Sunday, April 21, 2013

101 Cinematic Reasons Why I Love the ‘40s

1. “Rosebud…”
2. “Even as fog continues to lie in the valleys, so does ancient sin cling to the low places, the depressions in the world consciousness.”
3. “Everybody seems to be staring in one direction. People seem to be frightened, even terrified. Some flabbergasted. Can it be true? It must be true. No doubt. The man with the little mustache, Adolf Hitler.”
4. This body of work:

5. The birth of Orson Welles, director.
6. The birth of Elia Kazan, director.
7. The birth of John Huston, director.
8. The birth of Akira Kurosawa, director.
9. The. Birth. Of. Ingmar. Bergman. Director.
10. How Xanadu stays in the same place on screen during the opening shots of Citizen Kane.
11. Homer Parrish showing his love interest how he slowly, tediously prepares for bed.
12. The dawn of this man’s perfect, contoured, conflicted movie-star face:
13. “The cuckoo clock.”
14. The audacity of releasing Mrs. Miniver during the height of WWII.
15. “Is he as cute as you are?” “Nobody is.”
16. Edward G. Robinson’s perfectly imposing Johnny Rocco in Key Largo.
17. “Anybody got a match?”
18. Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp
19. “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”
20. The revolving, kitchen table meal that shows the passage of time.
21. Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend. Acting at its most perfect:
22. The boldness of The Lost Weekend.
23. The hanging-the-bottle-out-of-the-window “trick” in The Lost Weekend.
24. Okay, everything about The Lost Weekend.
25. Lana Turner as Cora Smith
26. “Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake. Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’”
27. “You played it for her, you can play it for me! If she can stand it, I can! Play it!”
28. “Round up the usual suspects.”
29. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
30. “We’ll always have Paris.”
31. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
32. The nerve of The Gentleman’s Agreement. (Seriously, how the hell did this get made in 1947, let alone win Best Picture?)
33. Charlie Chaplin as The Barber
34. The introduction of Harry Lime.
35. Adam Bonner vs. Amanda Bonner
36. “Whatever your dream was, it wasn’t a very happy one, was it? Is there anything I can do to help? You’ve been a long way away. Thank you for coming back to me.”
37. Milly Stephenson tearfully explaining to her daughter how Milly had to fall back in love with her husband, Al, in order to keep her marriage alive.
38. “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
39. Mercedes McCambridge as Sadie Burke in All the King’s Men. Whatta little spitfire.
40. “Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready. And when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise, and livin’ in the houses they build, I’ll be there, too.”
41. Hitchcock’s sneaky cameo in the newspaper ad.
42. The birth of film noir.
43. Examples:










53. Out of the Past: Now and forever, my favorite film noir.
54. The fact that How Green Was My Valley is actually a really solid movie. It’s no Citizen Kane, but it’s solid.
55. “‘Holly,’ what a silly name.”
56. Best Actress, 1941 (which, incidentally, should’ve been Best Actress, 1940, but oh well)
57. Best Screenplay, 1943
58. Best Picture, Director, Actor, Screenplay, 1945
59. Best Supporting Actor, 1946
60. Best Cinematography (Color), 1947
61. Greer Garson’s Oscar acceptance speech for Mrs. Miniver, which is still the longest in history.
62. The opening strangulation scene of Rope:
63. The 10 shots that make up Hitchcock’s Rope.
64. The latent yet unspoken homosexuality of Rope.
65. “Love is the hardest thing in the world to write about. It’s so simple. You’ve got to catch it through details…”
66. The… notoriously long kiss between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
67. Disney flexing its finest:
68. Seriously, have you seen The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad? It’s amazing.
69. The final train scene in Shadow of a Doubt.
70. The twists, turns, back flips and hula-hoops of Double Indemnity.
71. The final, miraculous, patient shot of The Third Man:
72. Really, Every. Single. Thing. About Robert Krasker’s contribution to The Third Man.
73. Cary Grant feverishly cleaning up “black sand” from the floor of a wine cellar.
74. How one little film makes the seemingly minor crime of stealing a bicycle into the worst thing imaginable.
75. The obsession surrounding the characters in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
76. “One thing I can't stand, it’s a dame that’s drunk.”
77. This: 
78. This:
79. And, lest we forget, this:
80. (Better throw this in there too):
81. “Oh, Walter, you’re wonderful – in a loathsome sort of way.”
82. The fact that Brief Encounter is the shortest film of David Lean’s career.
83. The fact that Brief Encounter will forever be my favorite David Lean film.
84. (Great Expectations is damn fine as well.)
85. “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”
86. Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson. Whoa.
87. Rita Hayworth as Gilda. Whoa.
88. Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra. Whoa:
89. Susan Hayward as Angie Evans. Whoa.
90. Is The Lady from Shanghai Welles’ second best film? His third? His best…?
91. The perfection that is Ozu’s Late Spring.
92. “Who’s on first?”
93. How pleasantly against-type James Cagney is in Yankee Doodle Dandy.
94. Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig
95. “The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.”
96. “It’s Mrs. Danvers. She’s gone mad. She said she’d rather destroy Manderley than see us happy here.”
97. “What’s wrong with you?” “Nothing you can’t fix.”
98. “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”
99. “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
100. “Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”
101. “Throw that junk.”

