BECK index
Movie Mirrors Index

More Movies from 1941

Movie Mirrors

by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1941

Movie Mirrors Introduction

Abbreviations

 Title

Min.

c S M H P V En Ed
 Adam Had Four Sons 80   b  6  5  5  5  5  5
 Affectionately Yours 88   b  4  4  4      5  4
 Babes on Broadway 118   b  5  5  6  4  5  5  5
 Bad Man, The 70   b    5  4      5  4
 Bad Men of Missouri 71   b  6  6  4      5  4
 Barnacle Bill 92   b  4  4  4      5  4
 Bedtime Story 85   b  7  6  5      5  5
 Belle Star 87   b  5  5  5      5  5
 Blonde Inspiration 72   b            5  4
 Blondie in Society 77   b  6  5  4  6  3  5  4
 Charlie Chan in Rio 62   b  5  5    4  4  5  4
 Cheers for Miss Bishop 95   b  6  6  5  5  5  5  5
 Confessions of Boston Blackie 65   b  6  6  5      5  4
 Corsican Brothers, The 111   b  5  6  5  6  5  5  4
 Cottage to Let 90   b    4  5    3  5  4
 Dangerously They Live 77   b  5  5  4      5  4
 Date with the Falcon, A 63   b  5  5  4      5  4
 Design for Scandal 85   b  5  5  4    5  5  4
 Devil and Miss Jones, The 92   b  6  7  6  7  7  5  5
 Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day 83   b  5  5  4      5  5
 Face Behind the Mask, The 69   b  6  6  5  7    5  5
 Father Takes a Wife 79   b  5  4  5      5  4
 Feminine Touch, The 98   b  5  5  4      5  5
 Footsteps in the Dark 97   b  5  5  4  4  5  5  4
 47 Ronin, The, Part 1 (Japanese) 111   b  5  7      6  4  5
 Free and Easy 56   b    6  4      5  4
 Gay Falcon, The 67   b  5  5  4      5  4
 Get-Away, The 89   b  3  4  4      5  4
 Go West, Young Lady 70   b    5  4      5  4
 Hold that Ghost 86   b  3  6  4      5  4
 Honeymoon for Three 75   b  4  5  4      5  4
 I Wake Up Screaming 82   b  7  6  6  5  6  5  4
 In the Navy 85   b  5  5  5    5  5  4
 Iron Crown, The 97   b    6      4  5  4
 It Started with Eve 90   b  7  6  6  7  6  5  5
 Kathleen 88   b  3  4  4      4  5
 Keep 'Em Flying 86   b  5  5  4    4  5  4
 Knockout 74   b  4  5        5  4
 Ladies in Retirement 92   b  7  6  6    4  5  5
 Lady from Cheyenne, The 87   b  5  5  4      5  5
 Man Hunt 105   b  7  7  6  7  6  5  5
 Married Bachelor 83   b  5  5        5  4
 Million Dollar Baby 101   b  4  5  4      5  5
 My Life with Caroline 81   b  4  5  5      5  4
 Navy Blues 108   b  6  6  4      5  4
 Nine Lives Are Not Enough 63   b  5  5  4      5  4
 Nothing But the Truth 90   b  6  6  4    5  5  5
 Penalty, The 81   b  4 4  4      4  5
 People vs. Dr. Kildare, The 78   b  5  4        5  4
 Rage in Heaven 85   b  5  4  4      5  4
 Reluctant Dragon, The 72   c  6  6  6      5  5
 Remember the Day 86   b  6  6  5      5  5
 Ringside Maisie 95   b  4  4  4      5  4
 Saint in Palm Springs, The 66   b  5  5  4    4  5  4
 Shot in the Dark, A 57   b  5          5  4
 Singapore Woman 65   b  4  4  4      5  4
 Skylark 92   b  6  7  4      5  4
 Smilin' Through 100   c  4  5  5  3  5  5  4
 Smiling Ghost, The 71   b  4  5  4    3  5  4
 Swamp Water 88   b  5  5  6      5  4
 Tarzan's Secret Treasure 81   b  5  5  4  5  5  5  4
 That Night in Rio 91   c  5  5  5    5  5  4
 They Met in Bombay 92   b  5  5  5  5  5  5  4
 Topper Returns 88   b  7  6  6  5  6  5  5
 Unexpected Uncle 67   b  5  4  4      5  4
 Wagons Roll at Night, The 85   b  5  5  4    5  5  4
 Week-End in Havana 81   b  5  6  4  5    5  4
 When Ladies Meet 105   b  5  4  4  6  5  5  4
 Whistling in the Dark 78   b  6  6  5  6  5  5  4
 Wild Man of Borneo, The 79   b  5  4  4      5  4
 You'll Never Get Rich 89   b  6  6  5  6  6  5  4

Abbreviations
b = black and white
c = color
S = Scheuer's rating
M = Maltin's rating
H = Halliwell's rating
P = Martin & Porter's rating
V = Videohound's rating
En = Beck's entertainment value
Ed = Beck's educational value

 

Adam Had Four Sons

(1941 b 80’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Charles Bonner’s novel Legacy, Adam Stoddard (Warner Baxter) has four sons and hires Emilie (Ingrid Bergman) as a governess. Adam’s wife Molly (Fay Wray) dies, and all four of his sons go off to fight in the First World War, but not before David (Johnny Downs) has married Hester (Susan Hayward), who becomes lonely and is attracted to Jack (Richard Denning).

