Wuthering Heights

  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Producers: Samuel Goldwyn
  • Writers: Charles MacArthur, Ben Hecht
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Geraldine Fitzgerald

A traveler named Lockwood (Miles Mander) is caught in the snow and stays at the estate of Wuthering Heights, where the housekeeper, Ellen Dean (Flora Robson), sits down to tell him the story in flashback.

The Letter

  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Producers: Hal B Wallis
  • Writers: Howard Koch, Based on the play by W Somerset Maugham
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery
  • Actors: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson

On a moonlit night in the opening scene, Leslie Crosbie (Bette Davis), the wife of a British rubber plantation manager in Malaya, shoots and kills a man whom her male servant recognizes as Geoff Hammond (David Newell). She tells the servant to send for her husband Robert (Herbert Marshall), who is working at one of the plantations. Her husband returns, having summoned his attorney and a British police inspector. Leslie tells them that Geoff Hammond “tried to make love to me” and she killed him to save her honor.

Leslie is placed under arrest and put in prison in Singapore as a matter of form to await trial for murder. Everyone believes she acted heroically, with the exception of her attorney, Howard Joyce (James Stephenson), who seems to be rather suspicious of her motives. Howard’s suspicions seem justified when his clerk Ong Chi Seng (Victor Sen Yung) shows him a copy of a letter Leslie wrote to Hammond the day she killed him, informing him she would be home alone that evening and pleading with him to visit her. Ong Chi Seng tells Howard that the letter is in the possession of Hammond’s widow (Gale Sondergaard), a Eurasian woman who lives in the Chinese quarter of town. Howard then confronts Leslie with the damning evidence and forces her to confess to Hammond’s cold-blooded killing; but Leslie cleverly manipulates the attorney into agreeing to buy back the letter.

In a dazed state after the pressure of the trial and her confrontation with Robert, Leslie wanders out into the moonlight and begins walking outside the gate almost as if she knows that someone is waiting for her. There she meets Mrs. Hammond and her henchman. Mrs Hammond kills her with a knife, after the henchman has overpowered her. As the two attemp to silently slip out, they are confronted by a policeman who question their whereabouts. The policeman tells the two to move along and both walk away from the scene. The clouds which hid the moons rays, darken the area where Leslie Crosbies body was killed. In the end, the clouds open and the moons rays shine at the area where her body lays but no one is there to see her body.

Jezebel

  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Producers: Executive Producer, Hal B Wallis, Producer, William Wyler
  • Writers: Clements Ripley, Abem Finkel, John Huston, Robert Buckner, Story, Owen Davis
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent

Spoiled, strong-willed New Orleans belle Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) is engaged to banker Preston ‘Pres’ Dillard (Henry Fonda). In retaliation for Pres refusing to drop his work and accompany her while she shops for a dress, she orders a brazen red one for the most important ball of the year, one where white dresses for unmarried women are expected. All of Julie’s friends are shocked, but no one can convince her to give up her whim.

Pres escorts Julie to the Olympus Ball, where their entrance is met by the disdainful stares of all present. She finally realizes the magnitude of her social blunder and begs Pres to take her away, but by this time, he is implacable. He makes her dance with him. All the other couples gradually leave the floor, finally leaving them alone and isolated. When the orchestra conductor stops playing, Pres orders him to continue and they finish the dance.

Afterwards, Pres takes his leave of Julie, implicitly breaking their engagement. In a final bit of spite, Julie slaps him in the face by way of farewell. Aunt Belle Massey (Fay Bainter) urges her to go after Pres and beg his forgiveness, but she refuses, arrogantly confident that he will return to her. Instead, he goes north on business. Julie shuts herself up in her house and refuses to see visitors.

Then something happens that overshadows everything else. As Pres and Dr. Livingstone had feared, a deadly epidemic of yellow fever sweeps the city, as it had numerous times before. Pres comes down with it and, like all other victims, is to be quarantined on an island. Amy prepares to go along to care for him, risking her own life, but Julie stops her. She tells the Northerner that she doesn’t know how to deal with the slaves and Southerners on the island. She begs to go in her place, as an act of redemption. Amy agrees.

The Best Years of Our Lives

  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Producers: Samuel Goldwyn
  • Writers: Screenplay, Robert E Sherwood, Story, MacKinlay Kantor
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, War
  • Actors: Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo

After World War II, demobilized servicemen Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), Homer Parrish (Harold Russell) and Al Stephenson (Frederic March) meet while hitching a ride home in a bomber to Boone City, a fictional Midwestern city, patterned after Cincinnati, Ohio.[1] Fred was a highly decorated Army Air Forces captain and bombardier with the Eighth Air Force in Europe, who still suffers from nightmares of combat. Homer had been in the Navy, losing both of his hands from burns suffered when his aircraft carrier was sunk. For replacements, he has mechanical hook prostheses. Al served as an infantry sergeant in the 25th Infantry Division, fighting in the Pacific.

