1942 in Review

1942
BEST PICTURE

Nominees that didn’t make it:
10. Kings Row-soap opera prestige
9. Wake Island-bland propaganda
8. The Pied Piper-children and old people, rah

For Twitter length reviews click here

36. China Girl
I have very little to say about this but I enjoyed it.
Favorite Moment: Gene’s entrance.
35. The Glass Key
Sort of a diet precursor to The Big Sleep. Lake is just doing her thing, but it’s not as effective as usual.
Favorite Moment: Opening slap.
34. Syncopation
White people making jazz are boring, but this gets pretty weird in its attempts to acknowledge race relations…
Favorite Moment: The opening scenes with the slaves.
33. Tales of Manhattan
Inconsistent thanks to the different writers, but Duvivier’s charm carries it through.
Favorite Moment: The hunt through the pockets post-comb.
32. The Jungle Book
All you need is some Powell knockoff photography.
Favorite Moment: Kaa.
31. Holiday Inn
What if Fred/Ginger were joined by Bing and the racism of Swing Time calcified?
Favorite Moment: Fireworks dance.
30. Malombra
Enjoyable Gothic melodrama. Like James Whale doing Rebecca.
Favorite Moment: Isa Miranda stares at her bed as the wind blows.
29. Mrs. Miniver
Too long, but has plenty of inspired moments and Garson/Pidgeon are much more interesting than usual.
Favorite Moment: Bombing shelter.
28. Woman of the Year
I think I could have possibly loved this if it wasn’t for one of the worst endings ever. Before that, it’s sexy and fun and Hepburn gets a lot to do.
Favorite Moment: The opening ball game.
27. For Me and My Gal
Corny as hell, but Gene and Judy can make anything fun.
Favorite Moment: The song about France being better than America.
26. Once Upon a Honeymoon
Discussed here.
Favorite Moment: Nazi clock.
25. This Gun For Hire
Could’ve been truly great with a better director. Ladd is pretty great and Lake is having a lot of fun.
Favorite Moment: Lake’s number in the club.
24. Talk of the Town
Discussed here.
Favorite Moment: Opening rainstorm/fire.
23. The Murderer Lives at Number 21
Discussed here.
Favorite Moment: The door slams to the final note of the credits.
22. Gentleman Jim
Flynn is hot, Walsh is enjoying himself, Fight Club is treated as normal and not caffeinated.
Favorite Moment: Final fight.
21. The Major and the Minor
First 12.5 minutes are wonderful, with an all time great Boyer joke. Unfortunately, it all gets to be a bit much, and there’s one scene involving a cigarette that’s going to give me nightmares.
Favorite Moment: Boyer joke.

For my Top 20 of 1942 click here.

BEST ACTING (Finalists in bold)
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actor):
5. Walter Pidgeon, Mrs. Miniver-yawn
4. Monty Woolley, The Pied Piper-the best thing about this but still not a stretch

Nominees that didn’t make it (Actress):
5. Teresa Wright, Pride of the Yankees-I appreciate Pride’s creepy tendencies but this is a bit much
4. Rosalind Russell, My Sister Eileen-Janet Blair is doing much better than her

Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actor):
5. Frank Morgan, Tortilla Flat-the best thing in a racist garbage movie
4. Henry Travers, Mrs. Miniver-not exactly a stretch

Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actress):
5. Dame May Whitty, Mrs. Miniver-what if the weird hamminess of her work in Night Must Fall was transplanted to a wartime prop piece
4. Susan Peters, Random Harvest-a punchline

ACTOR
Jack Benny, To Be Or Not To Be
James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy-goes all in even with a totally positive character
Ronald Colman, Random Harvest-lot of sadness yet very adult about it
Gary Cooper, Pride of the Yankees-manages the do-gooder act well
Tim Holt, Magnificent Ambersons
Bob Hope, Road to Morocco
Viktor de Kowa, We Make Music
Alan Ladd, This Gun For Hire
Ray Milland, Major and the Minor
Joel McCrea, Palm Beach Story
Chishu Ryu, There Was a Father

ACTRESS
Janet Blair, My Sister Eileen
Claudette Colbert, Palm Beach Story
Bette Davis, Now Voyager-the real auteur of this story
Katharine Hepburn, Woman of the Year-gives no fucks about that hideous end
Greer Garson, Mrs. Miniver-a nice, worried lady
Greer Garson, Random Harvest
Veronica Lake, I Married a Witch
Carole Lombard, To Be Or Not To Be
Ginger Rogers, Major and the Minor
Simone Simon, Cat People
Ilse Werner, We Make Music

S. ACTOR
Murray Alper, Saboteur
Sig Arno, Palm Beach Story
William Bendix, Wake Island-the only personality in the propaganda
Ward Bond, Gentleman Jim
Felix Bressart, To Be Or Not To Be
Joseph Cotton, Magnificent Ambersons
Robert Dudley, Palm Beach Story
Vaughan Glaser, Saboteur
Van Heflin, Johnny Eager-philosopher drunk has never been done so well
Paul Henreid, Now Voyager
Walter Huston, Yankee Doodle Dandy-like if Dodsworth did musicals
Otto Kruger, Saboteur
Claude Rains, Now Voyager
Stanley Ridges, To Be Or Not To Be
Rudy Vallee, Palm Beach Story

S. ACTRESS
Mary Astor, Palm Beach Story
Fay Bainter, Woman of the Year
Anne Baxter, Magnificent Ambersons
Gladys Cooper, Now Voyager-brittle and broken and breaking
Dolores Costello, Magnificent Ambersons
Bonita Granville, Now Voyager
Alma Kruger, Saboteur
Diana Lynn, Major and the Minor
Agnes Moorehead, Magnificent Ambersons-full tilt frights
Teresa Wright, Mrs. Miniver-good girl…who stays good

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