1940’s

[7.5] Bette Davis stars as Charlotte Vale, a nervous young woman whose emotionally abusive mother (Gladys Cooper) causes her to submit herself to a sanitarium. Under the care of her doctor (Claude Rains), Charlotte begins to gain the confidence to stand up for herself and appreciate her self worth. On an ocean-liner cruise she meets a man named Jerry (Casablanca‘s Paul Henreid) and falls in …

[7.0] Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon reteam in Mervyn LeRoy’s biopic of Madame Curie. Garson plays the title character, Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to ever win two of them. This film version of her life story splits its focus between her private life with husband Pierre Curie (Pidgeon) and their joint discovery of radium. Madame …

[6.0] Fay Bainter (The Children’s Hour) stars in this ‘war at home’ drama about a wealthy widow who ignores the effects of WWII even as her son (Mrs. Miniver‘s Richard Ney) is drafted into service. Her stubborn refusal to deal with reality causes a rift between her suitor (Edward Arnold), her daughter (Jean Rogers), and her dim-witted socialite friend (Spring Byington). As you might expect, …

[7.5] Lucille Ball stars in this high-spirited comedy about a love triangle between her character, a happy-go-lucky sailor (George Murphy), and a buttoned-down business executive (Edmond O’Brien). Ball’s engaged to Murphy, and O’Brien is engaged to someone else as well, but as Ball and Murphy welcome O’Brien into their social circle, he and Ball begin to fall for one another. This is a very sweet …

[9.0] Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film and only one to win a Best Picture Oscar is Rebecca, starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, and Judith Anderson. Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier, the film follows a nervous woman (Fontaine) who catches the eye of a wealthy widower (Olivier). After they marry, she is taken to his ancestral mansion, Manderley, where the icy cold head …

[6.0] Barbara Stanwyck stars in this comedy about a night of multiple murders at a burlesque opera house. Between the dancers sharing a small dressing space, a few shady boyfriends and stage hands, a snooty visiting Russian princess, and an owner whose keeping secrets of his own, everyone’s a suspect. And even though women are being strangled by their own g-strings (you better believe it!), …

[5.5] Tyrone Power (The Black Swan) takes a dark turn in this flick about a carnival mentalist whose ambitions get the better of him. At first his character uses his powers for good, like tricking the police into letting his carnival family out of public indecency accusations. But he soon leaves the carnival for a more swanky nightshow act, and later teams up with a …

[6.0] Carole Landis and John Hubbard star as a bickering husband and wife who each believes the other has the easier life. They wish upon a statue of Buddha to trade places, and lo and behold, their wish comes true. Husband then has to deal with the house staff and a conniving wives’ group, while wife has to deal with the corporate business environment. A …

[6.0] Don Ameche stars as a small-town pharmacist who learns his son has died during combat in WWII. Sent into an emotional tailspin, the ghost of his late grandfather (Harry Carey) comes to his rescue. Grandfather and grandson take a trip down memory lane, revisiting all the expected high and low points of life, while we the audience get to know the young man who …

[7.0] Mickey Rooney headlines this slice-of-life picture about a New York town maintaining the home front during WWII. Rooney plays a highschooler working as a telegram delivery boy to help provide for his family while his older brother is in service. James Craig (The Devil and Daniel Webster) plays Rooney’s employer, who is also a surrogate father to Rooney’s character. (Rooney’s deceased father actually narrates …

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