The Fall of Berlin (1949, USSR, Chiaureli)
I can learn to like Communist war epics, if they’re all like this, the original Der Untergang. The emotions are all heightened: All joy, all love, all rage. The first scene with Stalin is shot with an angelic choir humming in the background. And the scenes of the actual battle of Berlin are like nothing that actually happened – mythical, crossing over to delirious when Stalin himself shows up, and all the nations on Earth join hands to sing his praise. Watched it all. I guess I’m able to watch this with moral detachment because it crosses over into fantasy. Fantasy was the element that held Communism together. Which is why I look forward to more of these movies.
Battleground (1949, USA, Wellman)
Another step towards insincerity in war movies. I don’t mean that The Fall of Berlin (above) is particularly sincere. But at least it doesn’t pretend to be. Watched: 4 minutes.
A Letter to Three Wives (1949, USA, Mankiewicz)
We never see Addie’s face, only the effect she has on her desperate housewife friends, all of whom are less beautiful, less interesting, less cultured, less alive, less perfect than she is. They know it, and their husbands know it too. Watched it all.
Who Done It (1949, USA)
The Three Stooges – another of the massively unfunny comedy teams of the 1940′s. I know they won a war and all, but the World War II generation should be ashamed of themselves for having such a terrible taste in humor. Watched: 3 minutes.