Tuesday, March 30, 2021

5 Off My Head: Siri Says 1948

I'm just gonna say this right off the bat -- I have a terrible batting average with the year that Siri gave me for this week's edition of our "Siri Says" game. Just terrible. I've seen so little! It would make sense if we were talking about the early 1920s here, but today when I asked Siri for a number between 1 and 100 she gave me the number "48" and so we're talking about The Movies of 1948. I have no excuse for seeing so few movies from 1948. I suppose my indifference to Noir, which has come up before, is part of it, as we're in the thick of that genre in 1948. But some of my favorite movie stars are working -- Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck... 

... well okay I've seen both of Stanwyck's films from this year; I'm not a total sociopath. (They both made the "runner-up" list below.) But otherwise it's just a poor, poor showing on my part., so you'll all have to work overtime in the comments to tell me what I should prioritize. (Not that that's unique, exactly.) But first...

My 5 Favorite Movies of 1948
(dir. Powell & Pressburger)
-- released on September 6th 1948 --

(dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
-- released on September 25th 1948 --

(dir. Howard Hawks)
-- released on September 17th 1948 --

(dir. John Huston)
-- released on January 24th 1948 --

(dir. Vittorio De Sica)
-- released on November 21st 1948 --


Runners-up: The Big Clock (dir. John Farrow), The Search (dir. Fred Zinnemann), Key Largo (dir. Huston), They Live By Night (dir. Nicholas Ray), BF's Daughter (dir. Robert Z. Leonard), Sorry Wrong Number (dir. Anatole Litvak)

Never seen: The Snake Pit (dir. Litvak), Johnny Belinda (dir. Jean Negulesco), Joan of Arc (dir. Victor Fleming), I Remember Mama (dir. George Stevens), Drunken Angel (dir. Kurosawa), Moonrise (dir. Borzage), Hamlet (dir. Laurence Olivier)...

... La Terra Trema (dir. Visconti), The Naked City (dir. Jules Dassin), The Pirate (dir. Vincente Minnelli), A Foreign Affair (dir. Billy Wilder), Macbeth (dir. Welles), Letter From an Unknown Woman (dir. Max Ophüls), Oliver Twist (dir. David Lean)


What are your favorites from 1948?


Shawny said...

The red shoes is so vividly gorgeous, but a bit painful in its misogyny. Rope is good but a little tiresome with the witty repartee squeezed into a suffocating set. I’d say Treasure of Sierra Madre is my favorite. There’s a greatly diverse cast of unique characters, and Bogey really took himself to an extreme. But the sting of the wicked ending is my favorite.

DCameron said...

You have GOT to see Letter From an Unknown Woman!

joel65913 said...

I have once again gotten carried away, but I love these posts and when you hit on a year that’s a favorite, I cannot help myself!!

Your first four are fine films that all make my runner-up list but sorry to say I hate, hated Bicycle Thieves so very much. As much as I love Missy Stanwyck I didn’t care much for BF’s Daughter, but your other runners-up are terrific.

How is it possible you have never seen The Pirate when you know Gene Kelly dances around in those short shorts? It’s a weird, sort of crazy film but definitely worth seeing. The Snake Pit is very dated in its attitudes towards treatment of mental illness, but Olivia de Havilland is great in it and that alone makes it a must see. I found I Remember Mama a puerile glug fest that you would have to tie me to a chair to watch again. I adore Ingrid Bergman but Joan of Arc is a plodding disappointment. There’s also Portrait of Jennie which I struggled through because of my aversion to Jennifer Jones but if you don’t find her as risible as I do it has some lovely things in it.

joel65913 said...

The 40’s are my favorite film decade, and this year is loaded with gold. Only a top 5 is an impossibility!! I have a top ten, an eleven to twenty and runners-up.

1 The Fallen Idol-Taut drama directed by Carol Reed of a boy whose idolization of a butler (Ralph Richardson) is challenged when he witnesses an accident involving him.

2 The Velvet Touch-Sleek murder drama set on Broadway with Rosalind Russell as a stage star in a spot, a great Claire Trevor as her rival and a very amusing Sydney Greenstreet as the detective on the case.

3 Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House-Pure bliss with Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas.

4 Romance on the High Seas-Doris Day’s screen bow is a candy-colored frolic of miscommunication, mistaken identity and wonderous music.

5 Unfaithfully Yours-Eccentric conductor Rex Harrison is sure gorgeous wife Linda Darnell is unfaithful to him and through three symphonies he imagines ways to dispatch her and her supposed lover.

6 Night Has a Thousand Eyes-A phony spiritualist (Edward G. Robinson) suddenly gains real powers of second sight and tries to prevent a tragedy from befalling a young heiress (Gail Russell). Trim B with a great EGR performance.

7 Drunken Angel-A reprobate doctor and a hotheaded hood form a strange bond. Prime Kurosawa.

8 Letter from an Unknown Woman-A cad receives the title missive which leads him to reexamine his life. Heavy with style and perhaps Joan Fontaine’s best performance.

9 June Bride-A delightful change of pace for Bette Davis as a fashion editor who travels to the Midwest for a summer wedding in the dead of winter with old flame and sparring partner Robert Montgomery and her crew including Fay Bainter and Mary Wickes!

