When it comes to cinema, I love the ones that were made during the 1940s and 1950s when, in my opinion, films were not made so much for their profitability, but for the art itself and the messages it contains. As a child I watched the local version of The Sunday Matinee Movie and got acquainted with actors like Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and others. This was the era of “film noir,” which is defined as movies that are symbolized by low-light sets, a bleak setting, and focus on stories about corrupt and cynical characters. The plots of these films often revolve around an antihero, a crime (and the subsequent moral dilemma), and a romantic interest in the central character of the film. Films were shot in black and white, with shadow as important as dialogue. These films used unusual angles, cropped close-ups, and bleak tones to create unique and powerful stories. These films were made over a period of roughly twenty years, beginning with 1940’s “Stranger on the Third Floor” (starring Peter Lorre and John McGuire) and the underrated “Brother Orchid” (Edward G. Robinson), to the classic by Orson Well’s 1958 “Touch of Evil.”

Some other films from this era are “Angels with Dirty Faces” (James Cagney and Pat O’Brien), “Key Largo” (Bogart, Bacall, Sidney Greenstreet), “Gaslight” (Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer), “Double Indemnity “(Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck under the direction of Billy Wilder) and” Mildred Pierce “. Hollywood has had some recent success with such films as “Chinatown” and “LA Confidential.” They seem to support such a notion, with the latter featuring an Oscar-winning role of Kim Basinger as the fatal woman Lynn Bracken.

Arguably the most important actress of this era was googly-eyed beauty Betty Davis. She was born Ruth Elizabeth Davis on April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts. When she rose to stardom at age 26, it wasn’t just her acting acumen and acid delivery, but her eyes, which were immortalized in a Kim Carnes song. “Bette Davis Eyes” reached number one in 1981.

He made his film debut in 1931’s “The Bad Sister” and typically played characters with tough exteriors, but who were vulnerable. His characters used to be smart-mouthed and many of them smoked cigarettes, a behavior that was not considered very feminine. According to the unofficial Bette Davis website, Bette Davis, “was described by

a critique as’ a force of nature that could not find an ordinary outlet. Best Actress, she wanted the lead role in Gone With the Wind in the 1939s, but the role went to Vivian Leigh. Davis’s most famous role would come about 11 years later, as that of actress Margo Channing. In “All About Eva” from the 1950s, which earned her another Best Actress Nomination Ironically, her career waned shortly thereafter.

Davis also gave excellent performances in “Now, Voyager” (1942); “The Bride Came COD” (1941, with James Cagney); “Deception” (1946); “The corn is green” (1945); “Mr. Skeffington” (1944) and “What Ever Happened To Baby Jane” (1962). In the latter, she played alongside her longtime rival, Joan Crawford, and won an Oscar for Best Actress. In the film, he played an unbalanced and finished child star. “Baby Jane” was also the highest grossing film of that year.

Davis’ number of Oscar nominations, 10, is second only to Katherine Hepburn (11). His other nominations include high-powered performances in “The Star” (1952); “Mr. Skeffington” (1944); “Now, Voyager” (1942); “The little foxes” (1941); “The Letter” (1940); “Dark Victory” (1939) and “Of Human Bondage” (1934). In 1977, Davis became the first woman to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. She was also known as “The Queen of the Screen”. Three of his movie quotes are in the American Film Institute’s Top 100. They include, (No. 7, from “All About Eve”) “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night”, (No. 60, from “Beyond the Forest”) “What rubbish.” and (No. 45) “Oh, Jerry, let’s not ask for the moon. We have the stars. (from” Now, Voyager “5)

Perhaps her most memorable line was from the movie that catapulted her to stardom. In “Of Human Bondage” (1934) he co-starred with Leslie Howard and uttered the line: “You’re a scoundrel! You filthy pigs! I never cared about you, not once! I was always making up for loving you. You bored me. ” rigid. Hated you It made me sick when I had to let you kiss me. I only did it because you begged me, you stalked me, and you drove me crazy! And after you kissed me, I always used to wipe my mouth. Clean my mouth! “In the same vein, in” Cabin In The Cotton “(1932) he pronounced the phrase:” I would like to kiss you, but I just washed my hair. “On the other hand, when Joyce Arden in” It’s Love I’m After “(1937), he joked:” My dear, I think you are the lowest thing that ever crawled, but as long as I can reach out and put my hands on you, no other man will ever touch me. “

Regarding his enmity with Joan Crawford, in his 1962 autobiography, “The Lonely Life,” Davis wrote: “I do not regret a professional enemy that I have created. Any actor who does not dare to make an enemy should come out of the picture. business. “

She made her last film appearance in 1989, playing the role of Miranda Pierpoint in “Wicked Stepmother.” She died that year on October 6, 1989 in Neuilly, France of breast cancer.

