Ceremony Year (1941)

Movies Came Out In (1940)


Rebecca – Just watched this recently, and this was a really intriguing Hitchcock thriller.  The basic plot is: A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband’s dead first wife.  However, that’s an oversimplification.  I won’t spoil any of the outcomes, but there are a lot of unexpected twists and turns that make for a pretty decent film.

All This, and Heaven Too – Watched recently, and the plot is: A duchess’ irrational behavior toward the governess (Bette Davis) of her children triggers tragic events that will change her family’s lives forever.  Bette Davis delivers a very good performance and I think she helps make the film what it is.  It is a pretty intriguing movie that moves along at an entertaining pace.  The film does a good job showing what life must have been like some 100 years prior to 1940, in France/England.

Foreign Correspondent – Watch this on TCM, and was intrigued as it’s directed by Hitchcock.  The film did seem like a piece of propaganda for WW2 (prior to US entry).  I thought the ending was pretty good, but the plot was a little slow moving in the beginning.  The plane crash scene definitely seemed expensive given the time period (1940).  Was it a great movie?  No.  Was it worth watching? I think so.

The Grapes of Wrath – Watched this on TCM, and I remember reading it in high school and being bored to tears.  I actually thought the movie was pretty good.  Same story, but it worked on the big screen.  I do think that Henry Fonda went to acting school where they taught you to be either a crotchety old crank or a persuasive arguer b/c that’s all he ever seems to be (On Golden Pond, Ox-bow Incident, 12 Angry Men, etc…).

The Great Dictator – I just watched recently on TCM, and this film is great.  At almost 80 years old, it still extremely funny and very poignant.  I can see where so many of today’s comics (Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Steve Martin, etc.) must have studied Charlie Chaplin’s comedic style and were influenced by him.  The TCM intro was very informative about how ground breaking and controversial this film was (given that the US was not involved in WW2 yet, and Chaplin was a British citizen, not a US citizen).

Kitty Foyle – Watched recently, and it was okay.  Starring Ginger Rogers, the plot is: A hard-working, white-collar girl from a middle-class family meets and falls in love with a young socialite, but she soon clashes with his family.  This plot line does not do the film justice as the story is told in flashback format and has a lot more to do with the decision making of the lead actress. The film moves along at a good pace, and is an easy watch, but it’s little more than a romance tale and not very much more.

The Letter – A Bette Davis Film Noir classic, so I’m told by the opening of TCM. 🙂  I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.  Clocked in at about 90 minutes and kept up a pretty good pace.  Wasn’t much of a who done it, but more of a “why done it”.  I would have liked to know more about the eventual killer of Bette Davis’s character as she was pretty intriguing.

The Long Voyage Home – Ok, this movie was super corny and the acting was just so stereotypical.  John Wayne’s Swedish accent/acting was just comical.  The plot was pretty thin/lame.  I think people were more easily entertained in 1940.

Our Town – Read this book as ninth grader, I think.  I thought it was incredibly boring then, and this movie was just as boring.  I have no idea why this play is considered such an iconic piece of literature, so “meh” as far as I’m concerned.

The Philadelphia Story – Just watched recently, and I would say it’s “ok”.  It stars Grant, Hepburn and Stewart and they all deliver pretty decent performances, but very similar to how you see them in other films of the same period.  It had some funny moments, but the plot is pretty transparent/predictable, so take it for what it’s worth: a silly rom-com.

Brian’s Winner:




Ceremony Year (1941) – Movies Came Out In (1940)