The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Tuesday, January 03, 2023
WE ARE ENTERING A WAR ZONE: We have covered my favorite movies of
2012, 2002, 1992, 1982, 1972, 1962, and 1952. Forward, into the past!

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 1942, it gave its Best Picture award to Mrs. Miniver. I don't like that one. I do like these:

1. Cat People
Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Written by DeWitt Bodeen, from a story by Val Lewton

The first and arguably greatest of the Val Lewton horror cycle.

2. The Magnificent Ambersons
Directed by Orson Welles
Written by Welles, from a novel by Booth Tarkington

You can tell when the studio's excisions begin, because a perfect picture suddenly becomes a choppy mess. If the director's cut ever surfaces, this movie will almost certainly rise to the #1 spot.

3. The Talk of the Town
Directed by George Stevens
Written by Irwin Shaw, Sidney Buchman, and Dale Van Every, from a story by Sidney Harmon

"What is the law? It's a gun pointed at somebody's head. All depends upon which end of the gun you stand, whether the law is just or not."

4. Casablanca
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Written by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch, from a play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

Whenever I see the beginning of this movie, I tell myself This isn't as good as I remember. By the time I get to the end, I say Oh, right. It is.

5. The Man Who Came to Dinner
Directed by William Keighley
Written by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein, from a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart

"I became a nurse because all my life, ever since I was a little girl, I was filled with the idea of serving a suffering humanity. After one month with you, Mr. Whiteside, I am going to work in a munitions factory."

6. The Palm Beach Story
Written and directed by Preston Sturges

"Sex always has something to do with it, dear."

7. The Major and the Minor
Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, from a play by Edward Childs Carpenter

"Those innocent little panzer divisions in sheep's clothing."

8. La Nuit Fantastique
Directed by Marcel L'Herbier
Written by Louis Chavance and Maurice Henry

A surrealist romance.

9. To Be or Not to Be
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Edwin Justus Mayer, from a story by Melchior Lengyel

Hey, Chaplin: This is how you do an anti-Nazi comedy.

10. The Male Animal
Directed by Elliott Nugent
Written by Stephen Morehouse Avery, Julius J. Epstein, and Philip G. Epstein, from a play by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent

The most political jocks-vs.-nerds movie ever made.

Honorable mentions:

11. The Road to Morocco (David Butler)
12. The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (Henri-Georges Clouzot)
13. Random Harvest (Mervyn LeRoy)
14. This Gun for Hire (Frank Tuttle)
15. Holiday Inn (Mark Sandrich)
16. Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti)
17. The Early Bird Dood It (Tex Avery)
18. The Hare-Brained Hypnotist (Friz Freleng)
19. Symphony Hour (Riley Thomson)
20. Headlights in the Fog (Gianni Franciolini)

Of the films of 1942 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in O Pátio das Cantigas.

posted by Jesse 8:29 AM
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