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The MoFo Top 100 of the Forties: The Countdown

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From that last set, I've seen 3 of them:
Letter From an Unknown Woman
Day of Wrath
The Lost Weekend

I considered them all for my list, as all are favorites of mine. But only one made my list: Letter From an Unknown Woman it was my #14

Not only is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir my NO.1 for this decade , but it is also one of my favourite films of all time.

I simply adore every aspect of this film ! To be perfectly honest, fantasy romance is not at the top of the genres I usually enjoy, but I found this story to be so incredibly captivating and charming.

The heart and soul of this film is Gene Tierney and her portrayal of Lucy Moir, a freshly widowed young woman, who's desperate to finally claim her own independence. Ultimately she ends up starting a new life in a cottage by the sea with her young daughter and a faithful housekeeper, only to discover that the cottage is haunted by the ghost of a seemingly harsh and frightening sea captain Daniel Gregg. The way Mrs. Muir and Captain Gregg, learn to co-exist and how their relationships evolves over the months spent together is a simply joy to watch. And in my opinion, Gene Tierney was masterful in her performance. It's fascinating to me, how with only 27-years of age, she possessed such dose of elegance and maturity to pull of such demanding role. She truly is one of the most underrated actresses of her generation.

Joining Gene as her leading partner was Rex Harrison, who was pretty great himself. I thought that chemistry between him and Gene was amazing. I liked how his character was so reluctant to let Mrs. Muir stay in the cottage, but ultimately decided to do so after he realized how strong-willed and visibly lost Mrs. Muir really is. I guess it was a combination of pity and sympathy that Captain Gregg initially felt towards her, however as the two started to live together he sort of became Mrs. Muir's guardian angel (ghost) who deeply cared and watched out for her. It was like their loneliness blended together and created a love story larger than life. But despite how touching and heartfelt their relationship was their interactions provided some great comedy as well, mainly manifested through contast of Captain Gregg's rough seamen (not sailor, haha) vocabulary and Mrs. Muir's dignified manners. I found it funny how Mrs. Muir was eventually so consumed by Gregg's vocabulary that she started to use some of it herself.

Lastly regarding performances, I'll mention George Sanders, who was effective as a sweet-talking and scoundrel child author and a love interest for Mrs. Muir. Edna Best was also great as Martha. I especially liked how direct her character was with her dislike for Uncle Neddy (child author).

One of the aspects, I hold high in regard with this film is its exquisitely delicate musical score by a famed composer Bernard Herrmann. It really set the mood for this fantasy romance and perfectly captured the enchanting atmosphere of the cottage by the sea. Even Herrmann himself stated, he considers his score for "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" his finest work. Another instrumental segment was the location, which perfectly embodied the sense of isolation and romantic atmosphere, which film was trying to create. Despite being set in England, the film was actually shot in California and along the central Pacific coastline.

Also I need to mention the film's ending. It was so beautifully orchestrated and fitting, even though I didn't expect it the first time I saw it, for some reason. Nonetheless it was still very powerful on a rewatch and I even thought it may have served as an inspiration for the ending of Titanic (1997). If I were to nitpick, I'd say that the only thing I didn't really like was that the last exchange between Mrs. Muir and Martha was unpleasant one. I felt bad for Martha, who was visibly upset because of their altercation.

But still I consider this film to be virtually flawless and one of my definite favourites.
Out Of the Past is a wondefully scripted noir which also features my favourite femme fatale performance.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is simply spectacular depiction of friendship and a death of chivalry. Churchill hated it though, because he believed the film was ridiculing British army, particularly officers by portraying them as narrow-minded, ancient Blimpish types. If anything The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp was very appreciative of the army and even critically constuctive by showing them they need to change and adapt in order to fight the WW2.

The colour is admirable; the script, and its delivery by the actors, brilliant; and the English atmosphere of understatement well maintained throughout. Each individual part is carefully built up and the film as a whole ... repays the evident care which has been lavished upon it.
Children of Paradise was my NO.16. Undoubtedly one of the greatest products of French cinema and a monumental symbol of their resistance and ultimate liberation from a Nazi occupation.

Masterpiece which left me crave for more. And that's saying a lot considering the film lasted for 190 minutes ! I lost myself in this dashingly beautiful world of dreamers and courtesans. Spectacular in every imaginable aspect and absolutely worthy of its reputation !
The Killers is an entertaing noir which excells in many aspects. However it isn't really that memorable.

