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The MoFo Top 100 of the Forties: The Countdown

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The Lady from Shanghai was in contention for my list for a while, and ultimately would have placed for me about where it ended up on the countdown.

Miss Vicky if you're reading this, The Little Foxes was going to be my choice for you if we did our normal movie swap. Great dialogue and cast, and it's the highest ranking film from my list to appear so far.

My list-

#6 The Little Foxes (43)
#9 My Darling Clementine (58)
#15 Scarlet Street (73)
#19 The Devil and Daniel Webster (46)
#20 Mildred Pierce (45)
#21 Key Largo (77)
#22 Red River (56)
#24 Pride of the Yankees (59)
#25 Sergeant York (50)

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The Little Foxes was my #14, a scintillating version of Lillian Hellman's terrific play. The characters are divided up between scumbags and those unable to stand up to them or deluding themselves that they're not so bad, but then the twists unfold. Speaking of twists, The Lady from Shanghai has plenty and not all were in the film. The studio again took it away and tried to make it more commercial and less artistic. I will show you the highlight of the film if you want to see it. Sure, it contains spoilers, but if you're not planning on watching the movie, you should at least know about this scene, whether it gets you io watch the rest or not.

Seen - 58/58
My List
6. Heaven Can Wait (63)
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)
20. Sullivan's Travels (68)
23. Miracle on 34th Street (53)
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

This scene alone explains why I put The Lady from Shanghai at number 6 on my list. The weirdness and messiness of the whole film gives it a certain surreal quality that I appreciate a lot. The film has clearly been messed with, but the end result somehow still kind of works. Welles himself actually thought that despite the involvement of the studio, the film still kind of ended up working (I remember him saying this in one of the many 3-hour long interviews that I've seen with him over the years). I tend to agree, even though (yet again) I would've loved to see his untempered vision.

I also had the wonderful Meet Me in St. Louis on my list. It was my number 21 but could've easily been higher. It's the perfect Christmas film, full of nostalgia, passion, fun, sadness, warmth... It's simply a gorgeous picture and boy does it look beautiful!

Cobpyth's Movie Log ~ 2019

I haven't done this list so far:

1 ....Of course it's my #1
2 Waterloo Bridge
3 Leave Her to Heaven
4 ....might make it
5 ....a shoe in
6 ....should be a shoe in, unless you guys forgot it
7 Mildred Pierce
8 way will this one not make the list
9 Easter Parade
10 ....a shoe in
11 ....another shoe in
12 ....won't make the list, but I bet there's some fans
13 ....of course it will make it
14 ...should be a shoe in, unless you guys forgot it
15 Gary Cooper film
16 Now, Voyager
17 ....of course it will make it
18 ....I bet this one is on Cricket's list
19 ....might not make it, but it should
21 ....a total shoe in
22 Key Largo
23 Nightmare Alley
24 Meet Me in St. Louis
25 Jane Eyre

The big set of ten films did not include any from my list, but now there is one (if only one, so far): Cat People was #19 on my list. I do still think most of the films on my list should make it, though there's a few near the bottom I'm dubious about (#18, #22, #23).

My list so far:
8. Meshes of the Afternoon (#69)
14. Stray Dog (#64)
19. Cat People (#49)
24. Gilda (#72)

Awwww look at the ickle fluffy-wuffy bunny
Ahhh, The Lady From Shanghai where Orson hails from the mythical country of Oirland and even manages to channel his inner Lorre for a second or two No idea if I've ever seen Little Foxes or not. Neither made my list
NomsPre-1930 Countdown

terrible, 0/5, not enough puppies.

Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I haven't seen either of those. It's becoming increasingly apparent that my 40s knowledge is sadly lacking.

Seen 26 so far, but 5 of those I have watched since they appeared in the list! 6 from my list have made it.

Meet Me In St. Louis was a massive surprise for me. Think my dislike of musicals is well known here but that film is just too well made not to enjoy similar to Singin' In The Rain for me. I had it at #17. This is what i posted about it:

Meet Me In St. Louis

Told Citizen i'd post my thoughts about this so here you go. There's spoilers in this so don't read on if you haven't seen it don't want to ruin a film for people in a hall of fame i'm not even a member of haha.

This was great. Think it's well known that i really don't like musicals, with a few exceptions. Despite having the hallmarks of alot of the musicals i hate this is an exception. There was a few reasons for this: firstly and the main one was that during the non singing parts i was made to care about the story and characters for reasons i'll explain later this was crucial as it made it easier to take the songs as character/plot development rather than something really jarring that takes me out of the movie, secondly i was familiar already with quite a few songs just like with Singin' In The Rain i really hope this isn't something of importance with me as it's not the films fault that i don't already know the songs, thirdly and the least important was the fact that some of the songs weren't just characters bursting into song, a few of them were the family performing for guests or whatever which cut down on the amount of songs that could potentially take me out of the film. As well as that it had gorgeous cinematography and was really well shot, but i think that's something more independent of me enjoying it as a musical.

