1940s

  • Jean Renoir – The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946)

    Jean Renoir1941-1950ComedyDramaUSA
    The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946)
    The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946)

    IMDb wrote:
    France, 1885. Celestine, a Parisian girl arrives in the rural Lanlaire mansion to work as the chambermaid. Barely alighting from the train, Celestine has already been rebuffed by the haughty valet Joseph (an excellently surly Lederer), and confides to the also newly arrived scullery maid Louise (a mousy and dowdy Irene Ryan) that she will do whatever in her power to advancing her social position and firmly proclaims that love is absolutely off limits, and the film uses the literal diary- writing sequences as a recurrent motif to trace Celestine’s inner thoughts.Read More »

  • Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger – The Small Back Room (1949)

    Michael Powell1941-1950DramaEmeric PressburgerThrillerUnited Kingdom
    The Small Back Room (1949)
    The Small Back Room (1949)

    Synopsis
    After the lavish Technicolor spectacle of The Red Shoes, British filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger retreated into the inward, shadowy recesses of this moody, crackling character study. Based on the acclaimed novel by Nigel Balchin, The Small Back Room details the professional and personal travails of troubled, alcoholic research scientist and military bomb-disposal expert Sammy Rice (David Farrar), who, while struggling with a complex relationship with secretary girlfriend Susan (Kathleen Byron), is hired by the government to advise on a dangerous new German weapon. Deftly mixing suspense and romance, The Small Back Room is an atmospheric, post–World War II gem.Read More »

  • Jean Renoir – This Land Is Mine (1943)

    Jean Renoir1941-1950DramaUSAWar
    This Land Is Mine (1943)
    This Land Is Mine (1943)

    A mild-mannered school teacher in a German-occupied town during World War II finds himself torn between collaboration and resistance.Read More »

  • Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger – The Red Shoes (1948)

    Michael Powell1941-1950ClassicsDramaEmeric PressburgerQueer Cinema(s)United Kingdom
    The Red Shoes (1948)
    The Red Shoes (1948)

    Under the authoritarian rule of charismatic ballet impressario Boris Lermontov, his proteges realize the full promise of their talents, but at a price: utter devotion to their art and complete loyalty to Lermontov himself. Under his near-obsessive guidance, young ballerina Victoria Page is poised for superstardom, but earns Lermontov’s scorn when she falls in love with Julian Craster, composer of “The Red Shoes,” the ballet Lermontov is staging to showcase her talents. Vicky leaves the company and marries Craster, but still finds herself torn between Lermontov’s demands and those of her heart.Read More »

  • Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger – Black Narcissus (1947)

    Michael Powell1941-1950ArthouseDramaEmeric PressburgerUnited Kingdom
    Black Narcissus (1947)
    Black Narcissus (1947)

    After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension – both with the natives and also within their own group – as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.Read More »

  • Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger – A Canterbury Tale (1944)

    Michael Powell1941-1950ClassicsEmeric PressburgerEpicUnited Kingdom
    A Canterbury Tale (1944)
    A Canterbury Tale (1944)

    Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s beloved classic A Canterbury Tale is a profoundly personal journey to Powell’s bucolic birthplace of Kent, England.

    Set amidst the tumult of the Second World War yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, the film follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims a melancholy “landgirl,” a plainspoken American GI, and a resourceful British sergeant – who are waylaid in the English countryside en route to the mythical town and forced to solve a bizarre village crime.

    Building to a majestic climax that ranks as one of the filmmaking duo’s finest achievements, the dazzling A Canterbury Tale has acquired a following passionate enough to qualify as pilgrims themselves.Read More »

  • Alessandro Blasetti – 4 passi fra le nuvole AKA Four Steps in the Clouds (1942)

    Alessandro Blasetti1941-1950ComedyDramaItalian Cinema under FascismItaly
    4 passi fra le nuvole (1942)
    4 passi fra le nuvole (1942)

    Originally released in 1942, Four Steps in the Clouds (Quattro Passi fra le Nuvole) was a major stepping stone in the starring career of Gino Cervi. The story begins as young unwed mother-to-be Maria (Adriana Benetti) desperately casts about for a means of avoiding disgrace. Making the acquaintance of good-natured Paolo Bianchi (Cervi), Maria persuades him to pose as her husband and meet her family.

    Immediately ingratiating himself with Maria’s parents, Paolo plays his part so well that only a completely unforeseen disaster could spoil the charade. And when that disaster inevitably arrives, it is Paolo who comes to the rescue…Read More »

  • Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger – One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942)

    Michael Powell1941-1950ClassicsEmeric PressburgerUnited KingdomWar
    One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942)
    One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942)

    Synopsis:
    During the Allied Bombing offensive of World War II the public was often informed that “A raid took place last night over (city name). One (or often more) of our aircraft Is missing.” Behind these sombre words hid tales of death, destruction, and derring-do. This is the story of one such bomber crew who were shot down, and the brave Dutch patriots who helped them home.Read More »

  • Michael Powell – 49th Parallel AKA The Invaders (1941)

    1941-1950ClassicsMichael PowellUnited KingdomWar
    49th Parallel (1941)
    49th Parallel (1941)

    Synopsis:
    In the early years of World War II, a German U-boat (U-37) sinks Allied shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and then tries to evade Canadian Military Forces seeking to destroy it by sailing up to Hudson Bay. The U-boat’s fanatical Nazi Captain sends some members of his crew to look for food and other supplies at a Hudson Bay Company outpost. No sooner than the shore party (lead by Lieutenant Hirth) reaches the shore, the U-boat is spotted and sunk by the Canadian Armed Forces, leaving the six members of the shore party stranded in Canada. The Nazi Lieutenant then starts to plan his crew’s return to the Fatherland. He needs to reach the neutral U.S., or be captured. Along the way, they meet a variety of characters, each with their own views on the war and nationalism. In this movie, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger show their ideas of why the U.S. should join the Allied fight against the Nazis.Read More »

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