best film: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is still my #1 powell and pressburger film and a very fine choice for the best film of the year. It’s a masterpiece, amongst both the greatest British films of all-time and the greatest biopics of all-time.
most underrated: Ossessione from Visconti (a stunning debut film) cannot be the 744th best film of all time as the TSPDT consensus would have you believe. It’s entertaining as hell and an important precursor to the American film noir (which would technically begin the following year in 1944).
most overrated: day of wrath at 281 isn’t outrageously overrated but I’m 100 slots lower at least and there are not a lot of options from 1943. There are only seven films form 1943 on the top 1000 list. Two are either docs or experimental and the other 4 (blimp, shadow, ossessione and zombie are all underrated or perfectly rated).
gem I want to spotlight: shadow of a doubt is brilliant and it’s worthy of noting here because it’s hitchcock’s best film to date. This would only last until notorious in 1946 but it’s an important film for him. He would continue to hone his skills and do this absolute best work in the late 50’s and early 60’s with that ridiculous 1958-1960 run of vertigo, north by northwest and psycho.
trends and notables: It’s a down year in many ways. We’re 4 years removed from hollywood’s golden year, production in Germany, Japan, France, and the UK is down (for obviously reasons—these 4 countries along with the US are far and away the best 5 countries at the time for making great films… Italy is about to explode with great cinema) and we don’t have a Casablanca or citizen kane to buoy us. Noir would come along in 1944. Even on the sheer volume of the archives it’s a really down year. There are a total (as of writing this) 18 archiveable films from 1943. This is the first time we’d dip below 20 in any given year since 1934. 1943 would give us the debut of a very young (age 11) of Elizabeth Taylor. Visconti’s debut was a knockout but Vincente Minnelli would also give us his first archiveable film here in 1943 with the cabin in the sky. It is also worth acknowledging the work of Sam Wood. Wood directed for whom the bell tolls and along with his Marx brothers film a night at the opera it’s his best. It’s his 5th archiveable film already in the 1940’s.
best performance male: Roger Livesey as Clive Candy is a complex and genius character and performance. Livesey would be great again in I know where I’m going and a matter of life and death from powell and pressburger (along with the entertainer in 1960 alongside Olivier) but he’d never come close to this career high water mark. Joseph Cotton is a fine choice as well for his work in shadow of a doubt and gary cooper is great in for whom the bell tolls.
best performance female: Here I’m going with Teresa Wright for shadow of a doubt. She won an Oscar for mrs miniver the year prior and would be great in 1946 in the best years of our lives but this is her best performance and she, along with cotton, are perfect vehicles for what Hitchcock is trying to do. You also couldn’t go wrong with singling out Deborah Kerr in colonel blimp or again giving this best performance honor to Ingrid bergman in for whom the bell tolls.
- The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
- Shadow of a Doubt
- Day of Wrath
- I Walked With a Zombie
- The Ox-Bow Incident
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Air Force
- Heaven Can Wait
Archives, Directors, and Grades
|A Guy Named Joe- Fleming||R|
|Air Force- H. Hawks||R|
|Cabin In the Sky- Minnelli||R|
|Day of Wrath- Dreyer||MS|
|For Whom the Bell Tolls- S. Wood||R|
|Heaven Can Wait- Lubitsch||R|
|I Walked With a Zombie- Tourneur||HR|
|Lassie Come Home||R|
|Madame Curie- LeRoy||R|
|No Time For Love- Leisen|
|Shadow of a Doubt- Hitchcock||MS|
|The Glass Key|
|The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp- Powell||MP|
|The Ox-Box Incident- Wellman|
|The Song of Bernadette- King||R|
|Watch on the Rhine||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