Best films of 1944

I like Robert Horton’s description of To Have and Have Not, which almost made the cut: “a Howard Hawks project that looks less like a movie than a party thrown by Hawks for some of his friends.” That’s a compliment.

Laura, which I rewatched last week, fascinates me, as much for what it does and what director Otto Preminger hints he might have done. I’m not sure if audiences in 1944 were aware (a) of the colossal vulgarity of Laura and Waldo Lydecker’s taste in art and interior design; (b) that Lydecker and Vincent Price’s Shelby could not be Laura’s suitors, in this or any world, or that Judith Anderson’s aunt could lust after Price; (c) the bemused way in which Dana Andrews’ Lieutenant McPherson gives Lydecker’s naked dick a brief glance before tossing him a towel.

1. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder)
2. Laura (Otto Preminger)
3. The Woman in the Window (Fritz Lang)
4. The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (Preston Sturges)
5. Hail the Conquering Hero (Preston Sturges)
6. Ivan the Terrible, Part I (Sergei Eisenstein)
7. A Canterbury Tale (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
8. Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli)
9. Henry V (Laurence Olivier)
10. Since You Went Away (John Cromwell)

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: To Have and Have Not, National Velvet, At Land, None But the Lonely Heart, Gaslight

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