Tag Archives: 1940s

Haha wa Shinazu / Mother Never Dies (1942) Mikio Naruse, Takako Irie, Yukiko Todoroki, Ichirô Sugai, Drama

Haha wa Shinazu (1942)
The story begins in 1929 with Sugai (Sugai Ichiro) losing his job in the stock- market crash. He works his way up, over the course of the narrative, from mirror-cleaner in a barber shop, to cleaning product salesman, to mechanic (he studies at night), to inventor, to company president. At this second-to-last stage, when his boss offers him money for his patent, he declines, saying that he did it for the good of the country and for his wife’s memory. He receives enough money for her gravestone but eventually is given a factory to run, and eventually a whole company.

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Farrebique ou Les quatre saisons (1946) Georges Rouquier, Documentary

Farrebique ou Les quatre saisons (1946)
Farrebique, the first feature-length effort of French documentary filmmaker Georges Rouqier, is widely regarded as his finest film. Rouqier concentrates on a single French farm family, following them through the four seasons. As in the works of Robert Flaherty, the human characters and the land surrounding them are “one”, and Rouqier never misses an opportunity to parallel their lives with the eons-old phases of nature. The final symbolic images of Spring, achieved through time-lapse photography, are almost unbearably beautiful. The winner of several festival awards, Farrebique nonetheless did not immediately result in an outpouring of financing for Rouqier’s follow-up films (this was a common problem in the financially strapped French film industry of the 1940s). Perhaps as a result, Rouqier did not make his sequel, Biquefarre (filmed in the same region, with some of the same “actors”), until 1983.

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Enemy of Women (1944) Alfred Zeisler, Claudia Drake, Wolfgang Zilzer, Donald Woods, Drama, War

Enemy of Women (1944)
Young Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, an unsuccessful playwright, is forced, in order to support himself, to take a position as tutor in the household of Herr Quandt. His first attempt to force himself upon women comes when he becomes interested in a young actress, Maria Brandt, daughter of Colonel Brandt at whose home he is lodging. He is driven from the house by Colonel Brandt. That night, acting as an usher for a meeting of the new German Socialist Party, Goebbels hears Hitler speak, and becomes an ardent follower. He is made propaganda head, becomes known as the “Scoundrel of Berlin”, and his machinations strike terror into the hearts of innocent girls. Maria Brandt, who is working as a bit player in a theatre in Hannover, again meets Goebbels. Through his efforts, although unknown to her, Maria is made an overnight star. He then procures a contract for her at the famous UFA studios of Berlin. Maria, who has become interested in a young doctor, Hans Traeger, shuns Goebbels’ attentions.

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Ladri di biciclette / Bicycle Thieves (1948) Vittorio De Sica, Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Gino Saltamerenda, Drama

Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Ricci, an unemployed man in the depressed post-WWII economy of Italy, gets at last a good job – for which he needs a bike – hanging up posters. But soon his bicycle is stolen. He and his son walk the streets of Rome, looking for the bicycle. Ricci finally manages to locate the thief but with no proof, he has to abandon his cause. But he and his son know perfectly well that without a bike, Ricci won’t be able to keep his job.

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Spellbound (1945) Alfred Hitchcock, Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Film-Noir, Mystery, Romance

Spellbound (1945)
The head of the Green Manors mental asylum Dr. Murchison is retiring to be replaced by Dr. Edwardes, a famous psychiatrist. Edwardes arrives and is immediately attracted to the beautiful but cold Dr. Constance Petersen. However, it soon becomes apparent that Dr. Edwardes is in fact a paranoid amnesiac impostor. He goes on the run with Constance who tries to help his condition and solve the mystery of what happened to the real Dr. Edwardes.

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Rope (1948) Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Rope (1948)
Brandon and Philip are two young men who share a New York apartment. They consider themselves intellectually superior to their friend David Kentley and as a consequence decide to murder him. Together they strangle David with a rope and placing the body in an old chest, they proceed to hold a small party. The guests include David’s father, his fiancée Janet and their old schoolteacher Rupert from whom they mistakenly took their ideas. As Brandon becomes increasingly more daring, Rupert begins to suspect.

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Rebecca (1940) Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Film-Noir, Mystery, Drama

Rebecca (1940)
Story of a young woman who marries a fascinating widower only to find out that she must live in the shadow of his former wife, Rebecca, who died mysteriously several years earlier. The young wife must come to grips with the terrible secret of her handsome, cold husband, Max De Winter (Laurence Olivier). She must also deal with the jealous, obsessed Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), the housekeeper, who will not accept her as the mistress of the house.

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