1944 in Review


Nominees that didn’t make it:
5. Wilson-another effing biopic…IN COLOR
4. Since You Went Away-the longest movie in the world, but Colbert!
3. Going My Way-corny but could’ve been worse (that’s the sequel’s job)

For Twitter length reviews click here

47. The Great Sacrifice
Well, it’s pretty, but also…Nazis. (And not in the Kautner way.)
Favorite Moment: Masquerade.
46. The Most Beautiful
Bullshit, but it sort of cares, and that matters.
Favorite Moment: Opening.
45. Another Dawn
Another Mexican melodrama. Nice lighting, though.
Favorite Moment: Train station final.
44. Dark Waters
Typical enjoyable De Toth hokiness.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
43. Army
Decent enough propaganda.
Favorite Moment: Tanaka stares at the crowd.
42. Woman of the Mountains
Had subtitle issues but this didn’t strike me as anything other than quaint.
Favorite Moment: Funeral procession.
41. Three Caballeros
A stoner package epic.
Favorite Moment: Crazy climax.
40. Tall in the Saddle
Amusing Wayne Western in the post-Stagecoach days.
Favorite Moment: Stagecoach speeds up.
39. Twilight
Standard French drama, the kind Cahiers overhated.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
38. The Seventh Cross
Discussed here. Interesting, but that VO is annoying.
Favorite Moment: Sight of the camps.
37. When Strangers Marry
Amusingly dumb.
Favorite Moment: Lion mask.
36. Wing and a Prayer
Like a parody of Hollywood propaganda.
Favorite Moment: Flight scenes.
35. None Shall Escape
Admirably tense despite hokey nature.
Favorite Moment: The “tolerated” speech, followed by gunshots.
34. Woman in the Window
Has two great sequences and a lot of talking.
Favorite Moment: Cake.
33. Jane Eyre
Pretty, and has Welles, but otherwise just sort of there.
Favorite Moment: Jane peeking at Edward.
32. None But the Lonely Heart
Strained and overlong, but ending hits hard.
Favorite Moment: Barrymore’s breakdown.
31. Christmas Holiday
Hilariously cynical despite that title.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
30. The Suspect
Siodmak’s half assing it a bit compared to Phantom Lady. Fun but frivolous.
Favorite Moment: Laughton and the lights.
29. Ministry of Fear
Some great setpieces with less interesting connective tissue.
Favorite Moment: Paranoia and a shot in the dark.
28. The Uninvited
Sort of amusingly Gothic, mostly just thin and cliched in a charming way.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
27. Maria Candelaria
Odd Palme winner, but 11 films won that year, and it’s a fun melodrama.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
26. Cover Girl
God, this is pretty. And so is Gene Kelly.
Favorite Moment: Dancing with oneself.
25. It Happened Tomorrow
Everything enjoyable and predictable about Clair…emphasis on predictable.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
24. Went the Day Well
An odd alternative history that’s rooted in propaganda.
Favorite Moment: Invasion.
23. Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks
Downright Lynchian in its lack of affect.
Favorite Moment: Gambling.
22. This Happy Breed
A bit too epic, but well acted all around, and enjoyably droll.
Favorite Moment: The dance.
21. Gaslight
Discussed here. Never got the appeal really, but it’s fun.
Favorite Moment: The light gets turned down.

For my Top 20 of 1944 click here.

BEST ACTING (Finalists in bold)
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actor):
N/A. Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way-see Supporting
4. Bing Crosby, Going My Way-flat and bland
3. Cary Grant, None But the Lonely Heart-desperate to show off

Nominees that didn’t make it (Actress):
5. Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington-stupid attempts at camp
4. Bette Davis, Mr. Skeffington-what some people like to accuse Baby Jane of being

Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actor):
5. Monty Woolley, Since You Went Away-the Pied Piper in a 3 hour epic
4. Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way-a silly stereotype
3. Hume Cronyn, The Seventh Cross-friendly and that’s it

Nominees that didn’t make it (S. Actress):
5. Jennifer Jones, Since You Went Away-strained and false

Hans Alberts, Great Freedom No. 7
Dana Andrews, Laura
Charles Boyer, Gaslight-a bit much, but works on the Gothic level
Eddie Bracken, Hail the Conquering Hero
Cary Grant, Arsenic and Old Lace
Alexander Knox, Wilson-amusing and real
Fred MacMurray, Double Indemnity
Ray Milland, Till We Meet Again
Dick Powell, Murder My Sweet
Franchot Tone, Phantom Lady
Charles Vanel, Woman Who Dared

Tallulah Bankhead, Lifeboat
Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight-slightly stiff, as befits her role
Barbara Britton, Till We Meet Again
Ann Carter, Curse of the Cat People
Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away-the one great constant over three fucking hours
Irene Dunne, Guy Named Joe
Maria Felix, Dona Barbara
Judy Garland, Meet Me in St. Louis
Marsha Hunt, None Shall Escape
Betty Hutton, Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
Celia Johnson, This Happy Breed
Ella Raines, Phantom Lady
Madeleine Renaud, Woman Who Dared
Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity-rotten…or not, but she’s getting there
Gene Tierney, Laura
Mai Zetterling, Torment

William Bendix, Lifeboat
Elisha Cook Jr., Phantom Lady
Henry Daniell, Jane Eyre
William Demarest, Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
John Hodiak, Lifeboat
Stig Jarrel, Torment
Van Johnson, Guy Named Joe
Raymond Massey, Arsenic and Old Lace
Mike Mazurki, Murder My Sweet
Vincent Price, Laura
Claude Rains, Mr. Skeffington
Edward G. Robinson, Double Indemnity
Konstantin Shayne, Till We Meet Again
Walter Slezak, Lifeboat
Raymond Walburn, Hail the Conquering Hero
Clifton Webb, Laura

Dorothy Adams, Laura
Judith Anderson, Laura
Mary Astor, Meet Me in St. Louis
Ethel Barrymore, None But the Lonely Heart-saves her best for last
Gladys Cooper, Mrs. Parkington
Julia Dean, Curse of the Cat People
Hilde Hildebrand, Great Freedom No. 7
Josephine Hull, Arsenic and Old Lace
Angela Lansbury, Gaslight-unnerving if thin
Diana Lynn, Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
Aline MacMahon, Dragon Seed-the closest thing to humanity among the yellowface
Marjorie Main, Meet Me in St. Louis
Agnes Moorehead, Mrs. Parkington-silly but makes it work for herself
Elizabeth Russell, Curse of the Cat People
Anne Shirley, Murder My Sweet
Claire Trevor, Murder My Sweet
Kay Walsh, This Happy Breed
Lucile Watson, Till We Meet Again

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