Greatest Movies Through 1960

Best Movies Compiled From Many Sources

Archive for January, 1940

His Girl Friday (1940)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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92 min – view video trailer

Director: Howard Hawks
Starring: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

IMDB 8.1 / Amazon 4.6 / MRQE 88% / Decent Films C

Oscars: none

Ranked #80 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. IMDB 8.1 rating from over 27,421 users

His Girl Friday is one of the, oh, five greatest dialogue comedies ever made; Hawks had his cast play it at breakneck speed, and audiences hyperventilate trying to finish with one laugh so they can do justice to the four that have accumulated in the meantime. Amazon 4.6 stars from over 47 users

Despite its blistering dialogue and wacky plot swings, His Girl Friday doesn’t work for me on one crucial level: I just don’t care whether or not Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell wind up together, largely because neither character is particularly likable or sympathetic. In fact, if anything, I think Russell might be better off with Ralph Bellamy, and that’s never a good thing. Decent Films C, a bit above mediocre.

The second screen version of the Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur play The Front Page, His Girl Friday changed hard-driving newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson from a man to a woman, transforming the story into a scintillating battle of the sexes. Rosalind Russell plays Hildy, about to foresake journalism for marriage to cloddish Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Cary Grant plays Walter Burns, Hildy’s editor and ex-husband, who feigns happiness about her impending marriage as a ploy to win her back. Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 97% Audience 88%

MRQE 88% from over 51 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The Great Dictator (1940)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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125 min – view video trailer

Director: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie

Genres: Comedy, Drama, War

IMDB 8.5 / Amazon 4.7 / MRQE 79% / Tomatometer 95%

Oscars: nominated for 5, won 0

Ranked #185 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel has a doppelganger, a poor but kind Jewish barber living in the slums, who one day is mistaken for Hynkel. IMDB 8.5 rating from over 57,868 users

Since Adolf Hitler had the audacity to borrow his mustache from the most famous celebrity in the world–Charlie Chaplin–it meant Hitler was fair game for Chaplin’s comedy. (Strangely, the two men were born within four days of each other.) The Great Dictator, conceived in the late thirties but not released until 1940, when Hitler’s war was raging across Europe, is the film that skewered the tyrant. Chaplin plays both Adenoid Hynkel, the power-mad ruler of Tomania, and a humble Jewish barber suffering under the dictator’s rule. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 112 users

“This is the story of the period between two world wars–an interim during which insanity cut loose, liberty took a nose dive, and humanity was kicked around somewhat.” With this pithy opening title, Charles Chaplin begins his first all-talking feature film, The Great Dictator. Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 95% Audience 93%

MRQE 79% from over 50 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Fantasia (1940) Disney

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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124 min – rated G – view video trailer

Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy

IMDB 7.8 / Amazon 4.5 / MRQE 83% / Decent Films A+

Oscars: won 2 honary awards (visualized music, sound in motion pictures)

Ranked #45 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music. IMDB 7.8 from over 42,374 users

Groundbreaking on several counts, not the least of which was an innovative use of animation and stereophonic sound, this ambitious Disney feature has lost nothing to time since its release in 1940. Classical music was interpreted by Disney animators, resulting in surreal fantasy and playful escapism. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 299 users

Released in 1940, Fantasia was a critical and popular failure in its own day (Roger Ebert blames a war-related shortage of whimsical spirit); but with the passage of time it has gradually been completely vindicated. Endorsed in the 1950s by high-minded educators and culture critics for its popularization of classical music… then embraced by the 1960s counterculture for its dreamlike, nonlinear imagery; and ultimately hailed by virtually all film critics for its undeniably glorious, groundbreaking, visionary animation, Fantasiahas taken its place as one of the unquestioned all-time great animated films. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 83% from over 50 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Pinocchio (1940) Disney

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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88 min – rated: G – view video trailer

Starring: Mel Blanc

Genres: Animation, Adventure, Drama

IMDB 7.7 / Amazon 4.5 / MRQE 64% / Decent Films A+

Oscars: nominated for 2, won 2 (Best Music Score, Music Song)

Ranked #23 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy. IMDB 7.7 rating from over 37,542 users

A number of scenes make permanent impressions on young minds (just ask Steven Spielberg, who quoted the film more than once in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and the songs (“When You Wish upon a Star”) can’t be beat. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 363 users

Emotionally resonant, visually dazzling, imaginatively captivating, thematically rich, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio may just be the greatest of all the early Disney masterpieces, possibly outshining Snow WhiteFantasiaand Bambi. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 64% from over 96 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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112 min – view video trailer

Director: George Cukor
Starrig: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart

IMDB  8.1 / Amazon 4.7 / MRQE 86% / Decent Films A

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Oscars: nominated for 6, won 2 (Best Actor, Writing)

Ranked #40 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

When a rich woman’s ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself. IMDB 8.1 rating from over 34,558 users

Applying her impossibly high ideals to everyone but herself, Tracy Lord (Katarine Hepburn) is about to marry a stuffy executive when her congenial ex-husband (Cary Grant), arrives to protect his former father-in-law from a potentially scandalous tabloid exposé. In an Oscar-winning role, James Stewart is the scandal reporter who falls for Tracy as her wedding day arrives, throwing her into a dizzying state of premarital jitters. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 178 users

Its witty dialogue, romantic complications, and class-skewering satire are hallmarks of screwball comedy, but George Cukor’s classic The Philadelphia Story doesn’t turn on absurd situations, outlandish behavior, or unpredictable plot twists. Instead, it’s a more mature and humanistic social satire, a comedy of manners skewering every kind of snobbery: not only the class-based snobbery of the rich against the poor — and the poor against the rich — but also the intellectual snobbery of the literate against the popular, and above all the moral snobbery of the self-righteous against the imperfect. Read full Decent Films review (rated A, Superior artistic-entertainment for Teens & Up)

MRQE 86% from over 47 reviews

Madison Public Library

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