Friday, April 18, 2008

My Favorite Movies- 1940's

I didn't mean to go so long between posting my movie lists, but I guess time got away from me. The first installment of this list covered the 1930's, so it's time for the fabulous 40's! My 30's list showcased my love of the Marx Brothers, Fred & Ginger, and William Powell. There are some themes with my 40's favorites too- Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant, anyone? And remember, these lists aren't some kind of comprehensive guide to great cinematic moments, just my favorites.

Casablanca 1942- Well, duh. I could watch this movie endlessly. Cafe owner Rick, stuck in Casablanca by his past actions, never thinks he'll see the woman who wounded and embittered him again. But then the war throws Ilsa back into his life, but not without complications. Things can never be as innocent as they once were in Paris. Part romance, part spy, all good. This movie just gets better and better for me, as time goes by. (Don't worry, I just rolled my eyes at myself too)

Maltese Falcon 1941- Casablanca made me like Humphrey Bogart, but Maltese Falcon made me love him. Bogie's portrayal of Sam Spade, a clever, if unscrupulous, detective makes me swoon just a bit. Everyone is after the fabled falcon, and all their searches intersect in the hands of Spade. The chemistry between Bogart and Mary Astor is thick in this classic film noir.

My Favorite Wife 1940- Cary Grant and Irene Dunne made three movies together, and this is my personal favorite. In this romantic comedy, Grant and Dunne are husband and wife, but only for a moment as in the first 10 minutes Dunne is declared legally dead. Missing for 7 years after going down in a shipwreck, Dunne miraculously survived on a deserted island and makes it back home just in time to discover her new legal status- and that of her husband, newly remarried. Watching Grant try to figure out what to do with two wives makes for big laughs. This film was being remade with Dean Martin and Marilyn Monroe when she died, and was eventually redone with Doris Day and James Garner under the title Move Over, Darling- a version that I also enjoy.

The Philadelphia Story 1940- This is one of my favorite films of all-time, no matter the decade. This is the 3rd of three movie pairings for Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Also starring Jimmy Stewart (in a role for which he won the best supporting actor Oscar) as a sarcastic writer, and Ruth Hussey as his photographer partner, who show up to get the scoop on Hepburn's impending wedding with the help of her ex-husband, Grant. But will the wedding go off without a hitch? And what is Grant's real motivation in popping up before his former bride is married to another? These great actors make the quick wit and clever writing shine.

Arsenic and Old Lace 1944- If you have ever doubted Cary Grant's comedic talents, or only known him as the dashing man from To Catch a Thief or An Affair To Remember, then this movie should set you straight. Grant is a dramatic critic, known for his negative opinion on matrimony, who has bitten the bullet and gotten himself hitched to the preacher's daughter on Halloween. Unfortunately, before there's any time for celebration he discovers that his aunt's have been committing some charitable murder. Just as he's trying to sort out his aunts, his criminal brother shows up at the family home. Handling his evil brother, murderous aunts, and new wife is almost enough to make him crack. Oh, and don't forget brother Teddy, who thinks he's Theodore Roosevelt. Can he handle his insane family without going crazy himself?

The Song of Bernadette 1943- The Song of Bernadette is the story of Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant in France, eventually to become Saint Bernadette. Bernadette sees the beautiful lady in the grotto, but no one will believe her. Almost all doubt her until the lady tells her to drink from the spring, and Bernadette scratches the spring from the dirt. It is eventually acknowledged by the church that Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary. To the end of her life Bernadette swears to the truth of her story, only claiming to have seen the beautiful lady. The waters of Lourdes that the lady told her about are believed to be healing, and people to this day make pilgrimages to drink from it.

The Ghost & Mrs. Muir 1947- So romantic! Gene Tierney is a widowed mother who moves to an old seaside cottage with her young daughter, played by Natalie Wood. There she has to deal with the spirit of the old sea captain, played by Rex Harrison, who haunts his former dwelling. She gains the captain's respect by persevering his scare tactics. He eventually wants her to stay so much that he helps secure her financial independence by helping her author his memoirs. But how can a ghost compete with the real man that comes into her life?

Rope 1948- One of Hitchcock's greatest technical achievements, it is also one of his most tension filled movies. Two school chums decide to embark on an experiment. They kill their friend, who they deem to be intellectually inferior to themselves. They then hold a dinner party, inviting those people closest to the dead, to see if they are indeed so clever that they can get away with the whole scheme right under everyone's noses. Also inviting their school professor whose ideas influenced their experiment, they run the risk of getting caught. But can their professor, Jimmy Stewart, prove his suspicions before his students get away with murder? This is the first of four collaborations between Jimmy Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock.


love.boxes said...

I didn't know all that about My Favorite Wife.. which is one of my favorite Cary Grant films.. love it!

Jessica said...

Thanks for mentioning the movie Tiffany, made me realized that I forgot to say the name of the remake, so I added that in there.