         This family drama portrays five upright men who are separated by the war. Into their house comes two beautiful women, one who is good and loyal and the other who is devious and lonely.

Affectionately Yours

(1941 b 88') En: 5 Ed: 4

Roving reporter Rickey Mayberry (Dennis Morgan) tells Irene he'd marry her if he didn't have a wife; but Sue Mayberry (Merle Oberon) is divorcing Rickey to marry Owen Wright (Ralph Bellamy). So Rickey tries various devices with help from his photographer Pasha (George Tobias) to keep Sue from divorcing him.

This farce is outlandish and absurd but funny.

Babes on Broadway

(1941 b 118'') En: 5 Ed: 5

Tom (Mickey Rooney) and Penny (Judy Garland) produce a show to help kids go to camp; but Tom's real motive to get on Broadway almost gets in the way.

This Busby Berkeley musical entertains with songs and dances, and its youthful energy even offers hope to refugee children from Britain.

The Bad Man

(1941 b 70') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Porter Emerson Browne's play, a Mexican bandit (Wallace Beery) holds up a farm being lost to Hardy (Henry Travers) or sold to Morgan Pell (Tom Conway) by Gil Jones (Ronald Reagan) and his uncle (Lionel Barrymore) and decides that Lucia Pell (Laraine Day) should go with Gil and that Angela Hardy (Nydia Westman) should marry Red (Chill Wills).

In this dystopia things are decided by an arrogant man with a gun by force while the other characters have to try to persuade him what to do. In this fantasy he lets love prevail.

Bad Men of Missouri

(1941 b 71') En: 5 Ed: 4

Younger brothers Jim (Arthur Kennedy), Cole (Dennis Morgan), and Bob (Wayne Morris) rob banks to help farmers pay taxes to keep carpetbagger Merrick (Victor Jory) and his wicked sheriff Bilson (Howard Da Silva) from taking over. Jim's girlfriend Mary (Jane Wyman) knows they are doing wrong but hopes they will be pardoned.

This Robin Hood version of Confederate veterans turned violent criminals with the Jesse James gang makes a mockery of history.

Barnacle Bill

(1941 b 92') En: 5 Ed: 4

Bill (Wallace Beery) and his partner Pico (Leo Carrillo) have trouble paying debts. Bill puts his boat in the name of his daughter (Virginia Wiedler). She arrives, and Marge (Marjorie Main) helps Bill provide for his family by joining too.

In this comic role reversal the young daughter helps the childish man to mature.

Bedtime Story

(1941 b 85’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Actress Jane Drake (Loretta Young) retires from the theater, but her husband Luke Drake (Fredric March) has written a new play for her. She refuses to do it and decides to get a divorce and marry her suitor William Dudley (Allyn Joslyn).

         In this romantic comedy a playwright tries to win his wife back and get her to perform in his new play. She loves him but wants to raise a family, and it is clear that they both love each other and the theater; but they clash over their different goals.

Belle Star

(1941 c 87’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In Missouri after the Civil War the rebel Sam Starr (Randolph Scott) continues the fight. The Shirley family loses their plantation when Union Major Thomas Crail (Dana Andrews) is looking for him. Belle (Gene Tierney) falls in love with Sam and joins his lost cause.

         This western treats Belle as a legend in a fanciful version of the historical person. She becomes disillusioned by the crimes of the gang as Sam tries to continue the futile fight.

Blonde Inspiration

(1941 b 72’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from John Cecil Holm’s play and directed by Busby Berkeley, the young writer Jonathan Briggs (John Shelton) is given money by his hen-pecked uncle (Reginald Owen) and tries to get his career going by writing pulp westerns for a magazine run by the con artists Phil Hendricks (Albert Dekker) and Bittsy Conway (Charles Butterworth) in which all the stories are usually written by the alcoholic Dusty King (Donald Meeks). Jonathan is assisted by their secretary Margie (Virginia Grey), and they fall in love.

         This farce depicts the struggle an unknown writer has trying to break into a market for cheap literature.

Blondie in Society

(1941 b 77') En: 5 Ed: 4

When Blondie (Penny Singleton) gets angry at Dagwood (Arthur Lake) for loaning $50, he does not get the money back but brings home a Great Dane, which she enters in a show.

