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Mike’s Top Ten of 1947

So 1944 for me was about the rise of the noirs. 1947 is the year of the noir. There are 22 of them on this list. 22! This is as cynical as it got for Hollywood.

That’s really the overwhelming theme for 1947: dark and cynical. Which is funny, because one of the most uplifting Christmas movies ever made (I guess, actually… two of them) came out this year. But man, there’s not a lot of uplift in here. Even the major film of the year about how awful society is.

But hey, alongside the darkness, we also have one of the most beautiful films ever shot. So there’s that. Read the rest of this page »

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Mike’s Top Ten of 1946

This may be the strongest year of the 40s. At least at the top. I’ll probably also make that case for 1948, but this year feels so strong because quite legitimately, the top four films on my list would be #1 films in just about ANY other year. And they’re also all-time greats. Two of them are legitimately two of the top 50 American movies ever made.

Aside from that, you have a smattering amazing movies. This is the kind of list where you get to a film and just think, “Ohh…. yeah.” And it gives you that feeling of happiness because it’s just so great. I love years like this.

I really don’t have a whole lot more to add. Just… look at these ten films. How great are they? Read the rest of this page »

Mike’s Top Ten of 1945

I like 1945 because of the history surrounding it. World War II was basically over. It ended in June, though it had been a long time coming. By Christmas, 1944, it was pretty inevitable that the Allied countries would win. So you don’t really see a whole lot of war-oriented films out there. We’re returning to classical Hollywood storytelling.

There’s not a major overarching theme for this year. All things considered, it’s actually a pretty ho-hum year. Good stuff, but the overall quality of the films feels diminished from most of the other years of the 40s.

Though this is actually the year where foreign cinema started rising. Italian Neorealism began with Rome, Open City and that led to a lot of the major European movements over the next two decades. Read the rest of this page »

Mike’s Top Ten of 1944

For me, the big thing about 1944 is the noirs. I know the war is still in full force and the dominant set of films are either pro-war movies or light and fluffy stuff to take people’s minds off of it. But really, the thing that stands out is the amount of noir films that came out this year. This is really the first year where the noirs are a staple of cinema. Sure, all those other ones were the headliners, but the noirs played in front of all of them.

You look at this list — maybe 7 or 8 noirs in total. And it’ll only grow from here. This is the time when the cynical underbelly of society started to pop up. Most people speak of that popping up post-war. With everyone returning to the suburbs and people’s collective weariness about the war and all of that starting to creep into the films. But you really start to see it as early as 1944. It doesn’t solidify until after the war, but you definitely start to see it happening as early as now. I’d say the noirs here are much more “drama”-leaning. That is to say, they’re presented more like dramas than what we’d consider the traditional noirs. But they’re still noirs by any account.

That’s how I look at this list — great comedies, great war films, and that nice underbelly of noirs. Just how I like it. Read the rest of this page »