BECK index
Movie Mirrors Index

More Movies from 1949

Movie Mirrors

by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1949

Movie Mirrors Introduction



c S M H P V En Ed
 Adam and Evelyn 92   b  4  5  4  5    5  4
 Adventure in Baltimore 89   b  4  4  4      4  5
 All Over Town 88   b      5      5  5
 Always Leave Them Laughing 116   b  5  5  5      5  5
 Any Number Can Play 103   b  6  4  5  6  5  5  4
 Bad Boy 86   b  6  5        5  5
 Barkleys of Broadway, The 109   c  6  6  5  5  6  5  4
 Bitter Rice (Italian) 108   b  6  6  5  5  6  5  5
 Black Book, The 89   b  6  6  5      5  5
 Border Incident 95   b  5  6  4   4  5  5
 Caught 88   b  6  6  5  5  6  5  5
 Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A 107   c  6  5  5  5  5  5  4
 Criss Cross 87   b  7  6  5  5  6  5  4
 Dear Wife 88   b  6  5    4  5  5  4
 East Side, West Side 108   b  5  5  5  4  4  5  5
 Easy Living 77   b  6  6  4  6  5  5  5
 Fan, The 89   b  5  4  4   3  5  4
 Flaxy Martin 86   b  4  5  4      5  4
 Forbidden Street 90   b  4  4  4   4  5  5
 Great Sinner, The 110   b  4  5  5   3  5  5
 Hellfire 90   c  5  4  4  6 4  5  4
 It Happens Every Spring 87   b  6  7  4  6  7  5  4
 It's a Great Feeling 85   c  6  5  5  5  5  5  4
 John Loves Mary 96   b  5  5  4   4  5  4
 Judge Steps Out, The 91   b  5  5  5  6  5  5  5
 Lady Takes a Sailor, The 99   b  6  4  5      5  5
 Late Spring (Japanese) 108   b  8  8  7  9  8  5  5
 Look for the Silver Lining 106   c  5  5  5  5  5  5  5
 Love Happy 85   b  5  5  5  3  5  5  4
 Ma and Pa Kettle 76   b  7  5  5  5  5  5  4
 Malaya 95   b  5  5  5    5  5  5
 Mighty Joe Young 94   b  6  6  5  6  5  5  4
 Miss Grant Takes Richmond 87   b    5  5  5  4  5  4
 Mr. Soft Touch 93   b  5  4  4      5  5
 My Dream Is Yours 101   c  6  5  4  5  5  5  4
 Obsession (The Hidden Room) 98   b    6  5    4  5  5
 Reckless Moment, The 82   b  7  7  8    6  5  5
 Red Danube, The 119   b  5  5  4   3  5  5
 Rope of Sand 104   b  5  6  5      5  4
 Scene of the Crime 94   b  6  4        5  4
 Silence of the Sea, The (French) 88   b            5  5
 Sorrowful Jones 88   b  5  5  4  5  4  5  4
 Strange Bargain 68   b    5  5      5  4
 Sword in the Desert 101   b  5 5  4      5  5
 Task Force 116   b  6  5  4  4  5  5  5
 Tell It to the Judge 87   b  5  5  4  5  5  5  4
 That Midnight Kiss 96   c  5  5  4  5  5  5  4
 Thieves’ Highway 94   b  6 6  6      5  5
 Threat, The 66   b  6  6    6  5  5  4
 Tokyo Joe 88   b  4 5  4  4  3  5  5
 Tulsa 90   c  6  6  5 4 6  5  5
 Under Capricorn 117   c  5 4  4  5  5  5  5
 Undercover Man, The 85   b  6 6  5   3  5  5
 Vote for Huggett 85   b          5  5
 We Were Strangers 106   b  5 6  5  5    5  5
 Yellow Sky 98   b  6  6  6      5  4

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 and Evelyn

(1949 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Orphan Evelyn Kirby (Jean Simmons) is old enough to be teaching other orphans and is told that Adam Black (Stewart Granger) is her father but later learns that her father died. Adam has been seeing divorcing Moira (Helen Cherry) who befriends Evelyn who is grateful to Adam for rescuing her but starts dating his brother. Complications ensue.
      This romantic drama pairs actors who fall in love with each other and marry in real life which gives the romantic story a special glow despite the difference in their ages in the movie and in real life.