Blondie's indignation at her husband not giving the money for their family expenses drives this comedy.

Charlie Chan in Rio

(1941 b 62') En: 5 Ed: 4

Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) is in Rio with his son Jimmy (Victor Sen Yung) to arrest entertainer Lola (Jacqueline Dalya) for murder. She is murdered and so is the suspected butler; but Charlie cleverly solves the case.

This mystery has a psychic Hindu (Victor Jory) use a cigarette with an herb to hypnotize people into answering questions.

Cheers for Miss Bishop

(1941 b 94’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Bess Streeter Aldrich, President Corcoran (Edmund Gwenn) persuades the top student Ella Bishop (Martha Scott) to teach at his university. She becomes an excellent teacher but misses the chance to marry Delbert (Donald Douglas), who is stolen away by her cousin Amy (May Anderson). She loves fellow teacher John Stevens (Sidney Blackmer), who cannot get a divorce, but she has a long-time friendship with Sam Peters (William Gargan).

         This sentimental drama portrays the self-sacrificing life of a dedicated teacher who has a positive effect on many people.

Confessions of Boston Blackie

(1941 b 65’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Directed by Edward Dmytryk, Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) is accused of killing a man at an art auction but escapes to help Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) solve the case while helping the statue-owner Diane Parrish (Harriet Hilliard). Blackie gets help from his friend, the Runt (George E. Stone), and wealthy Arthur Manleder (Lloyd Corrigan) while he fends off a cash demand from Mona (Joan Woodbury).

            This detective story entertains with an intriguing story and humor sparked by the clever skill of Blackie.

The Corsican Brothers

(1941 b 111’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from a novel by Alexandre Dumas pere, Colonna (Akim Tamaroff) and his family slaughter the Franchi family, but Dr. Enrico Paoli (H. B. Warner) enables Siamese twins to survive. Mario Franchi (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) is raised in Paris and joins his brother Lucien (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.), who was brought up by Lorenzo (J. Carrol Naish) on Corsica, to get revenge and compete for the affection of Countess Isabelle Gravini (Ruth Warwick).

         This adventure about a family vendetta has the “heroes” committing crimes as acts of revenge for the mass murder of their family.

Cottage to Let (Bombsight Stolen)

(1941 b 90’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Geoffrey Kerr’s play, during World War II John Barrington (Leslie Banks) is working on a bombsight in a cottage where various characters gather including downed pilot George Perry (John Mills), detective Charles Dimble (Alistair Sim), and the cockney boy Ronnie (George Cole), who steals the show and helps solve the mystery.

         This spy story has romantic and comic elements in a contrived story of people working for Germany in Scotland during the war to show the English they need to be on their guard against such espionage efforts.

Dangerously They Live

(1941 b 77') En: 5 Ed: 4

Intern Mike (John Garfield) treats Jane (Nancy Coleman) for temporary amnesia but learns that she is a British agent; both are kidnapped by a Nazi spy claiming to be her father (Moroni Olsen) and a psychiatrist (Raymond Massey) whom Mike respects; but Mike and Jane manage to survive and gain the upper hand on the spies.

This spy thriller reflects the Nazi menace and their ruthless methods used to gain intelligence for the war effort with the warning theme that information about convoys can cost many lives.

A Date with the Falcon

(1941 b 63') En: 5 Ed: 4

The Falcon (George Sanders) is about to leave to marry Helen (Wendy Barrie), who has to wait while he and Goldy (Allen Jenkins) help clueless Inspector Mike O'Hara (James Gleason) capture a gang that is extorting a formula for making artificial diamonds from its inventor.

This mystery is played for comedy and has many plot twists to enhance its entertainment quality.

Design for Scandal

(1941 b 85') En: 5 Ed: 4

Confident reporter Jeff Sherman (Walter Pidgeon) promises wealthy newspaper owner J. M. Blair (Edward Arnold) he will get him out of alimony payments by framing Judge Cornelia Porter (Rosalind Russell) for breaking up Jeff's engagement to Dotty (Jean Rogers).

When Jeff falls in love with Cornelia, she gets wise to the con and gets Jeff and Blair charged with obstructing justice; but in court Jeff asks her to marry. This comedy tries to show that love can overcome much duplicity.

The Devil and Miss Jones

(1941 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

The richest man in the world (Charles Coburn) pretends to be detective Tom Higgins and works in his department store to discover the cause of employee protests. Mary (Jean Arthur) and Elizabeth (Spring Byington) try to help him and get to like him. Mary is in love with union organizer Joe (Robert Cummings). Tom dislikes his boss Hooper (Edmund Gwenn) and wants to fire him, but after a series of peculiar experiences Tom comes to realize the employees’ viewpoints.

