August 1949: I Was A Male War Bride

Howard Hawks! Cary Grant! Ann Sheridan!

And this is the first post-war war movie I’ve seen in this blog series, I think?

Oh… it’s not really a war movie. It’s a post-war movie, set in present-day (i.e., 1949) Germany.

This is a screwball comedy of sorts: Lots of pratfalls for Grant to excel at. But the snappiness of the dialogue leaves something to be desired.

Once things get properly underway (the main plot point is that all the bureaucracy surrounding soldiers bringing back spouses is geared towards men bringing back wives), most of the jokes are about Cary Grant’s character being made to suffer female indignities.

That could be funny and it could be awful, but here it’s mostly the latter. The thing that saves it is Grant’s charm. Because the jokes are pretty lame.

It feels like it should have been snappier.

I Was A Male War Bride. Howard Hawks. 1949.

Popular movies in August 1949 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
119390 8.3 The Third Man
6065 7.1 I Was a Male War Bride
1918 7.1 Madame Bovary
470 6.9 Jolson Sings Again
815 6.8 Rope of Sand
326 6.7 Slattery’s Hurricane
743 6.7 Task Force
321 6.5 Mr. Soft Touch
583 6.5 Black Magic
1049 6.1 It’s a Great Feeling

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

July 1949: Too Late For Tears

Based on the title I thought this was gonna be a Douglas Sirk weepie. But instead it’s a very noir film noir!

This movie started off simply fabulous. Ly. Great random set-up and perfect noir performances. But things get more involved and the actors start chewing the scenery and instead of ever-increasing tension, we just get ever-increasing “er… uhm…” But the plot does have some wonderful twists.

The bluray has that over-restored look: In a quest to make the shadows #000000, they’ve dropped all the details down to black. It’s like they’ve just turned the contrast button up to 300%. It kinda suits the movie, but it’s too much.

Too Late For Tears. Byron Haskin. 1949.

Popular movies in July 1949 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
12390 7.4 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
2091 7.3 Too Late for Tears
846 7.3 Come to the Stable
2632 7.2 In the Good Old Summertime
3234 7.1 The Big Steal
7515 7.1 The Fountainhead
3505 7.0 Mighty Joe Young
514 6.7 The Great Gatsby
973 6.6 Follow Me Quietly
655 6.6 Scene of the Crime

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

June 1949: Kind Hearts and Coronets

Huh. Is this the first Ealing comedy I’ve watched in this blog series? I believe it is… Oh! They didn’t start until 1947, so that explains it. This is only their fifth movie, apparently.

This isn’t quite what I expected: It’s slow and witty, but it’s about a serial killer murdering his way into a title (i.e., killing all his relatives before him).

And many of them are played by Alec Guinness, which is fun.

He’s a psychopath, of course, but we root for him somehow. Some of the people he bump off are rather insufferable, but some are nice…

The sleepy performances by basically all the actors doesn’t make for an exciting movie. I mean, it’s a deliberate choice, but I don’t think it really works.

I don’t get it:

Kind Hearts and Coronets was released on 13 June 1949 in the United Kingdom, and was well received by the critics. It has continued to receive favourable reviews over the years, and in 1999 it was number six in the British Film Institute’s rating of the Top 100 British films.

I was mostly bored by this movie, I’m afraid to say.

Kind Hearts and Coronets. Robert Hamer. 1949.

Popular movies in June 1949 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
28661 8.1 Kind Hearts and Coronets
1940 7.4 House of Strangers
1770 7.2 Colorado Territory
756 7.2 King of the Rocket Men
310 7.1 Lost Boundaries
1330 7.0 It Happens Every Spring
448 7.0 Sorrowful Jones
757 6.9 Lust for Gold
458 6.8 Any Number Can Play
739 6.7 The Great Sinner

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

May 1949: Africa Screams

Hey! Abbot and Costello. I haven’t seen too many of thse…

This is uncomplicated fun: A mix of physical humour, weak bon mots and general silliness. I’m smiling a lot while watching this, but I’m not actually laughing. But I can totally see an eleven-year-old me finding this to be the height of hilarity.

The bit with the cannibals has, perhaps, not aged as well.

Africa Screams. Charles Barton. 1949.

Popular movies in May 1949 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
2418 7.4 The Window
459 7.2 Home of the Brave
2119 7.1 The Barkleys of Broadway
380 6.8 Streets of Laredo
271 6.7 Roughshod
640 6.7 Alice in Wonderland
388 6.7 The Lady Gambles
240 6.7 Manhandled
2908 6.5 Africa Screams
229 6.5 Johnny Allegro

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

April 1949: The Secret Garden

Dean Stockwell!? But he can’t possibly…

Oh, he plays the ten year old boy.

And I was thinking of Harry Dean Stanton.


This is a fascinating movie. It’s not that often you see a movie that doesn’t fit neatly into a genre category or where you have no idea where the plot is going. This is one of those rare movies.

It’s so weird.

The idea of a secret garden is a very powerful one. It’s like a Jung Bodyan archetype.

Margaret O’Brien is perfect as the snotty, entitled ex-colonial plunked into the British countryside.

The Secret Garden. Fred M. Wilcox. 1949.

Popular movies in April 1949 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
2650 7.5 Champion
1939 7.5 The Secret Garden
941 7.4 The Queen of Spades
3060 7.2 Passport to Pimlico
2014 7.1 The Stratton Story
237 7.1 The Sky Dragon
425 7.0 Mr. Belvedere Goes to College
1674 7.0 Flamingo Road
930 6.9 Ma and Pa Kettle
630 6.8 The Crooked Way

This blog post is part of the Decade series.