Adventure in Baltimore

(1949 b 89') En: 4 Ed: 5

In 1905 a tolerant minister (Robert Young) raises a liberated daughter (Shirley Temple) who likes to paint, but she has a knack for getting into trouble, especially with her best friend (John Agar).

This old-fashioned comedy explores various social issues related to sexism, prudery, and gossip.

All Over the Town

(1949 b 88’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on R. F. Deiderfield’s novel, Nat Hearn (Norman Wooland) returns to the town of Tormouth after the war to resume his job with the local newspaper and meets Sally Thorpe (Sarah Churchill) who filled in for him. After the elderly editor Sam Vane (Ronald Adam) dies, his son Gerald Vane (Cyril Cusack) makes him a partner and gives him freedom as editor to write the truth about the small town. Assisted by Trumble (James Hayter), Sally, and others Nat takes on the corrupt old order of the small town and manages to inform a town meeting on an important local issue.
      This social drama shows how a courageous newspaper can challenge established power with better ideas to bring about social and political reforms.

Always Leave Them Laughing

(1949 b 116') En: 5 Ed: 5

An ambitious comedian (Milton Berle) struggles for success, falling in love with a chorus girl (Ruth Roman) before getting a break to work with a star comedian (Bert Lahr) and his wife (Virginia Mayo).

This exhausting portrayal of comedy shows the personal sacrifices and challenges of show business. The egotistic comedian can make jokes about himself, but he gradually learns that a good comedian needs heart and originality rather than imitation.

Any Number Can Play

(1949 b 103') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Edward Heth's novel, a gambling hall owner (Clark Gable) with a heart condition considers going away with his wife (Alexis Smith) and son (Darryl Hickman; but his brother-in-law (Wendell Corey) is cheating, Ben (Lewis Stone) is losing, and Jim (Frank Morgan) is winning.

The popular sport of gambling is explored while a middle-aged man comes to realize that with this challenging business he has been neglecting his wife and son.

Bad Boy

(1949 b 86’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Danny Lester (Audie Murphy) at age 17 has committed a series of crimes, and Judge Florence Prentiss (Selena Royle) wants to give him 20 years in prison, but Marshall Brown (Lloyd Nolan) persuades her to parole him to a Variety Club boys camp. Danny gets into more fights and commits crimes, but he works well for Mrs. Maud Brown (Jane Wyatt) and is also disciplined by the Chief (James Gleason). Marshall learns what caused Danny to become bad by talking with his step-father Arnold Strawn (Rhys Williams) and others.

This crime drama depicts a humane system of rehabilitation for juvenile offenders that helps youngsters get turned around while having a good life of paid work, study, sports, and fun. In this case an effort made to understand what caused a boy to go wrong is the key to changing his life.

The Barkleys of Broadway

(1949 c 109') En: 5 Ed: 4

Josh Barkley (Fred Astaire) and his wife Dinah (Ginger Rogers) are a successful musical comedy team, but Jacques (Jacques François) lures her into a dramatic role that separates them. Their friend Ezra (Oscar Levant) makes some attempts to get them back together.

This musical has more drama than comedy and reflects the interest of most for entertainment rather than serious theater. Couples that quarrel may find themselves vulnerable to being separated.

Bitter Rice (Riso amaro)

(Italian 1949 b 108’) En: Ed: 5

Walter (Vittorio Gassman) steals a necklace with help from Francesca (Doris Dowling). To escape he gives it to her and tells her to mingle with the women who work in the rice fields. She joins the illegals and advocates their right to work when pretty Silvana (Silvana Mangano) sings against the illegals. Marco (Raf Vallone) was a sergeant in the army and is courting Silvana who gets to know Francesca and finds out about the necklace. Walter decides to join with the thieves who help the illegals get work, and they plan to steal the rice harvest in trucks.

This crime drama depicts the life of the women who work in the rice fields of Italy and shows that crime does not pay.

The Black Book (Reign of Terror)

(1949 b 89’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In late July 1794 in Paris the revolution is being directed by Maximilien Robespierre (Richard Basehart) who has Danton and others executed by guillotine. The exiled Marquis de Lafayette sends Charles D’Aubigny with help from Madelon (Arlene Dahl) into France to keep Robespierre from becoming dictator. Charles works with François Barras (Richard Hart) and Saint Just (Jess Barker) while Robespierre is supported by Police Chief Fouché (Arnold Moss). They try to obtain Robespierre’s Black Book which contains the names of those he intends to denounce.

