Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Favorite films of the 1940s and 50s

"What are Your Favorite Films from the 1940s and 50s?" asks Diane Ellis, one of the editors at ricochet, who has decided not to spend $12.50 a shot to go to see movies this summer. Well over half of the DVDs I own must be from that era so I was very interested to read the responses — as of noon today more than 75. Some of the recommendations stray into earlier or later time periods, but there are an enormous number of good, entertaining movies released between, say, 1939 and 1960 (straying slightly myself). Here are a just a few of the suggestions Ellis received early in the comments:

Maltese Falcon The Third Man
How Green Was My Valley Rear Window
The Caine Mutiny Shane
Vertigo The African Queen
North by Northwest Gilda
To Have and Have Not The Big Sleep
Woman of the Year Foreign Correspondent
The Lady Eve Key Largo
Harvey Night of the Hunter
Shadow of a Doubt Murder My Sweet

And many, many, more. This was the period Hitchcock directed most of his best. Every single film directed by Preston Sturges is worth watching for pure pleasure (my favorite is Sullivan's Travels). Bogart and Bacall,  Cary Grant, William Powell and Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, James Stewart, and on and on. I envy those who have yet to see for the first time the many good and great comedies, mysteries, westerns, thrillers, etc., from the middle of the last century.

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