Having to once again endure war years, Hollywood, and its top film stars of the 1940’s, continued to provide quality entertainment to their audience. Although the early part of the decade provided financial challenges to the entire nation, Americas desire for entertainment was still in great demand. In an effort to meet the demand, and continue with its Golden Era, Hollywood was once again successful in providing a number of talented new stars and producing many popular films.
One of the most iconic movie stars of this period, or any period, was Bette Davis. Davis has been regarded by numerous feminist historians as one of the most influential actresses in leading the way for more important and meaningful women’s roles on the silver screen.
Her film accomplishments are legendary, having won two Best Actress Awards for her roles in Jezebel (1938) and Dangerous (1940). She would also receive five more Oscar nominations for her performances in Dark Victory (1940), The Letter (1941), The Little Foxes (1942), Now Voyager (1943) and Mr. Skeffington (1944). Her talent has firmly established Bette Davis as one of the most honored and respected actresses in Hollywood history.
During the 1940’s, Davis would become one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses, and used her notoriety and wealth to contribute greatly to supporting the World War II effort by assisting the Hollywood Canteen’s programs for GI’s who passed through the Los Angeles area.
Another 1940’s film icon, and one of Hollywood’s most popular stars, was the great Humphrey Bogart. During this decade, Bogart deservedly earned his reputation in Hollywood as one of their most talented and hardest working stars.
Bogart’s impact on the silver screen was huge. Some of his more notable staring roles included High Sierra (1941), The Maltese Falcon (1941), and the classic war time propaganda film Casablanca (1942). His role in Casablanca would earn him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, launching him into stardom and making him the highest paid actor in Hollywood.
Some of Humphrey Bogart’s most popular roles were those in which he teamed up with actress Lauren Bacall. The most notable being To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and the famous and memorable Key Largo (1948).
The success of their screen pairing carried over to their personal lives as the two stars would eventually be married and come to be recognized as the “star power couple” of Hollywood.
Another movie fan favorite to kick off a very successful film career in the 1940’s was femme fatale Rita Hayworth. Although she began making films during the 1930’s, it was her role in Gilda (1946) that put her on the map as major movie star and sex symbol.
With one little strip of a glove, while dancing in Gilda, she managed to cement her image into American film audiences. This audience would continue their love affair with the beautiful actress in the black satin dress with that sultry, wavy auburn hair for many years to come.
Take some time to explore these films as the 1940’s was a great decade for film stars and the many enjoyable films they made.