Gentleman’s Agreement

Gentleman’s Agreement. 20th Century Fox 1947.

Before watching the movie:

I’m unclear whether the anti-Semitism the main character wants to expose is within a particular institution, or more broadly, within society at large, like the seminal Black Like Me, or less seminal White Chicks.

While there are people, perhaps even people who would not be considered eugenicists or race-nationalists, who consider “Jewish” a morphological race, the physical characteristics are very subtle, to the point where I’m not sure how a Gentile reporter would pose as a Jewish man other than introducing himself to people who don’t know him with a “hi, I’m Jewish, by the way!” A long game approach would probably be to get a new job somewhere and drop big hints, but that would point back to “within a single institution”. I feel like I got out of my depth three paragraphs ago and I should just let the movie tell its own story.

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Laura

Laura. 20th Century Fox 1944.

Before watching the movie:

I’m not sure if I’ve been aware of this movie before it came up in recommendations or not. I seem to be vaguely aware of “Laura” as a title, but I may just be thinking of the song (which I know because Spike Jones exploded it), that turns out to be the theme from the movie with lyrics added.

Vincent Price appears to have a small role, judging by his billing, but he’s the biggest name I can see. The only other name I even recognize on the shortlist is Clifton Webb.

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State Fair

State Fair. 20th Century Fox 1945.
State Fair. 20th Century Fox 1945.

Before watching the movie:

There are at least three major screen adaptations of this show, and I’m not sure if this version is the most popular or just the most available. The 1933 version stars Will Rogers, but it’s in black and white, so it’s probably not expected to sell as well.

I thoroughly expect this to be a thin plot for hanging songs about rural Americana on, but it’s Rodgers and Hammerstein, so they should be great songs. I’ve probably heard of at least one, but I can’t think of any I specifically associate with it. Continue reading

Murder, He Says

Murder, He Says. Paramount Pictures 1945.
Murder, He Says. Paramount Pictures 1945.

Before watching the movie:

This was a suggestion from a Facebook friend. All I needed was Fred MacMurray or “murder comedy”, but this appears to be both. I actually wasn’t sure when I decided to do this if it was a comedy or a thriller, but I was fairly certain MacMurray never played against type (0r at least in anything dark) in anything but Double Indemnity. So I was fairly certain it’ll be a good time.

I’m a little surprised I don’t already have a tag for Fred MacMurray. I’ve invoked The Happiest Millionaire in a few other blog posts, and he actually appeared via archive footage in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, but in too minor a role to merit getting tagged as a star, and also I didn’t like what the movie did with the clips from Double Indemnity. Thanks to classic Disney films like Happiest Millionaire and The Absent-Minded Professor, as well as the impact Double Indemnity left on me as a young film student, I’ve always felt like MacMurray has had a minor presence here, but this is somehow the first time he’s starred in a review.

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Anchors Aweigh

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Anchors Aweigh. Metro Goldwyn-Meyer 1945.

Before watching the movie:

I only know this movie exists because it famously has a scene where one of the men, probably Gene Kelly, dances with Jerry the cartoon mouse, which must be a fantasy number.

Apparently, this is a musical about falling in love on shore leave. Sinatra and Kelly are friends and shipmates and at least one of them falls in love with a local girl in port. I would be pleasantly surprised if this didn’t make up the bulk of its plot on a love triangle, but I’m just looking forward to some songs about sailors having good clean fun ashore.

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Africa Screams

Africa Screams. Nassour Studios Inc 1949.
Africa Screams. Nassour Studios Inc 1949.

Before watching the movie:

On the one hand, Abbot and Costello. On the other, the theme park version of stereotypical Darkest Africa. Not sure how I’m going to feel about this, but the cartoon native on the poster isn’t helping.

I thought I’d already done an Abbot and Costello, but I was thinking of Laurel and Hardy in The Flying Deuces, so I don’t feel like I’m retreading much here. Even though star vehicle series don’t have continuity, I’m reluctant to revisit duos.

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Brewster’s Millions

Brewster's Millions. Edward Small Productions 1945.
Brewster’s Millions. Edward Small Productions 1945.

Before watching the movie:

I felt like I knew a lot about this movie until I started to try to write about it. What I know is that it was remade as a Richard Pryor vehicle (infamously), and the plot concerns having to spend a lot of money quickly in order to inherit a massive fortune. Apparently this is one in a long line of adaptations of a book, so it must have been very popular.

The name Dennis O’Keefe sounds familiar, and I thought I must have reviewed something else starring him, but I don’t seem to have a tag for him. Also the poster clued me in to the fact that Eddie Anderson, breakout star from the Jack Benny Program, has a role. I think it’s the first time I’ll be encountering him not playing Rochester, though the popularity of that character may mean this one is basically the same under a different name.

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