Tag: 1940′s


Double Indemnity

July 1st, 2013 — 10:43pm

Double Indemnity**

Double Indemnity- nf- The main thing that we can say about this classic film is that it reflects the state of the art of the time  and demonstrates what would have been a thrilling mystery in the 1940s. (It is set in 1938 probably to avoid any wartime issues) Other than an historical film document, there is no way that a modern  filmgoer would view this movie other than as a unsophisticated black and white  film noir drama. It is hard to believe that it was co-written by the  premier mystery crime writer of his time,  Raymond Chandler, along with the premier filmmaker, Billy Wilder who directed it. Fred MacMurray played the slick insurance salesman, cocked hat and all, who gets drawn in by beautiful, unblinking ,sparkling eyes,  glossy lips, sexy voice  Barbara Stanwyck who also wore an enticing ankle bracelet. Edward G Robinson who has a voice and a tone just like everyone who has ever imitated him,  plays the tough, all wise insurance adjuster who is in the process of sniffing out out the plot to kill the Stanwyck  character’s husband and make it look like an accident to collect double indemnity !! The music background is as you would have expected it. The crime has to be solved without any  CSI techniques. Hardly anything in the film was believable but it held our interest. This was partly because of the twists and turns of the thin plot and partly because we were thrilled to be watching the ancestors of the some of the great crime movies and TV shows that we can see today. (1944)

 

1 comment » | 2 Stars, Crime, Mystery

Adam’s Rib

April 23rd, 2011 — 9:12pm

*****

Adam’s Rib- nf.  Every once and awhile we like to go back and view a well acclaimed classic film. We do it for enjoyment but also to  try to figure out what is that makes it so great and so enduring. We chose one the 10 best films of all time according to the American Film Institute. The magnificent screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garsen Karnin, nominated for an Academy Award puts a comedic spin on the age old battle of the sexes which really foreshadows the Women’s Movement and Women’s Liberation which was still 20 years away. The story opens as a woman (Judy Holiday) secretly follows her husband (Tom Ewell) to the apartment of a woman with whom he is having an affair. Quite distraught, she pulls out a revolver and tries to shoot the couple injuring her husband. The following day over breakfast, in a beautiful Manhattan apartment, another husband and wife are reading about the impending trial of this woman. The man who happens to be an Assistant District Attorney (Spencer Tracy) feels that this woman deserves to be fully punished for her terrible deed. His wife, a high powered attorney (Katherine Hepburn), isn’t so sure about that and believes that if the shooter were a man finding his wife having an affair, there would be much more sympathy the perpetrator. Wouldn’t you know it, the husband is assigned to be the prosecutor and the wife has independently decided she would offer to defend the shooter. The trial becomes the vehicle for a hilarious but penetrating analysis of society’s attitude towards women. All the arguments and counter arguments get played out in the courtroom during the day and then in Mr. and Mrs. Bonner’s (Tracy and Hepburn) apartment in the evening. Throughout the film each time one of the characters would seemingly make the winning point in the  male-female conflict, the other would seem to find a way to swing the pendulum in the other direction. The chemistry between these two people is quite palpable. Not only are they great actors but it is well known that they also had a real life romance over many years although never married to each other. The icing on the cake for this movie is that it also introduced an unforgettable Cole Porter song Farewell Amanda which is weaved into the story as it is sung by one of the characters (David Wayne) accompanying himself on the piano, reprised by the voice of Frank Sinatra on the radio, whistled by Katherine Hepburn and sung a cappella by Spencer Tracy. So put together a top notch story with a contemporary social issue that everyone can relate, add well timed comedy, two very well liked actors who have something special between themselves and a hummable musical theme and voila – you have an American classic film ! (1949)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Comedy, Romance

The Bicycle Thief

September 23rd, 2010 — 7:26am

****

The Bicycle Thief- nf- We decided that we would use Netflix to reach back more than 60 years ago and view this classic award winning (a special Oscar) Italian film made by legendary filmmaker Vittorio De Sica. When it was made in 1948, it was originally more aptly titled Bicycle Thieves. Antonio Ricci played by Lamberto Maddiorani was one of the many unemployed in post war Rome, however he is luckily chosen for a job hanging posters around town (such as those with Rita Hayworth’s picture on them). He desperately needs the job and it requires that he have a bicycle but his is in the pawnshop. His wife sells their sheets and pillowcases from their little apartment so he can get back his bike. We meet his son Bruno played by seven year old Enzo Staiola who was literally plucked from the streets for this role. The bicycle is stolen before Antonio’s eyes and despite a chase he sadly doesn’t catch the thief. He embarks on a search for the bicycle accompanied by his young son through the back alleys and busy streets of Rome. The movie is shot in black and white, which enhances the depression, and poverty, which the film conveys. Credit must go, as it did, to De Sica for the great performances of his two main stars who were both in their first movie. You see and feel the desperation of Maddiorani’s character as well of that of the entire city. The young son despite his age is shown working in a gas station but joins his Dad in their futile search. Bruno who is wise beyond his years but yet clearly looks up to his father and depends on him. This is what leads Antonio to his fateful decision. When “ Fini” comes up on the screen, we realize we have had a realistic but poignant glimpse into a piece of European history which we will not forget. (1948)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Foreign

The Bishop’s Wife

September 6th, 2010 — 3:17am

* * *
The Bishop’s Wife
– nf – As part of our continued attempt to take a close look at some of the classic films we viewed this oldie starring Cary Grant as an angel, David Niven as the Bishop and Loretta Young as the Bishop’s wife. The Bishop’s attempt to get a great Cathedral built brings into play an examination of his values of not only of how to address poverty in society but how to achieve happiness with his wife and child. This all comes about when the Bishop is visited by an angel who while doing his good deeds has great chemistry with his wife. It is a delightful film which couldn’t compete with today’s best movies but actually was nominated for best picture in 1948. 1947

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Drama

Casablanca

November 7th, 2009 — 2:18am

* * * *
Casablanca
– nf – We had to see this classic so should you even if you have seen it awhile back. It is amazing to appreciate that this film made in 1942 about wartime Casablanca and the interface of various people who want to escape the iron hand of the Nazis, before anyone really knew how things would work out. Beautiful Ingrid Bergman and debonair and yet tough Humphrey Bogart in their classic performance. You will be reminded of all those classic film lines such as “Here’s looking at you kid “. Thoroughly enjoyable. 1943

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Romance

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