Letter From An Unknown Woman is a tiresome contrived histrionic snoozefest. Rather dull and forgettable film which can be somewhat appreciated for its cinematography.

Day of Wrath was one of my favourite nominations from a 40s Hall of Fame I participated in.

Thematically, this was one of the more interesting films I've seen in a while. Set in 17th century, Day of Wrath explored one of the darkest periods of Christianity and humanity in general. And that was witch hunting... With the establishment of inquisition in 13th century for the purpose of eradicating heresy, the persecution of innocent women soon began. At the time, literally any woman could of been accused of being a witch, without any evidence presented as well. Usually those were poor, old and seedy women who didn't have anyone to intercede for them. They were accused of ridiculous things like "killing with their look" or being guilty of elementary disaster. In order to extort confession out of them some of the most brutal torture devices were used, as well as the cruel methods of interrogation. It's actually scary to think that this praxis remained all the way to late 18th century.

Judging from the literature I've read about it, the film seemed very much realistic. It was just fascinating to see how genuinely consumed people were in their intolerance, ignorance, narrow- mindedness and hypocrisy. That's why I think that Martha's plotline was by far the most powerful aspect of the film. Slow-paced interrogation scene combined with torture was a horrifying watch, despite many of it not being shown on screen. And when the actual "burning scene" appeared, I was immediately reminded of the similar scene in Bergman's "Seventh Seal". Similarly to Bergman, Dreyer deliberately used glacial pace to faithfully demonstrate the agony of an old woman and to create a certain uneasiness for the viewer. Black and white cinematography also helped in creating film's gloomy ambient. Because most of the characters were dressed in black, they often looked like dark silhouettes, which helped to establish themes of death and evil. Admittedly ,I didn't care much for the romance between Anna and Martin. I thought it was a bit of a letdown after an impressionable first half. It just dragged on for too long and I thought that both actors were overly theatrical in their scenes together. On the other hand I thought Thorkild Roose ( Absalon) was brilliant as an old pastor who is forced to face with his own mortality and the fact that his young wife doesn't love him. It was little details that made his performance special like his shaky voice, remorseful look or how his left hand started to furiously shake when Anna confessed her romance with Martin to him. Sigrid Neiiendam (Merete) was also very good, as an overly possessive mother who is constantly frigid towards her daughter in law. Big fan of the ending sequence ! Haunting sounds of the child choir combined with an act of humiliation Anna is objected to and ultimately her resignation as she realizes the pointlessness of her existence and the pain she'll have to deal with if she continued to live. Brilliant !

Overall I think this was an impressive film, despite being uneven at times. Great nomination !
Kind Hearts And Coronets is a brilliant sardonic black comedy with an extremely versatile perormances by the always entertaining Alec Guiness. My NO.9.

Late Spring is neck to neck with The Lady From Shanghai in contention for the worst film on this list. Embarrassingly bad film.

The Lost Weekend was my NO.19.

Brief Sinopsis: This Oscar winning drama follows a life of an desperate alcoholic writer Don who goes on a 4-day drinking bout.

I have to say this was one of my favourites, I've seen this year so far. Alcoholism is a topic that's still very much relavant today and Wilder handled it expertly. The film was very accurate and realistic in illustrating the devastating effects of alcohol and its destructive force.

The man that made this film, was masterful Ray Milland who practically lived his character. His drunken wobbling and despair was on point, and his entire mannerism in general was particularly great. His interactions with his girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman) were probably one of my favourite scenes, but were at the same time very saddening, as we later learn Don pushed her away because of his own insecurities and inability to escape the jaws of alcoholism, I like how we've got to see retrospective insight in Don's past and the roots of his addiction. This was very vital in understanding Don's actions and him as a character.

I also liked the music in it and the concerto orchestra, which progressively got more aggresive, as Don slipped through madness more and more, adding a great intensity to the film.

The Lost Weekend featured couple of scenes, which made a great impression on me. First one was ,when Don was caught stealing woman's purse in a restaurant. I could almost sense the humiliation, he was objected to, especially when the people mockingly starting to sing "Who Stole the Purse". The second one was the night Don spent in an alcoholic ward. The nightmarish, psychodelic atmosphere set there was like I said very impressionable and jawing.

I also noticed the reccuring theme of a judgmental society, which was very quick to berate Don, but very little of them except Helen and his brother was actually willing to help him. In the end I was glad the film ended on a positive note, because in all honesty it would be really too darn depressing. Instead we've gotten a nice uplifting ending with a positive message.