‘40s Answers
1. Citizen Kane
2. Cat People
3. To Be or Not to Be
11. The Best Years of Our Lives
12. Robert Mitchum
13. The Third Man
15. The Big Sleep
17. To Have and Have Not
18. My Darling Clementine
19. To Have and Have Not
20. Citizen Kane
25. The Postman Always Rings Twice
26.-31. Casablanca
33. The Great Dictator
34. The Third Man
35. Adam’s Rib
36. Brief Encounter
37. The Best Years of Our Lives
38. The Pride of the Yankees
40. The Grapes of Wrath
41. Lifeboat
43. Shadow of a Doubt
44. Murder, My Sweet
45. Laura
46. The Big Sleep
47. The Killers
48. The Postman Always Rings Twice
49. Notorious
50. Out of the Past
51. The Lady from Shanghai
52. Stranger on the Third Floor
55. The Third Man
56. Suspicion
57. Casablanca
58. The Lost Weekend
59. The Best Years of Our Lives
60. Black Narcissus
65. The Lost Weekend
66. Notorious
73. Notorious
74. The Bicycle Thieves
76. Key Largo
77.-79. The Red Shoes
80. Black Narcissus
81. His Girl Friday
85. White Heat
86. Double Indemnity
87. Gilda
88. Caesar and Cleopatra
89. Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman
92. The Naughty Nineties
94. The Pride of the Yankees
95. The Maltese Falcon
96. Rebecca
97. The Big Sleep
98. Naked City
99. Casablanca
100. The Great Dictator
101. Citizen Kane 

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  1. One of my favorite pieces of yours. Easily. Even as it involves those images of films by Powell and Pressburger.

  2. It's posts like this that make me kind of hate you a little bit Alex - this is how I want to write a blog. Your wealth of knowledge on all things cinema seems unparalleled. And where do you find the time to make lists of 101 things? Damn good post dude, as always. Sigh.

    1. Ha shit, you're too funny Jay. I dunno man, for these posts, I kind of just sit down and write the first 101 things that pop into my head. Glad you dig it!

    2. I was going to say just the same as Jay. How can you just sit down and write 101 things you love about the 40s? I probably haven't even seen more than 40 movies from the 40s - although I'd love too. Sofia from Film Flare states it's her favourite cinematic decade as well, so I'd better go watching.
      Anyway, love The Third Man, Casablanca and especially Shadow of a Doubt, my favourite Hitchcock movie so far.

    3. Ha, well, I just love movies. No matter the decade or country or running time or whatever. The '40s was an excellent decade, for American film in particular. Shadow of a Doubt is CLASSIC Hitch. Glad you're a fan of that one.

  3. Brilliant post (again)! There's just so much to love here man. Casablanca, film noir, Citizen Kane, Hitchcock, Powell/Pressburger... Great stuff.

    1. I really do appreciate you coming back and commenting on all these reposts. It means a lot to me! So glad you like the list.

    2. No problem man. LOVE the list. :)

  4. Did you ever see The Life & Death of Col. Blimp? Did so recently and it echoed the same sort of stuff as Tokyo Story, Ikiru and Wild Strawberries. Check it out, if you can ever find the time ;P

    1. Oh, I totally agree. Definitely echoes of all of those great films. Shit, I need to watch it again now!