BECK index
Movie Mirrors Index

More Movies from 1948

Movie Mirrors

by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1948

Movie Mirrors Introduction

Abbreviations
 Title

Min.

c S M H P V En Ed
 Act of Violence 82   b  6  6  6   5  5  5
 Anna Karenina 111   b  5  5  5  4  5  5  5
 B. F.'s Daughter 108   b  3  3  5      5  5
 Canon City 82   b  6  6  5      5  5
 Dude Goes West,  The 87   b    4      4  5  4
 Enchantment 100   b  6  6  5  6 4  5  5
 Esther Waters 110   b  5  5  4      4  5
 Every Girl Should Be Married 85   b  5  5  4  4  5  5  5
 Good Sam 114   b  4  4  4  3  4  4  5
 He Walked by Night 79   b  7  6  5  8  7  5  5
 I Walk Alone 97   b  4  4  5      5  4
 Luck of the Irish, The 99   b  5  5  5   5  5  5
 Man from Colorado, The 98   b  6  6  4  5  5  5  5
 Miracle of the Bells 120   b  3  3  4  5  4  5  5
 Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid 89   b  5  5  4  3  5  5  4
 Night Song 102   b  5  4  4      5  5
 One Touch of Venus 82   b  5  5  5  3  5  5  4
 Road House 95   b  6  6  5  6  5  5  4
 Pitfall 86   b  7  6  4  5  6  5  5
 Romance on the High Seas 99   c  6  6  5  5  6  5  4
 Ruthless 104   b  7  6  5      5  4
 Silver River 110   b  5  4  4  4  3  5  5
 Smart Woman 93   b  6  6  4   4  5  5
 Southern Yankee, A 90   b  6  6  5  5  5  5  4
 Summer Holiday 93   c  5  5  6  4  5  5  5
 Three Musketeers, The 125   c  6  5  7  3  5  5  4
 Velvet Touch, The 99   b  5  5  5  8  6  5  5
 Whispering Smith 89   c  6  5  4   6  5  4
 Winter Meeting 104   b  5  5  4  4  4  4  5
 Woman In White, The 109   b  5  6  5      5  5
 Women of the Night (Japanese) 75   b            5  5
 Words and Music 121   c  6  5  6  4  5  5  4
 You Gotta Stay Happy 100   b  5  5  4   5  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

 

Act of Violence

(1948 b 82') En: 5 Ed: 5

A wounded veteran (Robert Ryan) stalks his commanding officer (Van Heflin) for having informed the Nazis about their escape while the officer's wife (Janet Leigh) and the stalker's girlfriend (Phyllis Thaxter) try to prevent a killing.

Austrian refugee Fred Zinnemann, whose parents died in the holocaust, directed this post-war thriller that portrays the lingering consequences of an atrocious war even among those making money in the housing boom.

Anna Karenina

(1948 b 111') En: 5 Ed: 5

In this adaptation of Tolstoy's great novel by Jean Anouilh and others, Anna Karenina (Vivien Leigh) seems to be drawn toward her tragic end as she leaves the ambitious Alexei Karenin (Ralph Richardson) to live with the handsome Count Vronsky (Kieron Moore).

Karenin says that he won't give Anna a divorce because he has forgiven her; but after she goes back to Vronsky again, it becomes clear that he is punishing her by refusing to let her see their son. Thus the hypocrisy of the Russian aristocracy is explored as Anna is torn between romantic and maternal love; but the spiritual values of Levin and Kitty are barely hinted at in this version.

B. F.'s Daughter

(1948 b 108') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on John Marquand's novel, the wealthy industrialist B. F. Fulton (Charles Coburn) gives his daughter Polly (Barbara Stanwyck) whatever she wants; but she rejects the conservative lawyer Bob Tasmin (Richard Hart) and marries the liberal lecturer Tom Brett (Van Heflin), using her father's money to help his career.

This drama explores the conflict between the wealthy and intellectuals who believe that wealth needs to be shared. Polly comes to realize that she can't buy love; but she can receive love when she needs someone.

