Originally published in Essential Cinema, copyright 2004 Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here are Rosenbaum's 104 favorite films of the 1940s:

Christmas in July (Preston Sturges) 
Foreign Correspondent (Hitchcock) 
The Grapes of Wrath (Ford) 
The Great Dictator (Chaplin) 
The Long Voyage Home (Ford) 
Pinocchio (Ben Sharpsteen/ Hamilton Luske) 
Rebecca (Hitchcock) 
The Shop Around the Corner (Lubitsch) 
The Thief of Bagdad (Ludwig Berger / Michael Powell / Tim Whelan)

All that Money Can Buy (William Dieterle) 
Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (Ozu) 
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles) 
Dumbo (Sharpsteen) 
Hellzapoppin' (H.C. Potter)
The Maltese Falcon (John Huston) 
Man Hunt (Lang) 
The Strawberry Blonde (Walsh) 
Suspicion (Hitchcock)

Cat People (Jacques Tourneur) 
The 47 Ronin (Mizoguchi) 
The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles) 
Sullivan's Travels (Sturges)

La ciel est a vous (Jean Gremillon) 
Day of Wrath (Dreyer) 
Dumb-Hounded (Tex Avery) 
Heaven Can Wait (Lubitsch)
I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur) 
The Leopard Man (Jacques Tourneur) 
Red Hot Riding Hood (Avery) 
The Seventh Victim (Robson) 
This Land is Mine (Renoir) 
Who Killed Who? (Avery)

At Land (Maya Deren)
Brief Encounter (David Lean) 
Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder) 
Les enfants du paradis (Carne) 
Jammin' the Blues (Gjon Mili)
Laura (Otto Preminger) 
Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli) 
Screwball Squirrel (Avery) 
To Have and Have Not (Hawks) 
The Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks (Edgar Neville) 
When Strangers Marry (William Castle)

Ivan the Terrible, Parts 1 and 2 (Eisenstein)

The Clock (Minnelli) 
Les dames du bois de Boulogne (Robert Bresson) 
Duel in the Sun (King Vidor) 
Scarlet Street (Lang) 
The Three Caballeros (Norman Ferguson)

La belle et la bete (Jean Cocteau)
The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler) 
Five Women around Utamaro (Mizoguchi) 
From This Day Forward (John Berry) 
Gilda (Charles Vidor) 
The Man I Love (Walsh) 
A Matter of Life and Death (Powell/ Emeric Pressburger) 
My Darling Clementine (Ford) 
Notorious (Hitchcock) 
Paisa (Rossellini) 
Sciuscia (Shoeshine) (De Sica)

Dark Passage (Delmer Daves) 
Germany Year Zero (Rossellini)
I Know Where I'm Going (Powell/Pressburger) 
King Size Canary (Avery) 
Monsieur Verdoux (Chaplin) 
Motion Painting No. 1 (Oskar Fischinger) 
Odd Man Out (Carol Reed) 
Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur) 
Quai des Orfevres (Henri-Georges Clouzot) 
Woman on the Beach (Renoir)


The Argyle Secrets (Cy Endfield) 
The Bicycle Thief (De Sica) 
Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky) 
Good Sam (McCarey) 
A Hen in the Wind (Ozu) 
The Lady from Shanghai (Welles) 
The Letter from an Unknown Woman (Ophuls) 
Moonrise (Borzage) 
The Pirate (Minnelli) 
The Red Shoes (Powell / Pressburger) 
Rope (Hitchcock) 
Spring in a Small City (Fei Mu) 
La terra trema (Luchino Visconti) 
They Live by Night (Nicholas Ray)

Adam's Rib (Cukor) 
Bad Luck Blackie (Avery) 
Begone Dull Care (Norman McLaren) 
Blood of the Beast (Georges Franju) 
Ecole des facteurs (Jacques Tati) 
Les enfants terribles (Jean-Pierre Melville) 
Intruder in the Dust (Clarence Brown)
Jour de fete (Tati) 
Late Spring (Ozu) 
Little Rural Riding Hood (Avery) 
The Reckless Moment (Ophuls) 
Samson and Delilah (DeMille) 
Stromboli (Rossellini) 
Thieves Highway (Jules Dassin) 
The Third Man (Reed) 
The Window (Ted Tatzlaff)

So who ruled the '40s? Rosenbaum's auteur scorecard:

Avery - 7 Hitchcock - 4 Powell/Pressburger - 4 Tourneur - 4 Ford - 3 Ozu - 3 Rossellini - 3 Sturges - 3 Welles - 3 Carne - 2 Chaplin - 2 De Sica - 2 Lang - 2 Lubitsch - 2 Minnelli - 2 Mizoguchi - 2 Ophuls - 2 Reed - 2 Renoir - 2 Sharpsteen - 2 Tati - 2 Walsh - 2