         This comedy satirizes the super-rich as out of touch with the life of regular people, who are portrayed as oppressed by the hierarchy of a powerful corporation.

Dr. Kildare’s Wedding Day

(1941 b 83’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Dr. Jimmy Kildare (Lew Ayres) and nurse Mary Lamont (Laraine Day) are getting married, but she has an accident. Dr. Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore) tries to persuade Jimmy to continue working for the hospital. An orderly (Red Skelton) provides comic relief, and Jimmy is supported by his father (Samuel S. Hinds) and mother (Emma Dunn). Jimmy manages to help cure an orchestra conductor’s  hearing.

         In this medical drama a young doctor has to face the reality of death in a very personal way that usually they deal with often in their work.

The Face Behind the Mask

(1941 b 69’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from a radio play by Thomas Edward O’Connell, Hungarian immigrant Janos Szabo (Peter Lorre) makes friends with police Lt. Jim O’Hara (Don Beddoe) but has his face badly burned in a fire. Dinky (George E. Stone) becomes a friend of Janos and takes him into a criminal gang of thieves. Then Janos meets blind Helen Williams (Evelyn Keyes), and they fall in love.

            This crime drama rises above the usual because of the beautiful relationship formed by two people with disabilities. Janos learns from her goodness but cannot escape from the criminals, though he manages to get even and bring about some rough justice.

Father Takes a Wife

(1941 b 79') En: 5 Ed: 4

Shipping owner Frederic Osborne (Adolphe Menjou) gives his business to his married son Junior (John Howard) and marries actress Leslie Collier (Gloria Swanson), arguing with her and becoming jealous when they take in Mexican singer Carlos (Desi Arnaz).

A father acting more immaturely than his son is the role reversal but is only pathetically amusing.

The Feminine Touch

(1941 b 98') En: 5 Ed: 5

John Hathaway (Don Ameche) writes a book about how jealousy is irrational; but his wife Julie (Rosalind Russell) feels differently, and both are tested when they meet John's editor Nellie (Kay Francis) and her neurotic boyfriend Elliott (Van Heflin).

This comedy explores the emotion of jealousy, satirizing John, who is not jealous and others who are.

The 47 Ronin, Part 1

(Japanese 1941 b 111') En: 4 Ed: 5

Based on events in 1701, Asano has refused to pay Kira a bribe to learn court etiquette and attacks him. For this breach Asano is ordered to commit hara-kiri. His unemployed (ronin) vassals led by his chamberlain Oishi (Chojuro Kawarasaki) consider how they may get revenge.

This drama appeared just before the attack on Pearl Harbor and represents the Bushido code of obedient military duty. The samurai are already moving toward a mass suicide just as the Japanese military are in the World War.

Footsteps in the Dark

(1941 b 97') En: 5 Ed: 4

Investment counselor Frank Warren (Errol Flynn) has a life secret from his wife Rita (Brenda Marshall) writing mysteries and gets involved with Police Inspector Mason (Alan Hale) in solving a case that leads him to a dentist (Ralph Bellamy).

This mystery is played for humor and is intended for escape entertainment.

Free and Easy

(1941 b 56') En: 5 Ed: 4

Max (Robert Cummings) and his father (Nigel Bruce) lack money and hope to marry it; but Max falls in love with Martha (Ruth Hussey) in the same situation.

Both Martha and Max find they cannot go through with marrying for money as love triumphs in this fine little romantic drama.

The Gay Falcon

(1941 b 67') En: 5 Ed: 4

In the this first of the Falcon films, Gay Laurence (George Sanders) puts off his fiancée Elinor (Anne Hunter) by helping Helen (Wendie Barrie) solve a jewel-thief mystery that has his chauffeur Goldie (Allen Jenkins) under suspicion.

This comic mystery series follows the general formula made popular in the Saint series.

The Get-Away

(1941 b 89') En: 5 Ed: 4

Very similar to the 1935 film Public Hero #1, an FBI agent (Robert Sterling) goes to prison to escape with a mobster (Dan Dailey) to help track down his gang and falls in love with the gangster's sister (Donna Reed).

Loyalty to serving the government against its enemies is emphasized in this remake.

Go West, Young Lady

(1941 b 70') En: 5 Ed: 4

Pretty sharp-shooting Bill (Penny Singleton) arrives with new sheriff Tex (Glenn Ford) in Headstone, where deputy sheriff Hank (Allen Jenkins) and her uncle Jim (Charlie Ruggles) are trying to catch a bank-robber.

This musical comedy spoofs westerns and features the tap-dancing of Ann Miller. Its silliness reflects the absurdity of many westerns.

Hold that Ghost

(1941 b 86') En: 5 Ed: 4

Two waiters (Abbott and Costello) lose their jobs, inherit a gangster's hotel, and try to find his money, but find ghosts instead.