Canon City

(1948 b 82') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a true story and introduced by Warden Roy Best (himself), twelve inmates escape from a Colorado penitentiary on December 30, 1947, but within a few days all are caught or die. Jim Sherbondy (Scott Brady) is a reluctant participant and is the last to be captured.

This docudrama reflects a realistic trend in recreating actual occurrences as accurately as possible. The tragic results show that violent ways of trying to get around the law usually make things worse for everyone concerned.

The Dude Goes West

(1948 b 87’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Gunsmith Daniel Bone (Eddie Albert) leaves Brooklyn and on the train west meets Liza Crockett (Gale Storm) and the Pecos Kid (Gilbert Roland). Bone becomes friends with Sam Briggs (James Gleason), the outlaw Texas Jack (Barton Maclane), and Chief Running Wolf (Chief Yowlachie).

            This comedy satirizes the wild west by having an Easterner with book knowledge and gunsmith skills cope with dangerous situations.

Enchantment

(1948 b 100') En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Rumer Godden's novel, General Roland Dane (David Niven) recalls how he grew up with Lark (Teresa Wright) and wanted to marry her, but his sister Selina (Jayne Meadows) made his army career more important. The elderly Rollo watches his niece Grizel (Evelyn Keyes) fall in love with the nephew (Farley Granger) of Lark, and he urges her not to lose him.

This sentimental drama reflects how war and military duty have interfered in people's lives, keeping them apart from those they love.

Esther Waters

(1948 b 110’) En: 4 Ed: 5

Adapted from the 1894 novel by George Moore, servant Esther Waters (Kathleen Ryan) becomes friends with horse-racing gambler William Latch (Dirk Bogarde) and has his child. She suffers poverty with her child. After being separated for several years, they are reunited and marry; but their life together is challenging.

      This drama portrays the relationship between a devoted gambler and a woman who believes that gambling is wicked. The consequences of gambling brings with it a moral lesson.

Every Girl Should Be Married

(1948 b 85') En: 5 Ed: 5

Determined Anabel Sims (Betsy Drake) uses every trick she can think of to get pediatrician Madison Brown (Cary Grant) to marry her, including enlisting the help of her friend (Diana Lynn) and giving him competition from a wealthy womanizer (Franchot Tone) and an actor (Eddie Albert) playing her childhood sweetheart.

This witty comedy reflects a new assertiveness in women of the postwar era, but ironically this creativity goes into trapping a man into a traditional marriage in which she does everything to please him. Dr. Brown is aware of her devices but chooses to succumb anyway, just as Cary Grant married Betsy Drake.

Good Sam

(1948 b 114') En: 4 Ed: 5

Sam (Gary Cooper) likes to help other people, but his wife Lu (Ann Sheridan) is getting tired of it and wants to buy a house for their own family. Lu's brother (Dick Ross) has been living with them, and Sam brings home a pretty woman (Joan Lorring) who tried to commit suicide.

This bittersweet comedy has many awkward moments as it explores the ups and downs of an altruistic lifestyle and satirizes the conflicts between selfish people and the unselfish.

He Walked by Night

(1948 b 79') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a true story, the veteran Roy Martin (Richard Basehart) has become a thief of electronic machines, which Reeves (Whit Bissell) sells for him. After Roy shoots a policeman and a fellow detective (James Cardwell), police detectives (Roy Roberts and Scott Brady) track him down with some technical help from Lee (Jack Webb).

This docudrama led to Jack Webb's Dragnet series on radio and television. The actual criminal was captured, escaped the death penalty with a plea of insanity, and was eventually released.

I Walk Alone

(1948 b 97') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from a play by Theodore Reeves, gangster Frankie (Burt Lancaster) is out of prison after fourteen years and expects his old partner Dink (Kirk Douglas) to share half of his night-club. Frankie's brother Dave (Wendell Corey) explains business has changed; but when Dink marries for money, Kay (Lizabeth Scott) goes with Frankie.

