The Good... of the 1940s

by Akira_Chimera | created - 21 Mar 2011 | updated - 3 days ago | Public

After creating my Best-Of-Lists for every decade I felt like some pretty good movies were still left out. To change that here is my The Good... of the 1940s list. Mind you, as the heading implies the movies on this list are not bad. I just do not feel that they belong on a Best-Of-List.

As ususal, don't hesitate to leave a comment if you feel up to it.

PS: The movies are sorted by year and not necessarily by my preference. This list is by no means complete as I will add new worthwhile films as I stumble across them.

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1. They Drive by Night (1940)

Approved | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

When one of two truck-driving brothers loses an arm, they both join a transport company where later, the other is falsely charged as an accessory in the murder of the owner.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: George Raft, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino

Votes: 6,622

2. I Was an Adventuress (1940)

Not Rated | 81 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A pair of crooks (von Stroheim and Lorre) use a phony countess (Zorina) who winds up falling in love with one of their victims (Greene).

Director: Gregory Ratoff | Stars: Vera Zorina, Richard Greene, Erich von Stroheim, Peter Lorre

Votes: 178

3. Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

Approved | 64 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An aspiring reporter is the key witness at the murder trial of a young man accused of cutting a café owner's throat and is soon accused of a similar crime himself.

Director: Boris Ingster | Stars: Peter Lorre, John McGuire, Margaret Tallichet, Charles Waldron

Votes: 3,311

4. The Frightened Lady (1940)

75 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

"Mark's Priory". the family seat of the Lebanons, is a house of terror to Ilsa Crane, secretary and niece of Lady Lebanon. The strange behavior of two sinister butlers, Gilder and Brooks, ... See full summary »

Director: George King | Stars: Marius Goring, Penelope Dudley-Ward, Helen Haye, Felix Aylmer

Votes: 211

5. British Intelligence (1940)

Approved | 61 min | Romance, Thriller, War

Although the home of cabinet minister Arthur Bennett is a hotbed of spies, moles, and double agents, no one knows the true identity of notorious German spymaster Strendler.

Director: Terry O. Morse | Stars: Boris Karloff, Margaret Lindsay, Bruce Lester, Leonard Mudie

Votes: 790

6. Brother Orchid (1940)

Approved | 88 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

When retired racket boss John Sarto tries to reclaim his place and former friends try to kill him, he finds solace in a monastery and reinvents himself as a pious monk.

Director: Lloyd Bacon | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sothern, Donald Crisp

Votes: 2,225

7. Castle on the Hudson (1940)

Approved | 77 min | Crime, Drama

An arrogant mobster, sentenced to a long prison term in Sing Sing, becomes a changed man when given a chance by the fair and progressive warden.

Director: Anatole Litvak | Stars: John Garfield, Ann Sheridan, Pat O'Brien, Burgess Meredith

Votes: 502

8. Boom Town (1940)

Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

Two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman.

Director: Jack Conway | Stars: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, Hedy Lamarr

Votes: 2,884 | Gross: $9.17M

9. The Westerner (1940)

Approved | 100 min | Drama, Romance, Western

78 Metascore

Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinegarroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport, Fred Stone

Votes: 4,654

10. Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Passed | 108 min | Drama, Romance, War

During World War I, believing her fiance to be dead, a young ballerina loses her job and is forced to turn to prostitution.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor, Lucile Watson, Virginia Field

Votes: 8,322

11. Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard | Stars: Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver

Votes: 6,973

12. Escape (1940)

Passed | 104 min | Drama

1938: A young man arrives in Hitler's Germany, frantically seeking information about his German mother, and finds she is pending execution at a concentration camp.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Conrad Veidt, Alla Nazimova

Votes: 759

13. The Lady in Question (1940)

Approved | 80 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A juror in a murder trial takes pity on the recently acquitted defendant and invites her to move into his family's home and his son soon falls in love with her.