Slapstick humor gets help from Joan Davis and offers laughs to those who like this clever silliness.

Honeymoon for Three

(1941 b 75') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a play by George Haight and Alan Scott, a novelist (George Brent) is threatened with suits from relatives of a former flame and turns to his secretary (Ann Sheridan).

This fast-paced comedy follows the 1933 film Goodbye Again very closely, exploiting a funny play with current stars.

I Wake Up Screaming

(1941 b 82') En: 5 Ed: 4

The promoter (Victor Mature) of a murdered model (Carole Landis) is suspected by a detective (Laird Cregar), but her sister (Betty Grable falls in love with the promoter and helps him find the killer.

This early film noir mystery uses a menacing mood to depict a murderous obsession based on rejected love.

In the Navy

(1941 b 85') En: 5 Ed: 4

A singer (Dick Powell) joins the Navy but is pursued by a photographer (Claire Dodd) as sailors (Abbott and Costello) provide comedy and the Andrews sisters music.

The U. S. Navy refused to support this film until a scene with ships going awry was made into a dream sequence, indicating how the military was dominating the culture even before the United States entered the war.

The Iron Crown

(Italian 1941 b 97')

Murdering his brother to become king, Sedemondo (Gino Cervi) sees a prophecy about his brother's son and his daughter come to pass.

This epic directed by a disenchanted Italian Fascist dramatizes a medieval legend about the eventual triumph of justice but could not be seen in the United States until after the war.

It Started with Eve

(1941 b 90’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Henry Koster, newspapers and Dr. Harvey (Walter Catlett) believe that famous Jonathan Reynolds (Charles Reynolds) is dying, and he asks his son Johnny Reynolds (Bob Cummings) to bring his fiancée so that he can meet her. Unable to find Gloria Pennington (Margaret Tallichet), Johnny pays Anne Terry (Deanna Durbin) $50 to pretend that she is Gloria. Old Reynolds really likes her. He recovers and offers to introduce Anne to Leopold Stokowski so she can sing for him. Johnny tries to keep up the pretense until his father feels better and explains to Gloria and her mother. Meanwhile old Reynolds and Anne are becoming dear friends.

            This musical comedy includes fine music and humorous situations as the father tries to help Anne’s career while becoming a matchmaker for his son.

Kathleen

(1941 b 88') En: 4 Ed: 5

Kathleen (Shirley Temple) is approaching awkward adolescence but has no mother and a father (Herbert Marshall) who rarely sees her. He is planning to marry Lorraine (Gail Patrick), whom Kathleen dislikes; but Kathleen is given a psychiatrist nanny (Laraine Day), whom she loves and hopes her father will marry. Kathleen finds consolation with a sympathetic man (Felix Bressart).

This drama deals with unpleasant emotions and uses the old theme of contrasting superficial values to true love and friendship.

Keep 'Em Flying

(1941 b 86') En: 5 Ed: 4

Two ground men (Bud Abbott and Lou Costello) are taken for rides in the army air force and fall for twins (Martha Raye) as barnstorming pilot (Dick Foran) woos a singer (Linda Joyce) by saving her brother (Charles Lang).

Laughs exceed the thrills as Costello goes from one predicament to another, offering escape entertainment that foreshadows the war involvement.

Knockout

(1941 b 74') En: 5 Ed: 4

A boxer (Arthur Kennedy) marries Angela (Olympe Bradna) but is tempted by a female sports writer (Virginia Field) and has his career ruined by a corrupt fight manager (Anthony Quinn).

This drama exposes the brutality of the boxing racket that causes so many men to have their brains damaged.

Ladies in Retirement

(1941 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Reginald Denham and Edward Percy, retired actress Miss Fiske (Isobel Elsom) tells her housekeeper Ellen Creed (Ida Lupino) that her batty sisters Emily (Elsa Lanchester) and Louisa (Edith Barrett) cannot live in her house and that Ellen is fired. Ellen takes matters into her own hands but has to deal with her embezzling nephew Albert (Louis Hayward) who is romancing the servant Lucy (Evelyn Keyes).

         This gothic melodrama is given a religious context by visiting nuns as the housekeeper struggles with her conscience in the difficult circumstances. A creepy mood pervades the story as the main characters come to realize the consequences of their actions that cannot remain hidden.

The Lady from Cheyenne

(1941 b 87') En: 5 Ed: 5

In 1869 tyrannical Jim Cork (Edward Arnold) is using crooked lawyer Steve Lewis (Robert Preston) to try to take over a town and monopolize its water; but independent Annie Morgan (Loretta Young) buys a property and refuses to give in, finally gaining women the right to vote so that Cork is convicted by a jury of women, while she wins over Steve.

This western comedy gives a fictional version of how women gained the vote in the Wyoming territory.

