MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 1947

MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 1947

Looking at the past seven years of my favorites for this thread…I see I have a dark streak; I like noirish things. And this year is no different. I’ve seen forty films for this year, more than any year I’ve listed. It was tough to pick just ten ( better make that eleven ) but here they are, with a couple of actors who make repeat appearances:

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“CROSSFIRE” – ( Edward Dmytryk )

( 1947 ) CROSSFIRE

An anti-Semitic soldier kills a man. Soon after, the police and fellow soldiers are after him. Ryan is chilling, Mitchum is cool and Young is understated as the three men linked by this crime. There’s gloriously gloria’d Gloria Grahame as a dance hall girl who actually longs to be the Girl a soldier comes home to. Also Jacqueline White gives a good showing as the wife of a soldier accused of the murder. Dark and grim just like I like it. We watch the dragnet close in around Ryan. Oh Bobby Bobby Bobby ( Ryan ) you don’t make it easy for a girl to love ya. There’s nothing noble and patriotic about his soldier. He’s a killer in a uniform. Funny thing is, I think he went IN like that. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen Johnny come marching home like this.

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“DARK PASSAGE” – ( Delmer Daves )

( 1947 ) DARK PASSAGE

Why am I rooting for an escaped convict from San Quentin? Because it’s Bogart that’s why. He’s got an angel on his side in Lauren Bacall, who believes he’s innocent of killing his wife. She helps him get a new life. The only thing he can’t get around is his wife’s friend, Madge ( played with delicious venom by Agnes Moorehead. ) She’s the fly in the ointment and I love the trouble she stirs. Bogie and Bacall are also at it again. Good chemistry. Good drama. Good ending.
Pondering his future:DARK PASSAGE ( THE END )

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“DESERT FURY” – ( Lewis Allen )

This is one of my favorite movies from one of my favorite years.  Mother and Daughter kind of go for the same man, and a gunsel is in love with his boss. It’s all mixed up in subversive ways and I urge you to check out this movie. What? You don’t believe me? Well then maybe you’ll believe master of film noir, Eddie Muller.

( 1947 ) DESERT FURY          ( 1947A ) DESERT FURY

To quote the film noir aficionado from his book: “Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir“: “Desert Fury is the gayest movie ever produced in Hollywood’s golden era. The film is saturated – with incredibly lush color, fast and furious dialogue dripping with innuendo, double entendres, dark secrets, outraged face-slappings, overwrought Miklos Rosza violins. How has this film escaped revival or cult status? It’s Hollywood at its most gloriously berserk.”

The cast includes: Mary Astor, Lizabeth Scott, Burt Lancaster, John Hodiak and introducing Wendell Corey. Well, whaddya waitin’ for?

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“GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT” – ( Elia Kazan )

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It’s one of those “IMPORTANT” pictures that was made in the 40’s tackling an American injustice: anti-Semitism. I always find Gregory Peck’s sincerity appealing. ( His duel-in-the-sun-bad-boy portrayal touches a different nerve. ) Here, he fights the good fight from the inside; he’ll say he’s Jewish and write an article about this insidious ism. He has two women to contend with who love him. One’s a career girl ( Celeste Holm who wins an Oscar for this ),  cheer-leading his efforts. The other one is a Society girl ( Dorothy McGuire ), who may not even recognize her own tacit prejudices. Very well done. And not too preachy.

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“THE HUCKSTERS” – ( Jack Conway )

 Move over Greer!!! GABLE’s BACK…and DEBORAH’s GOT HIM! ( And so does AVA. )

( 1947 ) HUCKSTERS

I can’t explain why I like this movie so much. I find it such an easy watch ( like “A Letter to Three Wives” ) and it feels modern in its indictment of the advertising game and selling “soap” to the American public. You know very well we can be sold anything. Will Gable compromise his principles for the Almighty Buck? There is a new girl in town ( Hollywood ) the lovely, classy Deborah Kerr. ( You can read a thread dedicated to her here started by the Silver Screen Oasis’ Sue Sue Applegate. ) And then there’s Ava, who loses out again in the love department. The movie’s just put together so well. I love Keenan Wynn and Edward Arnold in this as well.

