40’s movies marathon – part 11

The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941, USA) – The Devil walks around New Hampshire, tempting poor farmers to sell their souls in return for wealth. This is an extraordinary movie, a puritan morality tale made perfect by the visual style, which is unlike anything I’ve seen, and by Walter Huston as the Devil. In the end, a trial for a farmer’s soul, held before a jury of damned souls, becomes a battle for the soul of America itself, with the Devil claiming to be its oldest citizen. “When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on the deck.” Anastasia screamed in vain. Watched it all.

Knute Rockne, All American (1940, USA) – Knut Rockne’s family emigrates from Voss, Norway, to Chicago, where he becomes an all-American super jock. He could have been an all-American super nerd, but abandons science to coach football, and leads his team through the typical sports movie adversities. Watched: 46 minutes, just long enough to see Ronald Reagan’s dying Gipper speech.

Brother Orchid (1940, USA) – A gangster boss quits and goes to Europe to learn how to be classy. When he returns, none of his friends wants him back. I guess the only way gangster movies could go at this point was into comedy, but it’s not working. Watched: 18 minutes.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940, USA) – I don’t think Hungary was ever like this. Watched: 9 minutes.

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