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:
“CROSSFIRE” – ( Edward Dmytryk )
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.
“DARK PASSAGE” – ( Delmer Daves )
“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.
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?
“GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT” – ( Elia Kazan )
“THE HUCKSTERS” – ( Jack Conway )
Move over Greer!!! GABLE’s BACK…and DEBORAH’s GOT HIM! ( And so does AVA. )
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.
“KISS OF DEATH” – ( Henry Hathaway )
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.
“THE MACOMBER AFFAIR” – ( Zoltan Korda )
“NIGHTMARE ALLEY” – ( Edmund Goulding )
“NORA PRENTISS” – ( Vincent Sherman )
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…
“OUT OF THE PAST” – ( Jacques Tourneur )
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” ).
“THE UNFAITHFUL” – ( Vincent Sherman )
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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