The Fabulous Forties: 50 Movie Set (2012) – By Jason S. Lockard

Everyone will remember the 1940s for; World War II, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hitler and the Nazi regime and the Holocaust, but it wasn’t all bad. In 1940 Peter Goldmark invents modern color television system. 1943 brought kids the slinky and silly putty. 1946 saw the invention of the microwave oven making cooking easier and faster than ever. 1948 saw the invention of the Frisbee, Velcro and the Wurlitzer jukebox.

Than there was the cinema the 40s saw the rising stars of such legends as Barbara Stanwyck, Hedy Lamarr, Fred Astaire, Susan Hayward, Yul Brynner, James Stewart, Merle Oberon, Gene Tierney and many, many more. Yes the 40s was a decade to remember and now thanks to Mill Creek Release you get to see 50 films that made the 40’s Fabulous.

Now lets take an in depth look at the 50 movie collection.

Our Rating System:

**** = Don’t Miss it!
*** = Worth a look.
** = An Ok way to spend an evening.
* = You haven’t missed anything.

Disc 1

Port of New York (1949): A pair of undercover agents go undercover to infiltrate the narcotics gang, which places them in greater peril the closer they get to the ringleader. This was Yul Brynner’s first film before he started shaving his head. (**1/2)

Second Chorus (1940): Two friendly rival musicians Danny O’Neill (Fred Astaire) and Hank Taylor (Burgess Meredith) aspire to join the famous Artie Shaw Orchestra. Through the efforts of their band manager and attention of their affection Ellen Miller (Paulette Goddard), Danny and Hank make it to the big time. (***)

The Black Book (1949): Also known as Reign of Terror… Plotters seek to bring down French rogue Maximilien Robespierre and end his bloodthirsty reign of terror. (***)

Topper Returns (1941): The third and final film in the "Topper Series". In this film Topper (Roland Young) encounters a sarcastic ghost (Joan Blondell) who insists that he help her find her murderer. (***)

Disc 2

Guest in the House (1944): A disturbed young woman, stays at the home of her physician where she ends up meeting his brother and fall in love with him, even though he is a married man. Wanting to win him over anyway; her actions send the household into turmoil. (***)

Trapped (1949): This film tells the story of the U.S. Treasury Department who, with the aid of Tris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges), try to track down and stop of counterfeiting ring. (**)

The Red House (1947): Pete Morgan (Edward G. Robinson) is an aging farmer, who lives with his sister and his adoped daughter is harboring some dark secrets. (***)

The Lady Confesses (1945): Just prior to their wedding, a young woman gets a visit from her fiance’s wife, who had been missing for seven years and presumed dead. (***)

Disc 3

The Jungle Book (1942): This color feature adapted from the Rudyard Kipling classic story is about Mowgli (Sabu), a boy raised by wolves tries to adapt to human village life. (***)

Dick Tracy’s Dilemma (1947): Dick Tracy investigates the theft of a fortune of fur coats, a possible insurance swindle and several murders, all linked to the fiendish criminal called “The Claw”. (**)

The Strange Woman (1946): In Bangor, Maine during the 1820’s, a young woman stops at nothing to control the men in her life. (**)

D.O.A. (1949): An accountant is told by a physician that he was given poison and there is no antidote. The doomed man spends his remaining time tracking down the one who poisoned him. (***)

Disc 4

Treasure of Fear (1945): A bumbling reporter gets mixed-up in a series of murders that involves the patrons at a mysterious inn and some chess pieces. This film is also known as Scared Stiff. (**)

The Stork Club (1945):
A young hat check girl (Betty Hutton) at the Stork Club rescues an elderly man from drowning. Unbeknownst to her, the man she rescued is a millionaire who shows his gratitude by providing her a bank account and a luxury apartment, without anything expected in return. (***)

The Adventures of Tartu (1943):
A British soldier fluent in Rumanian and German, goes undercover to sabotage a German poison-gas factory. (***)

Dr. Kildare’s Strange Case (1940):
Young Dr. Kildare (Lew Ayres) is back in this fourth film covering the exploits of Blair General Hospital’s popular intern. In this latest tale, Kildare tries to help an unlucky brain surgeon and his insane patient. (***)

Disc 5

Gung Ho (1943): The true story of Carlson’s Raiders and their World War II attack on Makin Island. Starring Randolph Scott and Robert Mitchum. (***)