            This historical drama depicts the reign of terror under Robespierre during the height of the French Revolution. Strong leaders are governing in the name of the people and the Committee of Public Safety, but they try to hang on to power by having their adversaries executed.

Border Incident

(1949 b 95') En: 5 Ed: 5

A Mexican agent (Ricardo Montalban) and a US agent (George Murphy) go undercover to try to capture a criminal gang that is led by Parkson (Howard Da Silva) who exploits the poor Mexicans sneaking into the US illegally even more than the limited bracero program itself.

Although narrated from the perspective of the governments, the violence and treachery of the criminals still makes this a thrilling film noir as it portrays the desperate circumstances of the Mexicans needing work.


(1949 b 88') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Libbie Block, Leonora (Barbara Bel Geddes) goes to charm school and marries a millionaire (Robert Ryan), but he is a selfish tyrant. So she leaves him and gets a job working for a physician (James Mason), who falls in love with her.

This melodrama shows that wealth is only one small part of happiness and that those who seek it ruthlessly may cause themselves and others much suffering.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

(1949 c 107') En: 5 Ed: 4

In this musical version of Mark Twain's fantasy novel, Hank Martin (Bing Crosby) finds himself captured by the knight Sagramore (William Bendix). Hank escapes execution by showing King Arthur (Cedric Hardwicke) that he is a wizard, and he is dubbed Sir Boss. Alisande (Rhonda Fleming) and Sagramore help Hank, but they are opposed by Merlin (Murvyn Vye) and jealous Lancelot (Henry Wilcoxon).

The songs and story imply that American inventiveness can improve on old British traditions.

Criss Cross

(1949 b 87') En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from Don Tracy's novel, Steve (Burt Lancaster) tries to get back together with his ex-wife Anna (Yvonne De Carlo), but she marries gangster Dundee (Dan Duryea) who treats her badly. Although he is warned by a police detective (Stephen McNally), Steve offers to be the inside man in an armored-car robbery.

In this film noir Steve seems to be fatally pulled toward crime and violence by his desire for Anna even though he knows they have trouble getting along.

Dear Wife

(1949 b 88') En: 5 Ed: 4

In this sequel to Dear Ruth, Miriam Wilkins (Mona Freeman) gets Bill Seacroft (William Holden) to run for the state senate in the primary against Judge Wilkins (Edward Arnold), leaving Ruth Seacroft (Joan Caulfield) caught between her husband and her father.

This comedy has fun with family conflicts and jealousy; but the disruptions are resolved rather absurdly.

East Side, West Side

(1949 b 108') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Marcia Davenport's novel, Brandon (James Mason) is married to Jessie (Barbara Stanwyck). He had an affair with Isabel (Ava Gardner), and she is back in town and wants him. Jessie quickly becomes friends with Mark (Van Heflin) and has to decide whether to forgive Brandon again.

This well-acted drama includes a murder mystery but is mostly about human relationships. The honesty and sensitivity of Mark helps Jessie to realize how foolish Brandon is.

Easy Living

(1949 b 77') En: 5 Ed: 5

Professional quarterback Pete (Victor Mature) learns he has a bad heart while his wife Liza (Lizabeth Scott) enjoys the night life as an aspiring interior decorator. The ambitious coach (Lloyd Nolan) complains Pete's playing has deteriorated, but his secretary (Lucille Ball) gives Pete kind understanding.

This drama reflects the early years of professional football when players made little money and had to face a major career adjustment after just a few years.

The Fan

(1949 b 89’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Oscar Wilde’s play and directed by Otto Preminger, elderly Mrs. Erlynne (Madeleine Carroll) reminds Lord Robert Darlington (George Sanders) of events about fifty years earlier when Mrs. Erlynne persuaded Lord Arthur Windermere (Richard Greene) to set her up in a fine house so that she could attract Lord Augustus Lorton (Hugh Dempster). Lady Margaret Windermere (Jeanne Crain) learns of this and becomes jealous; but she invites Mrs. Erlynne to her birthday ball and is helped by the woman who prevents her from running off with Darlington.

            This romantic comedy is witty and designed to tell an interesting story in which a woman manages to rescue her daughter from making a mistake similar to the one she had made.

Flaxy Martin

(1949 b 87') En: 5 Ed: 4

A lawyer (Zachary Scott) for a gangster (Douglas Kennedy) lets himself be framed by the attractive blonde Flaxy (Virginia Mayo), but he escapes, is helped a more ethical brunette (Dorothy Malone), and fights off a thug (Elisha Cook Jr.).