One of my favorite films from this era is the underrated “Caged,” starring Eleanor {Parker in the title role of Marie Allen. It is the story of a pregnant girl imprisoned for being an accessory to a crime committed by her husband. While incarcerated, Marie is mistreated by the evil guard Emma Barber (played with seemingly devilish glee by Ellen Corby). Marie eventually breaks down psychologically and her bitterness turns her into a hardened would-be criminal. Agnes Moorehead, best known for her role as “Endora” on the television series “Bewitched,” provides a solid portrayal of the caring prison warden Ruth Benton.

For Parker, it should have been a prominent role that placed her among the top echelon of actresses of that time. But she never reached the level of stardom that Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Claire Trevor did. One critic called the film, “One of the most underrated films of all time. Eleanor Parker really deserved an Oscar for this performance.” Parker was nominated that year, but was overtaken by Judy Holiday, (“Born Yesterday”). Also nominated for an Oscar was her co-star Hope Emerson, who played Dam Evelyn Harper, Marie’s counterpart. Emerson lost to Josephine Hull (“Harvey”).

Parker was born on June 26, 1922, in Cedarville, Ohio. Made her debut in “Busses Roar” (1942), The Film Guild of America says of her: “Audiences never knew what to expect when they saw her. For Eleanor, creating interesting characters was more important than cultivating a star image. In more out of 50 films, she would win the title, ‘The Woman with a Thousand Faces’ … If she had conformed, and simply used her ravishing beauty to achieve stardom, she could be canonized today. Fortunately, she did not settle. Instead, Eleanor grew into a serious actress who gave her roles a depth and understanding few stars have matched. “

Little-known films followed, including five in 1944: “The Very Thought of You,” “The Last Ride,” “Crime by Night,” “Atlantic City” (an uncredited part), and “Between Two Worlds.” She had a supporting role as Mildred Rogers in “Of Human Bondage” (1946). In 1950 she played Joan “Jo” Holloway alongside Humphrey Bogart in the war story “Chain Lightning.” Due to the weakness of the script, the film is best remembered for its airplane flight scenes.

Claire Trevor was born Claire Wemlinger on March 8, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York. His career began in 1933 in “Life In The Raw” and also appeared in the John Wayne film, “Stagecoach” (1939).

During her career, which spanned sixty films, she earned the nickname “Queen of Film Noir.” She played a plethora of “bad girl” roles, but garnered three Oscar nominations: “Dead End” (1937, which also featured Humphrey Bogart and marked the debut of The Dead End Kids); “The High and the Mighty” (1954) and won the Best Supporting Actress award for her portrayal of the drunken girlfriend of an abusive gangster (Edward G. Robinson), in “Key Largo” (1948).

His other films include “Murder, My Sweet” (1944) where Trevor played Velma, the missing girlfriend of a gangster. Dick Powell played the title role as Detective Philip Marlowe. In 1947 he starred in “Born To Kill” and in 1948 he made three films: “Raw Deal” in the role of a gunman who helps his gangster boyfriend escape from prison; “The Velvet Touch,” where she played an actress accused of murdering her husband; and then he played the guy in “The Babe Ruth Story” (1948). The first two films are considered some of the best examples of the Noir genre.

Trevor also won an Emmy (1956) for his performance in “Dodsworth,” co-starring Fredric March. He died on April 8, 2000.

Director John Houston was born on August 5, 1906, in Nevada, Missouri. He went to Hollywood when his father Walter, another prominent producer, gave him a job. He helped with the writing of hits like “Jezebel”, “High Sierra” and “Sergeant York”. He made his directorial debut in 1941, directing Bogart, Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet in “Tha Maltese Falcon” for which he won an Oscar for writing. In 1948, Huston directed “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” and won an Oscar for writing and directing. His father won the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in the film. Many consider this to be their strongest film.

Huston once called film “a collaborative medium. Rather than being a tyrant, I believe in getting ideas from as many sources as possible.” He has worked with some of the biggest names of his day, including Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, Peter Lorre, and Katherine Hepburn.

His films are a cornucopia of classics: “The African Queen”, “Cayo Largo”, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Honor of Prizzi”, starring his daughter Angelica and that earned him an award for best supporting actress. honor. Many of those films were also written by Huston. He noted, “I don’t make a distinction between writing and directing. But writing and directing one’s own material is definitely the best approach. Directing is a kind of extension of writing.” Huston also performed an interpretation of “The Bible” (1966) and “The Red Badge of Courage” (1951).

Lauren Bacall called him “sassy, ​​unpredictable, maddening, baffling, and probably the most charming man in the world.” Katherine Hepburn said Huston was “the best address I’ve ever heard.”

Houston died on August 28, 1987 of emphysema.


John Huston Profile, Wikipedia

Claire Trevor’s profile, Wikipedia

Martin Connors and Jim Craddock, “Videohound’s Golden Movie Retriever 2000”

Eleanor Parker Biography, IMDb.com

“The John Huston Interviews”, edited by Robert Emmet Long

Bette Davis, imdb profile

Bette Davis Profile, Wikipedia

The unofficial page of Bette Davis

Bette Davis profile, “Reel Classics”

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