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Saturday Night at the Movies


Varied programme to night, but we start with a classic and follow with some gems including at least one that was rubbished on first release.

1 Rebecca (1940) – Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine

Superb cast at all levels in this Hitchcock Oscar winning classic


Rebecca is a 1940 American romantic psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was Hitchcock’s first American project, and his first film under contract with producer David O. Selznick. The screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison, and adaptation by Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan, were based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. The film stars Laurence Olivier as the brooding, aristocratic widower Maxim de Winter and Joan Fontaine as the young woman who becomes his second wife, with Judith Anderson, George Sanders and Gladys Cooper in supporting roles. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1940 and it is the only film directed by Hitchcock to win that prestigious accolade.

The film is a gothic tale shot in black-and-white. Maxim de Winter’s first wife Rebecca, who died before the events of the film, is never seen. Her reputation and recollections of her, however, are a constant presence in the lives of Maxim, his new wife and the housekeeper Mrs. Danvers.

Rebecca won two Academy Awards, Best Picture and Best Cinematography, out of a total 11 nominations. Olivier, Fontaine and Anderson also were Oscar-nominated for their respective roles as were Hitchcock and the screenwriters. MORE AT LINK

2 Love Affair (1939)  Charles Boyer,Irene Dunne


Love Affair is a 1939 American romantic film starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer and featuring Maria Ouspenskaya. It was directed by Leo McCarey and written by Delmer Daves and Donald Ogden Stewart, based on a story by McCarey and Mildred Cram

French painter Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) meets American singer Terry McKay (Irene Dunne) aboard a liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean. They are both already engaged, he to heiress Lois Clarke (Astrid Allwyn), she to Kenneth Bradley (Lee Bowman). They begin to flirt and to dine together on the ship, but his notoriety and popularity on the ship make them conscious that others are watching. Eventually, they decide that they should dine separately and not associate with each other. At a stop at Madeira, they visit Michel’s grandmother Janou (Maria Ouspenskaya), who approves of Terry and wants Michel to settle down.

As the ship is ready to disembark at New York City, the two make an appointment to meet six months later on top of the Empire State Building. Michel chooses six months because that is the amount of time he needs to decide whether he can start making enough money to support a relationship with Terry. When the rendezvous date arrives, they both head to the Empire State Building. However, Terry is struck by a car right as she arrives, and is told that she may not be able to walk, though that will not be known for certain for six months. Not wanting to be a burden to Michel, she does not contact him, preferring to let him think the worst. Meanwhile, Terry finds a job working at an orphanage teaching the children how to sing.

Six months go by, and during Terry’s first outing since the accident, the two couples meet by accident at the theater, though Terry manages to conceal her condition. Michel then visits her at her apartment and finally learns the truth. He assures her that they will be together no matter what the diagnosis will be.

3 Strange Illusion (1945) – Jimmy Lydon,Salley Ellers

Strange Illusion is a 1945 film noir crime film directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and starring Jimmy Lydon, Warren William and Sally Eilers. According to noir historian Spencer Selby the film is “a stylish cheapie by the recognized master of stylish cheapies.

A college student has a recurrent dream that leads him to suspect there is something sinister about his widowed mother’s suitor

4 Air Mail  (1932) –  John Ford directed, – Ralph Bellamy,Pat O’Brien,Gloria Stuart


Air Mail is a 1932 American pre-Code adventure film directed by John Ford, based on a story by Dale Van Every and Frank “Spig” Wead. The film stars Ralph Bellamy, Pat O’Brien and Gloria Stuart  A copy is preserved in the Library of Congress.

Pilot Mike Miller (Ralph Bellamy) owns and operates Desert Airport, an air mail base at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. He leads a group of young pilots who risk their lives flying through dangerous weather and over treacherous terrain to deliver air mail. When Joe Barnes (Ward Bond) crashes at the base, the other pilots attempt to retrieve the precious mail from the burning wreckage. Mike consoles his girlfriend Ruth (Gloria Stuart), who is also Joe’s sister. Mike now realizes that he has to hire a replacement, the reckless “Duke” Talbot (Pat O’Brien).

Duke is a good pilot, but his bravado and affair with Irene (Lilian Bond), wife of fellow pilot “Dizzy” Wilkins (Russell Hopton), has the potential to cause irreparable damage to the tightly knit group of aviators. When Dizzy crashes and dies in a blinding snow storm, Mike is forced to take over the last leg of his flight, even though doctors have told him that his vision has deteriorated. When he also crashes during a blizzard, his distress call reveals that he is still alive, but trapped in an inaccessible mountain valley. Duke considers the rescue as a challenge, commandeering an aircraft and flying to the remote valley. He lands roughly, damaging his aircraft, but manages to fly out with Mike on board. As they reach Desert Airport, Duke knows he cannot land safely so he pushes Mike out before he crash-lands. As the ground crew pull him out of the wreck, Duke is badly injured, but alive.

5 Impact (1949) –  Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines


Impact is a 1949 American film noir drama film directed by Arthur Lubin, starring Brian Donlevy and Ella Raines. Filmed entirely in California, the film included scenes filmed in Sausalito, and at San Francisco‘s Fisherman’s Wharf and other locations around the city. Impact was based on a story by film noir writer Jay Dratler. The supporting cast features Charles Coburn, Helen Walker, Anna May Wong, Philip Ahn and William Wright.

The San Francisco-based millionaire industrialist Walter Williams (Brian Donlevy) has a young wife, Irene (Helen Walker), who is trying to kill him with the help of her young lover, Jim Torrance (Tony Barrett). After Walter and Irene make plans to drive to Lake Tahoe, Irene feigns illness and asks Walter to instead give Torrance, who is pretending to be Irene’s “cousin” from Illinois, a lift to Denver, allowing Torrance a chance to murder Walter en route. The plan falls apart when Williams survives a hit on the head from the would-be killer. Attempting to flee the scene in Williams’ Packard convertible, Torrance dies in a fiery head-on collision with a gasoline tanker truck. The body of Torrance is mistakenly identified as Williams. In the meantime, Irene has made reservations at a hotel in Oakland for her and her boyfriend to meet afterward, under the assumed names of “Mr. & Mrs. Jack Burns”.

The wounded, dazed Williams falls asleep in the back of a moving van and ends up in the small town of Larkspur, Idaho. Using the name “Bill Walker”, he gets a job as a service station mechanic and falls in love with Marsha Peters (Ella Raines), a young widow who is the station’s owner. Meanwhile, the police arrest Williams’ wife for his “murder”. After Marsha eventually persuades Walter to go back to clear his wife, he is charged with murdering Torrance. Marsha enlists the help of kindly police detective Quincy (Charles Coburn) to prove Walter’s innocence.

Gary W. Tooze praised Impact as the quintessential B film: “As far as ‘modest’ film noirs go, this is one of the best. A simple plot idea is twisted to the max for late 1940s audiences

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