This film-noir explores how organized crime has changed since Prohibition days; but Dink still uses crooked and violent methods, and they come back on him.

The Luck of the Irish

(1948 b 99') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Constance Jones, journalist Fitz (Tyrone Power) meets a leprechaun (Cecil Kelloway) and pretty Nora (Anne Baxter) in Ireland, and they and his colleague Bill (James Todd) go to New York to pull Fitz away from the ambitious editor-politician Augur (Lee J. Cobb) and Fitz's fiancée Frances Augur (Jayne Meadows).

This fantasy urges the main character and the audience to follow their hearts instead of their ambition and desire for money.

The Man from Colorado

(1948 c 98') En: 5 Ed: 5

A Union officer (Glenn Ford) has developed a habit of ordering killing. When he is appointed a federal judge, he cannot break the habit and even turns against his best friend (William Holden), who is marshal and loves the same woman (Ellen Drew).

This western explores how a war criminal suffering mental illness can devastate a society when he has authority to commit judicial murders.

Miracle of the Bells

(1948 b 120')En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Russell Janney's novel, a promoter (Fred MacMurray) arranges with a priest (Frank Sinatra) for the funeral of a young actress (Alida Valli), who starred in one movie for a producer (Lee J. Cobb) about John of Arc.

This unusual drama contrasts a poor priest to a greedy funeral director (Harold Vermilyea) and the priest of a large church in the way they handle the funeral for the unknown actress. The promoter's unselfish love and the actress's gratitude represent spiritual values.

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid

(1948 b 89') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on a novel by Guy and Constance Jones, 50-year-old Peabody (William Powell) discovers a mermaid (Ann Blyth) and tries to explain it to his wife (Irene Hervey), a woman (Andrea King) pursuing him, and a psychiatrist (Art Smith).

This whimsical comedy symbolizes the romantic fantasies that may strike middle-aged men.

Night Song

(1948 b 102') En: 5 Ed: 5

Independent Cathy (Merle Oberon) meets the blinded pianist and composer Dan (Dana Andrews). With help from her mother (Ethel Barrymore) and his friend Chick (Hoagy Carmichael) she pretends to be blind to enter his world of music.

This romantic drama portrays three kind people whose efforts and support salvage a bitter and lost genius.

One Touch of Venus

(1948 b 82') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from the play based on F. Anstel's novel, window-dresser Eddie (Robert Walker) kisses a statue, and Venus (Ava Gardner) comes to life, making his girl-friend Gloria (Olga San Juan) jealous and then fall in love with his room-mate Joe (Dick Haymes). The owner Savory (Tom Conway) is attracted to Venus but finds love with his assistant Molly (Eve Arden).

This comedy depicts an average worker's fantasy of sudden and easy romance with a perfect beauty.

Pitfall

(1948 b 86’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Jay Dratier’s novel, insurance man John Forbes (Dick Powell) has a loving wife Sue Forbes (Jane Wyatt) and a son Tommy Forbes (Jimmy Hunt) he loves, but he is bored with his routine life. On an insurance case Forbes meets beautiful Mona Stevens (Lizabeth Scott) who agrees to give back the presents her boyfriend Bill Smiley (Byron Barr) gave her from embezzled money. Forbes is attracted to her and she to him until she learns he is married. Heavy private investigator Mac MacDonald (Raymond Burr) is also smitten with Mona and makes all kinds of trouble for her, Forbes, and Smiley even though she dislikes Mac intensely.

            This film noir portrays a normal family that is affected by the husband’s flirtation with an affair that gets complicated and tragic after he ended it. From this experience he learns various lessons about how he could have acted better.

Road House

(1948 b 95') En: 5 Ed: 4

The owner Jefty (Richard Widmark) hires singer Lily (Ida Lupino) at a high salary to draw bar customers and decides to marry her; but she has fallen in love with Jefty's friend Pete (Cornel Wilde), who manages the place and is framed for robbery. The cashier Susie (Celeste Holm) helps Pete and Lily.