The Chase (1946):
Chuck Scott (Robert Cummings) gets a job as chauffeur to tough guy Eddie Roman; but Chuck’s involvement with Eddie’s fearful wife becomes a nightmare. (***)

Whistle Stop (1946):
A beautiful young lady Mary (Ava Gardner) returns home to her "whistle stop" home town, long-standing feelings of animosity between two of her old boyfriends leads to robbery and murder. (**)

Meet John Doe (1941):
This film was produced and directed by the great frank Capra. The film follows a soon to be laid off female newspaper reporter writes a final column, using a phony letter about a disgruntled man who plans to jump off of City Hall on Christmas Eve. Now she has to find someone to impersonate the nonexistent person. the film stars Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Meet John Doe was ranked #49 in AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Cheers. (***)

Disc 6

Shock (1946):
The film tells the story of a psychiatrist, Dr. Cross (Vincent Price), who is treating a young woman, who is in a coma-state, brought on when she heard loud arguing, went to her window and saw a man strike his wife with a candlestick and kill her. As Stewart comes out of her shock, she recognizes Dr. Cross as the killer. (***)

The Adventures of Gallant Bess (1948):
Ted Daniels, a ranch hand, captures a wild horse that he tames and trains. After an accident in a rodeo competition the rodeo owner cheats Ted out of his horse. Ted must decide between whether to try to recover the horse, or whether to settle down with the doctor’s daughter who is nursing him back to health. (**)

Freckles Comes Home (1942):
College boy Freckles returns from school and hopes to bring experience to his hometown. What he finds is his girl is in love with a con man and gangsters planning to rob the bank. It’s up to Freckles to thwart the gangsters plans and win back the love of his girl. (**)

Passport to Pimlico (1949):
During WWII in Pimlico, residents of a part of London declare independence, when they discover an old treaty. This leads to the need for a ‘Passport to Pimlico’. this is a very funny comedy! (***)

Drums of Africa (1941):
An African expedition searching for the City of the Dead finds them facing many perils along the way. Stars Buster Crabbe. The film is also known as "Jungle Man". (**)

Disc 7

Immortal Battalion (1944): A group of conscripts are called up into the infantry during WWII. At first they appear a hopeless bunch but their sergeant and Lieutenant have faith in them and mould them into a good team. The film stars David Niven. (**)

Sundown (1941):
Englishmen fighting Nazis in Africa discover an exotic mystery woman living among the natives and enlist her aid in overcoming the Germans. (***)

Jack London (1943):
In this exciting biographical adventure, featuring episodes in the adventurous life of the American novelist Jack London. (**)

Lil’ Abner (1940):
Andy Capp’s famous comic strip comes to life in this black and white classic. The citizens of Dogpatch Li’l Abner, Daisy Mae, Mammy and Pappy Yokum star in the first of two film adaptations. This classic film star Buster Keaton as Lonsome Polecat. (**)

Disc 8

Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941): A teacher dedicates her life to teaching her students at the sacrifice of her personal life in this Oscar-nominated film starring Martha Scott. (**)

The Last Chance (1945): In this Golden Globe and Cannes award-winning feature, three Allied soldiers escape an Italian prisoner-of-war camp and set out to make it to neutral Switzerland for freedom and a possible return to the Allies. (***)

Outpost in Morocco (1949): The commander of a French Foreign Legion outpost is escorting the Emir’s daughter to the palace and arrives to discover rebellion being plotted by some of the Emir’s men. (**)

Boys of the City (1940): The East Side Kids return for one final adventure in this collection. The boy leave the comfort of the bowery and head to unfamiliar territory, add a spooky mansion, a creepy housekeeper and a mystery and you got all your need for a good little adventure. (***)

Disc 9

This is the Army (1943): A WW I dancer Jerry Jones stages, wounded in the War, he becomes a broad way producer of a musical entitled, the musical Yip Yip Yaphank. Later in WW II his son Johnny Jones, who served as his fathers assistant, gets the order to stage an all-soldier show, called THIS IS THE ARMY. But in his personal life is in turmoil, because he refuses to marry his fiancée until the war is over. This is the Army won an Academy Award for the musical score. (***)

That Uncertain Feeling (1941): A bored wife of an insurance salesman meets an eccentric pianist and seeks a divorce. (***)

Dishonored Lady (1947): Madeleine Damien (Hedy Lamarr) is a fashion editor of a successful magazine. Her hard work and play leads to stress and her psychiatrist tells her to simplify her life to take the stress away. So she quits her job, moves to a Greenwich Village apartment and takes up painting again. When she meets a man that’s interested in her, her past comes back to haunt her when a former acquaintance turns up dead and she’s implicated in his murder. (***)

Penny Serenade (1941): A woman frustrated with her marriage decides to leave her husband. While packing her backs she hears some songs and reminisces about the good times in their life together. Will she go through with leaving her husband you’ll have to watch to find out. (***)

Disc 10

The Devil Bat (1940): A mad scientist develops an aftershave lotion that causes his gigantic bats to kill anyone who wears it. Stars Bela Lugosi. (**)

My Man Godfrey (1946): A young heiress (Carole Lombard) is at the city dump due to a scavenger hunt. There she meets Godfrey (William Powell), a hobo who resides at the dump. The young heiress brings Godfrey home and installs him as the family’s new butler. Godfrey finds himself surrounded by a family of lunatics, he sees them as kind people with a need for some direction. (***)

Smash-up: The Story of a Woman (1947): Angie Evans (Susan Hayward), a nightclub singer, puts her career on hold to marry struggling songwriter Ken Conway. When Ken becomes a chart-topping radio crooner, Angie heads into a downward spiral into alcoholism. (***)

The North Star (1943): A Ukrainian village must suddenly contend with the Nazi invasion of June 1941. (**)

Disc 11

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946): A ruthless, domineering woman is married to an alcoholic D.A., her childhood companion who is the only living witness to her murder of her rich aunt seventeen years earlier. This Oscar®-nominated drama boasts an all-star cast featuring Barbara Stanwyck, Kirk Douglas, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott and Judith Anderson (***)

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947): This final film by silent screen star Harold Lloyd. This film is a sequel to Harold Lloyd’s silent classic "The Freshman". Now Twenty years after his triumphs as a freshman on the football field, Harold is a mild-mannered clerk who dreams of the prefect life with the girl at the desk down the aisle. But when Harold looses his job that destroys that dream, then the Harold Lloyd craziness ensues. (***)

His Girl Friday (1940): Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell), a star newspaper reporter is still working for her ex-husband Walter (Cary Grant) at a major Chicago newspaper. One Day Hildy announces that she is going to marry her insurance salesman named Bruce (Ralph Bellamy). Unfortunately, Walter doesn’t want to lose Hildy to Bruce or to lose her as a reporter. So Walter comes up with a plan. This is Cary Grant at his earlier slapstick best! (***1/2)

Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1947): Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) return home from World War II with the intention of going to college, where he meets and falls in love with co-ed Kay Wilson (Bonita Granville). When she decides to wed another man, Hardy is heartbroken and contemplates running to South America to make is fortune. (**)

Disc 12

The Town Went Wild (1944): Feuding fathers must deal with the shocking news that their sons were switched at birth, meaning that one of their daughters is about to marry her own brother. (**)

Broadway Limited (1941): A publicity stunt staged on a train known as the Broadway Limited creates problems because of an unknown baby that was part of the stunt. (**)

Pot O’ Gold (1941): When James Haskell’s (played by a very young Jimmy Stewart) music store fails, he goes to the big city to help his uncle run his factory. Jimmy gets involved with the musicians next to the factory. It’s a Hatfield/McCoy feud between the uncle and the neighbors. Since Jimmy Stewart is in love with neighbor, Paulette Goddard, he has to bring the two families together. (***)

Tulsa (1949): A highly ambitious cattle rancher’s daughter (Susan Hayward) is out to stop the oil companies from invading the sleepy Oklahoma town of Tulsa. (***)

Lady of Burlesque (1943): After one member of their group is murdered, the performers at a burlesque house must work together to find out who the killer is before they strike again. This Academy Award nominated feature stars Barbara Stanwyck. (***)

In the final analysis all 50 films are not winners, but there isn’t a film in this collection that you can’t get some enjoyment out of. While the video quality is not pristine, it‘s not bad, especially when you realize that every film is over 60 years old.

I love these Mill Creek collections I own several myself. Where else can you get 50 films for $30? If you love classic cinema as much as I do I highly recommend you head on over to or your local DVD store and pick up a copy of "The Fabulous Fifties" from Mill Creek Entertainment and enjoy the days of yesteryear on DVD.

Moral Rating: Some Adult Situations
Audience: Parental Guidance
Genre: Muti-Genre
Length: Over 65 hours
Released: 2012
Our Rating: A