Thursday, July 25, 2019


This is my choice (choices) for Best Picture for the year 1941.  My criteria is that I can only use films that are on the 1001 list. To make it a little easier on myself, I am using the rules of the first Academy Award and name a winner for Best Picture (won by Wings for 1927-1928) and Best and Unique and Artistic Picture (won by Sunrise from 1927-1928). 

This year is often noted as being the best year of the Classic Movie era. There are a lot of potential choices here, but my two winners seem pretty clear.

And the nominees on the entries from every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die are...
Citizen Kane
The Lady Eve
The Wolfman
The Maltese Falcon
Sergeant York
High Sierra
Sullivan's Travels
How Green Was My Valley

And the winner for the Best Picture of 1941 is…Sullivan's Travels

Sullivan's Travels

Disgruntled motion picture director John L. Sullivan decides he wants to make a more social significant film called O Brother, Where Art Thou? Despite the studio's objection, Sullivan decides he wants to live among the poor to get a better understanding of their plight.

Sappy? A bit. Corny? Definitely. Improbable? Certainly.

I don't care. Sullivan's Travel's remains one of my favorite movies from Hollywood's golden age. Joel McCrea as Sullivan and Veronica Lake as his love interest are perfect in the lead roles. But this is writer/director Preston Sturges's film. We see Sturges the writer in evidence in the rapid fire opening dialogue between Sullivan and the studio executives. We see Sturges the director in evidence in the silent scenes where Sullivan and his girl soak in through several scenes without dialogue the plight of the poor. But probably the most famous scene  is where chain gang prisoners join members of a black church to watch a Mickey Mouse and Pluto cartoon. There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan.

Bonus points to Preston Sturges for having too classic comedies (The Lady Eve) out the same year!

Sullivan's Travels

And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1941 is...Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane is of course an artistic masterpiece about the rise/fall/rise/fall of Charles Foster Kane. It also works well just as an entertainment piece and would have been the easy winner in both categories I have here if I hadn't been purposely choosing two movies for each year.. It's a tough cross to bear when many call you the greatest ever, but Kane never disappoints in my book.

Citizen Kane


  1. Must have really hurt to leave out The Maltese Falcon. A great year for film!

  2. Yes. I it would have been even more difficult to limit it to one choice and have to leave out Sullivan's Travels!

  3. The Maltese Falcon is my pick, ahead of Kane. Every time I watch it I am reminded how awesome it is.

  4. The first time I saw The Maltese Falcon decades ago I was underwhelmed. I've seen it about three times since and I've liked it more every time. A definite classic! It may have helped that I read the book in recent years, too.