The Hurricane (1937)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.  USA, 1937.  The Samuel Goldwyn Company.  Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, adaptation by Oliver H.P. Garrett, based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall.  Cinematography by Bert Glennon.  Produced by Samuel Goldwyn.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day.  Costume Design by Omar Kiam.  Film Editing by Lloyd Nosler.  Academy Awards 1937.  This excellent…

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Dead End (1937)

WILLIAM WYLER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1937.  The Samuel Goldwyn Company.  Screenplay by Lillian Hellman, based on the play by Sidney Kingsley.  Cinematography by Gregg Toland.  Produced by Samuel Goldwyn.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day.  Costume Design by Omar Kiam.  Film Editing by Daniel Mandell.  Academy Awards 1937.   Compelling adaptation of the play by Sidney Kingsley, with most of the…

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In Old Chicago (1937)

HENRY KING Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1937.  Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Darryl F. Zanuck Productions.  Story by Niven Busch, Screenplay by Lamar Trotti, Sonya Levien.  Cinematography by J. Peverell Marley.  Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.  Music by Cyril J. Mockridge.  Production Design by William S. Darling, Rudolph Sternad.  Costume Design by Royer.  Film Editing by Barbara McLean.  Academy Awards 1937.   The old…

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Broadway Melody Of 1938

BB.5 (out of 5) None of the Broadway Melodies have any narrative in common other than all being excuses to tell stories set in the New York theatre world. This one is a weakly assembled concoction made to give the lovely Eleanor Powell more time to shine on the silver screen while also finding a…

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Moonlight Sonata

BB.5 (out of 5) Real-life pianist Ignacy Paderewski begins this film with half an hour of footage of his performing popular classical pieces in concert, showing as much prowess at the age of 77 on the keyboard as he later shows in his role. The concert scene is followed by a brief interview in which…

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Something To Sing About (1937)

VICTOR SCHERTZINGER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1937.  Zion Meyers Productions.  Story by Victor Schertzinger, Screenplay by Austin Parker.  Cinematography by John Stumar.  Produced by Zion Myers, Victor Schertzinger.  Music by Myrl Alderman.  Production Design by Robert E. Lee, Paul Murphy.  Film Editing by Gene Milford.  Academy Awards 1937.   James Cagney was recruited to help push Grand National Pictures into the big leagues with the other…

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Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (Manhattan Music Box)

BB (out of 5) A silly distraction that is barely an excuse to showcase the popular music of the period.  A small-time radio station is taken over by a group of gangsters in need of a front.  This puts singer Phil Regan into a bind when he wants to marry secretary Ann Dvorak but has to shunt…

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Nothing Sacred

BBBB (out of 5) Carole Lombard‘s only Technicolour film is this hysterical comedy about a small-town woman mistakenly thought to be dying of internal poisoning, until her doctor points out otherwise. A New York reporter (Fredric March) has shown up to take her to the Big Apple and show her the city’s sights as a last…

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A Day At The Races

BBBBB (out of 5) Reviews of this film always point out that it isn’t quite as good as its predecessor A Night At The Opera, but who cares?  The plot is strung together a little more haphazardly than before, but it doesn’t make Groucho any less witty or the sight gags any less brilliant. The story,…

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Night Must Fall

BBBB (out of 5) Faithful to the original stageplay by Emlyn Williams, this entire film takes place in the peaceful English country cottage of a mean old English lady (Dame May Whitty). She lives there with her spinster niece/paid companion (Rosalind Russell), their only other company being the two saucy maids in their kitchen. Whitty…

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True Confession

BBB (out of 5) Highly imaginative fiction writer Carole Lombard (in one of her most adorable, zany performances) is married to honest, straight-laced lawyer Fred MacMurray.  When she decides to supplement their income by taking on an extra job, she winds up walking straight into a murder scene after her boss is killed on her first…

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Grand Illusion (La Grande Illusion)

BBBBB (out of 5) One of the most awe-inspiring war movies ever made is this Jean Renoir classic, one of the few war films not to feature a single battle scene. Instead it concentrates on the personal relationships that go on between enemies in a seemingly ‘gentlemanly’ war: Frenchmen Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay are held prisoner…

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