Celebrating the History of Motion Pictures from 1890 to 1960

1944 Timelines: 1940 to 1949

The Hollywood Victory Committee now has 80 entertainment units touring overseas, with 38 of these being in the British Isles.


The U.S. Supreme Court rules against the Crescent theater circuit for antitrust violations. Crescent had been accused of monopolizing a five–state area in the Southeast and of colluding with the major studios for favorable distribution terms. The Supreme Court’s decision breaks up the Crescent circuit and outlaws preferential treatment by distributors in exchange for favorable runs. This case strengthens the U.S. Justice Department’s position in future antitrust battles with other theater circuits, and with the major Hollywood studios.


It is becoming common for studios to finance and distribute films made by independent production companies. Paramount signs a contract with the freelance producer–director, Leo McCarey, who has an idea for a picture about two priests, but the studio is sufficiently leery of the project to require that McCarey waive his salary in lieu of a share of the profits. McCarey produces the film “Going My Way” starring Bing Crosby, and it becomes the biggest box–office hit of the year. McCarey makes over $1 million. When McCarey makes the sequel, “Bells of St. Mary’s”, he makes it at RKO instead of Paramount.


Significant Films:

Rank releases a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Henry V”. One of the first British Technicolor films, it marks Laurence Olivier’s debut as a director. Olivier also plays the title role.

20th Century–Fox releases “Laura”. Directed by Otto Preminger, this mature film noir stars Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb. The film makes Clifton Webb a star.

David O. Selznick releases “Since You Went Away”. Starring Claudette Colbert, Joseph Cotten, and Jennifer Jones, this sentimentalized portrait of America ‘s wartime women and the domestic front becomes one of the biggest hits of the war and is nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Paramount releases “Double Indemnity”. Directed by Billy Wilder, and starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson, the film is ranked as one of the greatest films noir.

Warner Bros. releases “To Have and Have Not”. Directed by Howard Hawks, and starring Humphrey Bogart, the movie introduces an 18–year–old model, Lauren Bacall. Sparks fly both on and off screen between Bogart and Bacall.

MGM releases the suspenseful “Gaslight”. Directed by George Cukor, and starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, it is nominated for seven Academy Awards. Ingrid Bergman wins the Oscar for “Best Actress”.

Paramount releases “Going My Way”. Starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald, the film is nominated for ten Academy Awards, and wins seven including the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture”.

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