Arrowsmith (1931)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  USA, 1931.  John Ford Productions.  Screenplay by Sidney Howard, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis.  Cinematography by Ray June.  Produced by Samuel Goldwyn.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day.  Film Editing by Hugh Bennett.  Academy Awards 1931/1932. Ronald Colman is terrific in this adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ novel about economic pressures in…

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The Pied Piper (1942)

IRVING PICHEL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1942.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by Nunnally Johnson, based on the novel by Nevil Shute.  Cinematography by Edward Cronjager.  Produced by Nunnally Johnson.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day, Maurice Ransford.  Costume Design by Dolly Tree.  Film Editing by Allen McNeil.  Academy Awards 1942.   Monty Woolley is a Brit enjoying a vacation in France after most…

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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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Wilson (1944)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck really put his back into the studio’s prestige picture of 1944 with this polished and respectable hagiography of the 28th American president, applying the technological power (Technicolor cinematography, giant sets) usually reserved for big-budget musicals.  The film begins with Woodrow Wilson’s days as president of Princeton…

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The Robe

BBBB (out of 5) A new era of Hollywood was ushered in with this first Cinemascope release (though How To Marry A Millionaire was actually shot earlier and distributed later), which also served as Richard Burton‘s first leading Hollywood role after his breakthrough the year before in My Cousin Rachel.  It tells the story of a Roman tribune…

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How The West Was Won (1962)

JOHN FORD, HENRY HATHAWAY, GEORGE MARSHALL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1962.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Cinerama Productions Corp..  Screenplay by James R. Webb, suggested by his Life Magazine series “How The West Was Won”.  Cinematography by William H. Daniels, Milton R. Krasner, Charles Lang, Joseph LaShelle.  Produced by Bernard Smith.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by George W. Davis, William Ferrari, Addison…

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The Song Of Bernadette

BBBB (out of 5) This adaptation of the novel by Franz Werfel mixes fact and supposition for a film that tells the tale of a miracle: the now venerated saint of Lourdes who saw a vision of a “beautiful lady” by a stream and went back to pray at her feet every day for two…

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Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1939.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by Lamar Trotti.  Cinematography by Bert Glennon.  Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day, Mark-Lee Kirk.  Costume Design by Royer.  Film Editing by Walter Thompson.  Academy Awards 1939.   Henry Fonda is perfectly cast (with an impressive prosthetic nose) as Honest Abe, with John Ford’s sturdy direction telling a…

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Three Broadway Girls (The Greeks Had A Word For Them)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Delightful precursor to How To Marry A Millionaire in which the comedy isn’t as light and the girls are a hell of a lot cattier. Joan Blondell and Madge Evans are thrilled when their old pal Ina Claire comes roaring back into town, the three of them planning to get rich quick by…

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The Seven Year Itch

BBB.5 (out of 5) Billy Wilder comedy that is most notable for the now historic image of Marilyn Monroe standing above a subway grate while her dress billows in the rushing air coming from below. Tom Ewell (recreating his stage role) is hilarious as a happily married man who sends his wife (Evelyn Keyes) and son away…

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The Best Of Everything

BBB (out of 5) This film, and the novel upon which it is based, must have seemed shockingly modern upon first being unleashed to the public:  it deals with single party girls and their suicides and abortions. Decades later, however, it’s more like daytime soap opera than Sex And The City. Hope Lange plays a…

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The Big Lift

BBB (out of 5) Following the second World War, Russia’s blockade of Berlin cuts off its access to the outside world, prompting the Allies to airlift food and medical supplies into the city despite the dangers involved. Two of the pilots who come on a convoy manage to get access to the city, one of…

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