When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked
back at 1945, it gave its Best Picture award to Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend. That is in no sense a bad movie, but it manages on the one
hand to feel heavy-handed while on the other hand bowdlerizing its source
material. I think it's one of Wilder's weaker efforts.
1. I Know Where I'm
Written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric
A romantic comedy with something pagan simmering beneath it.
2. Ivan the Terrible,
Written and directed by Sergei Eisenstein
Stalin had an infamously ambivalent attitude toward this
film and its sequel: He endorsed the first installment, then suppressed the
second when he realized the parallels to his career weren't so flattering after
all. Both pictures are deliberately, grandly overstylized, like an opera or a
3. Scarlet Street
Directed by Fritz Lang
Written by Dudley Nichols, from a play by Andre Mouezy-Eon
and a novel by Georges De La Fouchardiere
"Who do you think you are? My guardian angel?"
"Not me, honey. I lost those wings a long time ago."
4. Open City
Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Written by Sergio Amidei and Federico Fellini
A ground-eye view of the resistance in World War II.
5. Isle of the Dead
Directed by Mark Robson
Written by Josef Mischel and Ardel Wray
As is often the case with Val Lewton's horror pictures, this
illustrates the Thomas Theorem: "If men define situations as real, they
are real in their consequences."
6. Les Dames du Bois
Directed by Robert Bresson
Written by Bresson and Jean Cocteau
Apparently, if you combine Cocteau with Bresson you get a
7. The Spiral
Directed by Robert Siodmak
Written by Mel Dinelli, from a novel by Ethel Lina White
Siodmak kept pumping out these atmospheric noir thrillers in
the '40s, and an awful lot of them hold up really well.
8. The Picture of
Directed by Albert Lewin
Written by Lewin, from a novel by Oscar Wilde
Wilde inspired so many bad movies—delicate, middlebrow piles
of reverence whose creators never forgot they were adapting a canonized Great
Author. It's a special pleasure when someone actually does justice to one of
9. Children of
Directed by Marcel Carne
Written by Jacques Prevert
"Novelty is as old as the hills."
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Written by Martin Goldsmith, from his novel
I like the theory that this whole delirious tale is one
man's dubious alibi for crimes he really did commit, and that the film's
inconsistencies and glitches are actually just the holes in his story.
11. Fallen Angel
12. The Body Snatcher
13. My Name Is Julia
Ross (Joseph H. Lewis)
14. Draftee Daffy
15. Mildred Pierce
16. Le Vampire
17. Swing Shift
Cinderella (Tex Avery)
18. Wonder Man (H.
19. The Screwy Truant
20. The Wicked Lady
Plus a shout-out to the concerto sequence in Hangover Square.
Of the films of 1945 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in The Enchanted Cottage.