Tag Archives: 1940s

Hold Back the Dawn (1941) Mitchell Leisen, Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard, Drama, Romance

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
Told in flashback from a preface in which the main character visits Paramount to sell his story! Romanian-French gigolo Georges Iscovescu wishes to enter the USA. Stopped in Mexico by the quota system, he decides to marry an American, then desert her and join his old partner Anita, who’s done likewise. But after sweeping teacher Emmy Brown off her feet, he finds her so sweet that love and jealousy endanger his plans.

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Boule de suif / Angel and Sinner (1945) Christian-Jaque, Micheline Presle, Berthe Bovy, Louise Conte, Drama

Boule de suif (1945)
This film is an adaptation of two stories by Guy de Maupassant, Tallow Ball and Mademoiselle Fifi. The trip by stagecoach to a frightened group of inhabitants of Rouen. The girl said Rousset, “suet ball” makes them a signal service, she encounters their stupidity and their sufficiency. Later, “suet ball” kills the dreaded Prussian lieutenant that his friends had nicknamed Fifi and shamelessly spread his love of plunder and his sadistic inclinations. It is a very patriotic film, directed to the liberation of France and is far from being detached from the context.

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Dragon Seed (1944) Harold S. Bucquet, Jack Conway, Katharine Hepburn, Walter Huston, Aline MacMahon, Drama, History, War

Dragon Seed (1944)
Ling Tang and his family live on his prosperous farm in rural Southern China and have not yet felt the impact of the Japanese invasion in the North. Tang’s two oldest sons, Lao Ta Tan and Lao Er Tan are married and hard working while youngest son Lao San Tan remains a free spirit. Er’s wife Jade is also willfully unconventional and desires to exercises her literacy skills by reading books, a most unfeminine practice in 1930’s China. Tang’s only daughter is married to Wu Lien, a city merchant who profits from selling Japanese goods. When the dreaded invasion reaches their village, the family is scattered as the sons join the resistance while Wu Lien survives by collaborating with the enemy.

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No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948) St. John Legh Clowes, Jack La Rue, Hugh McDermott, Linden Travers, Crime, Drama

No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948)
John Blandish is worth $100 million. His heiress daughter is soon to be wed to Foster Harvey, who believes she’s a cold, unfeeling woman, despite loving her. Her cold emotional state is in large part due to leading a restricted life. A low level thug named Johnny overhears their secret wedding night plans, and peddles the idea of robbing her of the $100,000 worth of diamond jewelry with which she will be adorned to two groups of his gangster acquaintances, who are in competition with each other. The robbery doesn’t go quite according to plan, with Miss Blandish ultimately being kidnapped and held under the eye of Slim Grisson, the heir apparent as head of the violent Grisson gang, currently run by Ma Grisson. Kidnapping holds higher risk but possible greater reward as everyone figures they can get at least $1 million for her. Ma has no plans of letting her go, killing her after getting the money.

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Blossoms in the Dust (1941) Mervyn LeRoy, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Felix Bressart, Biography, Drama, Romance

Blossoms in the Dust (1941)
Edna marries Texan Sam Gladney, operator of a wheat mill. Edna discovers by chance how the law treats children who are without parents and decides to do something about it. She opens a home for foundlings and orphans and begins to place children in good homes, despite the opposition of “conservative” citizens, who would condemn illegitimate children for being born out of wedlock. Eventually Edna leads a fight in the Texas legislature to remove the stigma of illegitimacy from birth records in that state, while continuing to be an advocate for homeless children.

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Macadam / Back Streets of Paris (1946) Jacques Feyder, Marcel Blistène, Françoise Rosay, Andrée Clément, Simone Signoret, Crime, Drama

Macadam (1946)
Madame Rose runs a seedy hotel in a suburb of Paris. Strong-minded but without the least moral scruple, she once killed her husband whose honesty was a hindrance to her business. Under a suspended sentence, she now indulges in smuggling. One day, Victor, one of her former accomplices hounded by the police, finds sanctuary with her. During a drinking spree, he has the bad idea to entrust to her a suitcase filled with bank notes, a loot with which Victor hopes to rebuild his life in South America. But Rose, lured by temptation, betrays Victor, who is arrested by the police. However, he manages to escape with only one thing in mind, to take revenge on Rose…

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