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The MoFo Top 100 of the Forties: The Countdown

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I love It's a Wonderful Life! It's my #1 on this list. My favorite James Stewart movie. I love the ups and downs of the movie. The great long build-up that tells all about George Bailey in Bedford Falls through the years, leading to the great, dark nightmare that Clarence the Angel brings about (with some of Stewart's best acting IMHO), and the triumphant ending that never fails to choke me up. Sure, it suffered from over-saturation on television over the years but now that it's usually shown only once a year, no problemo on burnout for me. I'm glad it made at least the Top 5.

EDIT: I had The Best Years of Our Lives at the wrong position so I've corrected that.

#1 It's a Wonderful Life
#3 Arsenic and Old Lace
#6 Yankee Doodle Dandy
#8 Sergeant York
#9 The Pride of the Yankees
#10 The Shop Around the Corner
#11 The Best Years of Our Lives
#13 The Philadelphia Story
#14 Red River
#15 Notorious
#17 The Big Sleep
#18 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
#19 Great Expectations
#21 His Girl Friday
#22 The Ox-Bow Incident
#23 Pinocchio
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

Wonderful Life was my number 10. It's also in my top 119 movies. Love James Stewart and Donna Reed in it.

It's A Wonderful Life is the movie that will be the last to show up on my list. It's one of my favorite holiday movies. I'm glad to see it made it so high up on the countdown.

Since there are no more movies from my list that will appear on the countdown, I'll post my complete list. (The movies in red are the ones that didn't make the countdown.)

1) Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
2) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
3) Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
4) The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
5) It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

6) My Favorite Wife (1940)
7) The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
8) Thousands Cheer (1943)
9) One Touch of Venus (1948)
10) Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)

11) Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
12) Romance on the High Seas (1948)
13) Laura (1944)
14) His Girl Friday (1940)
15) Bambi (1942)

16) The Philadelphia Story (1940)
17) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)
18) The Lost Weekend (1945)
19) The Clock (1945)
20) On the Town (1949)

21) The Uninvited (1944)
22) The Enchanted Cottage (1945)
23) Anchors Aweigh (1945)
24) And Then There Were None (1945)
25) Song of the South (1946)

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I thought Sarah and I would be the only ones who would have Song of the South on their list. I had it at #22. I can always watch my VHS of the Japanese laser disc - it looks far better than these videos do. I'll post what I said about it almost 10 years ago. Unfortunately YouTube took down the Tar Baby cartoon I posted, although they still have a darker video of the second half.
Song of the South (Harve Foster & Wilfred Jackson, 1946)

I'm going to put up parts of the film to let it speak for itself. First off, there are no slaves in this film. This is set during the Reconstruction, but if you honestly believe that all the former slaves were participating in a social uprising something along the lines of the 1950s/60s Civil Rights Movement, go ahead and produce your facts. If you think Disney was whitewashing the reality of the post-Civil War South by showing that some ex-slaves stayed on at the only homes they knew and actually liked the people they worked for, once again produce your evidence. I feel sick even mentioning crap like this because this film has NOTHING to do with the evils of slavery. I bet many people understand the concept of "Stockholm Syndrome", yes? Once again, this film is about how people of different colors and backgrounds actually care about and love each other. Too bad that's considered subversively racist now.
If anything, the white characters are shown in a far more derogtory light than Uncle Remus, Aunt Tempy and Toby. People bring to the table what they take away from the table. Since I'm bringing no racism to the table, I'm going to stop trying to defend the film. The wonderful thing about Song of the South is that it will make you cry by the humanity it shows. Yet, it also makes you laugh by the humanity it shows through the "tales of the critters" because, as Uncle Remus says, if you can't learn from tales 'bout critters, you can't learn.

Part 1 is above [not anymore] and Part 2 below. This is my fave cartoon episode, the one about the Tarbaby. Now, although I said I'd shut up about racism, I've read tons of crap on the internet about how this film promotes the concept of tarbabies as a derogatory term about African-Americans. This is one of the most blatant examples of how people attack this film with NO KNOWLEDGE whatsoever. The Tarbaby is made of tar. His entire purpose is to incapacitate Br'er Rabbit by getting all four of his limbs stuck. The fact that tar is black has nothing to do with racism. Just watch the clip. This is a FUNNY film, but I guess some people have no sense of humor. I hope you laugh. I roar at Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear in these two episodes. James Baskett (Uncle Remus) was a kind genius and well-deserving of his special Oscar. Baskett also contributes the voice of Br'er Fox.

This is the continuation of my fave scene. I love when Br'er Fox realizes that the Briar Patch might be the most evil way to kill Br'er Rabbit. This film is a wonderful example of how comedy and tears mix when done correctly.
I can add nothing to the beauty of this scene, from about 2:25-8:45.
Uncle Remus and Grandma are by far the wisest characters in the film, so if anybody thinks Uncle Remus is an Uncle Tom, you should back it up with your non-existent evidence.

