This is a list I created last year for a particular shared social media “game”, where I was asked to provide my favourite films of 1944. Obviously, my instinct was to first go for all those glorious Hollywood productions, but I probed a little deeper, and came up with a list that recognises and appreciates other countries, genres, and film forms. Oh yes, 1944 was a good year.
10. DOUBLE INDEMNITY — Billy Wilder (This goes first as it’s no doubt why I was given this year.)
9. LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE — Jean Cocteau
8. LAURA — Otto Preminger
7. AT LAND — Maya Deren
6. ALL THE CATS JOIN IN — a Walt Disney production (One of the best animations going around in this age of strong short films. Plus I had to get some Benny Goodman.)
5. TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT — Howard Hawks (For the script, the music, and for being the first appearance of the name and star Lauren Bacall)
4. GASLIGHT — George Cukor (Excellent film but mostly getting a mention for being the significant first role of powerhouse Angela Lansbury)
3. IVAN THE TERRIBLE, part 1 — Sergei Eisenstein
2. THE CHILDREN ARE WATCHING US — Vittoria de Sica
1. WEIRD WOMAN — Reginald Le Borg (Got to have a Lon Chaney Jr voodoo B-film on this list)
CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE — Robert Wise, Gunther von Fritsch, and JAMMIN‘ THE BLUES — Gjon Mili, nearly made it and deserve mentions. I also need to mention THE SEWER OF LOS ANGELES, a film that was planned but never made by Luis Buñuel and Man Ray.