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1940s Masterpieces

1940s Masterpieces

MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON

Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid United States, 1943

A landmark short film from the godmother of the American avant-garde, Maya Deren. No other film describes the illogical mystery of dreams quite like this one—its miraculous images are potent enough to find a way into your own dreamscape.

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RAW DEAL

Anthony Mann United States, 1948

A B-noir from ascendent director Anthony Mann (The Naked Spur), Raw Deal flips the script from T-Men, telling the story of the criminals rather than the cops. Mann’s attention to the details of violence is fierce, John Alton’s lights are luminous, and Claire Trevor and Raymond Burr—unforgettable.

THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS

Lewis Milestone United States, 1946

The world cinema lost one of its most unheralded sirens in Lizabeth Scott, a film noir goddess dubbed “The Threat” by Paramount’s PR team. See her rub shoulders with Barbara Stanwyck and Kirk Douglas in this gem, which was nominated for Best Original Story at the Oscars!

THE SOUTHERNER

Jean Renoir United States, 1945

Only an outsider like the great Jean Renoir, who worked in America during WWII, could so beautifully reveal American life. Renoir received his only Oscar nomination for this neglected masterpiece, which applies his warmth, empathy, and generosity to a distinctly American story.

THE CHASE

Arthur Ripley United States, 1946

The Big Sleep was long held as the most confounding of mysteries—good luck unraveling its story!—that is, until Arthur Ripley’s practically surrealist noir The Chase was rediscovered and restored. A labyrinth of hidden pasts and lost memories, it is Hollywood noir at its baroquely oneiric peak.

T-MEN

Anthony Mann United States, 1947

Best known for his classic westerns like Winchester ’73, Anthony Mann learned his chops making B-movies, culminating in a series of lean, gripping thrillers shot in glorious pools of black and white, with masterful use of light and shadow, by legendary cinematographer John Alton.

BARSAAT

Raj Kapoor India, 1949

Often listed as one of Hindi cinema’s best soundtracks, Barsaat marks the grand debut of music-director duo Shankar-Jaikishan. A music-filled romance whose beauty lies in its poetic simplicity, this classic holds audiences captive with Nargis and Raj Kapoor’s scintillating chemistry.