Tuesday, November 14, 2017

5 Off My Head: Siri Says 1944

I guess we're going to spend the majority of today doused in World War II stuff - I just wished Veronica Lake a happy birthday with 1942's I Married a Witch and I'm planning on writing up my thoughts on the new Winston Churchill bio-pic Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman a little later, and now here for our "Siri Says" series my telephone has gone and given me the number "44" and so it's off the The Movies of 1944 that we cast a glance. And I have to say 1944 isn't glancing me as the greatest year for movies - I only mostly like my Top 5; none of them are really films that I'd demand my lifeless corpse be buried beside, or anything. (Although you could make a case for about two of them.) That said let's take a look...

My 5 Favorite Movies of 1944

(dir. Billy Wilder)
-- released on July 6th 1944 -- 

(dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
-- released on January 28th 1944 -- 

(dir. Gunther von Fritsch)
-- released on March 3rd 1944 -- 

(dir. Lewis Allen)
-- released on February 19th 1944 --

(dir. Otto Preminger)
-- released on October 11th 1944 -- 


Runners-up: Gaslight (dir. Cukor), Since You Went Away (dir. John Cromwell), Arsenic and Old Lace (dir. Capra), To Have and Have Not (dir. Hawks), House of Frankenstein (dir. Erle C. Kenton)

Never seen: Murder, My Sweet (dir. Edward Dmytryk), Henry V (dir.  Filippo Del Giudice), Mr. Skeffington (dir. Vincent Sherman), Going My Way (dir. Leo McCarey), The Lodger (dir. John Brahm), Destination Tokyo (dir. Delmer Daves)


What are your favorite movies of 1944?


Pierce said...

Laura: Excellent, beautifully cast movie. Worth watching again and again.
Gaslight: One of Ingrid Bergman's best.
Since You Went Away: Terrific movie. Shirley Temple's marvelous in it.
Arsenic and Old Lace: Always a genuine treat
To Have and Have Not: Bogie and Bacall. Enough said.
Henry V: Beautiful use of Technicolor and excellent Shakespeare film.
Mr. Skeffington: One of Bette Davis' finest performances
Going My Way: Fine movie with Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald
Between Two Worlds: Haunting film version of Outward Bound
Cover Girl: Terrific musical that shows off Rita Hayworth's dancing talent
Miracle of Morgan's Creek: The best movie Betty Hutton ever did.
National Velvet: Beautiful movie, with fine performances from Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney

I have never seen The Lodger, Destination Tokyo or Curse of the Cat People.

Dave R said...

1944 was such a very, very good year.... loved them all.

Dave R said...

1944 was such a very, very good year.... loved them all.

joel65913 said...

I can’t agree about it being an off year but then the 40’s are my favorite film decade so we’re coming at it from different angles.

I’ll have to do a top 10 with lots of runner-ups!

Top 10:
Lifeboat-LOVE it! Tallulah was robbed of a nomination!!

Between Two Worlds-An intriguing meditation of life and death with a super cast lead by John Garfield, Eleanor Parker, Edmund Gwenn and Sydney Greenstreet.

Since You Went Away-Selznick’s tribute to the women’s part on the Homefront. Jennifer Jones is a weak spot (wasn’t she always) but by and large beautifully acted.

Laura-Where to start? Gene Tierney’s beauty, Dana Andrews’s hunkitude, Vincent Price’s smooth smarminess, Judith Anderson’s refined bitchiness? Wherever you start it all ends with Clifton Webb’s brilliant cattiness.

The Uninvited-Marvelously atmospheric chiller in the best sense of the word. Gail Russell had such an ethereal presence.

Christmas Holiday-Pitch black noir/musical with Deanna Durbin as a prostitute euphemistically called a roadside “hostess” driven to a life on the run to escape the shame brought on her by her psychotic mad killer husband Gene Kelly who has a too fond feeling for mother.

Meet Me in St. Louis-One of Judy Garland’s signature roles, beautiful to look at with the rousing Trolley Song a great centerpiece.

Standing Room Only-Businessman Fred MacMurray and his secretary Paulette Goddard pose as married pair of domestics in wartime Washington DC when the housing shortage leaves them without a place to rest their heads. Amiable comedy.

The Doughgirls- Frenzied comedy looks at the same DC housing shortage from a different perspective. A trio of women suddenly find out they aren’t as married as they thought and all tuck into a hotel room that was supposed to serve as one’s honeymoon suite. Great cast includes Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith and Jane Wyman (I know you’re not a fan but she’s quite fetching here as a borderline idiot) as the three woman who as befits stars of the period no matter what time it is day or night or their economic situation (they’re all supposed to be scraping by!) are dressed to the nines and dripping in eye popping jewelry. They’re all terrific but they don’t stand a chance when Eve Arden swoops in as a Russian commando and steals her scenes without breaking a sweat. Delightful.

My many, many runner-ups in alpha order with perhaps a note or two-

And the Angels Sing-Betty Hutton, Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Lamour, Diana Lynn and lots and lots of wonderful music.

Arsenic and Old Lace

The Conspirators


Give Us the Moon

Going My Way-No way should it have won Best Picture but it is a lovely film with a nice message and an endearing performance from Bing Crosby.

Hail the Conquering Hero

The Halfway House-Another supernatural drama set in England with a more somber feeling than The Uninvited with a 21 year old Glynis Johns playing the daughter of her real life father Mervyn.

Hollywood Canteen

I’ll Be Seeing You

The Lodger-Another atmospheric winner with Laird Cregar outstanding in the lead.

Love Story

Ministry of Fear

The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek

Mr. Emmanuel

Murder, My Sweet-Taut murder mystery which toughened up Dick Powell’s persona and has a great turn from the always magnificent Claire Trevor.

Phantom Lady

Practically Yours

Summer Storm-An early Douglas Sirk film based on Chekov’s The Shooting Party with George Sanders and a ravishing Linda Darnell as a vixen who brings tragedy to all including herself.

The Suspect-First-rate Robert Siodmak directed suspenser with Charles Laughton as a man whose luck might be about to run out.

Up in Mabel’s Room- Surprisingly sprightly low budget comedy with a risqué premise and a game cast.

The Woman in the Window-Not quite up to the level of Scarlet Street but another terrific team up of Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett.

joel65913 said...

Two I didn’t care that much for are Mr. Skeffington with a terribly shrill Bette Davis though Claude Rains is excellent and To Have and Have Not which outside of Bogey & Bacall I found rather turgid. There’s another version of the same Hemingway story made in 1950 with the name changed to The Breaking Point with John Garfield and Patricia Neal which is superior in all departments.

And there are two of the worst movies ever made in this year: Dragon Seed with everyone including Katharine Hepburn in yellow face making fools of themselves! Incredibly bad! Also one of Cary Grant’s two worst movie (the other is The Pride and the Passion)-Once Upon a Time wherein he plays a promoter who is trying to turn a dancing caterpillar (no really!) into the next sensation. Dire doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, whoa, can we back up to Christmas Holiday? A holiday noir/musical?!? With Gene Kelly?!? Never even heard of it but it sounds fascinating.

I love these posts not only for your faves, JA, but for these comments which are always filled with great suggestions I don't hear about otherwise.

Anonymous said...

You've not seen Murder, My Sweet? Stop what you're doing and go watch it now. Actually, wait until dark then watch it.