This film noir entertains with unusual twists and turns in a dark underworld of crime; but the lawyer finds hope from two people who are kind and helpful.

Forbidden Street

(1949 b 90’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted by Ring Lardner Jr. from Margery Sharp’s novel and directed Jean Negulesco, in Victorian England young Adelaide Culver and her sister are tutored by artist Henry Lambert (Dana Lambert). When older Adelaide (Maureen O’Hara) wants to leave home, she hastily marries Henry without her parents’ permission and moves to a London slum called Britannia Mews. Henry becomes more alcoholic and gives up teaching and painting as he is obsessed with his puppets. After his accidental death while drunk to which Adelaide added a push, the old lady Mounsey (Sybil Thorndike) tells the police it was accident but blackmails Adelaide, preventing her from returning to his parents’ home. Adelaide meets Gilbert Lauderdale (Dana Andrews) who is a lawyer but addresses envelopes to pay for his drinking. He and Adelaide like each other, but he has a wife in America. She lets him sleep downstairs, and he gives up drinking. He arranges for the puppets to be fixed so they can put on shows.

            This drama depicts English class distinctions but shows how a woman with stricter morals can transcend her new environment. Though many have criticized the unnecessary double of role of Andrews and the dubbing of his voice as Henry Lambert, the story and fine acting are still good, and the lookalike is interesting in that it shows how people often fall in love with the same type of person.

The Great Sinner

(1949 b 110') En: 5 Ed: 5

A famous writer (Gregory Peck) is lured into gambling by beautiful Pauline Ostrovsky (Ava Gardner). He has beginner's luck but then loses like so many others including her father (Walter Huston), his mother (Ethel Barrymore), and Pitard (Frank Morgan).

This melodrama exposes how gamblers can ruin their lives because of their addiction to the intermittent reward of winning. Only by creating something of real value in his writing is he able to salvage his soul.


(1949 c 90') En: 5 Ed: 4

Card shark Zeb Smith promises a dying preacher (H. B. Warner) he will build his church. So he goes after the reward for the wanted criminal, Doll Brown (Marie Windsor), but his friend, Marshall Bucky McLean (Forrest Tucker) is also looking for her.

This religious western mixes the usual violence with a gunman's attempt to follow a Christian path, and he learns that "a man never starts killing until he stops thinking."

It Happens Every Spring

(1949 b 87') En: 5 Ed: 4

A chemistry professor (Ray Milland) lucks into a formula that repels wood and becomes a star baseball pitcher helped by his catcher (Paul Douglas) while trying to keep his fiancé (Jean Peters) and her father (Ray Collins) from finding out.

This escapist fantasy seems oblivious to the ethical issues that would eventually develop in sports as athletes take extraordinary measures to improve their skills in order to win and make money.

It's a Great Feeling

(1949 c 85') En: 5 Ed: 4

Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan satirize themselves while competing for the attention of a studio employee (Doris Day) they hope to make into a star.

In this musical comedy the Hollywood film business makes fun of itself with numerous cameo appearances while selling the dream that almost anyone can become a movie star.

John Loves Mary

(1949 b 96') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on Norman Krasna's play, the soldier John (Ronald Reagan) returns to his sweetheart Mary (Patricia Neal). He has married Lilly (Virginia Field) so that she could come to the United States, divorce him, and marry John's best friend (Jack Carson), but his wife is having a baby. They pay Victor (Wayne Morris) to play a lieutenant to fool Mary and her father (Edward Arnold).

This situation comedy is based on complications that arise from trying to get around immigration delays while keeping others from finding out. Underlying the tension is a marriage that has already been delayed four years by the war.

The Judge Steps Out

(1949 b 91') En: 5 Ed: 5

Judge Tom Bailey (Alexander Knox) in Boston sees a doctor (Whitford Cane) and follows his advice to leave his wife Evelyn (Frieda Inescourt). Tom gets a job in California as a cook working for Peggy (Ann Sothern), and they fall in love. He tries to help her get custody of an orphan. Tom goes back to Boston to try to reverse his own custody decision and to divorce his wife.

Giving up his profession, the judge found freedom and joy in a California lifestyle; but he finally realizes that he has to renounce that midlife affair to find a more realistic fulfillment as a higher judge.

The Lady Takes a Sailor

(1949 b 99') En: 5 Ed: 5

Jennifer Smith (Jane Wyman) is a high-powered executive given large grants to make scientific product endorsements, but she happens to discover Bill Craig (Dennis Morgan) in a secret submarine. He lies to her and takes her film, and her uncorroborated story ruins her credibility and career.

