Monthly Archives: November 2009

And an egg in his beer

I’m not particularly interested in 1940′s history or movies, more than other periods, it’s just that this is where I happen to be at the moment. Which is why it is so fun to stumble about in the old archives of TIME Magazine.

Here’s a fantastic – and possibly, hopefully ironic – letter to the editor, from the Dec. 18, 1944 issue:

Sirs: The G.I. Bill of Rights, while practically assuring every veteran a Chris-Craft speed boat, two cars in every garage, a home in the country, a penthouse, and an egg in his beer, has, in our opinion, failed to deal with a question which is destined to present one of the most controversial issues of the postwar world. To wit: Will the returning G.I. be able to maintain the same balance of power in his home that he enjoyed in the halcyon days, or will the female of the species assert herself and declare the “old order” relegated to the limbo of nostalgic memories? . . . Upon settlement of this question rests the stability of the state and the determination of whether G.I. Joe is to enjoy the freedoms he fought for. (PVT.) ED G. LANCASTER Camp Claiborne, La.

Also, a first-hand account of D-Day.

40′s movies marathon – part 48

Jane Eyre (1944, USA) – A series of unfortunate events. It’s all quite ridiculous, but I love the style: Almost a horror movie, set in an alternate England of fog, shadows and sadists. I haven’t read the novel, is it the same or meant to be taken seriously? Watched it all.

The Suspect (1944, USA) – Kind middle-aged Charles Laughton gets a lover and murders his wife. I can understand why. Watched: 16 minutes. In one scene, (this is set in 1902), his girlfriend walks into a London tobacco store. The shopkeeper says, “we don’t sell cigarettes to women”, and she says, “no, of course not.” What?!

Jungle Woman (1944, USA) – Animals turned into people. People turned into animals. Watched: 13 minutes.

The Canterville Ghost (1944, USA) – American soldiers ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but one of them is afraid of battle, and freezes when he’s supposed to shoot at Germans. It takes the help of a six year old girl and the Canterville ghost to teach him bravery. Watched it all. (Btw, the “well-known fact” that most WWII soldiers never fired at the enemy is probably untrue.)

It Happened Tomorrow (1944, USA) – A journalist gets hold of tomorrow’s newspaper. Nobody believes him, and no wonder, when he’s so annoying about it. Watched: 24 minutes.

Frenchman’s Creek (1944, USA) – Joan Fontaine, a 17th century lady, leaves her fool of a husband to seek quiet at the coast, where she is kidnapped by Romantic Pirates. Bosom-heaving and sword-fights follow. Watched: 24 minutes.

40′s movies marathon – best of 1943

As a service for readers who have misunderstood the movie marathon concept, and think it’s about me being nice and selecting all the Classic Movies for you, here’s my favorites from 1943:

Good war movies

This Land is Mine
Five Graves to Cairo

War movies (and cartoons) that transcend good and bad, and should be watched for mindblowing historical reasons

Victory Through Air Power (Pictures)
Mission to Moscow
Private SNAFU

Dark movies from the dark continent

Vredens Dag
Le Corbeau

Axis movies

Sugata Sanshiro


The Fallen Sparrow
Shadow of a Doubt

Peculiar Britishness

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

American self-doubt

The Ox Bow Incident

Segregated musicals

Stormy Weather

40′s movies marathon – part 47

Ministry of Fear (1944, USA) – Fritz Lang imitates Hitchcock. It’s all there: The regular guy running away across the country, suspected of a crime he didn’t commit. The sinister spy ring with tentacles into all the best circles. Also the sense that it would all have been simpler if he’d just come clean with the police from the start. But what would be the fun of that? Watched it all.

Cry of the Werewolf (1944, USA) – Begins with a werewolf princess living in hiding among gypsies, (yay!), but then there’s the same old story where a couple of normal people struggle with how to fit the strange things they’ve experienced into their boring rational worldviews. Yes yes, werewolves and vampires and voodoo rituals are real, now get on with the movie. Watched: 17 minutes.

On Approval (1944, UK) – Two aristocrats and their friends move out onto an island for a month to see if they could stand being married to each other. Watched it all. I love how the introduction tries to show the contrast between the modern 40′s and the naughty 90′s.

