Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Movie of the Week – The Little Foxes

This week’s movie: The Little Foxes (1941).

Set at the turn of the 20th century, the ruthless and rich Hubbard clan ravages the Deep South with their overall awfulness (taking advantage of a cheap labor force in the wake of the Civil War).

The film is one of director William Wyler’s greatest films. And that is a great compliment, as he directed The Best Years of Our Lives, Roman Holiday, Ben-Hur, and many other classics. He is on of cinema’s true auteurs (and was nominated for Best Director for the film as well, one of his twelve nominations).

 Wyler worked with composer Meredith Wilson (who did not score many films, but famously wrote The Music Man) and art director Stephen Goosson. However, the film also marked his second collaboration with cinematographer Gregg Toland (who is maybe cinema’s greatest D.P.) – they only made six films together, but their legacy has had a lasting effect of the way films are shot even today (the other five are Wuthering Heights, The Best Years of Our Lives, These Three, The Westerner, and Dead End).

The film features Bette Davis as its lead, giving one of her most iconic performances. Teresa Wright (who is one of my favorite actresses from the era – she was nominated for Oscars in her first three films, winning one), Herbert Marshall, Dan Duryea, Patricia Collinge, and Richard Carlson are good in support.

The Little Foxes is one of the best dramas from the 1940s and is a must-see for fans of films from that era (or fans of Bette Davis and William Wyler). It was nominated for nine Oscars, but did not win a single one (though, Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, and Suspicion also all did not win best picture that year so it is in good company – How Green Was My Valley did win).

Trailer: Here
Available on: DVD

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