Tag Archives: 1940s

Ernst Lubitsch – Cluny Brown (1946)

Quote:
The final film completed by Ernst Lubitsch, this zany, zippy comedy of manners, set in England on the cusp of World War II, is one of the worldly-wise director’s most effervescent creations. Jennifer Jones shines in a rare comedic turn as Cluny Brown, an irrepressible heroine with a zeal for plumbing. Sent to work as a parlormaid at a stuffy country manor, she proceeds to turn the household upside down—with plenty of help from Adam Belinski (Charles Boyer), an eccentric Continental exile who has fled the Nazis but is still worried about where his next meal is coming from. Sending up British class hierarchy with Lubitsch’s famously light touch, Cluny Brown is a topsy-turvy farce that says nuts to the squirrels and squirrels to the nuts. Read More »

Lewis Seiler – Pittsburgh (1942)

Quote:

This film is a hard one to assess. It is like a Western taken out of context, replacing the cowboys and Indians with coal miners and steel impresarios.

Ostensibly two coal miners, Pittsburgh Markham and Cash Evans, best friends, chance upon Josie “Hunky” Winters a high-class “countess” and both men fall in love with her. She persuades them that they need to take chances if they are to get anywhere and they do, by shaving three cents off the price of coke and persuading a steel company owner, Morgan Prentiss to sign a contract with them to provide it. Read More »

Henry King – Captain From Castile (1947)

Quote:
Spain, 1518: young caballero Pedro De Vargas offends his sadistic neighbor De Silva, who just happens to be an officer of the Inquisition. Forced to flee, Pedro, friend Juan Garcia, and adoring servant girl Catana join Cortez’ first expedition to Mexico. Arriving in the rich new land, Cortez decides to switch from exploration to conquest…with only 500 men. Embroiled in continuous adventures and a romantic interlude, Pedro almost forgets he has a deadly enemy… Read More »

Jacques Tourneur – Easy Living (1949)

from Film Society of Lincoln Center:
Money, sex, and football: the three cornerstones of American life spell doom in Tourneur’s tough, subversive anti-marriage melodrama. Victor Mature is a star quarterback with a fatal heart condition who’s willing to risk death on the field to give his power-hungry wife (Lizabeth Scott) the life she wants, even as she pursues a sordid affair with a Wall Street sugar daddy. Co-starring Lucille Ball—who delivers some of the film’s most memorable moments as a hard-nosed working girl spouting world-weary cynicisms—Easy Living is a Sirkian sports movie with a dark noir undercurrent. Read More »

Sam Wood – Command Decision (1948)

Synopsis:
General Dennis of the US Force in England in World War II finds that he must order his planes deeper and deeper into Germany to prevent the production of military jet planes that will turn the tide of battle to the Germans. He must fight congressmen, and his own chain of command to win the political battle before he can send his planes out. His problem is complicated by a very narrow window of good weather necessary to allow his effort to be successful. Adapted from a stage play, it attempts to look at the challenges of command in the political arena. Read More »

William Castle – When Strangers Marry AKA Betrayed (1944)

The noir city in all its desperate foreboding: a dancing sign flashes in an angel’s face. An angel innocent and afraid yet ventures into the seething labyrinth with a stranger, her husband, running from capture into the city of entrapment.

You trust no-one, fear the worst, and blunder from one dead-end into another. Dark faces and sharp dressers in sinister doorways. Share a cab with a bawling waif, a dying woman on borrowed time, and a suspicious driver. Stop! Get out! Onto dark streets, smoke-filled dives, cafés on the edge of purgatory, and hellish rooms for rent. A young girl in pig-tails as likely to betray you as the mother with arms folded in menace then her cold hand out for payment in advance. Nowhere left to run. The rented room a cell you can’t leave. Read More »

Nicole Védrès – Paris mil neuf cent AKA Paris 1900 (1947)

Documentary limning the life of Paris and its citizens during “La Belle Epoque,” the years between 1900 and 1914. Beginning with the Paris Exposition of 1900 and the completion of the Eiffel Tower, the film progresses through cultural, technological, and social changes, from peaceful and sometimes näive times to the rumbling foreshadowing of the war that would disrupt France and Europe for years to come. Read More »