BECK index
Movie Mirrors Index

More Movies from 1944

Movie Mirrors

by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1944

Movie Mirrors Introduction

Abbreviations
 Title

Min.

c S M H P V En Ed
 Address Unknown 72   b    4  6      4  5
 Blonde Fever 69   b    4  4      5  4
 Buffalo Bill 90   c  5  5  5  4  4  5  5
 Canterville Ghost, The 96   b  6  6  5  5  5  5  4
 Casanova Brown 92   b  5  5  4  5  5  5  4
 Conspirators, The 101   b  4  5  5      5  4
 Doughgirls, The 101   b  5  5  5  3    5  4
 English Without Tears (Her Man Gilbey) 87   b      5      5  4
 Frenchman's Creek 113   c  5  6  5   5  5  4
 Hotel Reserve 79   b  6  6  4  4  6  5  4
 I'll Be Seeing You 85   b  6  5  6   5  5  5
 Immortal Battalion, The (The Way Ahead) 88   b  7  7  7  6  6  5  4
 It Happened Tomorrow 85   b  7  6  7    5  5  5
 Janie 102   b  5  5  4      5  4
 Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore 75   b  6  5        5  4
 Kismet 100   c  6  5  5  3 5  5  4
 Lodger, The 84   b  6  6  5      5  4
 Mademoiselle Fifi 69   b  6  5  5  4  3  4  5
 Maria Candelaria (Spanish) 98   b  4        4  5  5
 Master Race, The 96   b  6  5  4  5  5  5  5
 Ministry of Fear 87   b  6  6  6      5  4
 Music in Manhattan 81   b  5  4  4      5  4
 None But the Lonely Heart 113   b  6  5  5  5  6  5  5
 On Approval 80   b  7  6  7  5  6  5  5
 Once Upon a Time 88   b  5  5  5      4  5
 Pearl of Death, The 69   b  6  6  6  7  5  5  5
 Phantom Lady 87   b  7  7  6   6  5  4
 Princess and the Pirate, The 94   c  6  6  5  5  6  5  4
 Scarlet Claw, The 74   b  6  7  6  7  6  5  5
 See Here, Private Hargrove 93   b  6  6  5      5  4
 Shine on Harvest Moon 113   b  5  5  5      5  4
 Song of Russia 107   b  5  5  4      5  5
 Spider Woman, The 63   b  6  6  6  6    5  5
 Step Lively 88   b  6  6  5  6  5  5  4
 Together Again 100   b  6  6  4   5  5  4
 Torment (Swedish) 101   b  7  7  5   6  5  5
 Two Girls and a Sailor 124   b  6  6  6  5  6  5  4
 Uncertain Glory 103   b  4  4  4  3  4  5  5
 Uninvited, The 99   b  6  7  6  9  6  5  5
 Very Thought of You, The 99   b  6  4  4      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

 

Address Unknown

(1944 b 72’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Directed by William Cameron Menzies, art dealer Martin Schulz (Paul Lukas) leaves his partner Max Eisenstein (Morris Carnovsky) in San Francisco and goes to Munich with his wife Elsa (Mady Christians) and Max’s daughter Griselle (K. T. Stevens) who is engaged to Martin’s son Heinrich (Peter van Eyck) but wants to be an actress. Martin comes under the influence of Baron von Friesche (Carl Esmond) and is caught up in the Nazi propaganda against Jews with tragic results.

            This expressionistic drama is a modern horror story based on the current political reality in Germany.

Blonde Fever

(1944 b 69’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a play by Ferenc Molnar, Peter (Philip Dorn) is married to Delilah (Mary Astor) but is falling in love with pretty Sally (Gloria Grahame) who is nearly engaged to young Freddie (Marshall Thompson). Helpful advice comes from the bartender Johnny (Felix Bressart).

            This sophisticated comedy flirts with divorce as the wayward husband learns about wanting and love.

Buffalo Bill

(1944 c 90') En: 5 Ed: 5

The career of William F. Cody (Joel McCrea) shows his wife Louisa Federici (Maureen O'Hara), the dime novelist Ned Buntline (Thomas Mitchell) who made him famous, his Cheyenne friend and adversary Yellow Hand (Anthony Quinn), and an army friend (Edgar Buchanan).

This drama is roughly accurate in depicting Buffalo Bill's ambiguous attempts to limit the damage to the Indians by helping them when he could.

