A Century of FilmScreen Shot 2021-01-23 at 2.28.05 PM

Film History

1940-1949

Filmmaking had supposedly peaked in 1939 just as the war arrived to greatly limit (outside of America, film production was massively down) and influence it (in America, War films took the forefront).  After the war concluded, came the two lawsuits that changed the way of films in America.  First came de Havilland vs. Warner Bros. Pictures which altered the notion of what a studio could put in a contract.  Second came United States vs. Paramount Pictures which meant that production studios would have to sell off their theater chains.  The first hastened the end of the way films were made in the Studio Era while the second altered how they were distributed and brought an to the end to the concept of the “majors” as they had been known. (more…)

One look at her and Walter Neff was doomed.

One look at her and Walter Neff was doomed.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated. This is the start of the 5 Best Picture nominee era at the Oscars, which will last until 2008.  It’s the second year of the Golden Globes – there were still no nominees and no distinction between Drama and Comedy, but those films in red in the Globe section won the Globes.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Double Indemnity
  2. Gaslight
  3. The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
  4. Hail the Conquering Hero
  5. Arsenic and Old Lace

Analysis:  This is not a great year, and yet it’s still going to be better than 1945.  These are all **** films, but this is the lowest total for the top 5 since 1937 and it’s the lowest top 10 since 1936.  That’s because this is it for **** films and there are only three ***.5 films: Ministry of Fear, Laura and The Princess and the Pirate and the last two are lower level.  The only years so far with a weaker 6 through 10 are 1931, 1934 and 1936.  Arsenic was actually ready in 1942 but Warners was contractually obligated to wait for the end of the Broadway run and so it becomes the third great comedy here. (more…)

Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea in one of the great comedies of all-time: Sullivan's Travels.

Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea in one of the great comedies of all-time: Sullivan’s Travels.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated.  The Academy’s only change was to go from Scoring of a Dramatic Picture to Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Sullivan’s Travels
  2. Bambi
  3. Yankee Doodle Dandy
  4. The Magnificent Ambersons
  5. To Be or Not to Be

Analysis:  Just like in 1941, my Top 5 are all **** films and my #6 (in this case The Palm Beach Story) is a ***.5 film. (more…)

the dancing mushrooms in Fantasia - the best animated film of the 1940's

Well, before I go into 1949, I’ll cover the decade as a whole.  Bear in mind the decade awards cover films by their original release date, so you might find films that haven’t shown up in individual years yet.

1940  –  1949

Total Films I’ve Seen:  617

Films That Make the Top 5 in a Category:  42

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in any Category:  The Best Years of Our Lives

Film of the Decade:  Children of Paradise

Worst Film of the Decade:  King of the Zombies

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  All This and Heaven Too

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  Under Capricorn (more…)