Bathing Beauty (1944, USA) – Apparently an excuse to show off beautiful swimsuit models in Technicolor. Unfortunately I hate the music. Watched: 8 minutes, then fast forwarded to see if there was any good music at all. There was, and also a man in a tutu, and a message at the end about how this movie will be shown to soldiers overseas, which I think they appreciated.

40′s movies marathon – part 46

Victory Through Air Power (1943, USA) – Not propaganda as such, but an argument made by Disney and an ex-Russian pilot, aimed in part at the Allied governments, about how air power should be used to win the war. It’s informative, awe-inducing, and quirky in that Disney way. Opens with a history of flight, and ends with scenes of the fiery hell Allied bombers will rain on Japan’s industrial areas once they learn how to overcome the great distances. Can you believe the magnificent arrogance of Walt Disney, to use his own army of animators to convince Roosevelt of some idea he’s just picked up from a book? Unbelievable. Fantastic. Watched it all.

The White Cliffs of Dover
(1944, USA) – An American nurse waits for casualties to arrive from the front, and goes into flashback mode to tell us why she loves America’s dear cousins, the English. Watched: 13 minutes.

The Lodger (1944, USA) – I don’t see how Jack the Ripper could have escaped the police all that time if he’d seemed so shifty and shadowy as this lodger does. Watched: 12 minutes.

Double Exposure (1944, USA) – A magazine where photographers fake their pictures and the owner is a health freak hires a Woman Photographer, causing shock and confusion. I’m not sure what to make of the intro text: “New York – Where half the girls are working girls .. and the other half are working men.” What? Watched: 13 minutes.

40′s movies marathon – part 45

Le Corbeau (1943, France) – An anonymous letter writer spreads dark accusations in a small town. The town is so full of depraved people that practically everyone could be the culprit, or at least are so unlikeable that you don’t mind them being falsely accused of it. Watched it all.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943, USA) – By the undead eyebrows of Bela Lugosi, how many are there of these? Watched: 10 minutes.

Watch on the Rhine (1943, USA) – European exiles from both sides meet in the US. Pretty dull considering the screenplay is written by Dashiell Hammett. Watched: 32 minutes.

Lady of Burlesque (1943, USA) – Life at a burlesque theatre, with relatively little clothes for a ’43 movie, and a good sense of fun, including a fistfight between a room full of dancing girls and cops. Watched: 24 minutes.

Stormy Weather (1943, USA) – Jazz musical with an all-black cast. Is that progress or segregation? Watched the musical numbers, skipped everything between. One singer looked and sounded oddly familiar: Turns out he’s Cab Calloway, who I remembered from The Blues Brothers, 37 years later.

The Mysterious Doctor (1943, USA) – This isn’t The Doctor at all, just some medical doctor who wanders by accident into one of those isolated, evil villages England is so full of. Watched: 7 minutes.

Bataan (1943, USA) – Soldiers hold a bridge in the Philippines. Big explosions and men staring somberly out into the jungle follows. Watched: 28 minutes.

40′s movies marathon – part 44

Old Acquaintance (1943, USA) – Bette Davis writes thoughtful books that critics love but readers don’t. Miriam Hopkins writes romantic trash that sells well. They’re the greatest of friends, but you just know that a Bette Davis movie is going to turn out bitter, and so it does. Watched it all. Based on a play by John Van Druten, who apparently saw nothing odd in writing a play about a critically acclaimed playwright who happens to be a wonderful person, and her stupid friend who makes tons of money.

Ladies’ Day (1943, USA) – Meet a team of baseball players and their loud, nasally voiced dames. Watched: 14 minutes.

Ghost on the Loose (1943, USA) – The East Side Kids and Bela Lugosi have certainly fallen far since the 30′s. Watched: 4 minutes.

Millions Like Us (1943, UK) – An ordinary family in wartime London. Perhaps a little too ordinary. Watched: 19 minutes.

The Strange Death of Adolf Hitler (1943, USA) – Life in Nazi Austria, as imagined by someone who has vaguely heard about it in the news. Watched: 6 minutes, then fast forwarded to see the strange death, in which a Mel Brooks lookalike dressed as a Hitler double is shot.

Corvette K-225 (1943, USA) – Sailors on the Atlantic etc. No chance of seeing car chases, the Corvette in question is a ship. Watched: 5 minutes.

Tonight We Raid Calais (1943, USA) – Spy infiltrates France, after a miraculous escape from the laws of bullet physics. Watched: 6 minutes.