The Canterville Ghost

(1944 b 96') En: 5 Ed: 4

A little girl (Margaret O'Brien) has inherited a castle with a cowardly ghost (Charles Laughton) who cannot rest until a descendant performs a brave deed. US soldiers arrive and see the ghost, but Williams (Robert Young) is a Canterville and eventually manages to act courageously.

This comedy reflects the current historical situation of the Americans coming to rescue the British by fighting the Nazis in Europe.

Casanova Brown

(1944 b 92') En: 5 Ed: 4

Brown (Gary Cooper) is on the eve of remarrying when he and the cranky father (Frank Morgan) of his fiancée learn that his ex-wife (Teresa Wright) had a baby. Brown kidnaps the baby and takes care of her himself.

This unusual comedy challenges the social stereotypes by suggesting that the father can do well in taking care of an infant.

The Conspirators

(1944 b 101’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a novel by Frederic Prokosch and directed by Jean Negulesco, Dutch Vincent Van Der Lyn (Paul Henreid) has been sabotaging the Nazis in the Netherlands and travels to Paris and Lisbon where he meets Irene Von Mohr (Hedy Lamarr), Hugo Von Mohr (Victor Francen), Jan Bernazsky (Peter Lorre), Miguel (Vladimir Sokoloff), and Ricardo Quintanilla (Sydney Greenstreet). Police Captain Pereira (Joseph Calleia) warns Van Der Lyn to be careful in Lisbon and later arrests him for murder. Van Der Lyn escapes from prison, and those fighting the Nazis are looking for a traitor.

This World War II spy thriller is intriguing and realistic while depicting Portugal as a neutral country and Lisbon as a free port.

The Doughgirls

(1944 b 101') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a play by Joseph Fields, a couple (Jane Wyman and Jack Carson) that just thought they got married enter a bridal suite to find another recently married couple (Ann Sheridan and John Ridgely) and another friend (Alexis Smith), a Russian sergeant (Eve Arden), and bureaucrats (Charlie Ruggles and John Alexander).

Complications reveal that none of the three couples are actually married in this witty farce that satirizes war-time Washington.

English Without Tears (Her Man Gilbey)

(1944 b 87’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Before and during World War II the English butler Tom Gilbey (Michael Wilding) is pursued by young Joan Heseltine (Penelope Ward) despite class distinction. During the war Tom enlists and rises in rank quickly. On leave he decides he loves Joan, but now she no longer wants him. She is teaching English to François de Reycinet (Claude Dauphin), and cartoonist Felix Dembowski (Albert Lieven) who try to win her. Norwegian linguist Brigid Knudsen (Lilli Palmer) teaches them English, and many humorous situations arise.

            This farce amuses while depicting how the war changes a British household by changing the class barriers.

Frenchman's Creek

(1944 c 113') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Daphne Du Maurier's novel, a lady (Joan Fontaine) leaves her husband (Ralph Forbes) to avoid his friend (Basil Rathbone) and falls in love with a French pirate (Jean Benoit Aubrey) with the help of her servant (Cecil Kellaway).

The spirit of adventure leads the lady beyond social conformity into the brigandage of piracy, but ultimately she is unable to leave her children.

Hotel Reserve

(1944 b 79') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Eric Ambler's novel, an Austrian (James Mason) living in France in 1938 is arrested for espionage and told to find the Nazi spy at the hotel where he is a guest.

This pre-war spy thriller looks back at the relaxed atmosphere before the war but foreshadows the coming conflict.

I'll Be Seeing You

(1944 b 85') En: 5 Ed: 5

The traumatized soldier Zachary (Joseph Cotton) on leave from a hospital meets Mary (Ginger Rogers), who is on a Christmas furlough from prison, and her aunt Sarah (Spring Byington), uncle (Tom Tully), and cousin Barbara (Shirley Temple) make them both feel welcome.

This love story is sad because they will have to wait three years to be together. The drama reflects the psychological damage war can cause and compares it to the negative effect of the penal system.

Immortal Battalion, The (The Way Ahead)

(1944 b 88') En: 5 Ed: 4

Lt. Perry (David Niven) and Sgt. Fletcher (William Hartnell) train new recruits for the infantry, and they see action in North Africa.

Although dramatized with fictional characters, this propaganda is basically a training film to indoctrinate men into becoming killing machines.

It Happened Tomorrow

(1944 b 85’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from a novel by Howard Snyder and a play by Lord Dunsany, reporter Larry Stevens (Dick Powell) is given tomorrow’s newspapers the day before by a departed spirit and is able to cover the headline stories. He woos psychic Sylvia (Linda Darnell) while clashing with her Uncle Oscar (Jack Oakie).

