1940’s

[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 …

[7.0] Cary Grant and Irene Dunn star as a couple whose marriage is on the verge of collapse. The reason is explained through a series of flashbacks, as Dunn listens to records that contain songs of special significance in their lives. We learn how they met (at a record store no less), and how they desired to start a family. Tragedy strikes during an earthquake …

[7.0] Humphrey Bogart plays a notorious robber recently released from prison who gets hired by his old boss for one more robbery at a California resort. While gearing up for the heist, he handles two less-capable robbers, two love interests, and an ownerless dog that brings bad luck to everyone. High Sierra paints Bogey’s character as a somewhat sympathetic one who might regret his past …

[7.0] Cary Grant stars as an angel from Heaven who comes to Earth just before Christmas to help a Bishop (David Niven) and his wife (Loretta Young) raise money for construction of a new cathedral. But Grant has ulterior motives, trying to get the Bishop to realize that happiness lies in prioritizing his marriage over any construction project — and that the fundraising money is …

[7.0] Gregory Peck stars as a widowed magazine reporter who spends six months pretending to be Jewish while researching for an article about anti-semitism. He’s startled to discover the ways bigotry manifests in his undercover life — openly at ‘restricted’ clubs and secretly in hiring practices, coming from bullies in his son’s schoolyard and even from other Jews who don’t want to draw attention to …

[8.0] There’s something incredibly poetic about Charlie Chaplin, who built a career over the 1920s and 1930s as a silent screen star, finally opening his mouth in his first sound film, 1940’s The Great Dictator. The decision wasn’t an arbitrary one. Chaplin was speaking out because he finally had something important to say. The Great Dictator splits its time between two characters, both played by …

[7.0] Spencer Tracy stars as Major Richard Rogers, leader of an elite force of men who traversed the wilderness and engaged with enemies during the French and Indian War. The film is seen through the eyes of two new recruits, played by Walter Brennan and Robert Young. The first half of the film is a survival story, with the dwindling troops fighting wildlife, treacherous terrain, …

[6.5] Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M) directs this adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel about a British man (Ray Milland) recently released from an insane asylum who gets caught up in a Nazi attempt to smuggle sensitive information out of England during World War II. Lang brings a lot of style and paranoia to the film, particularly in two strong opening sequences. The first begets a mystery …

[6.0] Virginia Bruce, John Barrymore, and John Howard star in this second, decidedly more comic installment of what would become Universal’s Invisible Man franchise. Howard plays a rich playboy looking to settle down with the right woman, while Barrymore plays the inventor who lives next door, benefiting from Howard’s financial generosity. When he’s ready for a test subject in his invisibility experiment, Barrymore puts an …

[7.0] Maltese Falcon cast mates Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet reunite with director John Huston for this wartime espionage flick. Bogart plays a dishonorably discharged army captain who catches passage on a Japanese steamboat headed for the Panama Canal. While on board, Bogey strikes up interesting and entertaining relationships with two other passengers played by Astor and Greenstreet. None of the characters seem …

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