Double Indemnity (1944)

DOUBLE INDEMNITY

Double Indemnity was not Billy Wilder’s first directorial effort.  But, as far as history is concerned, it is his first great directorial effort.  And, it was the first of many.  Continue reading

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

wiz

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?”

There is the learning of Dorothy Gale, one of cinema’s most enduring heroines, as she, with her friends, receives her gift from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Continue reading

Wuthering Heights (1939)

One of the great things about studying 1939 is seeing how such a vast enterprise as Hollywood can, at times, seem so small.  I feel like I did a pretty good job showing how interconnected the industry was that year in my initial essay on 1939, and how that interconnectedness made Hollywood more a machine than a business.  It pumped out films at a tremendous rate—good ones, too.  Well, the smallness of Hollywood was at play in the creation of some of 1939’s finest films. Continue reading

Ninotchka (1939)

“This picture takes place in Paris, in those wonderful days when a siren was a brunette and not an alarm—and if a Frenchman turned out the light it was not on account of an air raid!”

So begins the riotous story of Ninotchka and Leon in Paris, penned by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. Continue reading

Midnight (1939)

What happens at the stroke of midnight?  What happens when those bells chime twelve times through the darkness of a Europe night?

The shining dress turns to rags, the horses are once again house mice, and the carriage transforms back to a simple pumpkin.  And the true identity of beautiful Cinderella is made known. Continue reading