To conclude ,this is a very detailed study on consequences of alcoholism, with a brilliant performance from Ray Milland. I've read some comments that "The Lost Weekend" has aged badly, but I cannot disagree more. This film is still very much relavant, entertaining and insightful.
Pinocchio is my favourite animated Disney film. Really heart-warming childhood classic.

My current list :

1. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
2. Portrait of Jennie
3. The Picture of Dorian Gray
8. Le Corbeau
9. Kind Hearts and Coronets
10. The Body Snatcher
12. The Red Shoes
16. Children of Paradise
17. Gaslight
18. The Ox-Bow Incident
19. The Lost Weekend
20. Leave Her To Heaven
21. Rome, Open City
23. Dead of Night
24. Magnificent Ambersons
25. Night Train To Munich

Late Spring was my #2! It's been a while since any other film on my list showed up, though, so at this point it's safe to say a few of them didn't make it (#13, #18, #23). Funnily enough, I would've thought those films more likely to show up than some from my list that did, especially Meshes of the Afternoon. Anyway, I still think the other 22 films (15 excluding the ones that already showed up) on my list will make it - meaning a considerable proportion of the overall top 22 will be from my list.

My list so far:
2. Late Spring (#25)
8. Meshes of the Afternoon (#69)
14. Stray Dog (#64)
17. White Heat (#42)
19. Cat People (#49)
22. Gaslight (#41)
24. Gilda (#72)

Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Just wrote a long post and then lost it. In brief:

Letter From an Unknown Woman my #8, beautiful melancholy film.

Day of Wrath, my #4, pleasantly astonished to see it so high on the countdown, a dark, haunting film filled with foreboding and foreshadowing.

Kind Hearts and Coronets my #9, deliciously dark comedy with fine performances.

The Lost Weekend and Late Spring are both well made films but not ones which grabbed me particularly personally, while I haven't seen Pinocchio for a very long time - I remember the book better than the film.

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken


Director: Howard Hawks
Producer: Howard Hawks
Distributor: Warner Bros.

212 Points - 17 Lists
(5th-2x; 6th; 7th; 8th; 10th; 11th-2x; 12th;
16th; 17th-2x; 18th-2x; 20th; 24th; 25th)
I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity - Edgar Allan Poe

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken


Director: David Lean
Producer: Noel Coward, Anthony Havelock-Allan & Ronald Neame
Distributor: Eagle-Lion Distributors

228 Points - 14 Lists
(1st-2x; 3rd; 5th; 7th; 9th-2x; 11th-3x; 13th; 14th; 17th; 24th)

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken
I didn't have either one of these films on my list, but I did have two of them on it that I forgot to mention from yesterday's group.

The Lost Weekend was my #10 and Pinocchio was my #18.

Of the last twenty the movies I voted for included The Red Shoes, The Philadelphia Story, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimpe, The Big Sleep and The Killers.

Couldn’t post them as the show since my laptop pooped out on me.

The Big Sleep just rocks. It was a certainty for my list and I need to see it again. My favorite Hawks movie so far.

Brief Encounter is just ok for me.

I'm really sorry to read about you mom, SV. I can't even imagine what you're going through.

Since my last post, I've seen three of the films and voted for one. Pinocchio was on my list. It's a beautifully animated piece that has its charm, though it felt rather hokey when I watched it last. I watched Letter From An Unknown Woman for the 7th HOF. I thought it was solid but for some reason it didn't come to mind when I made my ballot. I watched Late Spring for a different Hall of Fame, I think, and didn't care for it at all.

Okay, another entry....The Big Sleep made my list at #17

So, it goes:
#6. Yankee Doodle Dandy
#8 Sergeant York
#9 The Pride of the Yankees
#13 The Philadelphia Story
#14 Red River
#17 The Big Sleep
#19 Great Expectations
#22 The Ox-Bow Incident
#23 Pinocchio
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I love The Big Sleep (both versions) and no, I can't explain much of the plot, but it is sexy, witty and exciting. Brief Encounter is a thoughtful, visually-expressive study of what could happen when an emotionally-charged affair threatens staid marriages. Neither were on my list.

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

The Big Sleep not on my list but strangely enough I rated it a 5/5

Here's what I wrote about it, don't worry no spoilers.

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)

I watched this a couple of times and I still don't know who killed who? But it doesn't matter! I loved it anyway, it's such a neat movie to watch.