This screwball comedy is based on the US military using disinformation to protect secrets, reflecting the cold war and the national security state. Another theme satirizes the attempt to use truth to help consumers find good commercial products.

Late Spring

(Japanese 1949 b 108’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Kazuo Hirotsu’s novel and directed by Yasujiro Ozu, widower Shukichi Somiya (Chishu Ryu) lives with his daughter Noriko Somiya (Setsuko Hara) and works with Shoichi Hattori (Jun Usami) who spends time with Noriko though he is engaged to be married. Shukichi would like Noriko to marry, but she is concerned about leaving him alone.

            This modern family drama reflects the current American occupation of Japan after World War II when life has returned to peace, and traditions are being challenged.

Look for the Silver Lining

(1949 c 106') En: 5 Ed: 5

This biography of musical star Marilyn Miller (June Haver) shows her relationship to her overbearing but comical father (Charles Ruggles), the dancer Jack Donahue (Ray Bolger) who helped her, and her husbands Frank Carter (Gordon MacRae) and Henry Doran (Dick Simmons).

This musical stays on the sunny side of her life by leaving out her marriages that ended in divorce with Jack Pickford and Jack Donohue, who was actually ten years younger than Marilyn. Miller was her stepfather's name, and she combined Mary Ellen into Marilyn, the name chosen by Norma Jeane to go with Monroe. Marilyn Miller died at the age of 37 from nasal surgery.

Love Happy

(1949 b 85') En: 5 Ed: 4

Narrated by detective Sam Grunnion (Groucho Marx), while a poor musical show hires Faustino the Great (Chico Marx), Harpo (Marx) steals from Throckmorton (Melville Cooper) a can of sardines containing valuable gems for which Madame Egelichi (Ilona Massey) has married eight times to get her hands on.

This last film of Marx brothers mayhem still has their inimitable style and farcical comedy that makes life seem sublimely ridiculous.

Ma and Pa Kettle

(1949 b 76’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Pa Kettle (Percy Kilbride) wins a new house by entering a contest, and he and Ma Kettle (Marjorie Main) with their fifteen children move into a “home of the future” with new inventions. Tom Kettle (Richard Long) has graduated from college and falls in love with pretty Kim Parker (Meg Randall).

This farce entertains with silly humor involving the contrast between the lack of sophistication of the poor and rural Kettles in a modern situation.


(1949 b 95') En: 5 Ed: 5

A newspaper editor (Lionel Barrymore) in charge of getting rubber and an FBI agent (John Hodiak) arrange for reporter John Royer (James Stewart) and convicted smuggler Carnaghan (Spencer Tracy) to smuggle rubber out of Japanese-occupied Malaya with help from a saloon owner (Sydney Greenstreet), Romano (Gilbert Roland), and the US Navy.

This adventure reflects the importance of certain raw materials for the war machine and the use of any methods that will work to obtain them. Patriotism and greed for gold are used as motives to gain the result.

Mighty Joe Young

(1949 b 94') En: 5 Ed: 4

Producer Max O'Hara (Robert Armstrong) goes to Africa with cowboy Gregg (Ben Johnson), and they bring back the giant gorilla Joe Young, who has been raised to be tame by Jill Young (Terry Moore). Joe is presented in a nightclub, but Jill wants to take him home to Africa.

This fantasy reflects the desire to tame wild beasts, which represent the desire to be physically strong. This adventure story satirizes civilization that is fascinated by such shows while panicking when things go wrong.

Miss Grant Takes Richmond

(1949 b 87’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Directed by Lloyd Bacon, Ellen Grant (Lucille Ball) is failing secretarial school but is hired by Dick Richmond (William Holden) who is using a real estate office as a front to run a bookie business with Timothy P. Gleason (James Gleason) and arithmetic whiz Kilcoyne (Frank McHugh). Ellen has been going with Assistant District Attorney Ralph Winton (Stephen Dunne), and her uncle is Judge Ben Brant (George Cleveland). She promotes a project to build low-income apartments. Wealthy Peggy Donato (Janis Carter) tries to win back her old boyfriend Dick.

            This farce makes fun of men who think they can get ahead by operating an illegal gambling business and shows how a woman’s personal skills with people can make up for her lack of technical skill in making things happen.