Man Hunt

(1941 b 105’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Geoffrey Household’s novel Rogue Male and directed by Fritz Lang, in July 1939 British hunter Alan Thorndike (Walter Pidgeon) stalks Hitler for sport and is captured by Major Quive-Smith (George Sanders). Thorndike escapes from the Nazis and is followed to London where he is helped by the humble and beautiful Jerry (Joan Bennett).

         This adventure contrasts the Nazis’ use of force to the English gentleman’s ethics of honesty pushed to self-defense against killers.

Married Bachelor

(1941 b 83') En: 5 Ed: 4

Owing money on a bet as a bookie with Cookie (Sam Levene) to a threatening gangster (Sheldon Leonard), con-man Randy (Robert Young) sells a manuscript on the psychology of marriage by Ladislaus (Felix Bressart) but loses his bedroom privileges with his wife Norma (Ruth Hussey) because he is pretending to be bachelor author. When he lectures that wives should see other men, his wife begins seeing his publisher (Lee Bowman).

This comedy explores the independence of wives and the changing double standard when a con man is caught in his own game.

Million Dollar Baby

(1941 b 101') En: 5 Ed: 5

To correct a past wrong, a rich woman (May Robson) has a lawyer (Jeffrey Lynn) give a young woman (Priscilla Lane) a million dollars; but her boyfriend is a composer (Ronald Reagan), who refuses to live off her money.

This fantastic plot nonetheless has realistic results as people experience the personal difficulties of adjusting to a fortune.

My Life with Caroline

(1941 b 81') En: 5 Ed: 4

Young Caroline (Anna Lee) has fallen in love with an Argentine (Gilbert Roland) while her husband Anthony (Ronald Coleman) was away again; but his charm wins her back just as he did a few years before when she was briefly enchanted by Paul (Reginald Gardiner).

This comedy assumes that a clever man can easily changes his foolish wife's mind for her.

Navy Blues

(1941 b 108') En: 5 Ed: 4

Sailors Cake O'Hara (Jack Oakie) and Powerhouse Bolton (Jack Haley) in Hawaii borrow money from Buttons (Jack Carson) to bet on a gunnery contest but are caught in their own con game. Lilibelle Bolton (Martha Raye) and Margie (Ann Sheridan) try to help them get their gunner Homer (Herbert Anderson) to re-enlist.

This musical comedy entertains while subtly promoting the need for enlistments.

Nothing But the Truth

(1941 b 90’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from a novel by Frederic Isham and a play by James Montgomery, Steve Bennett (Bob Hope) bets his wealthy boss T. T. Ralston (Edward Arnold) and two of his associates $10,000 he got from Ralston’s niece Gwen Saunders (Paulette Goddard) that he will answer every question and not tell a lie in the next 24 hours.

         This comedy shows how often people tend to avoid speaking the truth in social situations when a poor man has to be honest for one day.

Nine Lives Are Not Enough

(1941 b 63') En: 5 Ed: 4

Reporter Matt Sawyer (Ronald Reagan) lucks into a major murder investigation; but it is declared a suicide. He and two cops (James Gleason and Edward Brophy) get help from the victim's daughter Jane (Joan Perry) in finding the murderer.

This mystery moves at a fast pace and provides escape entertainment.

The Penalty

(1941 b 81') En: 4 Ed: 5

Adapted from Martin Berkeley's play, a teenager (Gene Reynolds) admires his criminal father (Edward Arnold); but put in the country, he learns better values from a farmer (Robert Sterling), his fiancée (Gloria DeHaven) and her Grandpop (Lionel Barrymore).

This drama shows how human relationships shape the character of a youngster for bad or good.

The People vs. Dr. Kildare

(1941 b 78') En: 5 Ed: 4

Dr. Kildare (Lew Ayres) operates on an ice skater (Bonita Granville) after a car crash to save her life; but when her leg is paralyzed, she sues him in court.

The title is in error since this is a civil suit; but with the help of Dr. Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore) Kildare's magic triumphs once again.

Rage in Heaven

(1941 b 85') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on James Hilton's novel, insane Phillip Morrell (Robert Montgomery) escapes and kills himself in such a way as to frame his best friend Ward Andrews (George Sanders); but Phillip's wife Stella (Ingrid Bergman) loves both men, and with the help of Phillip's doctor (Oskar Homolka) learns the truth.

This strange and convoluted drama defies logical motivations and thus gives the audience the unsettling impression that madness makes no sense.

The Reluctant Dragon

(1941 c 72') En: 5 Ed: 5

Robert Benchley (himself) visits the Disney studio and learns about animation, seeing stories of Baby Weems, Goofy trying to ride a horse, and a film of the story he brought about a boy who meets a poetry-writing dragon, who is defeated and reformed by the knight Giles.

