Many of the “U.S.” films on this list—at least those made up to 1960—were directed by foreigners. The Germans, French and English came to Hollywood—because that’s where the action was, the reach and the money—and quite often brought an outsider’s vision, as fascinated as it was skeptical, to American social issues. That surely was the case with the German-born Wyler and his film of the Sinclair Lewis novel about the fraying ties of a plutocrat (Walter Huston), comfortable in his life of prosperity and propriety, and his restless wife (Ruth Chatterton), who needs a sexual fling to prove she is not ready to trudge placidly into old age. Here is a fearlessly mature drama, wise about affairs of the heart and the ego, with acute performances by the stars, including Mary Astor as a dream woman worth traveling the world for.
Next Double Indemnity