Mr. Soft Touch

(1949 b 93’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Joe Miracle (Glenn Ford) has returned from the war and has robbed his club because it was taken over by the syndicate. He goes to his partner Leo’s brother Victor Christopher (Ray Meyer). He and his wife Clara Christopher (Angela Clarke) help him hide from police who take Joe to court where he is put in the custody of Jenny Jones (Evelyn Keyes) and her settlement house. Reporter “Early” Bird (John Ireland) finds Joe and tells him his brother was murdered. Jenny is suspicious of Joe’s motives but comes to like him as he helps the house.

            This romantic drama has elements of a crime noir which are overcome by the charitable spirit of Christmas. In the process Jenny learns that Joe is doing the best he can in difficult circumstances.

My Dream Is Yours

(1949 c 102') En: 5 Ed: 4

Singer Gary Mitchell (Lee Bowman) dumps his agent Doug Blake (Jack Carson), who discovers singer Martha Gibson (Doris Day) and tries to promote her with help from Vivian (Eve Arden). Martha turns to Gary for romance, but his career recedes quickly because of his drinking.

This musical comedy shows the fine line between success and failure in radio singing and on the trivial things by which they may turn as seen by the devices the agent uses to get his client heard.

Obsession (The Hidden Room)

(1949 b 98’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Edward Dmytryk and adapted from his own novel by Alec Coppel, medical doctor Clive Riordan (Robert Newton) decides to murder Bill Kronin (Phil Brown), the latest lover of his wife Storm Riordan (Sally Gray), and keeps him chained in a room; but Superintendent Finsbury (Naunton Wayne) of Scotland Yard is on the case.

            This crime story portrays a reserved British intellectual’s perverted attempt to imprison and murder a man he comes to know without leaving a trace of his body. The drama portrays what could happen if a man becomes so obsessed with jealousy that he severely damages the lives of himself and two other people.

The Reckless Moment

(1949 b 82’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Lucia Harper (Joan Bennett) while her husband is away tells her daughter Bea (Geraldine Brooks) not to see Ted Darby (Shepperd Strudwick). Lucia finds Darby murdered and tries to get money to pay off blackmailing Martin Donnelly (James Mason) and his partner to get back Bea’s letters.

            This suspenseful murder mystery depicts a middle-class housewife trying to protect her daughter, showing how difficult it is for her to raise money without explaining why.

The Red Danube

(1949 b 119') En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Bruce Marshall, in post-war Vienna, Col. Nicobar (Walter Pidgeon) and Major McPhimister (Peter Lawford) with help from a Mother Superior (Ethel Barrymore) try to keep from turning over ballerina Maria Buhlen (Janet Leigh) to Russian Col. Piniev (Louis Calhern) for repatriation to the Soviet Union.

This romantic drama challenges the policy of forcibly repatriating displaced nationals after the war and shows the responsibility of the western allies' capitulation as well as the tyranny of Soviet domination.

Rope of Sand

(1949 b 104') En: 5 Ed: 4

A sadistic commandant (Paul Henreid) tries to keep adventurers like Mike Davis (Burt Lancaster) away from a South African desert with diamonds while Martingale (Claude Rains) uses seductive Suzanne Renaud (Corinne Calvet) to try to find out where they are.

This adventure drama shows how people can be led astray and manipulated by greed, lust, and revenge.

Scene of the Crime

(1949 b 94') En: 5 Ed: 4

A police detective Mike (Van Johnson) with help from a veteran (John McIntire) and a rookie (Tom Drake) investigates an underworld murder of a moonlighting police detective and romances a suspect (Gloria DeHaven) while his loving wife (Arlene Dahl) worries.

This film noir portrays the excitement, dangers, and problems of police detectives trying to catch criminals.

The Silence of the Sea

(French 1949 b 88’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from the novel by Vercors (Jean Bruller) and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, in 1941 in France the home of the Uncle (Jean-Marie Robain) and his Niece (Nicole Stéphane) is occupied by the German Lt. Werner von Ebrennac (Howard Vernon). The Uncle narrates the story of how they do not speak to the German officer; but Werner politely enters and goes to his room every day, often lingering in their living room by the fire and talking about his views of Germany and France and his hopes that they will be married somehow to improve culture.

            This peaceful depiction of an unusual situation in occupied France is a meditation by a sensitive officer who disagrees with most of his Nazi colleagues.