This comic look behind the scenes shows the elements that make up animated pictures. The dragon becoming a cooperative member of society offers a good peace theme during the world war.

Remember the Day

(1941 b 86’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the play by Phillip Dunning and Philo Higley, school-teacher Nora Trinell (Claudette Colbert) develops a special fondness for her little student Dewey Roberts (Douglas Croft) and is wooed by fellow teacher Dan Hopkins (John Payne).

This timely romantic drama was released on Christmas Day 1941 and portrays two teachers who fall in love in 1916. Their connection to the student results in their separation during the Great War. A generation later she gets to see what her student who loved her so much has become which reflects on the great saying of Henry Adams that a teacher never sees the final results of her work.


Ringside Maisie

(1941 b 95') En: 5 Ed: 4

Broke Maisie (Ann Sothern) gets a job as a companion to the mother (Margaret Moffatt) of a boxer (Robert Sterling) and helps him find his way out of boxing while having an ambivalent relationship with his manager (George Murphy).

Maisie avoids sexual harassment while being taken for a tramp by the manager, but as usual her spunky attitude lifts the spirits of those who need it despite her own personal troubles.

The Saint in Palm Springs

(1941 b 65') En: 5 Ed: 4

Simon Templar (George Sanders) gets help from a pick-pocket (Paul Guilfoyle) in finding who is murdering people in order to steal the valuable stamps a woman (Elna Johnson) inherited.

The story is hardly believable but mildly entertaining nonetheless.

A Shot in the Dark

(1941 b 57') En: 5 Ed: 4

A reporter (William Lundigan) and police Lt. Ryder (Regis Toomey) compete for singer Dixie (Nan Wynn) but work together to solve a double murder involving the sale of a nightclub by Phil (Ricardo Cortez).

This mystery has as much humor as action, offering a tight little package of escape entertainment.

Singapore Woman

(1941 b 65') En: 5 Ed: 4

After her father loaned him money, David (David Bruce) helps Vickie (Brenda Marshall), whom hard luck has drawn into drinking; he falls in love with her even though he is engaged to Claire (Virginia Field).

This melodrama contrasts the characters of two women, one with passion who has survived great difficulties, the other with the easy life of a snobbish aristocrat.

Skylark

(1941 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Samson Raphaelson’s play, Lydia Kenyon (Claudette Colbert) and advertising man Tony Kenyon (Ray Milland) are celebrating their fifth anniversary; but she gets upset when he gives away their good cook to Myrtle (Binnie Barnes) and Frederick Vantine) because his dog-food account is worth substantial income to Tony. Available lawyer Jim Blake (Brian Aherne) persuades Lydia to run off with him. Tony’s friend George Gore (Walter Abel) advises Tony to lie to keep Lydia; but it backfires, and Jim helps Lydia get a divorce.

            This romantic comedy portrays a fairly happily married couple who go through a trying period because of his devotion to his work that provides a fine life-style for his wife.

Smilin' Through

(1941 c 100') En: 5 Ed: 5

Music and color are added to the play by Jane Cowl and the film of the same title in 1932, a bride is murdered by a jealous neighbor, causing John (Brian Aherne) to mourn her all his life. A minister (Ian Hunter) asks him to raise her niece (Jeanette MacDonald), and she falls in love with the murderer's son (Gene Raymond), helping her uncle end his grudge.

This sentimental romance portrays a close relationship between this world and the spiritual realm where souls go after death.

The Smiling Ghost

(1941 b 71') En: 5 Ed: 4

A grandmother (Helen Westley) hires broke Lucky (Wayne Morse) and his valet (Willie Best) to be fiancé of an heiress (Alexis Smith), but a reporter (Brenda Marshall) warns him he is liable to be the next victim.

This farce entertains with lively action, romance, mystery, and funny situations while the brash innocence of Lucky and his loyalty to his black servant is refreshing.

Swamp Water

(1941 b 88’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Vereen Bell’s novel and directed by Jean Renoir, Ben Ragan (Dana Andrews) quarrels with his father Thursday Ragan (Walter Huston) and goes to find his dog Trouble in the dangerous Okefenokee Swamp where he meets the fugitive Tom Keefer (Walter Brennan) who is wanted for murder. Ben is in love with Mabel (Virginia Gilmore) and wants to marry her after he makes money trapping hide animals in the swamp; but she is lonely when he is away, and he becomes friendly with Tom’s daughter Julie (Anne Baxter).

This murder mystery has adventure and complicated romances while portraying an isolated settlement of southerners.

Tarzan's Secret Treasure

(1941 b 81') En: 5 Ed: 4

Boy wants to trade gold and is saved from natives by an English science expedition, which greed turns awry, endangering Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) and Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller); but O'Doul (Barry Fitzgerald) helps Tarzan save her.