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“KISS OF DEATH” – ( Henry Hathaway )

( 1947 ) KISS OF DEATH

One of my favorite times for liking Brian Donlevy is in “Kiss of Death.” (“Impact” is the other time). He’s an on the level cop. This is one of the great films noir. Richard Widmark makes an auspicious debut. I don’t know if his ‘dese’ ‘dems’ and ‘dose’ are authentic, but he is definitely a new kinda crazy. (And whatever you do, do not leave your wheelchair-bound moms around him). But my boy in all this is the tried and true hunkalicious: Victor Mature. Here, I love him with his girlfriend ( Coleen Gray ) and two adorable daughters. And I love him in the dark of the night in the thick of things in his fedora and wide lapelled suits. He’s not all testosteroned bravery. He’s tender and loving, but can be tough. ( Isn’t that the perfect combo in a man we want girls? ) He wants to go straight and has to help catch a psychopath. Love how it all plays out. Love watching Victor Mature. No, I don’t ( only ) think he’s  grade-A beefcake. I think he is an under-rated actor. Just see him as Doc Holiday in John Ford’s “My Darling Clementine.” See? What’d I tell you.

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“THE MACOMBER AFFAIR” – ( Zoltan Korda )

( 1947 ) MACOMBER AFAIR

My history with Joan Bennett has been sketchy. I did like her in “Scarlet Street” but I couldn’t quite get a handle on her. Then I saw this at TCM’s film festival. She soared through the roof of my imagination. (“About time,“ I can hear one of my friends say.) What an interesting movie about a marriage. It’s one thing to fall out of love with your spouse, but to lose respect? Uh-oh. It might have been better getting mauled by a lion than face the disdain of Joan Bennett. It’s so nice to have a great white hunter to turn to, and that’s Gregory Peck who walks a fine line between checking out Bennett, and helping Robert Preston regain his self esteem. And let me give a shout-out to Jean Gillie (who I mentioned last year in “Decoy”). She gives a solid performance in a very small role. Potential. She died soon after the movie. The photo above spells it all out. The movie just amazed me. ( See my detailed review of this film for The 1947 Blogathon. )

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“NIGHTMARE ALLEY” – ( Edmund Goulding )

( 1947 ) NIGHTMARE ALLEY

He’s plays Stan Carlisle. Black. Dark. Cynical. Manipulative. We see the rise and fall of Tyrone Power in the best performance of his career. He’s no nice guy here. He’s  an op-portunist, and does what he has to, to get what he wants. He gets tripped up by his own grab for power. Three women in his life perhaps representing pieces of him, or represents where he’s at in his life –  the well-worn beauty of Joan Blondell ( where he’s at ), the youthful innocence of Coleen Gray ( the good inside him ) and the blonde ice queen of Helen Walker ( what he wants to achieve. ) It’s Power’s scenes opposite Walker ( and Taylor Holmes’ break down ) that makes the movie for me. The movie is dark and compelling. Power is more than a pretty face. I can’t look away.

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“NORA PRENTISS” – ( Vincent Sherman )

( 1947 ) NORA PRENTISS - I

I like Ann Sheridan. I see a maturity in her as Nora Prentiss. She’s not a smart alec or brassy or makin’ with the wise-cracks. She’s fallen for a nice guy; a doctor ( Kent Smith ) who’s too weak to make a clean break with his wife, and runs off with Sheridan. Here’s an affair gone wrong and spirals into something not so good. I like the drama and the turn it takes. Ann Sheridan is good. And so is Kent Smith. The final thirty seconds of the movie…

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“OUT OF THE PAST” – ( Jacques Tourneur )

( 1947 ) OUT OF THE PAST

The best film noir ever made. ( Hey…it’s my list. What’s your favorite film noir? ) Mitchum has to find the woman who shot kingpin Kirk Douglas and stole his money. He runs into her in the form of femme fatale Jane Greer, ( and we all know how she builds his gallows. ) Mitchum follows her deep into noir because, baby, he don’t care. So there’s double crosses, fist fights, broken hearts, the pitter patter of Rhonda Fleming’s heavy breathing, and murder. Did I mention it is the best film noir EVER made?

( Come back next week and I’ll show you what a Twitter party looks like when the folks at TCMPARTY talk about “Out of the Past” ).