Sorrowful Jones

(1949 b 88') En: 5 Ed: 4

In this remake of Little Miss Marker (1934), Sorrowful (Bob Hope) takes care of the marker Martha Jane (Mary Jane Saunders) with help from singer Gladys (Lucille Ball) while trying to deal with the bullying tactics of Big Steve (Bruce Cabot).

Humor stems from the parsimonious Sorrowful and his insult contests with Gladys that puncture both their egos. Once again the innocence of a child makes a stark contrast to the adult underworld of crooked gamblers.

Strange Bargain

(1949 b 68’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Bookkeeper Sam Wilson (Jeffrey Lynn) and his wife Georgia Wilson (Martha Scott) and their two children are struggling to get by when Sam’s boss Malcolm Jarvis (Richard Gaines) fires him and then offers him $10,000 to make his suicide look like murder so that his wife Edna Jarvis (Katherine Emery) and their son Sydney Jarvis (Raymond Roe) can collect his insurance. Detective Lt. Richard Webb (Harry Morgan) questions Sam and Malcolm’s rival in his business, Timothy Hearne (Henry O’Neill).

This mystery is intriguing and suspenseful as the motives of the characters are realistic. Ironically a middle-class family and a formerly wealthy one both become desperate because they are having trouble sustaining their lifestyles.

Sword in the Desert

(1949 b 101’) En: 5 Ed: 5

In December 1947 American ship-captain Mike Dillon (Dana Andrews) has hired for $8,000 to deliver Jewish refugees from Europe to Palestine during the British Mandate and its war with Jews fighting for immigrants and a homeland. Sabra (Marta Torén) is the voice of the Jews on radio and is in love with David Vogel (Stephen McNally) who leads the returning refugees. Dillon has to land to get his money from the Jewish leader Kurta (Jeff Chandler), but they are captured by British soldiers.

            This war drama depicts the struggle by Jews during the last months of the British Mandate to establish what would become the state of Israel. After disturbances the film was banned in England.

Task Force

(1949 b 116') En: 5 Ed: 5

Pilot Jonathan Scott (Gary Cooper) and air officer Pete Richard (Walter Brennan) spend their careers promoting naval aviation and aircraft carriers. Mary (Jane Wyatt) loses her husband but falls in love with Scott. The climax is the battle of Midway which was a key turning point in the war against Japan.

This dramatized history of aircraft carriers combining documentary film with a story of those selling naval aviation was supported by US Navy cooperation. The propaganda suggests that advances in ways to kill and destroy human enemies is an improvement; but if war-making outpaces peacemaking, what will the future be?

Tell It to the Judge

(1949 b 87’) En: 5 Ed: 4

Marsha Meredith (Rosalind Russell) has been nominated to be a federal judge, but her divorce from lawyer Peter Webb (Robert Cummings) is holding up her confirmation. Webb needs blonde Ginger (Marie McDonald) as a witness; but he wants to get back together with Marsha who is jealous of Ginger. To avoid being courted by Peter she pretends to be interested in Alexander Darvac (Gig Young), but to help her career she remarries Peter.

            In this farce Marsha and Peter have a love-hate relationship which alternates depending on their moods and circumstances which are affected by jealousies regarding Ginger and Alexander.

That Midnight Kiss

(1949 c 96') En: 5 Ed: 4

Wealthy Abigail Budell (Ethel Barrymore) starts an opera company for her talented granddaughter Prudence (Kathryn Grayson) with Jose Iturbi (himself). Prudence discovers truck-driver Johnny Donnetti (Mario Lanza) is a great tenor and falls in love with him.

This musical comedy includes opera, serenading, slapstick comedy, and romantic complications with the message that young talent may do better than an aging and egotistical star.

Thieves’ Highway

(1949 b 92’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Directed by Jules Dassin, Nick Garcos (Richard Conte) learns his father (Morris Carnovsky) was maimed and lost his truck without being paid. Nick goes with Ed Kinney (Millard Mitchell) to haul apples from Fresno to San Francisco where Nick sells them to wholesaler Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb) who also owes his father. Nick is engaged to Polly Faber (Barbara Lawrence) but is given hospitality by Rica (Valentina Cortese).

This realistic drama exposes corruption in the fruit business and portrays the difficulties of trucking.

Threat, The

(1949 b 66') En: 5 Ed: 4

Kluger (Charles McGraw) escapes from prison and kidnaps the two men who had convicted him-the district attorney (Frank Conroy) and detective Ray Williams (Michael O'Shea). Kluger also takes Carol (Virginia Grey), whom he suspects took the money.

