The Undying Monster (1942)

Director John Brahms was best known for his sumptuously decorated murder mysteries, 1944’s The Lodger and 1945’s Hangover Square. Before he was getting A-list talent to go alongside his beautifully decorated costume dramas he crafted this mystery, itself a bizarre amalgamation of the dying Universal monsters franchise and the old dark house thriller. The Undying…

Key Largo (1948)

Describing the Florida Keys always sounds as if a Dashiell Hammett-esque noir voice should be speaking the words aloud: “An isolated strip of land as beautiful as it is hot.” Comprised of several islands the most recognizable is also the title of this John Huston noir, Key Largo. The sixth of eight pairings teaming up…

Woman of the Year (1942)

Out of all the on-screen teams the studio system created, none endures as strongly as the teaming of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. The two made nine films together, and had a strong romantic relationship off-screen, and nearly every film they made is magic distilled in some form. Their first pairing put them would set…

The Big Sleep (1946)

By 1946 actor Humphrey Bogart fit into the role of detective Philip Marlowe so perfectly it might as well have been his favorite pair of shoes. Though this was Bogie’s own time playing the detective, The Big Sleep was simply a culmination of his past films coming together in perfect unison. He’d played another famous…

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Zorro is one of those characters I’m aware of, but have never actively watched any of the myriad films or television shows featuring him and his feared “Z” mark. Best known to fans in his 1957 Disney television series, Zorro is a Latin Robin Hood with a healthy dose of what would shape the character of…

All This, And Heaven Too (1940)

Often imitated, never duplicated, Gone with the Wind‘s massive success in 1939 saw every studio attempt to find their own literary epic to adapt in the hopes of sweeping up awards (and box office dollars). Warner Bros., known for its conservatism went full-steam ahead with their take on Rachel Field’s popular novel, All This, and Heaven Too…