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Added by madstalk on 6 Aug 2011 09:39
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Ranking the Best Picture Winners: 1940s

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I wish I could rave about how much I loved Gone With the Wind but I can't. Maybe seeing it as a wonderment filled child would have left me with a soft spot for Gone With the Wind but alas, I'm an adult now. It comes off as a glorification of slavery and a poorly plotted, overlong story about two selfish, unlikeable people acting unlikeable. It's one saving grace is Vivian Leigh - she's awesome at acting like a terrible person.
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I always thought that tragic mining tales were the domain of edgy directors from impoverished nations. After seeing How Green Was My Valley I know that GOOD tragic mining tales are from edgy directors from impoverished nations. How Green Was My Valley feels like a soulless attempt to desperately grab at its audiences emotions.
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Maybe if viewed through the lens 1947 (when the atrocities of the Nazi party were still fresh) this is an edgy, brave examination of social injustice. Today it just seems like a borderline comically farcical exploration of a real world problem. The very idea of a journalist pretending to be Jewish so he can write about how much people hate Jewish people seems more at home in an Eddie Murphy comedy than this melodramatic drama piece.
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People who added this item 100 Average listal rating (54 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
The core relationship in this film between an aging priest and the young buck (played by Bing Crosby) sent to replace him is interesting. It's too bad that the film shoots itself in the foot with some of the worst, most brutal musical interludes known to mankind and some very odd plotting that asks you to believe rough and tumble street gangs can be broken up and assuaged via baseball and choir singing. Plus points, however, for the random St. Louis Browns jerseys and the 150 year old Grandma.
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People who added this item 222 Average listal rating (122 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
I'm sure that Laurence Olivier's performance is awe inspiring. I'm sure (and actually do believe) that the scenes with the ghost of Hamlet's father are impressively atmospheric. But I'm equally sure that this is a rather banal, almost direct retelling of the original Shakespeare play. It'd basically be the same if Olivier set up a camera in the back of an auditorium while people read Hamlet line by line. That's fine for some people but I like my adaptations to have at least a little personality of their own. And no, overusing fog doesn't count as personality.
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People who added this item 173 Average listal rating (91 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6
It's a nice little drama about a resourceful British woman and her family. It can feel like a propaganda fueled fluff piece but it's harmless and mostly solid.
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My expectations for Billy Wilder films are pretty sky high so The Lost Weekend was a bit of a disappointment. Ray Milland is quite good as a booze addict but when your film is almost entirely about drinking and procuring liquor it can get a bit repetitive. The second half where he gets checked into an asylum and hallucinates bats and stuff is pretty neat.
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This is one of the best examinations of life after wartime that I've seen. Tons of films delve into the soldier's experience during a war but few deal with the physical and emotional scars they must endure when they come home. This is one of those films and it deals with the topic in a mostly sincere and touching way.
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People who added this item 3229 Average listal rating (1889 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.5
There's not much to say about Casablanca that hasn't already been said. Great stuff here.
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People who added this item 1151 Average listal rating (669 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar for Best Director but he did win a Best Picture award here and it was justly earned. This is a great atmospheric romantic story dressed up as a ghostly tale. The last scenes embody the suspense that Hitchcock quickly became famous for. It will stick with you for quite a while after viewing.
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I've made it my current goal to watch all the Best Picture winning films. Here's my ranking for the victors from 1940-1949. NOTE: My dates here are based off the year in which a film actually took home the statue and not the release year.

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Posted: 5 years, 1 month ago at Sep 8 19:34
Time for a little bit of controversy here:

10.Mrs. Miniver: Second to Funny Girl to William Wyler's worst movie. It's twee and sentimental.

9. The Lost Weekend: Much as I admire Billy Wilder's work, his Best Picture winners are among his weakest films. In particular, The Lost Weekend is effective, but one-dimensional.

8. Gentlemen's Agreement: Agree with your assessment here.

7. How Green Was My Valley: Admittedly not a bad film, though nowhere near as deserving as such films as Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, The Little Foxes, or Sergeant York.

6. Going My Way: I actually rather like this little catholic musical, my dad having initially been raised by one. Harmless, warm, and well-intentioned all the way.

5. Rebecca: A huge an admirer of Hitchcock as I am, this is one of his lesser efforts and--in 1940--Foreign Correspondent is the much better Hitchcock film.

4. Gone with the Wind: I didn't see it until March of last year when I was almost 22 years old. And while I didn't think it was a great film, it was still very good indeed.

3. The Best Years of Our Lives: 100% agree with your assessment here, and is a far superior film to It's a Wonderful Life.

2. Hamlet: And what, dare say, is wrong with following the Shakesperean play to the letter? Too many people give bad interpretations of his work--most notoriously Romeo and Juliet--so it's a breath of fresh air to see an adaptation that understands a fundamental fact: If you can't do better than your source material, why change it at all. Absolutely first rate and should have shared the Best Picture trophy with The Red Shoes for good measure. One of the greatest movies ever made without question.

1. Casablanca: Like Hamlet, goes without saying. 'Nuff said.

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