This Means War
Jesse Walker is now back to 1942, listing the top ten films of that time. 1942, of course, was the first full year the U.S. entered the war that had already engulfed much of the world. This is reflected in Hollywood's output, but will it be reflected in Jesse's list?
Here's his top ten:
2. The Magnificent Ambersons
3. The Talk of the Town
5. The Man Who Came to Dinner
6. The Palm Beach Story
7. The Major and the Minor
8. To Be or Not to Be
9. The Male Animal
10. The Road to Morocco
I might change the order around a bit, but a prett good list. And as Jesse notes, all-American (though what can you expect with Europe and Japan in flames).
Cat People is fine, especially for its budget, but not #1. Even as a compromised film, Ambersons is still a masterpiece. I'm not sure if Talk Of The Town would make my top ten. It's fun, but strains too much at social significance (and when you look at how every other Cary Grant film preceding it for the last five years was a classic, it's a letdown). Casablanca really can't be improved upon. The Man Who Came To Dinner is no classic, but does preserve Monty Woolley's performance and gives us a glimpse of what the play might have been like. I consider Palm Beach Story second-tier Sturges but good enough for the top ten. The Major And The Minor may be Wilder's most charming film. To Be Or Not To Be is one of the Lubitsch's greatest, and perhaps would be my #1. The Male Animal--see Talk Of The Town. The Road To Morocco is the best of the Road pictures.
I might add, since Jesse include short films, I'm surprised to see none--this was a great era for shorts.
Jesse has no honorable mentions, but notes he likes Random Harvest and Holiday Inn. I don't love the former (though it's a lot better than Greer Garson's big Oscar-winning film of the year Mrs. Miniver), but the latter would make my top ten.
Here are a few other films of 1942 that might make my top ten, or at least top twenty:
For Me And My Gal (Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in his screen debut)
Saboteur (doesn't get the respect of other Hitchcock classics)
West The Day Well? (an alternative history movie about a small British town fighting back against a Nazi takeover)
You Were Never Lovelier (Astaire with the woman he considered his greatest partner, Rita Hayworth)
Other films I liked:
I Married A Witch, It's All True (unfinished Welles but the footage is fascinating), Jungle Book, Larceny, Inc., My Favorite Blonde, Yankee Doodle Dandy
Other films of note (including a lot of musicals with enjoyable numbers):