Director Howard Hawks broke the rules when he decided to de-emphasize a structured plot and instead focus on character development, quick dialogue and entertaining scenes. Hawks was amazed that audience loved the film despite the lack of traditionalism in story telling. I though it was pretty awesome myself!

I watched the 1946 theatrical release, this is the version most people watch. The Big Sleep was shot in 1944 during WWII and just as the film was being finished, the war was coming to an end. Warner Brothers Studio had a lot of war themed movies in the pipeline and wanted to get those out before they became passe. So The Big Sleep was put on the shelf and it's release held.

Meanwhile Lauren Bacall who had shot to stardom in her first film,To Have and Have Not, had her second film released Confidential Agent which critics hated her in. They had considered her a major talent but after Confidential Agent, the questioned even if she could act at all and her future as an actresses was in serious doubt.

Seeing how The Big Sleep was in limbo, Jack Warner ordered additional scenes to be shot of Bacall that would allow her to shine with her the sexual innuendos and insolence that made her a star in To Have and Have Not. Thus the original 1945 film was never released but a reworked film came out in 1946.

And, just like that, we have two more films from my list - ones that were next to each other on my list, even! The Big Sleep was my #10 and Brief Encounter my #11.

My list so far:
2. Late Spring (#25)
8. Meshes of the Afternoon (#69)
10. The Big Sleep (#22)
11. Brief Encounter (#21)
14. Stray Dog (#64)
17. White Heat (#42)
19. Cat People (#49)
22. Gaslight (#41)
24. Gilda (#72)

Two very good movies - one of which would have almost certainly made my list and one that would have had a very good shot but like far too many would've needed a rewatch.
NomsPre-1930 Countdown

Fashionably late to every party since 1473!

So so sorry Vamp. i'll barely be able to function when my mum passes nevermind run an internet list, very admirable and completely understood if you drop it at some point or take any more breaks. You're in my thoughts and if you want to talk to someone PM me please.

Letter From An Unknown Woman was my #2. I thought it was incredible, one of the most beautiful films i've seen. Considered having it as my #1 but went for a long time favourite i've seen multiple times. This is what i posted about it;

Letter From An Unknown Woman

Such a haunting film. Imagining what was going through his mind while reading this is crazy. You'd be so creeped out, the idea that a woman didn't just have a crush on you she was deeply in love and obsessed with you. Someone you had never met and don't even remember having seen was watching you, listening to you, you were always on her mind, she has been planning her life around you. That is just such a creepy thought, Lisa is a stalker; good intentions or not she has an unhealthy obsession with a man she is following who doesn't know she exists. I think there may be a double standard here on my part because if roles were reversed and it was a man obsessing over a woman this way i'd be creeped out and concerned, this would feel closer to a thriller for me. But no it's such a beautiful film. Joan Fontaine's performance played a massive part in this working, as well as the script. Lisa came across so sweet and passionate, passionate in a concerning way sure but while watching it i found it beautiful and endearing more than anything else. Their date scenes were amazing, her slowly opening up to him was perfect; 99% of the chemistry came from Fonataine which fit the story. The way she looked and smiled at him, what looked like such genuine happiness. The music too, damn the music got me right away. From the first time he played and she was completely transfixed so was i, right there i bought into her obsession, there was no need for them to ever meet because that right there did it although i'm glad they did.

This film feels like it was tailor made for me, i got really annoyed when he couldn't remember her outside the opera despite being three feet away from her, i thought this was going to be the one thing i didn't like about the movie. Then of course this was turned into the central conflict, the reason they can't be together, it basically noticed my concerns and turned them into a positive. Adored the ending, the music was amazing and i teared up. I figured she would be dead within the first few minutes of the film but it still got to me due to the aforementioned music, Stefan's despair, the fact that his servant even remembered her, Lisa's voiceover and chilling last words, etc.

Stunning film. Kind of want to go out and watch everything from Ophuls and everything starring Fontaine. Fontaine has been outstanding in the three 40's films i've seen her in: this, Rebecca and Suspicion. Actress of the 40's for me right now. I'd also say this has some of the most striking visuals i've ever seen. Perfect.

The only other one i've voted for since my last post is Pinocchio which was my #24. Was my favourite Disney until i rewatched Bambi earlier this year like i said earlier in the thread. As i've said many times here it is one of three films that have truly scared me in my life along with The Exorcist and Poltergeist II. This was an unfortunate dilemma as a kid as i loved most of it so had to be hyper aware of where the donkey and whale scenes are in the film so i could skip them haha.

