MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 1949
It’s 1949. ( What, already? ) And you’ve been reading my list for days and weeks. I hope not. Hopefully my capsule-sized reviews are a swift, easy and entertaining read. Perhaps our favorites differ wildly. That’s cool. Share your list with me. Here in 1949, Broderick Crawford wins an Oscar. Tracy & Hepburn add another comedy under their belt. Robert Ryan makes two good films ( “Caught” “The Set-Up” ) that show off his diverse acting chops. The greatest dance team in movies ( Fred and Ginger, who else? ) make their last film together. 20th Century Fox tackles another social issue ( “Pinky” ) and a baby gorilla grows up to be mighty Mighty. I’ve seen thirty-two films to end this decade, and am really bowled over by these seven of ’em:
“CRISS CROSS” – ( Robert Siodmak )
Because. Because of the hubba hubba factor. Because it’s Burt Lancaster taken in by yet another brunette. Because Yvonne DeCarlo IS that other brunette. Because it’s film noir. What a plot. Imagine you are caught in your girlfriend’s boyfriend’s house and you try to cover up that little fact by telling him you’re there to see him to plan a heist. Now imagine that guy is Dan Duryea. I only hope YOU can pull it off. Burt doesn’t. ( That ending… )
“THE HEIRESS ” – ( William Wyler )
“Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught…by masters.” What an epitaph! Olivia de Havilland reigns supreme as a young woman literally starved for love. As movies do, this one stacks the deck against de Havilland in the guise of the painfully beautiful Montgomery Clift and a stern unforgiving and ungiving father ( Ralph Richardson. ) Without protective armor, de Havilland tries to make her way with smarts, common sense and guilessness. But they’re no match for falling in love.Be careful what you teach your children.
“IMPACT” – ( Arthur Lubin )
This is the other Brian Donlevy movie I was talking about: “IMPACT.” Don’t you know it? Oh you should check it out. Helen Walker is cold and calculating, Ella Raines is warm and helpful and Brian Donlevy has lost his memory in this tight little drama. I told you when it’s Raines, it shines; I like watching her put on her investigative cap, and do her noir thing even in the sunshine. That girl could find a needle in a haystack…on a comet…that is speeding away…to another galaxy. This is a good one.
“A LETTER TO THREE WIVES” – ( Joseph Mankiewicz )
No, this isn’t Charlie’s Angels. These are the three wives. You could call it a “woman’s picture” and I’d call it swell. We flashback into the nuts and bold of three relationships to see what might’ve caused one of these ladies’ husbands to run off with the unseen, dulcet – toned Addie Ross. What a great set-up and a good way to unfold the story. You know the cast but if you don’t, let me remind you of the pairings: Linda Darnell – Paul Douglas; Ann Sothern – Kirk Douglas and Jeanne Crain – Jeffrey Lynn.
“SAMSON AND DELILAH ” – ( Cecil B. DeMille )
You can laugh if you want to, ( quit chuckling ), but I love every lavish over-the-top DeMille minute of this. The Bible never looked so good. What a beautiful pair Lamarr and Mature make. How earthy. How biblical. They were mmmmmmade for each other. And don’t worry, C.B. has more in store for us in the fifties. ( Hide your first – born… )
“TOO LATE FOR TEARS” – ( Byron Haskin )
Free money falls into your lap. What are you going to do…walk away? What else can you do but keep it. Did I tell you it’s Dan Duryea’s money? What a mistake YOU just made. But Lizabeth Scott is soooo relentless and single-minded in this movie, Dan Duryea is scared of HER!
“WHITE HEAT” – ( Raoul Walsh )
A masterpiece. Some pick “Yankee Doodle Dandy” but I see “White Heat” as Cagney’s signature role. He’s a berry berry bad man. But it’s the power of Cagney that makes us feel a little sorry for him. Huh? Oh yeah, he’s an abused child. I’ll explain that a little more in a future post. A towering performance by one of the greats.
WHEW!! Exhausted? You shouldn’t be. I’m the one that typed up this marathon. But you made it. And I sincerely THANK YOU!! You’ve read my list of favorite films for each year from 1940 thru 1949. Hope this gives you some idea of who I am and where I fit in the kingdom of classic film fans. Either you think I have no taste…am crazy…or am your kindred spirit. If you have any interest left, and I sure hope you do, let me break it down even more for you. I’d like to tell you what my tip top TOP ten favorite films are of the entire decade in my next post.
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