Category: 1940s

Moontide Movie Essay - Port of Shadows Comparison

The Light of Human Love and Community: On ‘Moontide’ and ‘Port of Shadows’

“‘Moontide’ and ‘Port of Shadows’ offer a fascinating study into key differences in Hollywood and European filmmaking and storytelling during the 1930s and early 1940s, a time when the studio system reigned supreme…”

Detour Cast - Every Performer and Character in the 1945 Film Noir Movie

Know the Cast: ‘Detour’

‘Detour’ Cast: A Vague Visages guide for every main performer and character in Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1945 film noir movie.

Freddie Steps Out Movie Film

Intentionally Disposable Art: The Teen Agers Films

“What do we do with the Teen Agers movies, which were no more intended to be seen 75 years later than a dinner cooked in 1947 was intended to be eaten in 2021?”

Da 5 Bloods Movie Film

Black Gold: Cinema, Wealth and Blackness

Brian Brems on ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, ‘Da 5 Bloods’ and ‘Trespass’

Stray Dog Movie Film

Lost: Akira Kurosawa Noir

“In Kurosawa’s noir films, characters struggle to move beyond loss — personal, financial and national — only to find that more loss awaits them.”

Blood on the Moon Movie Film

Have None, Will Travel: The Villainy of Economics in ‘Blood on the Moon’

“There’s a dark warning at the heart of ‘Blood on the Moon’ that still rings true today.”

Rebecca - 1940 Film

The Gothic Splendour of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rebecca’

“Rebecca’s greatness stems from its faithful approach to the Gothic roots of du Maurier’s novel, foregrounding all of the most important themes like repression of the past and marriages full of conflict.”

The Snake Pit Movie Essay - 1948 Film

Light in a Dark Room: The Legacy of ‘The Snake Pit’

“‘The Snake Pit’ became the first Hollywood film to address mental health in such a raw way, and set a standard for future films that similarly explore the topic.”

So Proudly We Hail 1943 Movie - Film Essay

Why She Fights: On ‘So Proudly We Hail!’ and Female Camaraderie

“While a number of combat films released in 1943 focus almost exclusively on the male war effort, ‘So Proudly We Hail!’ finds nobility, heroism, anger, racism, sacrifice and camaraderie in its female characters.”

The Curse of the Cat People 1944 Movie - Film Essay

‘The Curse of the Cat People’: Val Lewton’s Groundbreaking Introduction of Childhood Fantasy

“Lewton’s insights into both childhood and adult inner personal conflicts are legacies which deserve recognition in the foundational history of horror, both for psychological thrillers and fantasy films.”

Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death

The Man Who Laughs: Richard Widmark’s Early Noirs

“Widmark offers a succession of performances in ‘Kiss of Death, ‘The Street with No Name’ and ‘Road House’ that show a young actor building, then resisting, and then reconciling his own burgeoning screen persona.”

Paisan 1946 Movie - Film Essay

Speaking Power to Truth: Roberto Rossellini’s ‘Paisan’

“Rossellini astonishingly blends the good and the bad into an imperfect merging of society in all its multiplicity of guises. Death, desolation and violence are as pervasive in the film as love and empathy.”

Pink Narcissus 1971 Movie - Film Essay

Narcissus’ Pink Mirror: On Fantasy and Queer Desire

“Fantasy exists to create a place of greater safety, a rejection of the real world in favour of one that allows for an open, unapologetic queerness.”

White Heat Movie Essay - 1949 Raoul Walsh Film

Man on Fire: ‘White Heat’ and the Dynamic James Cagney

“Cagney’s sadistic lead in ‘White Heat,’ a searing 1949 crime drama from director Raoul Walsh, is something well past the norms of a conventional male protagonist — or antagonist, for that matter.”

The Woman in the Window Movie Film

Of Love and Other Demons: ‘The Woman in the Window’ (Fritz Lang, 1944)

“The film has an unusually conservative vibe for a noir, maintaining that the status quo may be boring but criminality has nothing to offer — not even carnal thrills.”

Gilda Movie Essay - 1946 Charles Vidor Film

Of Love and Other Demons: ‘Gilda’ (Charles Vidor, 1946)

“‘Gilda’ is one of the great examples of onscreen masochism.”