            In this fantasy comedy an old man plays a journalistic practical joke on a struggling reporter which enables him to achieve success.

Janie

(1944 b 102') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a play by Josephine Bentham and Charles Hoffman, a high school senior (Joyce Reynolds) has a smooching boyfriend (Richard Erdman), a worried father (Edward Arnold), and a clever little sister (Clare Foley); but when the army comes to town, Janie falls for a private (Robert Hutton).

This witty comedy reflects the social changes of war time that often separate young men in uniform from young women.

Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore

(1944 b 75’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Attractive Kathie Aumont (Simone Simon) has a new job in a defense plant, but she needs an apartment. She quickly falls in love with Marine Johnny Moore (William Terry) who lets her sublet his apartment while he is away; but he has given out several keys to others who use his apartment, notably the sailor Mike Burke (James Ellison). She is superstitious and has seven weeks bad luck, ending up in front of a judge.

            This comedy plays upon the lack of housing during the war and the coming and going of soldiers and sailors.

Kismet

(1944 b 100') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Edward Knoblock's play, a beggar magician (Ronald Coleman) loves the queen (Marlene Dietrich) of the Vizier (Edward Arnold) while his daughter (Joy Page) falls in love with the Caliph (James Craig) in the disguise of a gardener's son.

This Arabian adventure offers escape entertainment with a fantastic tale of the king of the beggars hobnobbing with royalty for a destiny he intends for his daughter.

The Lodger

(1944 b 84') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from the Marie Belloc Lowndes novel, the infamous Jack the Ripper (Laird Cregar) rents rooms in the home of an elderly couple (Cedric Hardwicke and Sara Allgood) and is attracted to their lovely niece (Merle Oberon), but he is tracked down by a Scotland Yard detective (George Sanders).

By not showing the gory details, this psychological thriller gives the audience the viewpoint of those living in London in the 1880s and reading about the series of murders.

Mademoiselle Fifi

(1944 b 69’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Adapted from two stories by Guy de Maupassant, in 1870 Prussian soldiers are occupying France. Most of the French cooperate and obey orders, but two priests, the laundress Elizabeth Bousset (Simone Simon) and the romantic revolutionary Jean Cornudet (John Emery) resist the Prussians and the autocratic Lt. von Eyrick (Kurt Kreuger) who was called “Fifi.”

            This patriotic drama reflects the contemporary occupation of France by the German Nazis and suggests that French resistance can help to overcome the Prussian invaders.

Maria Candelaria

(Spanish 1944 b 98') En: 5 Ed: 5

Because her mother was a prostitute, Maria Candelaria (Dolores del Rio) is treated as an outcast and cannot even sell enough flowers to marry her fiancé (Pedro Armendariz), who is arrested for stealing medicine and a wedding dress. Maria poses for a painter (Alberto Galan) but refuses to do so nude; another model is used. The local people are outraged by the painting and castigate Maria.

This powerful drama shows beauty and innocence being abused by ignorant people because of their social prejudices.

The Master Race

(1944 b 96') En: 5 Ed: 5

Written and directed by Herbert Biberman, an officer from the German general staff (George Coulouris) pretends to be a resistance hero so that he can undermine the allied occupation of a Belgian town after D-Day; but a US major (Stanley Ridges), a liberated Russian doctor (Carl Esmond), an elderly Belgian (Morris Carnovsky), his daughter (Osa Massen), her brother (Lloyd Bridges), his girlfriend (Nancy Gates), her older sister (Helen Beverly), and a prominent person (Paul Guilfoyle) he dupes eventually expose him.

This war-time drama looks forward to the challenge of dealing with Germans who after the war may still believe they are the master race to rule the world.

Ministry of Fear

(1944 b 87') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Graham Greene's novel and directed by Fritz Lang, a man (Ray Milland) convicted of a mercy killing tries to unravel a Nazi spy ring that has infiltrated a war charity. He is helped by a brother (Carl Esmond) and sister (Marjorie Reynolds), but one of them turns out to be on the wrong side.

This complicated spy thriller keeps the audience guessing by portraying a war-torn society in which almost anyone might be a spy.

Music in Manhattan

(1944 b 81') En: 5 Ed: 4

A new Broadway show is about to close when Frankie (Anne Shirley) uses the name of war hero Johnny Pearson (Phillip Terry) to get a plane reservation and is taken to his hotel. Her fiancé Stanley (Dennis Day) plays along after the show gets an audience; but Frankie and Johnny fall in love.

Special treatment for a war hero sets this romantic comedy in motion.