Prior to the war, Al had worked as a bank executive and loan officer for the Corn Belt Savings and Loan bank in Boone City. A mature man with a loving family, his patient wife Milly (Myrna Loy), adult daughter Peggy (Teresa Wright) and college freshman son Rob; he nevertheless has trouble readjusting to civilian life, as do his two chance acquaintances.

The bank, anticipating an increase in loans to returning war veterans, promotes Al to Vice President in charge of the small loan department because of his war experience. However, after he approves a chancy loan to a veteran, Al’s boss Mr. Milton (Ray Collins) advises him not to gamble on further loans without collateral. At his welcome-home dinner, a slightly-drunk Al gives a stirring speech, acknowledging that people will think that the bank is gambling with the shareholders’ money if he has his way, “And they’ll be right; we’ll be gambling on the future of this country!” Mr. Milton applauds his sentiments, but Al remarks later, “He’ll back me up wholeheartedly until the next time I help some little guy, then I’ll have to fight it out again.”

A now-divorced Fred meets Peggy at Homer and Wilma’s wedding. After the ceremony, Fred approaches Peggy and holds her, telling her that their life together will be a hard struggle, that they’d be “kicked around.” She is unfazed; they smile and kiss.

The Big Country

  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Producers: Gregory Peck, William Wyler
  • Writers: Robert Wilder
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, Western
  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons

Wealthy, newly-retired sea captain and ship-owner James McKay (Gregory Peck) travels to the American west to rejoin his fiancée Patricia (Carroll Baker), whom he had met back East, at the enormous ranch of her father, Major Terrill (Charles Bickford). Terrill is a powerful rancher who is feuding with the equally tough patriarch of a poorer, uncouth, and less refined clan, Rufus Hannassey (Burl Ives). Patricia’s best friend, schoolteacher Julie Maragon (Jean Simmons), is caught between the two, as she is the owner of the “Big Muddy”, a (smaller) big ranch with a vital source of water desired by both men; Hannassey desperately needs it for his cattle, while Terrill wants to gain control of it to bring his rival down.

McKay is a puzzle to Major Terrill, his foreman Steve Leech (Charlton Heston) and even his fiancee; he refuses to be provoked into proving his manhood, even when harassed. We learn that McKay’s father died in a duel, and — as McKay explains to Terrill — no one could remember what the duel was about. One morning, McKay rides out alone, goes to the Big Muddy, and persuades Julie to sell him the ranch, promising her that both the Terrills and the Hannesseys will always have access to the river, hoping that this will defuse the conflict. She agrees to the sale.

Meantime, Terrill, Leech and their men have ridden into the ambush and are pinned down in the canyon. Although Leech realized that the risk was too great, he is unable to dissuade Terrill from going into the canyon, and ultimately Leech follows him in out of loyalty. Acknowledging the truth of McKay’s accusation, Hannassey orders his men to hold their fire. He then challenges Terrill to come out and face him man to man. The two men walk to a final showdown and kill each other. McKay and Julie ride out together.

Roman Holiday

  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Producers: William Wyler
  • Writers: Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter amp John Dighton
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert

Ann (Hepburn) is a royal princess of an unspecified country. She is on a widely publicized tour of several European capitals, including Rome. One night, she rebels against the strenuous demands of her official duties, where her day is tightly scheduled. Her doctor gives her a sedative to calm her down and help her sleep, but she secretly leaves her country’s embassy to experience Rome by herself.

The injection eventually takes effect and she falls asleep on a bench, where Joe Bradley (Peck), an expatriate American reporter, meets her. Not recognizing her, he offers her money so that she can take a taxi home, but a very drowsy “Anya Smith” (as she calls herself) refuses to cooperate. Joe finally decides, for safety’s sake, to let her spend the night in his apartment. He is amused by her regal manner, but less so when she appropriates his bed. He transfers her to a couch without awakening her. The next morning, Joe wakes up late and, leaving the princess still asleep, hurries off to work.

When his editor, Mr. Hennessy (Hartley Power), asks why he is late, Joe lies to him; he claims to have attended a press conference for the princess. Joe makes up details of the alleged interview until Hennessy informs him that the princess had suddenly “fallen ill” and the conference had been canceled. Joe sees a picture of her and recognizes the young woman. Joe and Hennessy end up making a bet that Joe can get an exclusive on the princess.

The next day, Princess Ann appears at the delayed news conference, and is surprised to find Joe and Irving among the members of the press. Irving takes her picture with the same miniature cigarette lighter/camera he had used the previous day. He then presents her with the photographs he had taken that day, as a memento of her adventure. Joe lets her know, by allusion, that her secret is safe with them. She, in turn, works into her bland press conference statements a coded message of love and gratitude to Joe. She then departs, leaving Joe to linger for a while, contemplating what might have been.