Tag Archives: 1940s

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) Max Ophüls, Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Drama, Romance

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In Vienna, about 1900, a dashing man arrives at his flat, instructing his manservant that he will leave before morning: the man is Stefan Brand, formerly a concert pianist, planning to leave Vienna to avoid a duel. His servant gives him a letter from an unknown woman, which he reads. In flashbacks we see the lifelong passion of Lisa Berndle for him: first as a girl who was his neighbor; next as a young woman who, in secret, has his child; then as a mature woman who meets him again and abandons husband and son to be with him. Each time he does not remember who she is or that they have ever met. By morning, he has finished the letter, and her husband awaits satisfaction.
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The Fallen Idol (1948) Carol Reed, Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia Dresdel, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller

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Philippe, a diplomat’s son and good friend of Baines the butler, is confused by the complexities and evasions of adult life. He tries to keep secrets but ends up telling them. He lies to protect his friends, even though he knows he should tell the truth. He resolves not to listen to adults’ stories any more when Baines is suspected of murdering his wife and no-one will listen to Philippe’s vital information.
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Flight for Freedom (1943) Lothar Mendes, Rosalind Russell, Fred MacMurray, Herbert Marshall, Biography, Drama

Flight for Freedom (1943)
Fictionalized biography of Amelia Earhart (here called Tonie Carter). First, a flagwaving preface about air warfare in the Pacific; then flashing back to her first solo flight in 1932; whirlwind romance with sexist ace pilot Randy Britton; advanced training; a transcontinental race; world fame; first, aborted round-the-world flight; and her famous disappearance. This film popularized the theory that Earhart’s disappearance was connected with secret work for the U.S. Navy.
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Native Land (1942) Leo Hurwitz, Paul Strand, Paul Robeson, Fred Johnson, Mary George, Drama, History

Native Land (Paul Strand Leo Hurwitz, 1942)
Paul Robeson narrates a mix of dramatizations and archival footage about the bill of rights being under attack during the 1930s by union busting corporations, their spies and contractors. In dramatizations, we see a farmer beaten for speaking up at a meeting, a union man murdered in a boarding house, two sharecroppers near Fort Smith Arkansas shot by men deputized by the local sheriff, a spy stealing the names of union members, and a dead Chicago union man eulogized. In archival footage we witness police and goons beating lawfully assembled union organizers, and we see men at work and union families at play. The narration celebrates patriotism and democracy.
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Dark Passage (1947) Delmer Daves, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett, Film-Noir, Thriller

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Bogart plays a man convicted of murdering his wife who escapes from prison in order to prove his innocence. Bogart finds that his features are too well known, and is forced to seek some illicit backroom plastic surgery. The entire pre-knife part of the film is shot from a Bogart’s-eye-view, with us seeing the fugitive for the first time as he starts to recuperate from the operation in the apartment of a sympathetic young artist (played by Bacall) for whom he soon finds affection. But what he’s really after is revenge.
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Adam’s Rib (1949) George Cukor, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, Comedy, Drama, Romance

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When a woman attempts to kill her uncaring husband, prosecutor Adam Bonner gets the case. Unfortunately for him his wife Amanda (who happens to be a lawyer too) decides to defend the woman in court. Amanda uses everything she can to win the case and Adam gets mad about it. As a result, their perfect marriage is disturbed by everyday quarrels…
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Without Reservations (1946) Mervyn LeRoy, Claudette Colbert, John Wayne, Don DeFore, Comedy, Romance

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Kit Madden is traveling to Hollywood, where her best-selling novel is to be filmed. Aboard the train, she encounters Marines Rusty and Dink, who don’t know she is the author of the famous book, and who don’t think much of the ideas it proposes. She and Rusty are greatly attracted, but she doesn’t know how to deal with his disdain for the book’s author.
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Il lupo della Sila / The Wolf of the Sila (1949) Duilio Coletti, Silvana Mangano, Amedeo Nazzari, Vittorio Gassman, Drama

Il lupo della Sila aka The Wolf of the Sila (1949)
Returning home after a night of love spent in a woodman’s hut with Orsola, Pietro is arrested by the police for a crime he did not commit. His mother and youngest sister, Rosaria, go to Orsola begging her to provide Pietro with the alibi that will clear him. But Rocco, Orsola’s brother, dreading a family scandal, constrains Orsola to silence. Condemned despite his innocence, Pietro escapes from prison, but the police track him down and kill him, and his mother, before the eyes of Rosaria. Years pass, and one day Rocco stumbles upon a half-frozen young woman lying in the snow. He takes her home and confides her to the care of Orsola. Later, yielding to the pleas of Orsola, Rocco and Rocco’s son, Salvatore, the girl stays on in the house, and Salvatore falls in love with the beautiful stranger, who is careful to keep the family members from learning she is Rosaria, the grown up sister of Pietro seeking revenge for the deaths of her brother and mother.
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