Quote:
Albrecht Froben, though married to Octavia, falls in love with his neighbor, Äls Flodéen. She, however, is slowly dying from a debilitating disease. During an epidemic, Albrecht goes to bring her daughter to safety but he catches typhoid and is quarantined in hospital. Octavia, realising the love match, and hearing that Als is now bedridden and dying, dresses up as him and rides by her gates every day to keep her spirits up – her bed is next to the window. Albrecht returns. Äls has a dream in which she talks to her projection of Albrecht and concludes that she does not wish to take part in this union and accepts death. Albrecht is reconciled with his wife. Read More »

Gregory J. Markopoulos – Christmas U.S.A. (1949)

Synopsis
Things spin: amusement park rides, a phonograph record. A man wakes, shaves, and takes a phone call. Another man, in a kimono, walks in the woods, stops, and opens a small decorative box on the forest floor. People at an amusement park called Little Harlem enjoy themselves. A man walks through another amusement park, called Cavalcade Worlds, as midway rides spin. At a house, an older woman cleans; a pre-teen girl sets the table; a teenaged boy showers. After he dresses, he holds a candle high above his head and walks swiftly toward a young man standing bare-chested, his arms extended. A man arrives home where the girl has set the table. The youth sleeps. Christmas? Read More »

Unknown – Aseveljeyden sankarit aka Brotherhood of Arms (1943)

German-Finnish coproduction documentary which has not been published before 1999. Film is an accurate description of the Finnish Waffen-SS volunteers from 1941 to 1943. Recruited in spring 1941, trained in Germany and all the way to the Caucasus. Narrated by a young TK man, front radio commentator Veikko Itkonen (1919-1990). Read More »

Robert Siodmak – Phantom Lady (1944)

Quote:
Phantom Lady (1944) is one of the high points of ’40s film noir, the title alone evoking a potent mythology of this era. At the center of its narrative is the seemingly hopeless search for the title character who potentially serves as the only reliable witness in the murder trial for Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis), falsely accused of killing his wife. But the search is frustrated by Henderson’s inability to remember any details about the woman outside of a flamboyant hat she wore during the night they spent together, an unlikely memory lapse that only intensifies his apparent guilt. Furthermore, no one else who saw Henderson and the woman together will admit to the police that they had seen her. Read More »