Gilda (1946)

STORY: A gambler in a South American city resumes a love-hate relationship with an old flame… but she is now married to his dangerous new boss.

REVIEW: Archetypal Hollywood film noir, wholly studio-bound and the better for it, with dialogue that would seem risible if it did not happen to be dealt with in this style and with these actors, who keep the mood balanced between suspense and absurdity.

B.O.M. RATING: ★★★☆☆

ADJUSTED US GROSS: $187,830,000 (in 2016 USD)

US BOX OFFICE WEEKLY RANK: 2

CAST: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready, Joseph Calleia, Steven Geray

DIRECTOR: Charles Vidor

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The Big Sleep (1946)

STORY: Private eye Philip Marlowe is hired to protect General Sternwood’s wild young daughter from her own indiscretions, and finds several murders later that he has fallen in love with her elder sister.

REVIEW: Inextricably complicated, moody thriller from a novel whose author claimed that even he did not know ‘who done it’. The film is nevertheless vastly enjoyable along the way for its slangy script, star performances and outbursts of violence, suspense and sheer fun.

B.O.M. RATING: ★★★★☆

ADJUSTED US GROSS: $148,290,000 (in 2016 USD)

US BOX OFFICE WEEKLY RANK: 2

CAST: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers, Dorothy Malone

DIRECTOR: Howard Hawks

❝A sullen atmosphere of sex saturates the film, which is so fast and complicated you can hardly catch it❞ – Richard Winnington

Fallen Angel (1945)

STORY: A man plans to get rid of his wife and marry another woman, but it is the latter who is murdered.

REVIEW: Oddly sleazy melodrama, not more successful then because it was unexpected than now because it is miscast. Some good sequences, though.

B.O.M. RATING: ★★★☆☆

ADJUSTED US GROSS: $108,790,000 (in 2016 USD)

US BOX OFFICE WEEKLY RANK: 5

CAST: Dana Andrews, Alice Faye, Linda Darnell, Charles Bickford

DIRECTOR: Otto Preminger

❝It isn’t in the class of Laura, but it’s tolerable, in a tawdry sort of way❞ – Pauline Kael, 1970s

La Dolce Vita (1960)

STORY: A journalist mixes in modern Roman high society and is alternately bewitched and sickened by what he sees.

REVIEW: Episodic satirical melodrama, a marathon self-indulgent wallow with a wagging finger never far away. Full of choice moments such as a statue of Christ being flown by helicopter over the city.

B.O.M. RATING: ★★★★★

ADJUSTED US GROSS: $174,240,000 (in 2016 USD)

US BOX OFFICE WEEKLY RANK: 3

CAST: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimee, Alain Cuny

DIRECTOR: Federico Fellini

❝An awesome picture, licentious in content but moral and vastly sophisticated in its attitude and what it says❞ – Bosley Crowther, New York Times

Complete US Box Office Charts (week-by-week)
from Variety magazine are available here:
https://www.amazon.com/Weekly-Box-Office-Charts-1960s-ebook/dp/B071GM8FLZ/

Vertigo (1958)

STORY: A detective with a fear of heights is drawn into a complex plot in which a girl he loves apparently falls to her death. Then he meets her double…

REVIEW: Double identity thriller which has many sequences in Hitchcock’s best style. A film as unsettling as the phobia it deals with, keeping its audience dizzy and off balance throughout.

B.O.M. RATING: ★★★★★

ADJUSTED US GROSS: $110,720,000 (in 2016 USD)

US BOX OFFICE WEEKLY RANK: 2

CAST: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones

DIRECTOR Alfred Hitchcock

Complete US Box Office Charts (week-by-week)
from Variety magazine are available here:
https://www.amazon.com/Weekly-Box-Office-Charts-1950s-ebook/dp/B071X33DBQ/

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

STORY: A repressed Southern widow is raped and driven mad by her brutal brother-in-law.

REVIEW: Reasonably successful, decorative picture from a highly theatrical but influential play; unreal sets and atmospheric photography vaguely Sternbergian.

B.O.M. RATING: ★★★★★

ADJUSTED US GROSS: $144,100,000 (in 2016 USD)

US BOX OFFICE WEEKLY RANK: 2

CAST: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

DIRECTOR Elia Kazan

Complete US Box Office Charts (week-by-week)
from Variety magazine are available here:
https://www.amazon.com/Weekly-Box-Office-Charts-1950s-ebook/dp/B071X33DBQ/

Cat People (1942)

STORY: A beautiful Yugoslavian girl believes she can turn into a panther; before she is found mysteriously dead, several of her acquaintances are attacked by such a beast.

REVIEW: The first of Lewton’s famous horror series for RKO is a slow starter but has some notable suspense sequences. It was also the first monster film to refrain from showing its monnster.

B.O.M. RATING: ★★★☆☆

ADJUSTED US GROSS: $76,890,000 (in 2016 USD)

US BOX OFFICE WEEKLY RANK:

CAST: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph, Jack Holt

DIRECTOR Jacques Tourneur

❝(Lewton) revolutionized scare movies with suggestion, imaginative sound effects and camera angles, leaving everything to the fear-filled imagination❞ – Pauline Kael, 1968

Complete US Box Office Charts (week-by-week)
with grosses are available here:
https://www.amazon.com/Weekly-Grossing-Film-Charts-1940s-ebook/dp/B071WQYHYY/