MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 1948

MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 1948

I’ve seen 33 movies this year. Jane Wyman wins an Oscar. A son helps his father win one too. Sensitive Monty squares off against The Duke. Doris Day begins her box office reign. I enjoy the stag film that is “Command Decision.” Stanwyck is terrorized and I’m traumatized that she cut her hair short. These are my ten favorite films of 1948:

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“ACT OF VIOLENCE” – ( Fred Zinnemann )

( 1948 ) ACT OF VIOLENCE

An unstoppable force. He’s back. And again he gives a chilling performance. Robert Ryan is prac-tically “The Terminator” as he keeps on coming and coming after upright, outstanding model citizen, Van Heflin.

Heflin’s got a good life after the war. A pretty wife, a new baby, a good job. His war record leaves much to be de-sired and Ryan’s injured vet is out to right some wrongs. Take my advice folks, you do not want to get in his way as Ryan tails Heflin over hill and dale.

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“CRY OF THE CITY” – ( Robert Siodmak )

( 1948 ) CRY OF THE CITY

I love these noir police dramas. You’ve got two dark and handsome boyhood pals now on opposite sides of the law. ( No, not hoodlum and priest. ) Victor Mature – the good cop and Richard Conte the bad ( and sexy ) ‘hood. A cat and mouse game I love watching play out. Hope Emerson’s in this. You know her…one of the prison matrons in “Caged.” Well, she’s just as terrorizing in this. Men will have nightmares after seeing her scene with Conte. But hey, Debra Paget’s in this too. Sweet dreams. Good solid drama.

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“I WALK ALONE” – ( Byron Haskin )

( 1948 ) I WALK ALONE

I unabashedly love this paint-by-numbers movie. First off, there’s three great noir icons: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Lizabeth Scott. You’ve got betrayal, theft, betrayal, double crosses, seventeen lost years and betrayal. Throw in the pathos of Wendell Corey and you’ve got all the ingredients of a classic noir drama. (Did I mention betrayal?) Of course you’ve seen this type of film before. But would you stop going to the Museum because you’ve already seen a VanGogh? This movie makes me love the 40’s.

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“LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN” – ( Max Ophuls  )

( 1948 ) LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN

Whose story is this anyway? His or hers. How about this is BOTH their stories, simultaneously? I was stunned for days.

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“NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES” – ( John Farrow )

( 1948 ) NIGHT HAS 1000 EYES

Gail Russell is so haunting ( or is that haunted )…I feel protective of her no matter WHAT movie she’s in. Eddie G. tries to change her fate. You can imagine how THAT goes. It’s a quiet film I love. ( Check out the unsettling “Moonrise” too. Russell’s in that one as well. )

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“PITFALL” – ( Andre deToth )

PITFALL

Why the face palm? Because husband Dick Powell has to come clean to wife Jane Wyatt about his affair with Lizabeth Scott. This taut drama morphs into different territory for this kind of story. It’s suspenseful and not wrapped up in a nice neat little bow. ( 0′ what a tangled web we weave, when first we see Lizabeth Scott and want to give her EVERY thing we cannot afford…)

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“PORTRAIT OF JENNIE” – ( William Dieterle )

( 1948 ) PORTRAIT OF JENNIE

Jennifer Jones has made my list before. This movie is so loving and poignant. Is she real? Did she escape the bonds of Time? Is she a figment of Joseph Cotten’s imagination? Is she Creativity personified. A lot of questions; I don’t really need an answer. I love the film’s gentleness with its characters. There’s Ethel Barrymore and Maude Simmons and Lillian Gish. But of course, it’s Jennifer Jones who’s pivotal to carrying this lovely ghost tale.

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“ROPE” – ( Alfred Hitchcock )

( 1948 ) ROPE

Hitchcock’s in your face with this one. He’s got a murder in the first :10- seconds of the film. He’s got a dinner party with the body in the trunk. He gives the murder weapon to the victim’s father. And… the murderers try to prove how smart they are. But we know better, don’t we. The suspense has me on the edge of my 1948 seat.

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“THE SNAKE PIT” – ( Anatole Litvak )

( 1948 ) THE SNAKEPIT

This movie is surprisingly not heavy as “Caged” is. It’s kind of light in the midst of being serious. And Olivia is riveting to watch. It’s not an easy watch, but we do get to see great character actresses act bonkers. It’s a tender movie. Olivia is great. She’s funny. And we’re vested in her getting well. Leo Genn is wonderfully understanding. ( Oooh look, Ruth Donnelly… )

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“STATE OF THE UNION ” – ( Frank Capra )

( 1948 ) STATE OF THE UNION

Tracy. Hepburn. A very smart political drama. And Angela Lansbury? Oooh, she’s cold as ice as a ruthless magazine editor who wants the White House…and the man IN that White House. A pre-cursor to another candidate?

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4 thoughts on “MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 1948

  1. Well, at least you got PORTRAIT OF JENNIE in there. Doesn’t quite make up for leaving out JANE EYRE and THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR, but we’ll give you points for that and ACT OF VIOLENCE.

    ACT OF VIOLENCE: this film connects with HIGH NOON, STALAG 17, and KILL BILL VOL. 1. The POW angle makes it a sequel to STALAG 17, which came five years later. And the scene where Ryan barges into Heflin’s home looking for him only to find Janet Leigh looks forward to the first full sequence in KBV1 where the Bride goes looking for “Jeannie Bell” and finds her. But what if she’d found Dr. Bell instead? That would have been the scene in ACT OF VIOLENCE.

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    • If I had to choose between “Portrait of Jennie” and “Love Letters” my heart belongs to “Love Letters.” But “…Jennie” is one of the great love stories. Mary Astor in “Act of Violence” – heartbreaker. I like the stream-of-conscious way you connected the dots from film to film. Robert Ryan reminded of “The Terminator.” Unstoppable. Relentless. Thanxx for “following” my blog.

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    • One always sticks one’s neck out when creating lists. But it’s all good. I can only hope it encourages folks to tell me what their favorites are whether they be a decade, a genre or an Actor. Creating a list gives you a bird’s eye view of what your tastes are. I shall be working on a list of 1930’s films as soon as I get a little more 40’s essays under my belt. In looking at what I have so far, I’m woefully less knowledgeable about that decade than I initially thought; and that’s what a snapshot view of making lists can do. It’ll show you what you know or don’t know…and what you like and don’t like. Thanx for weighing in.

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