Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '47 - KC (of A Classic Movie Blog) ""

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Underrated '47 - KC (of A Classic Movie Blog)

Kendahl "KC" Cruver writes about movies at A Classic Movie Blog and as a regular contributor to ClassicFlix. You can find her all over the web:
The Lost Moment (1947; Martin Gabel)
Weirdly romantic, spooky and unsettling, this unusual flick stars Robert Cummings as a New York publisher who travels to Venice in search of a stash of famous love letters sent from a poet to his lover, in hopes of compiling them in a book. The object of the long departed writer's affection is now a frail centenarian (Agnes Moorehead), living in a gothic mansion with her glamorously unhinged grand-niece (Susan Hayward). The trio seems only tenuously interested in reality, each fixated on their own narrow obsessions. Perhaps that disconnect was what irritated audiences and critics at the time of its release, but the creepy atmosphere, Moorehead's melty old age make-up and a few bizarre quirks make it an interesting experience.
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Jassy (1947; Bernard Knowles)
Aside from being filmed in astonishingly beautiful Technicolor, this might be a rather standard Gainsborough costume pic if it weren't for the forthright appeal of star Margaret Lockwood and the fact that her character is clairvoyant in the least helpful way. She's one of those heroines in corsets who works her way up from the servant class to the head of the house, banking on beauty, intelligence and the inability to feel subordinate to anyone. Her story is familiar to anyone who frequents British period pieces, except for the part where she suddenly screams, "Dear heavens! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" as she senses the death of someone at the moment of their demise, and sees who is responsible as well. It's such an enjoyably strange twist, apparently the result of her having gypsy blood, though no one goes into much detail about it.
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The Red House (1947; Delmer Daves)
Brother and sister Edward G. Robinson and Judith Anderson live on a farm with their niece Meg (Allene Roberts), who they have adopted and raised from toddlerhood. They are an isolated, self-efficient family, though that all that changes when Meg invites school friend and crush Nath (Lon McCallister) to help her disabled uncle with an increasingly overwhelming workload. Robinson becomes increasingly possessive of Meg and jealous of Nath, and angry that the two are so curious about an abandoned house in the woods next to their property into which he has forbidden them to go. I honestly forget how most of it goes because Julie London and Rory Calhoun are so hot as a pair of teen lovers in a side plot that I keep having to remind myself they aren't the stars.
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The Other Love (1947; Andre De Toth)
This melodrama starring Barbara Stanwyck as a tubercular concert pianist who is sent to a sanatorium to heal doesn't have much to distinguish it, but it moves me. Stanwyck's character can't stand to face her own mortality and instead takes off with a charming auto racer (Richard Conte). She has bonded with her doctor (David Niven) as well though, and when she becomes too ill to continue her playgirl life, she finds comfort in the security he offers. Any charm this film has is entirely due to its stars, who draw more meaning out of their characters than the script alone can offer. Stanwyck makes you feel her restlessness and you can't blame her for running off with someone who makes life look as delicious as Conte does.
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It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947; Roy Del Ruth)
Maybe this charming comedy isn't underrated anymore; it seems to have enjoyed a higher profile in the past few years, but it still doesn't get quite the love I think it deserves. The cast is full of the kind of actors who give you faith in an unseen film: like Ann Harding, Charles Ruggles and Victor Moore. Don DeFore and Gale Storm are also sweet as an evicted vet who squats in an empty mansion with Moore's more experienced freeloader and the lonely daughter of the mansion's owner (though she pretends to be a squatter too). Soon the mansion is full of the needy and heartbroken and they all heal each other with a minimum of sap and many amusing moments.
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Kristina said...

This is such a good mix of stories and people from a year packed full of gems. Love that you included Jassy--I'm a big Lockwood fan--and The Red House, but I haven't seen The Other Love, that looks good! Great picks.

KC said...

Thanks Kristina! I am becoming a big Lockwood fan. Don't know why I took so long to discover her, but I have the feeling she would always be worth watching, whatever the film.

Laura said...

What a great list, KC! I've only seen the wonderful IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE. The other four are films which are all of interest to me yet I've not yet managed to sit down and watch them. You certainly have me intrigued! I especially loved your comment about Rory Calhoun and Julie London. :)

Thanks for a great list!

Best wishes,

KC said...

Thanks Laura. I love this era almost as much as the pre-codes. All sorts of oddball flicks.