40′s movies marathon – part 73

Captain Kidd (1945) - Charles Laughton

Captain Kidd (1945, USA, Lee) – Charles Laughton commands a crew of pardoned pirates through the dangerous waters of the Madagascar.  There’s a mad gleam in his eyes that is especially unsettling because it’s not over the top, movie pirate style.  Unfortunately Laughton is the only good thing about this movie, and the end is disappointingly ordinary, with a lost heir, a silly romance, and a happy ending.  Kidd is so deliciously evil that he deserves to win, goddammit!  Watched it all.

Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945, USA, Thorpe) – An honest bellboy with an honest girlfriend tries to make an honest living in the big city, along with his retarded thug friend.  But temptations lurk everywhere.  Watched: 13 minutes.

A Walk in the Sun (1945)

A Walk in the Sun (1945, USA, Milestone) – I’m getting pretty tired of war movies, but this is one of the best ones yet, maybe even better than The Story of G. I. Joe.  Watched it all.  I have a theory about World War II movies: Despite the lack of blood, swearing, etc., they were at their most realistic when they were made by people who had actually been there.  Today you expect a WW2 movie to be epic, because Hitler was teh evil and all that.  There’s nothing epic about these contemporary movies.

Tonight and Every Night (1945, USA, Saville) – A music hall stays open every night during the London Blitz.  And no wonder, for what damage can bombs possibly do against such an abundance of vibrant technicolors and short skirts?  Watched: 13 minutes.

6 thoughts on “40′s movies marathon – part 73

  1. Adam Lounsbery

    Nice capsule review of “A Walk in the Sun.” I agree with you that war films from the ’40s are more “authentic” than modern viewers give them credit for being. People who think “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan” are the apotheosis of World War II movies cite the lack of bloodshed and cursing, and the sometimes inauthentic ordnance and uniforms of ’40s war movies. Horse feathers. The discussion among the men in “A Walk in the Sun” of how torn up the lieutenant’s face is from a shell blast, and the fact that they can’t tell if his eye is missing or not, gives you all you need to know. Your imagination fills in the rest. I’d rather watch a ’40s movie with an American half track filling in for a German one than a mediocre, revisionist WWII movie made recently that has all authentic equipment.

  2. Bjørn Stærk

    I guess with a war like that there’s bound to be a struggle between the mythic approach and the realistic approach. Nobody who made movies in the decades afterwards could approach it like it was just some war. It was the defining conflict of a generation. But the people who were there knew what it was like. Later, the mythic approach became dominant, and today it’s a mix of myth, realism and revisionism.

    I liked Band of Brothers, (didn’t see Saving Private Ryan), but I notice that almost everything I liked about it – and the Iraq series Generation Kill – was also present in the best of these wartime movies. That surprised me.

    Btw, there were many great British war-related movies as well: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Way Ahead, A Canterbury Tale, Perfect Strangers, The Way to the Stars. Their strength was not so much the battle aspects of the war, but the cultural aspects.

  3. Adam Lounsbery

    I also liked Band of Brothers, and didn’t mean to seem as if I was dumping all over it. I was mostly thinking of Saving Private Ryan when I alluded to modern WWII films that got all the technical details right but missed something basic and seemed really anachronistic. Band of Brothers was about as good as one could hope for after so many decades of collective mythmaking.

    I still haven’t seen The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. Shame on me.

  4. Konrad

    Ah, Charles Laughton, that wonderful and great actor (and director), large forgotten, sad. Watching him in Spartacus (Kubrick) is a sheer delight.

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