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DISCLAIMER: All film criticism is extremely subjective and there is no such thing as the definitive list of the Greatest (English-language) Films. Great Films can't be measured scientifically because greatness is extremely subjective. Just because we like a film doesn't mean that you will like it as well. Please feel free to leave us a comment with the films that you think are the greatest which we have not included on our list.

Not only was 1944 a big year for movies but it was also a big year for actors making their film debuts and the deaths of some truly great talent. Here is a snap shot of the American film industry.

 

Making Their Film Debuts:

Lauren BacallTo Have and Have Not; Angela LansburyGaslight; Gregory Peck – Days of Glory; Jean Simmons – Give Us the Moon

 

Top-grossing Films

RankTitleStudio
1.Going My WayParamount
2.Wilson20th Century-Fox
3.Since You Went AwayUnited Artists
4.Lady in the DarkParamount
5.Meet Me in St. LouisMGM
6.Mrs. ParkingtonMGM
7.Here Come the WavesParamount
8.The Story of Dr. WassellParamount
9.Winged Victory20th Century-Fox
10.Hollywood CanteenWarner Bros.
11.The Princess and the PirateRKO
12.National VelvetMGM
13.GaslightMGM
14.Thirty Seconds Over TokyoMGM
15.Arsenic and Old LaceWarner Bros.
16.Mr. SkeffingtonWarner Bros.
17.The White Cliffs of DoverMGM
18.Dragon SeedMGM
19.Cover GirlColumbia
20.Frenchman’s CreekParamount

 

Academy Award Winners

Best Picture: Going My Way – Paramount

Best Actor: Bing Crosby – Going My Way

Best Actress: Ingrid BergmanGaslight

Best Supporting Actor: Barry FitzgeraldGoing My Way

Best Supporting Actress: Ethel Barrymore – None but the Lonely Heart

Best Director: Leo McCarey – Going My Way

 

Top Ten Money Making Stars

RankActor/Actress
1.Bing Crosby
2.Gary Cooper
3.Bob Hope
4.Betty Grable
5.Spencer Tracy
6.Greer Garson
7.Humphrey Bogart
8. (tie)Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
9.Cary Grant
10.Bette Davis

 

Among Those Who Died In 1944:

  • Mildred Harris, 42, The Magic Cloak (1914), Movie Maniacs (1936) and The Power of the Press (1928);
  • Laird Cregar, 40, The Black Swan (1942), The Lodger (1944) and Hangover Square (1945).
  • Lupe Vélez, Mexican actress (36) The Gaucho (1927), Laughing Boy (1934), Mexican Spitfire (1940);
  • Glenn Miller, American musician, actor, (40), Sun Valley Serenade (1941), Orchestra Wives (1945)

 

The Greatest Films of 1944

 

***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT FOR ALL***

 

Arsenic and Old LaceArsenic and Old Lace

D: Frank Capra

A hilariously-funny, frantic farce and black comedy – a frenzied adaptation of the smash Broadway comedy from 1941 to 1944, with three of the stage performers reprising their roles. Set around Halloween night in Brooklyn, two sweet old spinster ladies, Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha Brewster (Jean Adair) poison lonely gentlemen male callers in their Brooklyn home as mercy killings. They serve them homemade elderberry wine and then bury them (with Christian burials) in their cellar. Their hapless nephew Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), a mild-mannered drama critic with a frustrated new wife Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), discovers what is going on when he finds a dead body in the window seat – and there were twelve more in the basement. He mistakenly believes that his crazy eccentric brother “Teddy Roosevelt” Brewster (John Alexander), who is digging cellar graves for Panama Canal yellow fever victims, is responsible and wants to get him safely committed, never even suspecting his two aunts. Teddy regularly charges up the stairs with a bugle in hand. Mr. Witherspoon (Edward Everett Horton), the director of the Happy Dale Sanitorium rest home is reluctant to accept Teddy, because he already had too many “Roosevelts.” Mortimer is also confronted by the unexpected arrival of his sinister, psychotic murderous brother on the lam, Jonathan Brewster (Raymond Massey) who has a body of his own. Jonathan is accompanied by another villainous companion, Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre). At the film’s end, Mortimer’s final words about his real heritage were censored from ” I’m a bastard!” to “I’m the son of a sea cook!”

Learn more and watch the trailer here.

 

Poster for the movie "A Canterbury Tale"