Acteurist oeuvre-view – Margaret Sullavan – Part 6: THE MORTAL STORM (1940) & BACK STREET (1941)

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In this week's Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, Margaret Sullavan takes on the Nazis in Frank Borzage's The Mortal Storm (1940) and Fannie Hurst in Robert Stevenson's Back Street (1941). We discuss the subtleties and broad strokes of this early Hollywood depiction of Nazi Germany, Borzagean heroism, and performative fascism. Turning to Back Street, we consider what this Code-era remake of a classic Pre-Code has to say about which gender has it worse under patriarchy (or the Code). Also: an announcement regarding the long awaited (by us, anyway) return of Fear & Moviegoing in Toronto.

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s: THE MORTAL STORM (1940) [dir. Frank Borzage]

0h 42m 53s: BACK STREET (1941) [Robert Stevenson]

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* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.

* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project!

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