Wait i voted for Day of Wrath too! Nearly forgot haha. It was my #14, this is what i posted about it:

Day of Wrath -

This was my second Dreyer. I watched Ordet for the 5th Hall of Fame here years ago, all i really remember is i liked it. Should watch it again and check out his other stuff as i thought this was great. All i knew going in was that it was about witches and that it was apparently really slow, i guess it was but i honestly wouldn't have even thought of that if i hadn't read it and it didn't bother me at all.

Medieval heavy-moralistic attitudes are something i've always found very intriguing. Of course this could be seen as analogous to any oppressive regime like a certain one that was on everyone's particularly European's minds when this film was made. Separating it from that though i still find it a very interesting film without having to take any of that into consideration. Heriof Marte's begging for her life scene really got to me. The actress did a very good job, she seemed like a normal old woman who hadn't done anything wrong terrified of what was to come, so much so that she was willing to give up Anne's mother. "I'm so afraid to die" was really well delivered with her voice trembling then her turning back as if to say something else but just realizing it's useless and that her life is coming to an end. The great thing about this is that it shows that this way of living was so ingrained into this society that Marte herself believes Anne's mother was a witch. Despite the exact same thing happening to her at this moment she still doesn't question the validity of that. That part alone does an excellent job of setting up the mindsets of the time and it's only a few short scenes and maybe three minutes worth of dialogue. There's also the confession scene which is hilarious in a not funny in the slightest, horrifying sort of way. "She consented to the confession" made me laugh in disbelief, yeah we just brutally tortured her for god knows how long and now finally she has admitted to what she has done, there's no way she would have confessed to anything you asked of her to stop the torture. Tough old broad, wonder why she didn't use the dark arts on us when we were allowing her to freely wander about talking to Absalon. We also have "a fine confession", jesus i could see this in a Mel Brooks film. Yeah, we got it out of her guys, now lets not question why she only started confessing when we threatened to continue the torture, and lets not make anything of her not actually offering any answers herself but instead just agreeing with everything we were telling her. The execution scene was horrific, great scene(s). As i said earlier i found Marte just like a normal old woman, quietly scared but here she sounds like a raving mad woman out of fear which obviously in the minds of the church further confirms that she was a witch. The drastic change in her voice in particular and her screams as she's thrown on the stake were chilling. Very draining first half hour that's set the central conflict as well as the feel for what the society is like up very well.

I think Anne falling for Martin was done well enough. They didn't need to focus too much on it for it to be believable, the fact that her marriage to his dad was forced and that she is closer to age with him as well as the fact that Absalom was busy most of the time so she spent it with him, him conforting her during Marte's execution in particular was enough to make it believable. What it was best for was showing Anne separating herself from her existance as a repressed reverand's wife, her actually experiencing love and joy changing her personality completely, for the better in our eyes but a drastic change in those days especially towards what would be considered bad behaviour for a woman of course raises eyebrows. It's a great insight into a break from oppression, how much she takes to it to the point that you could just accept this film as a straightforward depiction of a woman becoming a witch, when really it's just her experiencing freedom for the first time in her life. Even the wishing death upon Absalom and later confessing seemed to be her trying to hold onto this happiness which wouldn't be able to continue if she was to continue on as an oppressed wife and her confession was her giving up knowing she can't have it anyway.

Anyway, think i've rabbled on long enough haha. Got to say this film was really creepy as well. The shadows, screaming, children singing, etc really got under my skin at times and worked to create the perfect atmosphere. The only thing i would have liked to see more of was around the village, a bit too much of it was set indoors i really love depictions of medieval villages. Saying that i really liked the creepy inside also with the shadows i mentioned and the seemingly always present ticking clock that enhanced the many silences throughout the film. Great film.
Reading that back it's mostly not about anything to do with why i liked the film, it's mostly me making fun of it haha.

I've actually seen most of the recent updates, The Big Sleep just missed my list. The most annoying of the recent updates is Brief Encounter which is the only film i missed Would have been somewhere in the bottom ten of my list but still..great film.

Seen: 39/80
My List: 10/25

02. Letter From An Unknown Woman
04. How Green Was My Valley
13. Bambi
14. Day of Wrath
15. My Darling Clementine
17. Meet Me In St. Louis
18. Red River
20. Nightmare Alley
23. The Philadelphia Story
24. Pinocchio