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The Thirties


Mickey Rooney and Betty Davis


Frank Kapra

1939's Crown Jewel, Gone With The Wind


The Forties


The Quintessential 40s Film: Casablanca

The most subtle of all wartime propaganda films was the romantic story of self-sacrifice and heroicism in Michael Curtiz' archetypal 40s studio film Casablanca. It told about a disillusioned nightclub owner (Humphrey Bogart) and a former lover (Ingrid Bergman) separated by WWII in Paris. With a limited release in late 1942 (and wider release in 1943), the resonant film was a timeless, beloved black and white work originally based on an unproduced play entitled Everybody Comes to Rick's. The quintessential 40s film is best remembered its superior script, for piano-player Dooley Wilson's singing of As Time Goes By, and memorable lines of dialogue such as: "Round up the usual suspects" and Bogart's "Here's looking at you, kid." Its success (it was awarded Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay) made Humphrey Bogart a major star, although his character reflected American neutrality with the famous line: "I stick my neck out for nobody."



Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday

Philadelphia Story, starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn and His Girl Friday also starring Cary Grant with Roslind Russel are excellent examples of movies made in the 40s.  (The writing is brilliant.)

The Canterville Ghost, starring Charles Laughton, Robert Young and Margaret O'Brien.  In the 1600s, cowardly Sir Simon of Canterville flees a duel and hides in the family castle. His father, shamed by Simon's act of cowardice, seals him in the room where he is hiding and dooms him to life as a ghost until one of his descendants performs a brave deed. Simon believes he may be saved when he meets Cuffy Williams, an American kinsman stationed with a troop of soldiers at the castle in 1943.

The opening scenes really got to me.  I thought that I was watchng a comedy and then...

Grapes of Wrath, starring Henry Fonda, directed by John Ford.

Maybe its like Casey says. A fella aint got a soul of his own, but only a piece of a big soul, the one big soul out there that belongs to everybody. And then it dont matter. Then Ill be all around in the dark. Ill be everywhere…Wherever theres a fight so hungry people can eat, Ill be there. Wherever theres a cop beating up a guy, Ill be there. Ill be in the way guys yell when theyre mad, and Ill be in the way kids laugh when theyre hungry and they know suppers ready…And when our people are eat'in the stuff they raise, in the houses they build, I'll be there too.

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