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“THE UNFAITHFUL” – ( Vincent Sherman )

( 1947 ) UNFAITHFUL

There’s nothing compelling or heart-stopping about this movie.. And I know …it’s sort of a re-make of “The Letter” played out differently. But that’s okay. Ann Sheridan’s in a jam-blackmailed for an affair she’s had while her husband ( Zachary Scott ) served in the war. It gets lonely under that apple tree and I like that that is addressed. It’s a mature drama that’s not tied up in a neat little bow. Besides, I like Ann Sheridan. That’s not enough reason to make it a favorite?

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13 thoughts on “MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 1947

    • Uh oh heeere we go. I woke up the great sleeping bear from the frozen tundras of the Bronx.

      ( 1947 ) “Ghost & Mrs. Muir” – I can’t do Rex. Anybody but Rex. But I do love the score. I have it on iTunes.

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      • Speaking of Rex Harrison, did you ever see THE FOXES OF HARROW, another 1947 film? It’s set in the antebellum south and it stars Rex and Maureen O’Hara and it offers quite a different look at slavery than GONE WITH THE WIND. It was based on a novel by the best-selling African-American historical novelist Frank Yerby, the first of his books to be adapted to film.

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  1. The Foxes of Harrow also has John Stahl. Frank Yerby may have been the best-selling African America novelist of his time. As a writer of sometimes lurid historical romances, he was up there with Samuel Shellebarger and Thomas Costain who’re also frequently filmed. His race was not a secret, but most of his many readers were probably not aware of it.

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  2. Pingback: THE MACOMBER AFFAIR ( 1947 ) | CineMaven's: ESSAYS from the COUCH

  3. Love all your choices except Gentleman’s Agreement. It’s well made and its heart is in the right place but I find it a bit poky and too earnest for it’s own good. Desert Fury is a weird wonderful exercise in noir in color, it’s a pity it is so difficult to find.
    These would be my top 10 for the year more or less in order:

    The Man I Love
    The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
    Dark Passage
    Good News
    They Won’t Believe Me
    Lured
    Out of the Past
    Born to Kill
    Miracle on 34th Street
    Nightmare Alley

    We share some matching titles, Nightmare Alley is so wonderfully dark and to me this is Power’s best work no contest-he’d be my best actor choice for the year. Since the movie tanked on release he didn’t stand a chance of course but he’s amazing. Speaking of amazing that would be Agnes Moorehead in Dark Passage, how she got passed over for a nom for this and yet given one for her much less impactful work the next year in Johnny Belinda is a mystery. And lastly Out of the Past is such a fine example of serendipity, it was never meant to be anything more than another assembly line picture but by the chance of the proper director, cinematography and cast all lining up they were able to create a masterwork.

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    • Hi there again Joel. So you checked out my list for 1947? Thanx! I like your list for 1947 very much, though I’d take off “Miracle on 34th Street.” And again…YES to Agnes Moorehead in “Dark Passage.” Her scene near the end with Bogie just bristled and crackled. She can stand toe-to-toe with anyone. I believe I read they were a little bit considering her to play the Edward G. Robinson part in “The Stranger.” Whew! I’m salivating at that prospect. Tyrone Power…incredible job in “Nightmare Alley” with Helen Walker right there with him, blowing him into dust. As for “Out of the Past” I can’t even talk about that movie intelligently. It’s my favorite and the best film noir ( In My Humblest Opinion ) and Jane Greer…Jane Greer. You know what Joel, looking at your list I see some strong women: Ida Lupino, Shirley Temple, Bacall/Moorehead, June Allyson, Awmigawd “They Won’t Believe Me” is on your list? ( I’ll be writing about that soon. ) Robert Young ( I love him as a cad and an S.O.B. ) has three gals to contend with Hayward, Greer and Rita Johnson. ( I was in love with that horse too! ). Again continuing to look at your list, I see the fantabulous Claire Trevor, Natalie/Maureen and then there’s “Nightmare Alley” with the aforementioned Helen Walker ( oh, and Joan Blondell looking the best she ever did in her entire career; yes and that includes her thinner pixie 30’s look. ) I like your list. ( Hmmm…we weren’t separated at birth, were we? Nahhh. ) ( Were we? )

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