The Great Caruso (1951)

RICHARD THORPE Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1951.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, suggested by the biography of Enrico Caruso by Dorothy Caruso.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Music by Johnny Green, Peter Herman Adler.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Gabriel Scognamillo.  Costume Design by Helen Rose, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Gene Ruggiero.  Academy Awards 1951.  …

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Callaway Went Thataway (The Star Said No)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Old westerns starring Howard Keel are being played on television and thrilling the kids who watch them on the small screen with their parents.  Film producers realize this is a great opportunity to resurrect the star’s career and put new films out in theatres that will net a huge profit, but there’s one…

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The Mating Season

BBB.5 (out of 5) John Lund plays an ambitious worker at an Ohio industrial company who meets and marries a gorgeous socialite (Gene Tierney) after he saves her from falling down a cliff. The day of their marriage, his mother (Thelma Ritter) comes to visit, having just shut down her New Jersey hamburger joint after the…

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Detective Story

BBBB (out of 5) A New York police headquarters is the nexus of intense activity in this smooth adaptation of the hit Broadway play by Sidney Kingsley.  William Wyler keeps it stagebound without sacrificing cinematic style in a small world of action, at its head an incorruptible but darkly cynical cop (Kirk Douglas) who sticks…

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Flight To Mars

BB (out of 5) A group of scientists and one reporter are bustled into a spaceship and sent to the red planet, eventually landing and discovering a race of beings who look and talk exactly like humans!  Naturally their costumes are a lot more fabulous, but the Martians turn out to be sympathetic and hospitable,…

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Unknown World

B.5 (out of 5) Humanity is suffering the effects of too many wars and dwindling natural resources, encouraging scientists to gather a few experts and have them drill to the earth’s core in search of a place that victims of nuclear disaster can live safely.  Turns out if you dig deep enough into the centre…

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Drums In The Deep South

BB.5 (out of 5) Barbara Payton‘s beautiful life on her southern plantation is interrupted by the outbreak of Civil War, which sends her husband up north to fight and brings home an old flame who is still in love with her.  He himself has his life complicated by the fact that his best friend is…

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Ace In The Hole (The Big Carnival) (1951)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5. Paramount Pictures.  USA, 1951.  Story by Victor Desny, Screenplay by Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels, Walter Newman. Cinematography by Charles Lang.  Produced by Billy Wilder.  Music by Hugo Friedhofer.  Production Design by A. Earl Hedrick, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt.  Academy Awards 1951.   A stunning piece of news media satire, told with so…

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When Worlds Collide

BB.5 (out of 5) It must have dazzled the kids in 1951, but this film has not aged nearly as well as Forbidden Planet or The War Of The Worlds (heck, it hasn’t aged nearly as well as World Without End). When scientists announce that a star is headed for Earth and will destroy our planet…

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Summer Interlude (Sommarlek)

BBB.5 (out of 5) A ballerina is a great success on the stage but her personal life is devoid of the kind of affection her audiences give her.  She is thrown into her memories when a former lover’s diary is mailed to her anonymously and plunges her back thirteen years to a love affair with…

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Mr. Imperium (You Belong To My Heart)

B.5 (out of 5) Studio heads gave opera star Ezio Pinza a screen test and incorrectly believed it wise to move ahead with a starring role.  Pairing up his complete lack of charisma with a full-on dud of a screenplay, they got the beautiful Lana Turner bogged down in this mess of a movie that was shelved…

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The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) The imagery in this groundbreaking science-fiction film is unforgettable: a perfectly designed spaceship arrives from the sky and lands in Washington; a giant robot emerges from it but doesn’t say a word or do anything until provoked. An intergalactic traveler (Michael Rennie) also emerges from the craft, but the gift he…

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