I'm not sure anybody is actually going to check out all the links. I think the entire film is probably on You Tube if you paste it together. I don't have to do that. I have a copy off the Japanese Laserdisc. The funny thing is that during most of the songs, there are Japanese subtitles, but everything else is clear during the dialogue. I've put up about 25 minutes of the 94 minute movie. I hope you enjoy it.

P.S. According to the Internet, Cabin in the Sky is a blatantly racist film. Check it out, if you don't believe me. I don't think it is, but trust me. Every film ever made is racist and sexist to somebody. I'm sorry about that because I don't believe it myself.
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

Rope is mid-range Hitch for me, but I had the others. John Huston's Treasure of the Sierra Madre is one of my favorite films of all time, cinematic perfection, I had it third on my list. Capra's It's a Wonderful Life was at the bottom of my list at number twenty-four, but the perennial made my cut. Other Noirs placed higher on my list, but Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity is too irresistible to exclude so the smell of honeysuckle landed at twenty-one for me.

2. His Girl Friday (#14)
3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (#7)
4. Out of the Past (#32)
5. The Ox-Bow Incident (#39)
7. Shadow of a Doubt (#17)
8. Stray Dog (#64)
9. Gaslight (#41)
10. Notorious (#15)
12. Bicycle Thieves (#9)
14. Odd Man Out (#55)
15. The Great Dictator (#11)
16. The Philadelphia Story (#37)
17. Laura (#12)
20. Rome, Open City (#74)
21. Double Indemnity (#6)
22. Rebecca (#10)
23. Kind Hearts & Coronets (#26)
24. It’s a Wonderful Life (#5)
25. Black Narcissus (#79)

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I found It's A Wonderful Life incredibly annoying - but perhaps I would warm up to it if I viewed it a few more times, as from the other comments it looks like it's a 'grower'

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken


Director: John Huston
Producer: Henry Blanke & Hal B. Wallis
Distributor: Warner Bros.

534 Points - 35 Lists
(2nd-4x; 4th-2x; 5th; 6th-3x;
7th-2x; 8th-2x; 9th-2x; 10th-2x; 12th-3x; 13th; 14th-2x; 15th; 16th-5x; 17th-3x; 23rd; 24th)
I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity - Edgar Allan Poe

The Maltese Falcon was my #8. Maybe it was a bit too high since i haven't watched it in around four years, but it's a very important film to me as it was my introduction to old detective noirs and was also the film that made me love Bogart. Really glad The Third Man has made the top three

01. Top Three
02. Letter From An Unknown Woman
03. The Shop Around The Corner
04. How Green Was My Valley
05. Notorious
06. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
07. His Girl Friday
08. The Maltese Falcon
09. Rebecca
10. Double Indemnity
11. Top Three
12. Laura
13. Bambi
14. Day of Wrath
15. My Darling Clementine
16. Shadow of a Doubt
17. Meet Me In St. Louis
18. Red River
19. Never made it
20. Nightmare Alley
21. Never made it
22. Never made it
23. The Philadelphia Story
24. Pinocchio
25. Never made it

Seen: 55/97

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The Maltese Falcon was my #4. Taken almost directly from Dashiell Hammett's greatest novel, John Huston's first directorial effort moves at a lightning pace with flawless performances. Again, there are dozens of iconic scenes with non-stop witty, classic dialogue. Here's a few.

Seen - 97/97
My List
1. Dumbo (35)
3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (7)
4. The Maltese Falcon (4)
5. A Matter of Life and Death (34)
6. Heaven Can Wait (63)
7. The Red Shoes (38)
8. Pinocchio (23)
9. Fantasia (20)
10. The Devil and Daniel Webster (46)
11. Red River (56)
13. Yankee Doodle Dandy (66)
14. The Little Foxes (43)
16. A Letter to Three Wives (76)
17. Meet Me in St. Louis (48)
18. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (31)
19. Kind Hearts and Coronets (26)
20. Sullivan's Travels (68)
22. Song of the South (-)
23. Miracle on 34th Street (53)
24. The Best Years of Our Lives (16)
25. It's a Wonderful Life (5)

I had The Maltese Falcon at #6. It single-handedly created the template for the whole private detective noir genre to follow, and its status as the greatest private eye film of all-time would only be challenged thirty years later with Chinatown. At least as far as I'm concerned. Bogie is at his coolest best and this being John Huston's first film, which is amazing to think about, it's daring and spectacularly directed.

My List:

2. Shadow of a Doubt (#17)
3. The Great Dictator (#11)
5. Bicycle Thieves (#9)
6. The Maltese Falcon (#4)
7. Double Indemnity (#6)
8. Notorious (#15)
9. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (#7)
10. Out of the Past (#32)
11. The Philadelphia Story (#37)
12. Stray Dog (#64)
13. The Grapes of Wrath (#13)
14. Laura (#12)
15. His Girl Friday (#14)
16. Rope (#8)
17. Drunken Angel (#54)
18. The Ox-Bow Incident (#39)
19. Sullivan’s Travels (#68)
22. Gaslight (#41)
24. The Lost Weekend (#24)
25. Five Graves to Cairo (1-pointer)
I may go back to hating you. It was more fun.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
As always, @Markf garnered some excellent scenes and yes, there ARE so many great scenes and that this was John Huston's FIRST(?!?!) movie as a director - - migod!