This melodrama portrays a sadistic bully, who makes the lives of the three people he loves miserable and terrifying.

Romance on the High Seas

(1948 c 99') En: 5 Ed: 4

Michael Kent (Don DeFore) and his wife Elvira (Janis Paige) suspect each other have affairs. She pretends to go on a cruise by hiring singer Georgia (Doris Day) to use her name so she can spy on Michael. He hires a detective (Jack Carson), who falls in love with Georgia, thinking she is Elvira.

This situation comedy entertains, especially with the song "It's Magic" and honest cracks by Oscar (Levant). The convoluted plot allows the audience to witness ironic romance without any real adultery.

Ruthless

(1948 b 104') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Dayton Stoddart's novel, Horace Vendig (Zachary Scott) has left his mean parents to strive for wealth. He takes Martha (Diana Lynn) from his best friend Vic (Louis Hayward), leaves her behind and repeats his pattern until he runs up against another ruthless businessman (Sydney Greenstreet).

This melodrama exposes the sordid past of an ambitious man who has turned to philanthropy.

Silver River

(1948 b 110’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Stephen Longstreet’s novel and directed by Raoul Walsh, during the battle of Gettysburg cavalry officer Mike McComb (Errol Flynn) and his friend Pistol Porter (Tom D’Andrea) burn the Union payroll money to prevent the Confederacy from getting it. They are dismissed from the US Army, but McComb goes into the gambling business in a silver town and falls in love with Georgia Moore (Ann Sheridan) who is married to miner Stanley Moore (Bruce Bennett). Alcoholic lawyer Plato Beck (Thomas Mitchell) helps McComb succeed in business, but they are opposed by Banjo Sweeney (Barton MacLane). Even President Grant (Joseph Crehan) visits and urges them to keep the silver flowing for the good of the American economy.

            This western depicts the silver industry in the west after the Civil War while portraying the charming but selfish McComb who gradually is taught by Beck and Georgia to do what is good for others too.

Smart Woman

(1948 b 93') En: 5 Ed: 5

A defense lawyer (Constance Bennett) is being blackmailed by McCoy (Barry Sullivan), who is involved in organized crime with the D. A. (Otto Kruger), but she falls in love with the special prosecutor (Brian Aherne).

In this romance between two attorneys his love is able to lift her out of a dreadful past. This drama reflects how even a high public official in law enforcement may be deeply involved in organized crime.

A Southern Yankee

(1948 b 90') En: 5 Ed: 4

Bellboy Aubrey Filmore (Red Skelton) wants to be a Union spy and manages to catch the notorious Confederate spy, the Grey Spider (George Coulouris). Sallyann (Arlene Dahl) thinks Aubrey is the Grey Spider, and so Col. Baker (Art Baker) sends him on a spy mission behind the lines, where Kurt Devlynn (Brian Donlevy) tries to catch him.

This farce satirizes the false heroism of war by showing a foolish coward making fools of the soldiers amid chaotic violence.

Summer Holiday

(1948 c 93') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Ah, Wilderness! by Eugene O'Neill, young Richard (Mickey Rooney) is in love with Muriel (Gloria DeHaven) while his alcoholic uncle (Frank Morgan) wants to marry Lily (Agnes Moorhead). Richard is seduced by Belle (Marilyn Maxwell) and gets advice from his father (Walter Huston).

This musical version portrays a family at the turn of the century, depicting a nostalgic innocence with its quaint temptations.

The Three Musketeers

(1948 c 125') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Alexandre Dumas pere's novel, D'Artagnan (Gene Kelly) joins Athos (Van Heflin) and two other musketeers in dangerous adventures, falls in love with Constance (June Allyson), outwits Lady de Winter (Lana Turner), and overcomes the violence of Prime Minister Richelieu (Vincent Price) to serve Louis XIII (Frank Morgan) and Queen Anne (Angela Lansbury).

