Bijou Follies Features - 1940s The PostWar Years
Bijou Follies PostWar Years Introduction

War adventures and escapist comedies and musicals gave way to postwar movies of more depth and angst. Hollywood began looking at the physical and psychological problems of returning veterans, the plight of war orphans in Europe, and the twin threats of Communism and the atomic bomb.

But there also were some new classics in familiar genres such as the detective story in "The Big Sleep" and a picture that didn't ring bells its first time out, but later became an enduring and endearing classic,
"It's a Wonderful Life."

Near the end of the decade, a new kind of actor also was to emerge and change the movies of the following decades. The first of the new breed of actors bringing a new dimension to probing the depths of character that was light years beyond the old school of movie acting, was Montgomery Clift.

I was a young teenager playing hookey from high school in Chicago in 1948 when I saw "Red River" at a sneak preview. I knew I was watching something very new and exciting in acting when I saw Clift create a three- or even four-dimensional character in a movie. It was also exciting to watch him draw John Wayne out of his old familiar style of acting and into someone new, raw, real, and totally unpredictable. As the closing credits came on the big screen, something happened that I had never seen in a movie theater before or since. Almost everyone, including me, leaped to our feet and cheered.

Let Bijou Follies take you to the last half of the 1940s, to some of the movies and stars that helped define the Postwar Years in America.


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