Director: Charles Vidor | Stars: Brian Aherne, Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, Irene Rich

Votes: 576

14. The Bank Dick (1940)

Not Rated | 72 min | Comedy

Henpecked Egbert Sousé has comic adventures as a substitute film director and unlikely bank guard.

Director: Edward F. Cline | Stars: W.C. Fields, Cora Witherspoon, Una Merkel, Evelyn Del Rio

Votes: 6,375

15. Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940)

Approved | 103 min | Biography, Drama

True story of the doctor who considered it was not immoral to search for a drug that would cure syphillis.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Ruth Gordon, Otto Kruger, Donald Crisp

Votes: 1,332

16. The Mortal Storm (1940)

Passed | 100 min | Drama

The Roth family leads a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930s. When the Nazis come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is caught up in the turmoil.

Director: Frank Borzage | Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Robert Young, Frank Morgan

Votes: 4,193

17. Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)

Approved | 110 min | Biography, Drama, History

Humble Abraham Lincoln gains the respect of his Illinois neighbors, growing in stature and respect until he is elected President in 1860 and departs for Washington.

Director: John Cromwell | Stars: Raymond Massey, Gene Lockhart, Ruth Gordon, Mary Howard

Votes: 1,569

18. Night Train to Munich (1940)

Not Rated | 90 min | Thriller, War

When Germany invades Czechoslovakia, the German and the British intelligence services try to capture Czech scientist Dr. Axel Bomasch (James Harcourt), inventor of a new type of armor-plating.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid, Basil Radford

Votes: 4,179

19. Blackout (1940)

Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Early in World War II, Danish sea captain Andersen, delayed in a British port, tangles with German spies.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Hay Petrie, Joss Ambler

Votes: 947

20. The Stars Look Down (1940)

Approved | 110 min | Drama

Davey Fenwick (Sir Michael Redgrave) leaves his mining village on a university scholarship intent on returning to better support the miners against the owners. But he falls in love with ... See full summary »

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Margaret Lockwood, Edward Rigby, Emlyn Williams

Votes: 826

21. I Love You Again (1940)

Passed | 99 min | Comedy, Romance

Boring businessman Larry Wilson recovers from amnesia and discovers he's really a con man...and loves his soon-to-be-ex wife.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Frank McHugh, Edmund Lowe

Votes: 2,711

22. Gaslight (1940)

Not Rated | 84 min | Thriller

Twenty years after the murder of Alice Barlow, her house is finally occupied again. However, the husband from the couple who have moved in has a secret which he will do anything to keep hidden.

Director: Thorold Dickinson | Stars: Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard, Frank Pettingell, Cathleen Cordell

Votes: 3,428

23. Arise, My Love (1940)

Passed | 110 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A dashing pilot and a vivacious reporter have romantic and dramatic adventures in Europe as World War II begins.

Director: Mitchell Leisen | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland, Dennis O'Keefe, Walter Abel

Votes: 654

24. Angels Over Broadway (1940)

Passed | 79 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

A cuckolded embezzler on the verge of suicide is helped by a tout, an alcoholic playwright, and a pick-up girl to reimburse the money with a gambling sting.

Directors: Ben Hecht, Lee Garmes | Stars: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Rita Hayworth, Thomas Mitchell, John Qualen

Votes: 837

25. A Dispatch from Reuters (1940)

Approved | 90 min | Biography, Drama

Starting with a small flock of carrier pigeons, nineteenth-century entrepreneur Julius Reuter turns his small company into Europe's most respected news wire service.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Edna Best, Eddie Albert, Albert Bassermann

Votes: 505

26. All This, and Heaven Too (1940)

Approved | 141 min | Drama, Romance

A duchess' irrational behavior toward the governess of her children triggers tragic events that will change her family's lives forever.

