Best movies of the year, 1945

Isle of the DeadToday we head back into the past, even further, to consider the greatest movies of… 1945.  This is another installment of the game we’re playing about the history of film.  Jesse Walker and LAGuy have done their lists, so it’s my turn.

  1. Isle of the Dead.  A brooding mix of multiple Gothic ideas (evil spirits, being buried alive, vampires, etc) that refracts several wars (WWII ongoing, WWI, pre-WWI Balkan Wars).  Solid performances and achingly fine direction.
  2. Ivan the Terrible, Part I.  Some of Eisenstein’s best work: epic, playful, subversive yet idolatrous.
  3. Detour.  Zero budget frantic very pure noir.
  4. Spellbound.  A very narrow, claustrophobic Hitchcock take on the psychologist narrative.
  5. Rome, Open City.  A powerful neorealist film, miraculously made in the teeth of war.
  6. Dead of Night.  A fun, early anthology horror film.
  7. Walk in the Sun.  A representative small unit war movie, very intense, unusually small scale, with a great deal of loss in a campaign fraught with misfires and frustration.

Honorable mentions:

  • Lost Weekend.  Landmark addiction story.

Want to see: The Spiral Staircase; Scarlet Street; Mildred Pierce;  Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Children of Paradise; Brief Encounter; The Body Snatcher; I Know Where I’m Going!

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