Mrs. Miniver (1942)

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Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Mrs. Miniver (1942). 133 minutes. Directed by William Wyler. Starring Greer Garson (as Kay Miniver), Walter Pidgeon (as Clem Miniver), Teresa Wright (as Carol Beldon), Dame May Whitty (as Lady Beldon), Reginald Owen (as Foley), Henry Travers (as Mr. Ballard), Richard Ney (as Vin Miniver), Henry Wilcoxon (as the vicar), Christopher Severn (as Toby Miniver), Brenda Forbes (as Glenda), Clare Sandars (as Judy Miniver), Marie De Becker (as Ada), and Helmut Dantine (as German flyer).

Mrs. Miniver is an Academy Award-winning movie about the rural English experience during the early years of World War II. Especially in its first half, the movie can be overly sentimental, but I was moved by the dramatic transformation of the characters’ lives as the war progresses in the second half. I was also captivated by the way that the British countryside, which we might think of in the abstract as a tranquil and pacific place, morphs into a dangerous and battle-torn environment in this … Read the rest

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

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"The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946)

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). 172 minutes. Directed by William Wyler. Starring Frederic March (as Al Stephenson), Myrna Loy (as Milly Stephenson), Dana Andrews (as Fred Derry), Teresa Wright (as Peggy Stephenson), Virginia Mayo (as Marie Derry), Harold Russell (as Homer Parrish), Cathy O’Donnell (as Wilma Cameron), Gladys George (as Hortense Derry), Roman Bohnen (as Pat Derry), Hoagy Carmichael (as Butch Engle), Ray Collins (as Mr. Milton), Minna Gombell (as Mrs. Parrish), Walter Baldwin (as Mr. Parrish), Dorothy Adams (as Mrs. Cameron), Don Beddoe (as Mr. Cameron), and Michael Hall (as Rob Stephenson). Cinematography by Gregg Toland. Music by Hugo Friedhofer and Emil Newman.

The Best Years of Our Lives┬átells the story of three servicemen returning to their Midwestern hometown after World War II and the difficulty with which they adjust to life as civilians, family members, and husbands or boyfriends. It is notably rather frank about the challenges involved in their re-immersion into domestic life, presenting … Read the rest

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943). 108 minutes. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Teresa Wright (as Charlotte “Young Charlie” Newton), Joseph Cotten (as Charles “Uncle Charlie” Oakley), Henry Travers (as Joseph Newton), Patricia Collinge (as Emma Newton), Macdonald Carey (as Detective Jack Graham), Wallace Ford (as Detective Fred Saunders), Hume Cronyn (as Herbie Hawkins), Edna May Wonacott (as Ann Newton), and Charles Bates (as Roger Newton).

Shadow of a Doubt is one of Hitchcock’s great triumphs, said to be his favorite of his films. It presents in many regards a very basic story about a small-town American family that is visited by an outsider, a relative from far away who brings with him danger and intrigue. But it manages to elevate this familiar narrative to the level of the exquisite through the artful creation of tension, through the beauty of its setting, and through its impressive writing and acting. Told through the experiences of Charlotte “Young Charlie” Newton (played by Teresa … Read the rest