The first major scene which was one of my favourites showcases one of the reasons i really enjoyed it; it was funny. Not in a laugh out loud hilarious way but in a this is humourous thus making the film fun and pleasant to watch sort of way. I'm talking about the dinner scene, i really loved that part. Leon Ames who i've never heard of was great as the out of the loop, feared for apparently no reason since he had no problem with her answering the phone which essentially makes this whole part of the film pointless, father figure. I think this scene was very important for me, it made it clear that the film would only be loosely plotted with there always being lingering plot threads but for the most part it just focuses on the various shenanigans involving the family. That helped get me into the spirit of things early on. God then that halloween scene, brilliant. It was clear at all times that the kids were completely overreacting to everything yet it was played in a straight up dramatic, thriller-esque way as if they were actually in grave danger. Tootie running away from the neighbours house after flouring him revealing that he found it funny and the dog was harmless with the dramatic music was hysterical. It was just so absurd and it did a great job of capturing how a child sees things. "Tootie killed the Braukoff's single handed" Those were the two funniest parts of the film for me.

They also did a good job of mixing the humour with drama without cheapening the drama by making it silly. The most i laughed out loud in the film was when the father just told everyone they were moving to New York; the mother brought up chickens then the conversation split off in a few different directions and when the father brought it back to the chickens only to dismiss it as not a big concern the mother responded with "of course during a time like this you would talk about chickens". You also had Tootie mispronouncing "orphanage", can't remember what she said something like "i'd rather go to the ophlange than move to New York", whatever it was it made me laugh. It was actually quite a beautiful scene, up to that point i'd been feeling a little bad for the father. He was clearly a very hard working man and did love his family, due to his hardworking he was left out of alot of what was going on like the dinner scene as well as somewhat ostracized for having to make tough decisions. It's understandable on the family's part that they wouldn't just take to this massive shift in their lives without question but it still felt a bit harsh that again he was pushed out of the family and treated like the bad guy. Then the family came to join him when he was singing, it felt really nice like after some consideration they realized he was only trying to do what is best for them and that while they still aren't completely on board this was a small sign of support and genuine appreciation.

The scenes i've highlighted so far of course have the fact that there's very little or no singing in them in common but that's not to say i didn't enjoy any of the singing for example: the famous "clang clang clang went the trolley" scene is Remarkable. A few things make this work, firstly the chemistry between Judy Garland and Tom Grady in the last scene was good enough to set the romance up fairly well. I say fairly well because i do think a more natural meeting would have worked better, i get that they were trying to keep the humour going and for the most part they did a great job but it did cheapen the romance a bit for me, not too much just from very good if it was natural to fairly well since Esther had planned everything out. The second thing is that Judy doesn't sing at first, it was only maybe 30 seconds or a minute before she did but it built up her entrance and improved the payoff. This was because everyone else on the tram is a nobody, we are never going to know who they are or hear their stories so they all tend to blend together and within five minutes we won't remember what any of them looked like, their singing takes the same path; while technically fine it all blends into two voices with a male one and a female one like any choreographed group singing. With this Garland's iconic voice is amplified and it is also improved by her good acting; switching from depressed to upbeat when she notices him chasing the tram. No doubt the fact that i've heard the song a million times plays a part too but more than anything i think it was a very well made scene.

I liked Garland singing "have a merry christmas" at the end as well, not as much as the trolley song but again Garland has a great voice and it's a song i'm familiar with. Speaking of the ending, i didn't really like it. Not the very ending, the ending to the story i mean. It felt like it was in there to please the crowd with a happy ending, and it took away alot of the power of Garlands "have a merry christmas". That would've been the perfect ending to me with her gazing out the window not sure how life will be in this new chapter of her life, with a song that's not quite cheerful but not quite sad either; more in the middle which suits the unknown of her moving to New York. It felt a bit corny christmas special-ish too me. First of all Rose getting her proposal out of nowhere felt lazy, that was the big thing during the first act then it was mentioned a few times in passing throughout before we get a really hasty resolution... weak. Then the whole father changes his mind thing was corny as hell. Starting off with the overdramatic Tootie loses her mind and kills the snowmen where he looks out the window then the awful slow zoom in while he's sitting on his chair reflecting on the situation, and i didn't like his speech. Don't know it feels useless to complain about because i can't think of what would have been a better ending itself, i mean there's no way they were ever going to leave St. Louis with the films spirit being so deeply rooted there and i can't think of a better way of resolving it myself. Nevertheless i found it corny not that it ruined the film or anything, just a misstep at the finish line for me.