10 State of the Union-Tracy and Hepburn in a political comedy/drama with a snake like Angela Lansbury practically stealing the show.

joel65913 said...

11 Family Honeymoon-A long time bachelor (Fred MacMurray) marries a widow with three kids who raise hell on their honeymoon while his old girlfriend (the divine Rita Johnson) schemes behind Claudette’s back.

12 Larceny-Tight crime drama with a very young, very thin and very troublesome Shelley Winters as the fly in the plot’s ointment.

13 The Saxon Charm-Great cast (Susan Hayward, Audrey Totter, John Payne, Harry Morgan and Montgomery again as the jackass Broadway producer of the title.

14 The Big Clock

15 A Date with Judy-Cute musical with Jane Powell and a teenage Elizabeth Taylor. One warning for some reason the Technicolor leans heavily towards orange.

16 Sitting Pretty-A perfect comic vehicle for the special brilliance of Clifton Webb, as a fussy genius with an ego the size of the planet and a withering tongue.

17 Easter Parade

18 Fort Apache-A big Western with a noble John Wayne, Henry Fonda as a martinet, a teenage Shirley Temple as a character named Philadelphia and her first husband John Agar as her beau.

19 Miranda-Delightful fantasy (surely an inspiration for Splash) of a minx of a mermaid who comes onto land with a bewitching Glynis Johns in the lead.

20 Open Secret-A young couple come to visit an old friend of the husband, find him missing and come to discover anti-Semitism plays a strong hand in his disappearance.


Act of Violence

Against the Wind-A decent spy story with the added benefit of Simone Signoret in the cast!

All My Sons
Anna Karenina

Apartment for Peggy-This has an adorably young William Holden.

April Showers
Berlin Express
Embraceable You
Force of Evil
A Foreign Affair
Hollow Triumph
If You Knew Susie
Johnny Belinda
Julia Misbehaves
Key Largo
The Loves of Carmen

Moonrise-A beautiful mood piece with fantastic cinematography that takes full advantage of Gail Russell’s pensive loveliness.

The Naked City
Oliver Twist
The Pirate
Raw Deal
Red River
The Red Shoes

Road House-Ida Lupino is a been around torch singer in the title joint with Richard Widmark & Cornel Wilde fighting over her while Celeste Holm pines on the sidelines.


Sign of the Ram-This was an attempted comeback for Susan Peters, a promising young actress (she had been Oscar nominated for Random Harvest) who had been paralyzed in a shooting accident. She plays a seemingly kind wheelchair bound woman who is viciously evil. Her disability adds an extra layer to the story. Unfortunately, her health failed, she struggled along for a few years but succumbed to kidney disease complicated by anorexia in 1952 aged only 31.

Sleeping Car to Trieste
So Evil My Love
Sorry, Wrong Number
The Street with No Name
That Wonderful Urge
They Live by Night
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The Walls of Jericho-It took me years to find this and some of it is the purpliest melodrama but it’s highly entertaining with a head spinning cast including Anne Baxter, Kirk Douglas, Ann Dvorak, Cornel Wilde and best of all Linda Darnell as Kirk’s grasping wife with the fabulous name Algeria Wedge!

When My Baby Smiles at Me
A Woman’s Vengeance

Jason Adams said...

Never ever apologize for being so thorough, Joel! I come have back to your comments time and time again for help in finding things to watch. You're a joy, thank you!

Sidenote: I didn't have a spot to mention this in the post but the Criterion Channel is adding Frank Borzage's MOONLIGHT to their line-up in April and I can't wait to see it, I really adore everything Borzage.

Anonymous said...

I have to know what the last black and white image is from? That guy is so hot.

Pierce said...

Anna Karenina, far better than it gets credit for being.
Another Part of the Forest, prequel to The Little Foxes
Bicycle Thieves, one of the greatest movies ever made
Easter Parade, a treat!
Fort Apache, superb Western
Hamlet, one of the best Shakespeare adaptations
I Remember Mama, worth seeing for Irene Dunne’s performance
Joan of Arc, talky, but beautifully photographed.
Johnny Belinda, Jane Wyman’s Oscar winning performance
Key Largo, great acting in a very fine movie!
Macbeth, surprisingly good, low-budget production
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, a must-see for anyone buying a houe
Oliver Twist, David Lean’s great film of Dickens’ novel
Portrait of Jennie, lovable romantic drama.
Red River, outstanding Western
The Red Shoes, one of the best uses of Technicolor ever!
Rope, Hitchcock’s low-key psychological drama
Sitting Pretty, hilarious, with a fine performance by Clifton Webb
Sorry, Wrong Number, smart, exciting thriller

RE your never seen list - Why would you want to see The Snake Pit? Johnny Belinda is tough to sit through, but Wyman is marvelous in it. Joan of Arc is talky, but it's beautifully photographed and Bergman is marvelous. I Remember Mama, see above.Hamlet, see above, Oliver Twist, see above

Jason Adams said...

"I have to know what the last black and white image is from? That guy is so hot."

Anon -- that image is from Luchnio Visconti's film La Terra Trema; the "actor" is Antonio Arcidiacono, although he wasn't actually an actor -- he was a real fisherman that Visconti found in Sicily. The whole film stars non-professionals. But god did he find the most beautiful man for his star.

luiz said...

Letter from an Uknown Woman and Portrait of Jennie are two must-sees from this year!