Director: Anatole Litvak | Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 4,051

27. Gorky 3: My Universities (1940)

90 min | Biography, Drama

The last installment of Russian director Mark Donskoy's Maxim Gorky trilogy. Having endured a painful youth in The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (1938) and a torturous sojourn as a serf in My ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Donskoy | Stars: Nikolai Valbert, Stepan Kayukov, Nikolai Dorokhin, Nikolai Plotnikov

Votes: 149

28. Suspicion (1941)

Not Rated | 99 min | Mystery, Thriller

83 Metascore

A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 29,847 | Gross: $4.50M

29. They Died with Their Boots On (1941)

Approved | 140 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

A highly fictionalized account of the life of George Armstrong Custer from his arrival at West Point in 1857 to his death at the battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Arthur Kennedy, Charley Grapewin

Votes: 5,444

30. All Through the Night (1942)

Approved | 107 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Runyonesque Broadway gamblers turn patriotic when they stumble onto a cell of Nazi saboteurs.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Kaaren Verne, Jane Darwell

Votes: 3,480

31. Underground (1941)

Approved | 95 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

A World War II Hollywood propaganda film detailing the dark underside of Nazism and the Third Reich set between two brothers, Kurt and Erik Franken, whom are SS officers in the Nazi party. ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Jeffrey Lynn, Philip Dorn, Kaaren Verne, Mona Maris

Votes: 322

32. Man Hunt (1941)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Thriller, War

British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, John Carradine

Votes: 4,498

33. Johnny Eager (1941)

Passed | 107 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

The step-daughter of a district attorney falls in love with a gangster on parole who her father originally imprisoned.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Edward Arnold, Van Heflin

Votes: 2,437

34. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Boxer Joe Pendleton dies 50 years too soon due to a heavenly mistake, and is given a new life as a millionaire playboy.

Director: Alexander Hall | Stars: Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains, Evelyn Keyes, Rita Johnson

Votes: 5,483

35. The Little Foxes (1941)

Approved | 116 min | Drama, Romance

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the twentieth century.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright, Richard Carlson

Votes: 9,494

36. Meet John Doe (1941)

Not Rated | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan

Votes: 11,230

37. The Lady Eve (1941)

Passed | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

A trio of classy card sharks targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette

Votes: 17,758

38. Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

Not Rated | 116 min | Drama, Romance

Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen.

Director: Mitchell Leisen | Stars: Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard, Victor Francen

Votes: 1,691

39. Ladies in Retirement (1941)

Approved | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The housekeeper to a retired actress tries at the same time to look after her own two emotionally disturbed sisters, with dramatic results.

Director: Charles Vidor | Stars: Ida Lupino, Louis Hayward, Evelyn Keyes, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 908

40. The Flame of New Orleans (1941)

Passed | 79 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

In old New Orleans, a beautiful adventuress juggles the attentions of a rich banker and a dashing sea captain.

Director: René Clair | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Bruce Cabot, Roland Young, Mischa Auer

Votes: 912

41. Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941)

Passed | 95 min | Drama, Romance

Dedicated Midwestern teacher Ella Bishop is distressed when her fiancé runs off with her vixenish cousin Amy. After Amy dies in childbirth, Ella is left to care for Amy's daughter Hope.

Director: Tay Garnett | Stars: Martha Scott, William Gargan, Edmund Gwenn, Sterling Holloway

Votes: 592

42. When Ladies Meet (1941)

Passed | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A successful novelist falls in love with her married publisher, to the consternation of her boyfriend, who arranges for her to meet the publisher's wife.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard | Stars: Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor, Greer Garson, Herbert Marshall

Votes: 937

43. Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)

Passed | 97 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

Nick and Nora are at their wisecracking best as they investigate murder and racketeering at a local race track.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Barry Nelson, Donna Reed

Votes: 4,949

44. The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)

Approved | 92 min | Comedy, Romance

A financially-strapped charter pilot hires himself to an oil tycoon to kidnap his madcap daughter and prevent her from marrying a vapid band leader.

Director: William Keighley | Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Stuart Erwin, Eugene Pallette

Votes: 2,754