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Year: 1946

Director: Curtis Bernhardt

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Eve Arden

Odd that Stanwyck’s character in this 1946 weeper is named exactly the same as she was in Forty Guns. When I first read the synopsis of this film, I rolled my eyes. Soap opera city. Imagine my surprise when by the denouement of the picture, I was moved to tears. That’s how effective Babs is in conveying her pain @ being split between the love for her boys and personal happiness. I have friends who grew up in the North Shore area and their anecdotal stuff about the blue bloods and their snobbish behavior combined w/ gossip is plentiful. So the Chicago stuff for that decade is spot on. Jessica Drummond is in the untenable position of being a widow who is expected by her mother to honor a dead husband’s memory by not pursuing any other relationships. Brutal expectations and Stanwyck shows us that they are inhuman standards.

My Reputation is an excellent movie w/ one of my favorite performances from “Missy.”

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Truth be told, my primary Christmas wish this year is for the Denver Broncos to make the playoffs. But in keeping within the obscure classics theme on this site, I have another which is more appropriate. Being a huge fan of Max Ophuls’ The Earrings of Madame de… (1953), I’ve eagerly awaited a proper R1 release of the great director’s rare attempt at a film noir: The Reckless Moment (1949). I’ve heard nothing but good things about the picture and I’m dying to give it a go. Ophuls’ movie stars James Mason and Joan Bennett, two icons of cinema and they’re both among my favorite actors. Reckless marks Bennett’s first matriarch role following a career defined by intriguing single women characters. I wish Sony would get it together and satisfy my request.

I would be lying if I named any picture other than It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) as my favorite Christmas-themed movie. Stewart’s performance is incredible and the scenes between him and Gloria Grahame are splendid. A beautiful story for any time of year, it never fails to lift my spirits when I’m down.

Two other choices that are not so obvious are Christmas in Connecticut (1945) and Holiday Affair (1949). The former is a screwball comedy starring the great Barbara Stanwyck — Babs is my favorite actress) — and the latter is a sweet romance I’ve only recently discovered. The film stars the always fascinating Robert Mitchum and an uber gorgeous Janet Leigh. She’s never looked better on the silver screen. It’s only recently been released on dvd so you won’t have to wait to see it aired on TCM. Give it a spin this holiday season.

By James White

Year: 1946

Director: Irving Pichel

Cast: Claudette Colbert, Orson Welles, George Brent, Lucille Watson, Natalie Wood

Much like many of the greatest movies ever made, Tomorrow is Forever is a powerful and emotional film about sacrifice and putting the greater good above your own will.

Claudette Colbert plays a young wife named Elizabeth at the end of World War One. The war is now over and everyone is celebrating. Unfortunately, she receives a telegram informing her that her husband has been killed.

This film deals with the horror of war and how even conflicts far removed can have effects that ripple across the globe. It is also a film that deals with self sacrifice and seeing the bigger picture. To me, such noble and universal themes so masterfully executed are what makes this film so powerful, effective and impressive. This is a film that bores into the soul and touches, enlightens and inspires. It is a tragic story, but one that also generates optimism about the nature of mankind and the ability we have in all of us to step up when the going gets tough.

Orson Welles gives the most memorable performance of the film as Elizabeth’s husband John. Apparently, due to William Randolph Hearst’s objection to Citizen Kane and his desire to ruin Orson Welles, Welles was avoided by Hollywood but Claudette Colbert who was a big star was able to get him cast in Tomorrow is Forever. It is a good thing too. Orson gives another great performance. We see his character transform and mature and Welles portrays this transformation flawlessly.

It is worth pointing out that this was also Natalie Wood’s first credited role. She was just eight years old when the film was released. Even at such a young age she shows considerable talent.

My only real complaint with the film is that there is an essential plot point that comes across as contrived and hard to swallow, but because it was used to further what I thought was a powerful theme, I found it more excusable. Those who have seen the film will know what I am referring too. It has to do with two characters not recognizing each other after the passage of about 21 years. Perhaps with different makeup it would have been easier to swallow but as it is, you have to suspend your disbelief quite a bit to accept that there wouldn’t be complete recognition of one another.

I highly recommend this film.

By Greg Dickson