This suspenseful drama follows the cruel Kluger's attempt to get away with two accomplices with the usual result that shows the futility of violence.

Tokyo Joe

(1949 b 88') En: 5 Ed: 5

Joe (Humphrey Bogart) returns to Tokyo, where his nightclub has been put off limits by US occupation forces. He finds his wife Trina (Florence Marly) has divorced him and married Mark Landis (Alexander Knox). Joe stays to try to win her back, gets blackmailed into smuggling, and learns he has a daughter.

This unusual film noir reflects the despair in defeated Japan and the entangling bureaucracy by which a foreign military tries to run the government while in mortal dread of Communists.


(1949 c 90’) En: 5 Ed: 5

About 1920 Cherokee Lansing (Susan Hayward) inherits her father’s cattle ranch and cannot get compensation for his death or their loss of cattle from the wealthy oil-man Bruce Tanner (Lloyd Gough). Johnny Brady (Ed Begley) gives Lansing three pieces of land that Tanner wants. Brad Brady (Robert Preston) has studied oil engineering and helps Lansing who takes into the consideration the conservation concerns of rancher Jim Redbird (Pedro Armendariz). Musician Pinky Jimpson (Chill Wills) is a friend of Lansing and advises her to marry Brad and consider the concerns of Jim.

            This drama depicts how greed drives oil production and comes into conflict with cattle ranchers and long-term environmental considerations.

Under Capricorn

(1949 c 117’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a novel by Helen Simpson and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Charles Adare (Michael Wilding) comes to Australia in 1831 with the new governor (Cecil Parker) and is offered a chance to make money easily by ex-convict Sam Flusky (Joseph Cotten) who is married to the reclusive Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman) while Milly (Margaret Leighton) runs the house. Adare eventually learns the secrets of that household.

            This drama depicts the penal colony and how it affects the lives and characters of the people atoning and recovering from their crimes and punishments under the Whig reforming Governor Richard Bourke (1831-37).

The Undercover Man

(1949 b 85’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on the case of Al Capone, special agents Frank Warren (Glenn Ford) and George Pappas (James Whitmore) are searching for witnesses to testify that the mob boss called “Big Fellow” has not paid much income tax owed. Warren has conversations with the mob’s lawyer Edward J. O’Rourke (Barry Kelley), and he nearly quits because he believes his wife Judith Warren (Nina Foch) is threatened. However, the elderly Maria Rocco (Esther Minciotti) comes forward with useful evidence.

            This crime docudrama portrays the difficulties and dangers involved in attempting to bring the leader of a criminal organization to justice. Courage and cooperation of many people is needed to minimize the killing of witnesses and maximize the number of criminals caught.

Vote for Huggett

(1949 b 85’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Joe Huggett (Jack Warner) writes a letter to the newspaper proposing that the city council use land for a public park and lido. It is printed, and local politicians take sides. Joe is persuaded to run for the city council to the surprise of his wife Ethel (Kathleen Harrison) and daughters Susan (Susan Shaw) and Pet (Petula Clark) who sings “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

            This comedy entertains with humor and lifts the spirit of average people who like to see practical improvements in their local communities. Joe loves wife because she is not pretty and clever.

We Were Strangers

(1949 b 106’) En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Robert Sylvester’s  novel and directed by John Huston, during a repressive dictatorship in Cuba a small group works together to try to help overthrow the regime which occurs in 1933. China Valdes (Jennifer Jones) works in a bank and is radicalized after her brother is killed by Armando Ariete (Pedro Armendariz). She  joins with Tony Fenner (John Garfield) who has raised money for the revolution, Guillermo Montilla (Gilbert Roland), and a few others in a desperate effort.

            This political drama reflects a response to the era of red-baiting and McCarthyism in the United States by depicting a portion of the Cuban revolution in 1933.

Yellow Sky

(1949 b 98') En: 5 Ed: 4

Based on W. R. Burnett's novel, six men led by Stretch (Gregory Peck) rob a bank, escape into the desert, and clash with a pretty woman (Anne Baxter) and her Grandpa (James Barton), who have a gold mine. Stretch agrees to share half, but Dude (Richard Widmark) and the others want all the gold.

This western combines the usual violence, greed, and lust. The woman was brought up by Apaches and is wild, but Stretch tries to tame her and suddenly shows unusual integrity in order to win her.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

Best Movies of 1949

1913-1926 1927-1929
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

BECK index