1940’s

[7] Joan Crawford won her Oscar for playing the title character in this noir-melodrama from director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). Based on the book by James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce is told largely in flashback, with Crawford spilling the beans to police after her second husband is found murdered in their beach house. She tells them how she divorced her adulterous first husband and pulled herself …

[7] Humphrey Bogart escapes from San Quentin to try and prove he’s innocent of killing his wife. Lauren Bacall plays the woman who believes him and gives him shelter. He resorts to plastic surgery to hide his identity from the police and extortionists, but will he be able to discover who the real killer is? Or will he be forced to flee the country? Dark …

[8] Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck star in this lively screwball comedy from director Howard Hawks. Cooper is working on a new encyclopedia with seven other scholars when he realizes the group is woefully uneducated in the world of contemporary slang. So he hits the streets to research and stumbles upon a wisecracking lounge singer named Sugarpuss O’Shea, played by Stanwyck. He invites her to …

[3] Vying with Nazi Germany to create ties in South American countries during World War II, the U.S. government guaranteed Walt Disney federal loans to produce animated films celebrating South American culture. Saludos Amigos is the first resulting film from this strategic effort (the second would be The Three Caballeros). It would also be the first of Disney’s “package” features — combinations of short subjects …

[6.0] An American (John Shepperd) visits his fiancée (Lynne Roberts) and her father in their rural chateau at the same time a series of murders begins. The father’s brutish gardener with a criminal past is a prime suspect. And so is his socially awkward servant, an immigrant from Java who holds a childlike adoration for the bride-to-be. Dr. Renault’s Secret is Twentieth Century Fox’s attempt …

[3.0] Boris Karloff stars as a doctor who transplants the brain of a gangster into the body of a dying professor (both played by Stanley Ridges), then tries to get the convalescing professor to remember — with his new brain — where the gangster hid half a million dollars. Once they visit the gangster’s old stomping grounds, the memories come flooding back and the professor …

[6] Cary Grant and Myrna Loy play parents of two young daughters in a cramped New York apartment who decide to find a bigger place for themselves in the wide-open countryside. But their initial purchase turns out to be a bad investment, forcing them to tear it down and build a new house from scratch. As the bills pile up, Grant also becomes suspicious that …

[3.0] In an abstract void of color gradation, it’s Donald Duck’s birthday. He magically receives three strange presents that transform into song-and-dance lessons about Mexico and South America, featuring two other cartoon birds named José Carioca (a parrot) and Panchito (a rooster). A five-year old might be entranced by the bright Technicolor imagery and lively music featured in The Three Caballeros, but the frenetic pace …

[8.0] Chameleon master craftsman Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, The Lost Weekend) staked a name for himself and elevated low-budget film noir to new levels of respectability with his Hitchcockian suspense yarn Double Indemnity. The film, co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, stars Fred MacMurray as an L.A. insurance salesman who conspires with an unhappy housewife, played by Barbara Stanwyck, to collect a massive insurance payout …

[7.0] A homemaking writer (Barbara Stanwyck) finds herself in a jam after her magazine editor (Sydney Greenstreet) invites himself and a wounded war hero (Dennis Morgan) to her house for Christmas dinner to experience the life she writes about. Trouble is, she isn’t anything she claims to be in her articles — she’s not married, does not have a baby, doesn’t live on a beautiful …

1 2 3 11