best film:  Casablanca. I think I’ll actually get more complaints about this than some would guess. Many cinephiles hold the magnificent ambersons in supremely high regard. I have to keep Casablanca as my #1 film though. It’s not only one of the best screenplays of all-time and holds both my best male and female performance of the year- but the film is exceptionally well directed and the trademark tracking shot into a scene from Curtiz has never been more effective.

most overrated:  to be or not to be at #103 is far too lofty a ranking for me. It’s funny, and politically timely and bold- but I can’t find a spot for it in my top 200 let alone at #103.

most underrated:   yankee doodle dandy is not a masterpiece- let’s start there. Equally clear to me is that there’s no way in hell that there’s 1000 better films. It’s a fantastic biopic (especially if you ignore what Orson Welles just did to the genre the year before) and Cagney is superb.

gem I want to spotlight:  gentleman jim. Ok there’s a trend developing here with me enjoying the hell out of Errol Flynn films. There’s not a more likeable role for him and he’s supported here by great performances from Ward Bond, Alan Hale, and Jack Carson.

trends and notables:  Two really important debut films here into the archives. Billy Wilder and David Lean both have their first entry and would go on to bigger and better things and become two of the best directors of the next 25 years. I also have to pause here, in the year of Casablanca, and acknowledge the depth of acting talent in the supporting realm. I already mentioned Ward Bond when talking about gentleman jim but how about Casablanca without lorre, dalio, greenstreet and claude rains? Agnes Moorehead and Jane Darwell are superb nearly every year in this era. Walter Huston is superb in yankee doodle and cad George Sanders would give us 2 of his 18 wonderful archiveable performances in 1942.

best performance male:  Cagney won the Oscar and Flynn may never be better than he is in gentleman jim but there’s no arguing that Humphrey Bogart gives the best performance of 1942. You just have one of the best 5 actors of all-time, at his peak, delivering one of the best 5 screenplay/dialogue films of all-time. It’s impossible to top.

best performance female: bergman is just an easy a choice as Bogey is. It’s a transcendent performance and would take her into an echelon of all-time actresses. There are other fine candidates from 1942 but nothing that comes even close to Ingrid Bergman. Most other actresses, even those in her all-time class, never reached these heights.

 

top 10

  1. Casablanca
  2. The Magnificent Ambersons
  3. The Palm Beach Story
  4. To Be or Not To Be
  5. Yankee Doodle Dandy
  6. Cat People
  7. Bambi
  8. Gentleman Jim
  9. Now, Voyager
  10. I Married a Witch

 

Archives, Directors, and Grades

Bambi HR
Casablanca- Curtiz MP
Cat People- Tourneur HR
Gentleman Jim- Walsh HR
Holiday Inn R
I Married a Witch- Clair R
In Which We Serve- Lean R
Jungle Book R
Mrs. Miniver- Wyler R
Now, Voyager HR
Random Harvest- Leroy R
Reap the Wild Wind- DeMille R
Saboteur- Hitchcock
The Black Swan- King R
The Magnificent Ambersons- Welles MP
The Major and the Minor- Wilder R
The Man Who Came to Dinner R
The Moon and Sixpence R
The Palm Beach Story- Sturges MS
The Pride of the Yankees- S. Wood R
The Road to Morocco R
The Talk of the Town- Stevens R
This Gun For Hire R
To Be Or Not To Be- Lubitsch HR/MS
Woman of the Year- Stevens R
Yankee Doodle Dandy- Curtiz HR
You Were Never Lovelier R

 

*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film

MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film

HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film

R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives