Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Storm Clouds Gather 1940 - 1942 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 6

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Storm Clouds Gather 1940 - 1942 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 6


The sixth chapter in "32 Days of Movies", an audiovisual tour through 366 films.
(2015 update: included Vimeo embed after the jump)




Storm Clouds Gather

In a quiet European cafe, a couple bicker and, by bickering, flirt. It is charming, wistful...and more than a little poignant: argument as gradual romance rather than violent dispute. In another establishment, in another European country, this same couple (or so it seems) find themselves surrounded by a bloodthirsty crowd, hands raised high in stiff salute, singing lustily about their glorious leader. Upon reflection, that cafe scene becomes even more poignant, tragic even. War has come to Europe, and by extension, to Hollywood.


Today like yesterday American films predominate (plucky little Britain, simultaneously engaged in the fight of its life, manages the sole non-Hollywood entry). Yet what a difference - yesterday mostly escapist entertainments, today far more troubled pictures. Oh, there are still screwball comedies, nostalgic period pictures, and wacky cartoons. However, at least three clips go toe-to-toe with Hitler - including one of those wacky cartoons. Nearly half these stories include the war (albeit not in selected clips) and a couple more make side-glancing references.

Tomorrow those references will become submerged and internalized in a fascinating fashion; for now, though, they remain out in the open. By the last clip, Hollywood itself has gone to war, and that last duck-tailed salute nicely subverts those arms raised in chilling unison at chapter's beginning.


I have covered today's films here, here, here, and here. I posted an essay by someone else here.



3 comments:

Sam Juliano said...

"Yet what a difference - yesterday mostly escapist entertainments, today far more troubled pictures."

Indeed, and while watching this diverse blend of masterpieces one could feel and sense the impending horror. Yes, only the U.K.'s "Colonel Blimp" stood aprat from Hollywood, and it's one of the greatest films from any period. Of course the three face-to-face looks at Hitler are THE MORTAL STORM, THE GREAT DICTATOR and DER FUHRER'S FACE. I was thrilled to see you included HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, a beautiful film maligned by it's "blasphemous" win over CITIZEN KANE for the Best Picture Oscar. (KANE of course deserved to be here too as it is) Love too the inclusion of the Lubitsch masterpiece THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, and of the superlative THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER. HIS GIRL FRIDAY and THE MALTESE FALCON are givens.

Lovely quality here. I see you have overcome any technical glitches, and great sound.

Joel Bocko said...

I couldn't help but thinking of Allan scowling when I put in the Valley clip, haha. Incidentally, I saw another American-"Welsh" movie tonight of an entirely different color. It will probably be my inaugural review for the Fixing a Hole series Sunday.

Sam Juliano said...

You have me thinking as to what it could be. Ha! But I am drawing blanks.