None But the Lonely Heart

(1944 b 113') En: 5 Ed: 5

Clifford Odets adapted the novel by Richard Llewellyn about a poor man (Cary Grant) who loves his freedom but goes back home to take care of his dying mother (Ethel Barrymore).

The difficult circumstances in this drama reflect the frustration of an intelligent man who wants to rise above the squalid struggle.

On Approval

(1944 b 80’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Frederick Lonsdale and directed by Clive Brook, during the Victorian era George (Clive Brook) is the witty and middle-aged Duke of Bristol who seems to be interested in the 41-year-old widow Maria Wislack because she has £25,000 a year. George’s friend Richard (Roland Culver) is afraid Maria would reject him but likes Helen (Googie Withers). When Richard asks Maria to marry, she suggests he live with her until 11 each night so she can find out what it would be like to live with him. Helen stays with Maria, and George leaves every night with Richard, hoping that he can win well-off Helen. The results of this experiment are quite interesting.

            This sophisticated comedy of manners and wit has droll British humor and some lessons about how courtship can be different than living together which might be a better preparation for marriage.

Once Upon a Time

(1944 b 88’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Broadway producer Jerry Flynn (Cary Grant) has had a string of flops and is about to lose his theater when he meets the kid Pinky (Ted Donaldson) who shows him his caterpillar Curly who dances to “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.” Jerry meets Pinky’s sister Jeannie (Janet Blair) and tries to persuade his banker, his associate Moke (James Gleason), Pinky, and Jeannie that he and his partner Pinky should sell Curly to Disney to save his theater.

            This fantasy takes a show businessman into a child’s world of innocence and helps him learn not to be a mean man.

The Pearl of Death

(1944 b 69’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a story by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) recovers the Borgia pearl and then unwittingly aids its being stolen from a museum by Giles Conover (Miles Mander). A series of murders occurs as Conover attempts to regain the pearl, and Holmes, Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce), and Inspector Lestrade (Dennis Hoey) work to find the murderers.

            This murder mystery shows the versatile Holmes at work trying to prevent what he calls “the crimes of greed and cruelty” that plague mankind symbolized by the historical Napoleon.

Phantom Lady

(1944 b 87') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Cornell Woolrich's novel, an engineer (Alan Curtis) is convicted of murdering his wife even though he was seen at a bar with a woman (Fay Helm). His employee (Ella Raines) with help from the police inspector (Thomas Gomez) finds the woman and solves the murdering with the engineer's friend (Franchot Tone).

This murder mystery fits into the dark mood of the film noir genre that is developing at this time.

The Princess and the Pirate

(1944 c 94') En: 5 Ed: 4

A beautiful princess (Virginia Mayo) and a comedian (Bob Hope) are captured by a ruthless pirate (Victor McLaglen) with a hook. They manage to escape with the help of Featherhead (Walter Brennan), who wants to steal the pirate's buried treasure; but while entertaining cut-throats the princess is taken hostage by the corrupt governor (Walter Slezak).

This farcical satire of swashbucklers recalls an earlier era of lawless violence.

The Scarlet Claw

(1944 b 74’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) are in Quebec listening to Lord Penrose (Paul Cavanagh) talking about a supernatural killer of sheep when they learn that Mrs. Penrose has been killed the same way. Holmes investigates to find out if it was a human murder, and two more people are killed before he is able to discover the criminal.

            This murder mystery keeps the audience guessing as Holmes works on behalf of the first victim and faces danger himself.

See Here, Private Hargrove

(1944 b 102') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Marion Hargrove's book, Hargrove (Robert Walker) is drafted and shares the money from his writing with Mulvehill (Keenan Wynn) and others during training while romancing Carol (Donna Reed).

Hargrove has difficulty following instructions and thus has trouble in the army, but he manages to keep a cheerful attitude despite his suffering.

Shine on, Harvest Moon

(1944 b 113') En: 5 Ed: 4

Songwriter Jack Norworth (Dennis Morgan) leaves behind Blanche Mallory (Irene Manning) to join up with singer Nora Bayes (Ann Sheridan), who is blacklisted by jealous Dan Costello (Robert Shayne). Jack and Nora maintain their friendship with a kind agent (S. Z. Sakall) and a magic-comedy team (Jack Carson and Marie Wilson).

While their careers are held back by a vindictive man, a loving couple finds personal fulfillment by caring for each other.

