1944 List

Laura movie still 7

Pickings are slim thanks to the second world war. Compared to other years, European and Asian films are hard to find. Two German films made the list, both technicolor pieces with hints of propaganda, albeit a long ways from Riefenstahl. An early de Sica, early Bergman, and a late Eisenstein were the only other European selections, and there were none from Asia. This is probably one of the few years where a French film wouldn’t make my list. The Woman Who Dared would be somewhere in the 20s.

American and British films dominated the year, specifically noir. It was a dark period and that was reflected in the films. The two at the top are some of the best noir films ever made, in my opinion. Even the movies that aren’t strictly categorized as noir have some of dark elements, like Torment, The Uninvited and even the Sherlock Holmes addition, The Scarlet Claw. The remainder are upbeat wartime crowd pleasers like the two Sturges projects with Eddie Bracken as the lead. Even though there were a lot of them, none of the rah-rah war films made my list. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo would probably be the closest. Others that I’ve seen acclaim for, like The Fighting Sullivans are not my cup of tea just because of their heavy-handedness, even if such strong messages were appropriate.

As a result, 1944 is not the deepest year for film. Numbers 15-20 would probably not make my list most years.

1. Laura
2. Double Indemnity
3. A Canterbury Tale
4. The Children Are Watching Us
5. Ivan the Terrible, Part 1
6. Lifeboat
7. Torment
8. Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
9. Gaslight
10. Ministry of Fear
11. The Uninvited
12. Great Freedom #7
13. Meet Me in St Louis
14. To Have and Have Not
15. Opfergang
16. Curse of the Cat People
17. Bon Voyage
18. The Scarlet Claw
19. Hail the Conquering Hero
20. Henry V

Posted on May 4, 2014, in Film, Lists. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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