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:
“ACT OF VIOLENCE” – ( Fred Zinnemann )
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.
“CRY OF THE CITY” – ( Robert Siodmak )
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.
“I WALK ALONE” – ( Byron Haskin )
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.
“LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN” – ( Max Ophuls )
Whose story is this anyway? His or hers. How about this is BOTH their stories, simultaneously? I was stunned for days.
“NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES” – ( John Farrow )
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. )
“PITFALL” – ( Andre deToth )
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…)
“PORTRAIT OF JENNIE” – ( William Dieterle )
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.
“ROPE” – ( Alfred Hitchcock )
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.
“THE SNAKE PIT” – ( Anatole Litvak )
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… )
“STATE OF THE UNION ” – ( Frank Capra )
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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