Song of Russia

(1944 b 107’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Gregory Ratoff until he collapsed, in 1941 orchestra conductor John Meredith (Robert Taylor) is on a tour of Russia performing Russian music with his manager Hank Higgins (Robert Benchley). John meets beautiful Nadya Stepanova (Susan Peters), who is a talented pianist, and they fall in love. In her village he meets her family and teacher Alexander Meschkov (Vladimir Sokoloff), and he and Nadya marry. Their lives are interrupted by the German invasion, and Joseph Stalin explains how they will defend their fatherland. She goes back to help her village, and after the tour he tries to find her.

This romantic and musical drama reflects the war-time alliance between the Soviet Union and the United States, and is a propaganda film designed to show Americans what some Russians had to go through in that war as both nations were fighting against the same enemy.

The Spider Woman

(1944 b 63’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) accompanied by Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) narrowly escapes death and uses disguises as he perceives that a string of suicides is actually the result of the clever serial killer Adrea Spedding (Gale Sondergaard) who uses a giant spider against her victims.

            This murder mystery entertains with Holmes going up against an attractive woman and a creepy animal.

Step Lively

(1944 b 88') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Room Service by Allen Boretz, a producer (George Murphy) is running up a hotel bill while rehearsing his actors in a musical despite efforts by the manager (Walter Slezak) and auditor (Adolphe Menjou) to collect. A young playwright (Frank Sinatra) arrives; but he can sing, and the producer gets his star (Gloria DeHaven) to seduce him into being in the show.

Music and magical sets are added to the farce made in 1938 by the Marx brothers, but hope is found in a new singing star.

Together Again

(1944 b 100’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Mayor Anne Crandall (Irene Dunne) is a widow and goes to New York to hire sculptor George Corday (Charles Boyer) to replace the statue of her late husband. Her father-in-law Jonathan Crandall Sr. (Charles Coburn) and her step-daughter Diana (Mona Freeman) encourage her to be romantic.
      This comedy contrasts a French artist with a small-town mayor and the dreamy feelings of a teenager and the cynicism of her grandfather.

Torment

(Swedish 1944 b 101’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Written by Ingmar Bergman, boys in a Latin class are tested by the officious teacher they call “Caligula” (Stig Jarrel) who accuses Jan-Erik Widgren (Alf Kjellin) of cheating. Widgren is looking for a pure woman to love but settles for alcoholic Bertha Olsson (Mai Zetterling) who is frightened by some man. Pippi (Olof Winnerstrand) is a teacher who says he is too kind, but he knows Caligula is a bad teacher. Bergman directed the final scene where the Principal (Olof Winnerstrand) helps Widgren to understand his experience.

            This drama seems to be autobiographical as Bergman has explained that he hated school. The frightened teacher is a lonely man, and the negative consequences of how he treats people are depicted.

Two Girls and a Sailor

(1944 b 124') En: 5 Ed: 4

Two sisters (June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven) entertain servicemen and fall in love with the same sailor (Van Johnson), who turns out to be a millionaire.

This musical fantasy provided entertainment as an escape from the war.

Uncertain Glory

(1944 b 103') En: 5 Ed: 5

The thief Jean Picard (Errol Flynn), finally convicted of murder, is about to be guillotined when an air raid enables him to escape. Inspector Bonet (Paul Lukas) catches him. When they hear that the Germans will kill one hundred hostages unless a saboteur is caught, Jean suggests that he would rather die by firing squad and save the hostages.

This patriotic drama shows how a man who was a criminal can change when given the opportunity to do something heroic. This change is seen reflected in the police inspector who took a chance on him and was not disappointed.

The Uninvited

(1944 b 99’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Dorothy Macardle, the composer Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela Fitzgerald (Ruth Hussey) buy a haunted house by a seacliff and try to help young Stella Meredith (Gail Russell) who is being protected by her grandfather (Donald Crisp) and who believes her mother’s spirit is still in the house because of mysterious events involving Miss Holloway (Cornelia Otis Skinner) who claims to be a spiritual healer. Dr. Scott (Alan Napier) treats Stella and assists others.

            This ghost story unravels a complicated mystery involving the persecution of a gypsy woman. The love and laughter of the composer and his kind sister with help from the doctor enable the young woman to come to terms with her mother’s tragedy.

The Very Thought of You

(1944 b 99') En: 5 Ed: 4

Army buddies Dave (Dennis Morgan) and Fixit (Dane Clark) during leave fall in love with Janet (Eleanor Parker) and Cora (Faye Emerson), and Janet's family has problems of their own.

This romantic drama explores the challenges of young people getting married during the war.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1944

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1930
1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
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

Movie Mirrors Index

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