Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten Favorite Movies of the 1940s

Heavy on the Hitchcock, but I gotta be true to myself.

10. The Maltese Falcon (1941)John Huston's directorial debut is a perfect detective movie. Bogart as Sam Spade is given the best supporting cast to insult ever.

9. Double Indemnity (1944)Fred MacMurray's shallow insurance salesman meets a blonde devil and all hell breaks loose. The music by Miklos Rozsa really underscores the theme that we are all marching to our doom.

8. Foreign Correspondent (1940)Despite its overly propagandistic conclusion, this underrated Hitchcock chase film is great fun. Funny, romantic, thrilling, and with some of the great set pieces, including a windmill that turns the wrong way.

7. The Philadelphia Story (1940)Saw this for the first time at The Brattle Theater in Cambridge when I was in high school. It was a packed house and the audience never stopped laughing.

6. Casablanca (1942)I think I've seen this in the theater over twenty times. It's a fake world, but the world I want to live in.

5. The Palm Beach Story (1942)My favorite Sturges. His funniest film from start to finish, and Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert have unbelievable chemistry.

4. Rebecca (1940)It's too bad that Selznick and Hitchcock were forced to tweak some of the original story for Code reasons. Other than that, this is perfection.

3. The Third Man (1949)For years I named this as my favorite movie of all time. It's still real close. It does contain my favorite final shot (see picture above).

2. I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)More of a personal favorite than a movie I would recommend to everyone. A storm off the Hebrides changes the course of a young woman's life.

1. Notorious (1946)The most romantic of all of Hitchcock's films, but this being Hitchcock the romance is fairly twisted. Not only is this a perfect film but it contains Cary Grant's greatest performance, Ingrid Bergman's greatest performance, and Edith Head's best dress design ever.

Runners up: The Big Sleep, Brief Encounter, Dead of Night, The Heiress, It's a Wonderful Life

1 comment:

  1. I didn't think of it this way until you mentioned it, but "Foreign Correspondent" doesn't really get a lot of love. And its probably because of that ending. But the little (or big things) are awesome-the windmill being one of the main ones.

    Also, lets hear if for Anton Karas' score for "The Third Man".