As stated many times, I've loved this since I saw it as a kid, along with Casablanca, around the same time in my youth, (not sure, but I think Maltese was the first of them) I was instantly a Bogie fan and these are the be all of his career for me. With, of course, a number of others playing very tightly behind them. But these are the two that, if someone asks about Bogart, this and Casablanca are the ones they MUST see.

And, this was my first movie to seeing Peter Lorre who, back then and more so now, I simply loved and was fascinated by his character, Cairo.

This movie is in the top 5 for solid reasons.

Seen: 67/97

My List:
#1 Top 3
#2 Top 3

#3 It's a Wonderful Life (5)
#4 Arsenic and Old Lace (18)
#5 The Maltese Falcon (4)
#6 The Big Sleep (22)
#7 Laura (12)
#8 Ain't gonna happen but a longtime favorite
#9 The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (33)
#10 this spot is climbing higher than I expected WOW
#11 whoulda coulda shoulda

#12 Odd Man Out (55)
#13 The Great Dictator (11)
#14 Pinocchio (23)
#15 Kind Hearts and Coronets (26)
#16 Now, Voyager (78)
#17 The Suspect (70)
#18 Waterloo Bridge (93)
#19 A new favorite, don't see it making it and it isn't
#20 highly doubted it was gonna make the list

#21 The Pride of the Yankees (59)
#22 Little Foxes (43)
#23 Can't believe this DIDN'T make the list at ALL
#24 Gilda (72)
#25 Arch of Triumph (1 Pointer)

I liked Maltese Falcon plenty well, but not on my list.

An excerpt from my review:

The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941)

The Maltese Falcon
is considered to be the first Film Noir of the classic period (1941-1958). Indeed it has most of the Film Noir hallmark elements: like subdued lighting, dark shadows and low camera angles. And of course we have one of the greatest detectives of all time, Sam Spade...Not to mention a very devious femme fatale Brigid (Mary Astor).

I liked this film, but it's wordy! I read that the script was almost word for word from the original 1929 Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name. If someone loves lots of dialogue and twist and turns, this movie has it. It's so complex, that I was never sure who was up to what or what was up with who?

The end scene which has all the main characters together in one apartment room goes on for like 20 minutes! That would never be done today, and this was done by John Huston who was directing his very first picture and he made that scene captivating!

There wasn't much action or character development, but man the script and the way the actors delivered their lines like a buzz saw was a thing of sheer beauty.

And what a cast! Bogie paired up with Peter Lorrie and Sydney Greenstreet too, with Mary Astor to boot. That's not even mentioning veteran character actors like Ward Bond, Barton MacLaine and Gladys George.

Watch the Maltese Falcon statuette when Bogie picks it up. He nearly dropped it. I read it was made out of lead and they're three of them, each is worth a million bucks. A million bucks! for a hunk of lead! that shows you how beloved this film is.

All right! My #1 was yesterday and my #2 is today! The Maltese Falcon is my favorite film noir of all-time and I can't get enough of it, having seen it uncounted times. Bogie at his best, IMHO. And the who's who rogue's gallery of baddies is irresistible. John Huston drew a winner on his first time at bat. Love it.

#1 It's a Wonderful Life
#2 The Maltese Falcon
#3 Arsenic and Old Lace
#6 Yankee Doodle Dandy
#8 Sergeant York
#9 The Pride of the Yankees
#10 The Shop Around the Corner
#11 The Best Years of Our Lives
#13 The Philadelphia Story
#14 Red River
#15 Notorious
#17 The Big Sleep
#18 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
#19 Great Expectations
#21 His Girl Friday
#22 The Ox-Bow Incident
#23 Pinocchio

It's a Wonderful Life was my #21, and The Maltese Falcon my #16. I'm surprised the latter made it to #4 on the countdown without anyone putting it at #1 on their list.

My list so far (with predictions):
1. Title contender
2. Late Spring (#25)
3. Probably no. 3
4. Bicycle Thieves (#9)
5. Title contender
6. The Great Dictator (#11)
7. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (#7)
8. Meshes of the Afternoon (#69)
9. The Grapes of Wrath (#13)
10. The Big Sleep (#22)
11. Brief Encounter (#21)
12. Rope (#8)
13. Didn't make it
14. Stray Dog (#64)
15. Shadow of a Doubt (#17)
16. The Maltese Falcon (#4)
17. White Heat (#42)
18. Didn't make it
19. Cat People (#49)
20. Rebecca (#10)
21. It's a Wonderful Life (#5)
22. Gaslight (#41)
23. Didn't make it
24. Gilda (#72)
25. Double Indemnity (#6)

Never would think The Maltese Falcon would be this high. I rewatched it for the countdown and enjoyed it a lot, it still didn't make my list.

I also rewatched It's a Wonderful Life and loved it, it was between 13 and 19 on my list, I don't remember exactly.
I do not speak english perfectly so expect some mistakes here and there in my messages