The performances were very good. Everyone, no complaints here. Every character had their moment and noone was unlikable. Something that i liked was Esther and Rose having a close supportive relationship too many films with sisters that age go for the easy sibling rivalry story so it was nice to see something different for once. Anyway, i liked this alot.
The Lady From Shanghai was my last cut. Welles accent is atrocious and the film was a complete mess but there's loads of great stuff there including the ending everyone has been mentioning. Also considered The Little Foxes which is very good.

Seen: 21/58
My List: 4/25

15. My Darling Clementine
17. Meet Me In St Louis
18. Red River
20. Nightmare Alley

Here is my list and list predictions

1. Will be in the top 3
2. Will make it
3. Will make top 20
4. Will make it
5. Will make it
6. Will make it
7. Will make it
8. Should make it
9. Ride the Pink Horse
10. Probably top 10
11. Will make it
12. Will make it
13. Should make it
14. Top 10 for sure
15. Leave Her to Heaven
16. Will not make it
17. Will make it
18. Will not make it
19. Will not make it
20. No chance
21. Doubt it
22. The Little Foxes
23. Will make it
24. I doubt it
25. No chance

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken


Director: Raoul Walsh
Producer: Louis F. Edelman
Distributor: Warner Bros.

111 Points - 10 Lists
(1st; 11th-2x; 14th; 17th-3x; 19th; 20th; 22nd)
I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity - Edgar Allan Poe

Save the Texas Prairie Chicken


Director: George Cukor
Producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr.
Distributor: MGM

134 Points - 14 Lists
(6th; 8th; 9th; 10th; 13th; 16th; 17th; 18-2x; 22nd-2x; 23rd; 24th-2x)

I want to see White Heat again. I liked it well enough, think i gave it
but i think i'd like it alot more now i've gotten so into Cagney over the past month. Not seen Gaslight.

I saw Gaslight quite awhile ago, but I wasn't that big of a fan
I'm actually surprised that a few films I thought would have came up by now haven't.

Awwww look at the ickle fluffy-wuffy bunny
White Heat is good but it's been a long time since so would have needed a rewatch. Don't believe I've ever seen Gaslight tho' it's been one I keep meaning to get round to. Shock!, horror!, neither made my list

All i know about Gaslight is that the play the movie is an adaptation of is where the term Gaslighting originated from. Been hearing that alot over the past year or so. Think it's definition is probably a good indicator of what the films about;

manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.

I'll kill anyone who get's in the way of me killin
I'll continue praying for your mom, @SilentVamp and hoping that the progress continues.

Quite the excellent list from yesterday and today:

Been ages since I saw Sergeant York, saw it multiple times as a youth. Always remember the barracks scene talking about duck(?) hunting and the best way to do it and then he's in the trenches and using that strategy. Great film that didn't make my list.

Have not seen Cat People and feel I do need to.

Meet Me in St. Louis IS a delightful musical that @Citizen Rules nominated in the Live Musical HoF and one I enjoyed but, sadly, had no room for it on my list. VERY HAPPY to see it on the list.

Leave Her To Heaven sadly got knocked off my list, but I loved Gene Teirney in this one. There's another I love even more that will be on my list and I'm sure will be showing up in, at least, the 30s.

The Devil and Daniel Webster is another from my childhood I haven't seen since, and need to. The trial in the end ALWAYS stuck in my head. And yes, SV, so does that one from The Monkees lol THANKS for the link to revisit that.

Mildred Pierce is really one I've been wanting to and NEED to, but haven't seen yet.

Lady of Shanghai is one that got knocked off my list, but an excellent and wild ride of a noir. The end scene is one of the best around!

Little Foxes is #22 for me and from the First 40s HoF and a great Bette Davis movie, like so many of hers are. She's cold and calculating and the queen of such characters with a fantastic cast backing her up as a squabbling and devious family out to get the best of one another. A must see for anyone wanting to get to know Bette Davis movies.

White Heat James Cagney at his MOST ruthless and, shamefully, I was unable to keep this one on my list.

Gaslight is a great lil suspense thriller, though, at times, for me, it did drag a little, but still, VERY worthwhile!

Seen: 39/60

My List:
#11 Odd Man Out (55)
#16 Now, Voyager (78)
#17 The Suspect (70)
#18 Waterloo Bridge (93)
#21 The Pride of the Yankees (59)
#22 Little Foxes (43)
#24 Gilda (72)
#25 Arch of Triumph (1 Pointer)

I loved both Gaslight and White Heat and the latter made my list.

My list-

#6 The Little Foxes (43)
#9 My Darling Clementine (58)
#11 White Heat (42)
#15 Scarlet Street (73)
#19 The Devil and Daniel Webster (46)
#20 Mildred Pierce (45)
#21 Key Largo (77)
#22 Red River (56)
#24 Pride of the Yankees (59)
#25 Sergeant York (50)