Oliver Twist (1948, UK, Lean)
There’s no need for monsters in alternate, Dickensian England, because the place is full of humans. They’re all rotten, all except the plucky hero, and some nice people he meets along the way who give false hope that maybe life isn’t so awful after all. But it is, and requires nothing short of a miracle to set things right. Watched it all.
Good Sam (1948, USA, McCary)
Gary Cooper wants to be nice to everybody, but his wife knows better: Helping people makes you look silly in front of your neighbors, and it’s really expensive too. Watched: 13 minutes. I find myself wanting to watch an evil version of this movie written by Ayn Rand, where Gary Cooper’s wife teaches him to be a selfish asshole uninhibited by altruism, and not the other way around.
Act of Violence (1948, USA, Zinnemann)
Hey this is almost that Viggo Mortensen movie, A History of Violence. Only here, the violent past that comes back to haunt the nice suburban dad is the War, where there was no such thing as nice suburban dads. Watched it all. This is the darkest veteran movie yet. Surviving the war is portrayed as a cruel joke: It just makes the pain last longer, the pain of knowing what you’ve become.
The Snake Pit (1948, USA, Litvak)
It has always been a reliable ticket to the Oscars: Play a mad person. Watched: 13 minutes.