The natural values of the heroic Tarzan prove superior once again to the artificial white ways.

That Night in Rio

(1941 c 91') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from a play by Lothar and Adler, Carmen (Miranda) is jealous as an entertainer (Don Ameche) impersonates a baron (Don Ameche) and gets to know the baroness (Alice Faye) in a colorful musical comedy.

The mistaken identity makes for the confusion and humor, and the entertainment fantasy works with the same actor playing both parts.

They Met in Bombay

(1941 b 92') En: 5 Ed: 4

Gerald (Clark Gable) poses as a detective to steal a necklace from thief Anya (Rosalind Russell), and both almost get caught; but he impersonates a British officer and wins a medal against the Japanese in China.

This odd combination of a romantic comedy with an action climax foreshadows the imminent transition from civil society to war with Japan.

Topper Returns

(1941 b 88’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Heiress Ann Carrington (Carole Landis) with her friend Gail Richards (Joan Blondell) are in a car accident and get a ride with Topper (Roland Young) to the Carrington estate where Ann meets her aged father (H. B. Warner). Gail is murdered by mistake, and as a ghost she gets Topper to help her solve the mystery. Topper’s wife (Billie Burke) is blissfully foolish, and his chauffeur (Eddie Anderson) is easily scared.

         This third and last comedy in the Topper series plays once again on the oddity of a ghost who can be seen or not seen.

Unexpected Uncle

(1941 b 67') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a novel by Eric Hatch, retired Seton (Charles Coburn) helps young Kathleen (Anne Shirley) handle courtship by a wealthy executive (James Craig).

With Seton's gracious moral support Kathleen maintains her common sense while riding the emotional ups and downs of relating to an eccentric heir of a big shoe company.

The Wagons Roll at Night

(1941 b 84') En: 5 Ed: 4

Carnival boss Nick (Humphrey Bogart) finds a new lion tamer in young Matt (Eddie Albert). Fortune-teller Florine (Sylvia Sidney) can't get along with Nick and likes Matt, who falls for Nick's sister Mary (Joan Leslie).

Matt replacing the drunk lion-tamer Hoffman (Sig Ruman) symbolizes American innocence taking over from evil Germans in the world situation; but Nick's over-protectiveness of his sister is taken from the plot of the 1937 film Kid Galahad.

Week-End in Havana

(1941 b 81') En: 5 Ed: 4

Jay (John Payne) is about to marry Terry (Cobina Wright) when her father (George Barbier) sends him to get waivers for his steamship company. Nan (Alice Faye) refuses to sign until she has a good time in Havana. Jay tries to do this job; but she wants romance, and singer Rosita (Carmen Miranda) makes sure it isn't with her gambling manager Monte (Cesar Romero).

This musical shows Havana as the vacation spot for the wealthy as Nan converts Jay from business to pleasure.

When Ladies Meet

(1941 b 105') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the Rachel Crothers play and longer than the 1933 film When Ladies Meet, Jimmy (Robert Taylor) is in love with novelist Mary (Joan Crawford), but her life mirrors her latest book as she has fallen in love with her married publisher Rogers Woodruff (Herbert Marshall). Jimmy meets the wife Clair Woodruff (Greer Garson) and contrives to bring her to Mary at the home of foolish Bridget (Spring Byington) as his latest girl-friend.

Jimmy squares this triangle and exposes Rogers as a selfish philanderer and Mary as the naïve fool.

Whistling in the Dark

(1941 b 78') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a play by Gross and Carpenter, like the 1933 film Whistling in the Dark, a cult led by Joseph (Conrad Veidt) tries to get radio detective Wally (Red Skelton) to devise a perfect murder and kidnaps his fiancé (Ann Rutherford) and Fran (Virginia Grey); but using radio and telephone they manage to catch the whole gang.

This absurd plot offers comedy entertainment while playing upon the confusion of radio programs with real life.

 

The Wild Man of Borneo

(1941 b 79') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a play by Marc Connelly and Herman Mankiewicz, a grifter (Frank Morgan) returns to his grown-up daughter (Mary Howard), and they go to a theatrical boardinghouse, where he pretends he is an actor.

This comedy entertains while indicating difficulties of the theatrical professions.

You'll Never Get Rich

(1941 b 89') En: 5 Ed: 4

A philandering producer (Robert Benchley), in trouble with his wife, asks his choreographer Curtis (Fred Astaire) to give a bracelet to dancer Sheila (Rita Hayworth). Curtis joins the army, gets in trouble, but gets to do a show with Sheila for the producer.

This musical reflects American preparations for war in which people go along without really understanding the gibberish that is taking them there.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1941

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1930
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1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959

Sanderson Beck’s List of the Greatest Movies of All Time
Sanderson Beck’s List of the Greatest Movies in Alphabetical Order

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