Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I'm going to steal Brandon's picture/caption list style for my own here. Party out of laziness, and partly out of a desire to make it more open to discussion. I'd rather get the list out there so we can talk about some of the films on it then try desperately to write the perfect paragraph for each film. Anyway, here's my favorite movies of 1943. There are some good ones here. Feel free to write back if you get a chance, Brandon, and any one else interested:

My love for SHADOW OF A DOUBT and Hitchcock in general should be well known by now. I re-watched this little masterpiece a few weeks ago and was not at all surprised by how much I continue to love it unconditionally. Everything about it is perfect. I was thinking it could almost be a disturbing companion piece to MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS: a sort of alternate vision of that film's idealized domesticity and small town life. Either way, it would make for a great masterpiece double feature.

I think one of the hallmarks of the Lubitsch touch is this uncanny ability to balance dark themes with buoyant whimsy. Lubitsch could bring charm and warmth to any picture, but he also never deterred from contemplating profound and altogether grim issues such as death and eternal remorse. This is one instance where Lubitsch was able to do just that and the result is as deeply moving as it is quietly melancholy.

One of the few directors to rival Hitchcock's genius and thrills was surely Fritz Lang. This is another great anti-nazi thriller from the German master who seemed to be perpetually on fire. To me, this one boasts one of the most satisfying denouements in film history. It's the ultimate case of the long con done to perfection, and damn does it unfold beautifully.

Just might be the crown jewel in the consistently terrific Powell/Pressburger filmography. A tremendous, emotional epic. Unbelievably gorgeous cinematography from Georges Perinal mixed with a stalwart performance from the underrated Roger Livesly. A lengthy film, but worth every second of your time.

Probably the most disturbing picture on this list. An unabashedly devastating look at the horror of mob rule and hopeless injustice. A lot of the classic "message" films pack a mean wallop and this is one of them.

Visconti's gritty version of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE is perhaps the best ever put on screen. Considered to be one of the first neo-realist films, this is a noir story filled with rawness, earthiness, and hard-edged emotional despair.

A landmark serial killer film with a few moments that rival the excruciating tension and nerve-wracking shocks of CAT PEOPLE. Love the first kill scene with the blood seeping underneath the door; it's brutal and beautiful. Another home run for Lewton and Tourneur.

My favorite Stevens film. It's very funny, charming, and it features two of my favorites in Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea. A delightful comedy.

Another great and terrifying film from masters of horror–Lewton and Tourneur. What a year for them. This maybe the most ornately stylish film they made together. The creepiness comes from their incredible attention to atmosphere and chiaroscuro detail. I mean, just look at that picture.

Fear and Loathing in Denmark. A real horror film of sorts about the vicious circle of suspicion, repression, and cruelty.

1. Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock)
2. Heaven Can Wait (Lubitsch)
3. Hangmen Also Die! (Lang)
4. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Powell, Pressburger)
5. The Ox-Bow Incident (Wellman)
6. Ossessione (Visconti)
7. The Leopard Man (Tourneur)
8. The More the Merrier (Stevens)
9. I Walked With a Zombie (Tourneur)
10. Day of Wrath (Dreyer)

HM: Northern Pursuit (Walsh), Sahara (Korda), Le Corbeau (Clouzot), The Seventh Victim (Robson), Cabin in the Sky (Minnelli), The Outlaw (Hughes), Girl Crazy (Taurog), Watch on the Rhine (Shumlin)

The first four films in the honorable mentions slots, I feel very strongly about. They could have easily made the list. I still highly recommend seeing all of them.

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