October 1946: My Darling Clementine

As westerns go, it doesn’t get more western than a movie directed by John Ford starring Henry Fonda (!) as Wyatt Earp (!!) in Tombstone (!!!).

Shirley, I must have seen this movie before, but I really can’t remember anything about it…

This Criterion restoration of the film is almost … too much? The blacks are #000 and the greys are very dramatic and beautiful, but in some of the scenes things definitely are too dark. And has it been de-grained? Perhaps not; Ford used beautiful film stock for most his movies…

It’s (unsurprisingly) very good. The plot twists and turns in ways I didn’t expect, and while some of the performances are a bit hokey (Cathy Downs, for instance), it really works.

The bluray has two versions of the movie: Zanuck took the movie over and cut a whole bunch of footage (and added some new bits). A nitrate that contains many of these scenes was discovered at a university in the 90s, so we get that one too, as well as a comparison between the two versions.

My Darling Clementine. John Ford. 1946.

Popular movies in October 1946 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
17032 7.8 My Darling Clementine
1250 7.4 The Jolson Story
621 7.4 Margie
2157 7.3 Deception
817 7.1 Dangerous Money
2795 7.1 The Dark Mirror
267 7.1 The Crimson Ghost
1013 6.6 Blue Skies
1084 6.6 The Strange Woman
418 6.4 So Dark the Night

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

September 1946: La belle et la bête

Huh! It’s an opera? Sounds very modern? I didn’t know that Jean Cocteau did operas? How odd.


Philip Glass composed an opera perfectly synchronized to the film. The original soundtrack was eliminated, and he composed the opera to be performed along with the film projected behind the orchestra and voice talent. The compact disc recording of Glass’ “La Belle et la Bête” can be played alongside the film with a very similar effect. Note: the opera is recorded on two compact discs; hence it will be necessary to pause the film once while changing discs. In the US, the second DVD release of this film by the Criterion Collection gives the viewer the option of hearing the original soundtrack or the Glass opera version, which, in a sense, gives you two movies for the price of one.

So there’s two audio tracks to this… Uhm… I think I’ll keep watching the Glass version.

It works really well. The movie is so over-the-top that it seems made for the opera treatment. It’s dreamy and stylised.

It’s wonderful.

La belle et la bête. Jean Cocteau. 1946.

Popular movies in September 1946 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
581 7.9 Panique
678 7.2 Sister Kenny
334 7.1 Monsieur Beaucaire
1829 6.9 Angel on My Shoulder
1134 6.8 Decoy
297 6.8 The Overlanders
1752 6.6 Cloak and Dagger
813 6.6 Crack-Up
251 6.6 Three Wise Fools

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

August 1946: Black Angel

What’s this then?

I wasn’t prepared for the segue into film noir was going to be this abrupt. Of the films after the war ended, virtually all the movies have been noir.

This is another one, and it’s weird. I did see the twist coming a mile away, but there’s just so much strange little details here all over the place, like when June Vincent goes to spy on slash seduce Peter Lorre…

And all those weird little cinematographic ticks.

It’s really quite something.

Black Angel. Roy William Neill. 1946.

Popular movies in August 1946 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
76181 8.0 Notorious
65991 8.0 The Big Sleep
2343 7.9 The Time of Their Lives
14566 7.9 The Killers
1875 7.0 Black Angel
358 6.6 Spook Busters
217 6.4 Step by Step
306 6.1 Holiday in Mexico

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

July 1946: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

I love the title!

And… wow! This is absolutely brilliant! I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s condensed, over-the-top melodrama; every scene, every camera angle pitch perfect.

Lizabeth Scott is wonderful here. I’m not familiar with her work, but she’s like every 40s dame distilled. And Kirk Douglas is perfect as the milk-toast weaselly D. A. (which probably didn’t take much acting).

OK, my enthusiasm here is perhaps a bit er enthusiastic (I’ve got a way with words): Some of the scenes don’t really work. But the ones that do are fabulous.

“Let it burn, Sam.”

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. Lewis Milestone. 1946.

Popular movies in July 1946 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
5941 7.5 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
967 7.1 I See a Dark Stranger
1346 7.0 Canyon Passage
576 6.9 A Scandal in Paris
229 6.9 Bowery Bombshell
767 6.8 Till the End of Time
209 6.7 Centennial Summer
368 6.6 My Pal Trigger
282 6.5 Two Guys from Milwaukee
426 6.4 Of Human Bondage

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

June 1946: Anna and the King of Siam


I don’t know… Irene Dunne is fun, of course. Rex Harrison as the king of Siam is… as you’d expect?

But there’s something kinda loathsome about this film. It gets generally positive reviews, but it’s… horrifying and dreary.

I really struggled to get through the last five hours of this horrid thing.

Anna and the King of Siam. John Cromwell. 1946.

Popular movies in June 1946 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
528 7.5 Shadows Over Chinatown
208 7.2 Wanted for Murder
1708 7.1 Anna and the King of Siam
233 6.9 Smoky
203 6.8 In Fast Company
297 6.6 Two Smart People

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

May 1946: The Postman Always Rings Twice

Wow! This just looks so… restored! It’s the crispest 40s movie I’ve seen. This 2K bluray isn’t even a Criterion release.

Oh, this is the one that was remade with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson, but I don’t think I’ve seen this version.

I can’t get over just how weird and abrupt this movie is. It’s fascinating; it’s like it’s written by somebody who doesn’t quite understand how movies work.

So weird.

The Postman Always Rings Twice. Tay Garnett. 1946.

Popular movies in May 1946 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
14584 7.6 The Postman Always Rings Twice
1812 7.6 Cluny Brown
2181 7.4 A Stolen Life
14208 7.4 The Stranger
3090 7.2 The Dark Corner
836 7.2 Dark Alibi
4874 7.1 A Night in Casablanca
1626 7.1 Somewhere in the Night
4090 7.0 Dressed to Kill
295 6.9 Bad Bascomb

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

April 1946: The Blue Dahlia

Oh, written by Raymond Chandler and with Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd. We’re out of B movie territory, finally.

Not that there’s anything wrong with B movies.

Wow! This is some kinda noir masterpiece! There’s just so much in here! Ladd’s semi-mute stoicicity (that’s a word). Lake’s dead-pan witty repartee. William Bendix simmering like some kind of natural force of violence and chaos. The rain. The cars. The bars.

It’s just kinda a little perfect thing.

A dizzying array of noir-ish twists and an ending I didn’t see coming.

It’s fabulous.

The Blue Dahlia. George Marshall. 1946.

Popular movies in April 1946 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
5817 7.2 The Blue Dahlia
584 7.1 The Green Years
2632 7.0 Dragonwyck
2692 6.9 Bedlam
351 6.7 Two Sisters from Boston
579 6.7 Devotion
304 6.6 Mysterious Intruder
256 6.5 The Falcon’s Alibi
721 6.5 The Virginian
2495 6.4 Make Mine Music

This blog post is part of the Decade series.