This entertaining swashbuckler with its acrobatic sword fights represents fantasies that problems may be overcome by such skill and violence. While the heroes remain miraculously unscathed, others are run through or shot.

The Velvet Touch

(1948 b 99') En: 5 Ed: 5

Producer Gordon Dunning (Leon Ames) loves actress Valerie Stanton (Rosalind Russell) and threatens to keep her from leaving him for another man (Leo Genn), and in self-defense she kills him. However, the actress Marian Webster (Claire Trevor) also loves Gordon, and circumstantial evidence is against her. Captain Danbury (Sydney Greenstreet) investigates the case.

This suspenseful drama explores the theatrical milieu and tests whether an actress can act in real life to keep from being found out.

Whispering Smith

(1948 c 89') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Frank Spearman's novel, former roommates Smith (Alan Ladd) and Murray (Robert Preston) both love Murray's wife Marian (Brenda Marshall) and work as investigators for the railroad, but Murray has turned to crime with rancher Rebstock (Donald Crisp). Smith has a true friend in Dansing (William Demarest).

This western exposes corruption and crime that divide friends and a husband from his wife. Much violence results from the robberies and the efforts to stop them, reflecting an era when the railroad corporations were the power in the territories.

Winter Meeting

(1948 b 104') En: 4 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Grace Zaring Stone, cynical Stacy (John Hoyt) introduces the war hero Novak (James Davis) to his friend Susan (Bette Davis) and his attractive secretary Peggy (Janis Paige). Novak is more interested in the intellectual Susan, and they reveal their secrets to each other.

This psychological drama explores inner conflicts as two people expose and learn more about themselves by sharing with each other. As they tell their stories so that the other can understand, they are healed.

The Woman In White

(1948 b 109') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the classic novel by Wilkie Collins, the artist Walter Hartright (Gig Young) discovers Ann (Eleanor Parker) in white and falls in love with Laura (Eleanor Parker) and Marian (Alexis Smith). With help from Countess Fosco (Agnes Moorehead) they manage to unravel the scheme by Count Fosco (Sydney Greenstreet) and Percival Glyde (John Emery) to get Laura's estate.

This mystery reflects the mid-19th century society in which men and the wealthy aristocracy dominate women and the lower classes, but in this case a lowly artist and women are able to overcome the fiendish plots of manipulative men.

Women of the Night

(Japanese 1948 b 75’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Eijiro Hisaita’s novel and directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, Fusako Owada (Kinuyo Tanaka) is taking care of her young child while waiting for her husband to return from the war, but she has run out of money and can’t get help from relatives. Natsuko Kimijima (Sanae Takasugi) works as a dance-hall hostess. In desperation Fusako and her younger sister Kumiko Owada (Tomie Tsunoda) become prostitutes. Natsuko tries to get help from Kenzo Kuriyama (Mitsuo Nagata), but he is dealing illegal drugs.
      This heart-rending story depicts the aftermath of the World War in Japan for poor women who have few choices in their miserable circumstances.

Words and Music

(1948 c 121') En: 5 Ed: 4

Richard Rodgers (Tom Drake) and Lorenz Hart (Mickey Rooney) become a successful song-writing team. Rodgers happily marries Dorothy (Janet Leigh), but Hart's disappointment in love with Peggy (Betty Garrett) results in his alcoholism and an early death.

This musical biography is filled with some of the thousand songs Rodgers and Hart wrote; but ironically Hollywood was afraid to touch the source of the social tragedy, Hart's homosexuality.

You Gotta Stay Happy

(1948 b 100') En: 5 Ed: 4

Wealthy Dee Dee (Joan Fontaine) weds reluctantly and runs away from her husband into the room of cargo pilot Marvin (James Stewart). He and co-pilot Bullets (Eddie Albert) take her on an adventurous trip across country before they find out who she is.

This screwball comedy is no longer carefree in the post-war era. The veteran pilot has a plan for settling down eventually, but the baby boom can't wait.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1948

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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
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