Tuesday, February 14, 2017

5 Off My Head - Siri Says 1941

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Like most of us these days it appears Siri wants to punch some Nazis, and so this morning when I asked her our weekly query - to choose a number between 1 and 100 - she gave me 41, shooting us back to the year 1941, and with it The Movies of 1941

Unfortunately for her Siri over-shot the War and with it Prime Nazi Punching Time a wee bit -- Pearl Harbor didn't hit until December of that year and so the US wasn't in full-propaganda mode yet, and you can see that from this batch of films. The only film really about the overseas conflict is in the runners-up, is British, and was a direct attempt by its director Michael Powell to pressure the US into joining the war. (The movies of 1942, which I previously listed for this series, are a darker batch.)

So anyway this is a surprisingly light selection of films with such dark clouds looming on the horizon - more Barbara Stanwyck than she can shake her gams at! She put out four movies this year and two of them (one co-starring Gary Cooper and one co-starring Henry Fonda) are my absolute faves of hers, while the other two (one co-starring Gary Cooper and, uh, one co-starring Henry Fonda) ain't no stinkers. Oh and there's also what was called the Greatest Movie Ever Made for about six decades. (I always quibbled with that distinction but it's still pretty fine all the same.) And so I give you...

My 5 Favorite Movies of 1941

(dir. Howard Hawks)
-- released on December 31st, 1941 --

(dir. George Waggner)
-- released on December 12th, 1941 --

(dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
-- released on November 14th, 1941 --

(dir. Orson Welles)
-- released on September 5th, 1941 --

(dir. Preston Sturges)
-- released on March 21st, 1941 --

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Runners-up: The Maltese Falcon (dir. John Huston),  Sullivan's Travels (dir. Preston Sturges), Meet John Doe (dir. Frank Capra), Dumbo (dir. Ben Sharpsteen), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (dir. Alexander Hall), Hellzapoppin' (dir. H.C. Potter)...

... Mr. & Mrs. Smith (dir. Alfred Hitchcock), Penny Serenade (dir. George Stevens), 49th Parallel (dir. Michael Powell), You Belong to Me (dir. Wesley Ruggles)

Never Seen: How Green Was My Valley (dir. John Ford)

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What are your favorite movies of 1941?
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6 comments:

Adam said...

If I remember right, 49th Parallel has a couple dudes in their tighty whities. We need more early Best Picture nominees like that and All Quiet on the Western Front with dudes with their pants off.

Eric Leventhal said...

They say that Mr and Mrs Smith is Hitchcock's only comedy, but that just isn't so. North by Northwest is a screwball farce with violence in place of pratfalls. Hold Cary Grant's reactions for a few more frames and substitute Alfred Newman for Bernard Herman and you'd have the most original and engaging comedy of the era.
And although she's playing comedy here, Carol Lombard in is the first "Hitchcock Blonde." Imagine the pictures they would have made

Pierce said...

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is Hitchcock's only comedy (although he intended Psycho to be a comedy, and there's a lot of humor in The Trouble With Harry). In Donald Spoto's Art of Hichcock book, the master says he was just servicing the script in that one. Not seeing How Green Was My Valley isn't that big a deal, although it is a lovely film. It was NOT the best picture of the year. Of course, Citizen Kane was.

Citizen Kane - of course, one of the top five American films of all time!
Dumbo - A beautiful, heartfelt movie.
Maltese Falcon - Bogie, Greenstreet, Lorre and Mary Astor as the bad girl. John Huston's first movie. Delicious.
Wolf Man - Outstanding Universal Horror
Little Foxes - Bette Davis gives one of her richest performances in this Lillian Hellman script.
That Hamilton Woman - Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. What more do you need? Leigh's versatility is on display here!
Ball of Fire - Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck are delightful together.
They Died With Their Boots On - The last of the de Havilland/Flynn collaborations, and an exciting movie.
Great Lie - Bette Davis and Mary Astor together. Terrific Warner Bros. melodrama.
Strawberry Blonde - James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland in a delightful Warner Bros. movie.
Mr. Bug Goes to Town - One of the greatest animated films of all time. Frank Loesser wrote the score. A little gem!
Man Made Monster - Lon Chaney, Jr. has a ball in this ridiculous movie. Great trash!


DCameron said...

Actually, Madeleine Carroll was the first Hitchcock Blonde in 1935's The 39 Steps.

joel65913 said...

This is another of my favorite years! The major allure of Citizen Kane is lost on me, it’s a very good film but overly venerated in my opinion. Love those two Stanwyck films, though her other with Hank Fonda that year, You Belong to Me, I thought was kind of a miss considering it starred them. Suspicion isn’t one of my favorite Hitchcock’s, not bad but a lesser of his work.

My top 5:
The Maltese Falcon-The best movie of the year.
It Started with Eve-Deanna Durbin’s best movie delightfully paired with Charles Laughton.
The Strawberry Blonde-This put Rita Hayworth on the map and she’s adorable but James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland make the emotional impact.
Blues in the Night-Jazz mad drama whose lead female is named Character!
High Sierra-Another big hit for Bogie and you get Ida Lupino too!

This greatly pared down list just scratches the surface of the wealth to be found this year.

Among the Living-Albert Dekker in a dual role costarred with Susan Hayward on her way up and Frances Farmer on her way down and out. Weird and fascinating.
Appointment for Love
Back Street-My favorite of all the versions, yes even the Susan Hayward/Vera Miles cat fest, because of Margaret Sullavan’s beautiful performance in the lead.
Ball of Fire
The Bride Came C.O.D.
Confirm or Deny
Design for Scandal
Dressed to Kill-Contains one of my favorite quotes “The stork that brought you should have been arrested for dope peddling!”
The Feminine Touch-Don Ameche acts like a jackass while wife Rosalind Russell stands patiently while the uber-chic Kay Francis lends superior support.
The Great Lie
Honeymoon for Three
I Wake Up Screaming
Ladies in Retirement
The Lady Eve
The Little Foxes-Evil Bette Davis is sometimes the best Bette Davis
Sullivan’s Travels-How beautiful are Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake together?
That Hamilton Woman
The Sea Wolf-Noir on the high seas with an insane Edward G. Robinson a stressed out Ida Lupino and a hunky John Garfield.
Unholy Partners
When Ladies Meet-Joan Crawford tries to snatch Herbert Marshall from Greer Garson while Robert Taylor and Spring Byington make quips on the sidelines! Soapy but heavenly too.
A Woman’s Face
Ziegfeld Girl-Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Hedy Lamaar & Eve Arden all in one movie what’s not to love?

Anonymous said...

God, The Lady Eve is so good and still so funny even today. Stanwyck was just dynamite and Fonda was so good he made adorable befuddlment look sexy.

Can I also just say that some of these "please veryify you're not a robot" tests go on forever to post my comment? How many pictures must I click on before I'm deemed not a robot?