1940 can be a very simple or very difficult year depending on how much thought you want to put into it.
There are a bunch of choices you can rationalize as being the choice. The Great Dictator? Sure. Only I already did Chaplin and wouldn’t have much to add to that article. The Philadelphia Story? Sure. If you like. But I don’t think that represents 1940. Rebecca? Great movie. Won Best Picture. But doesn’t represent the year. Fantasia? Pinocchio? I guess you could. But we already did Disney, and Fantasia was a flop when it came out.
The film that manages to hit all the right notes for me is this one. The Grapes of Wrath is an American classic. Both as a film and a novel. It was one of the biggest moneymakers of 1940, and has remained as one of the greatest films ever made. (more…)