Quicksand (1950)

IRVING PICHEL Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1950.  Samuel H. Stiefel Productions.  Screenplay by Robert Smith.  Cinematography by Lionel Lindon.  Produced by Mort Briskin.  Music by Louis Gruenberg.  Production Design by Boris Leven.  Costume Design by Joan Joseff.  Film Editing by Walter Thompson.   Mickey Rooney plays an auto mechanic who is out drinking with the boys when he spots a dangerous blonde…

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Woman On The Run

BBB.5 (out of 5) A man walking his dog late at night witnesses a murder and, before the cops can get a full testament from him, hits the road to hide out from the killer.  With the killer still on the loose, the police are determined to find him and find out what he knows, their…

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Doll Face

BB.5 (out of 5) Gypsy Rose Lee’s successful play is turned into a tepid musical comedy starring Vivian Blaine as a burlesque artist trying to break into legitimate performance. After she is rejected for the umpteenth time from a big-time Broadway showman’s classy spectacle, Blaine’s boyfriend and manager comes up with the perfect suggestion to improve…

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Second Chorus

BBBB (out of 5) Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith are the very definition of frenemies, both trumpet players who lead a highly successful college band but are always ready to do each other dirt when fighting over a gig or a girl. They have been purposely flunking in school for seven years in order to stay enrolled…

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The Sand Pebbles

BBB (out of 5) Robert Wise followed his mammothly successful The Sound Of Music with this giant war epic.  Steve McQueen plays an engineer who boards a gunboat in 1920s China, rife with anger and resentment between Chinese and white sailors aboard. China itself is being torn apart by revolution, and the members of this boat…

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The Sound Of Music

BBBB (out of 5) The hills are alive with some of the most enjoyable schmaltz you’ll ever see. There’s plenty to criticize in this candy-coloured version of the life of the Von Trapp Family Singers, but it’s just so damn chipper you might as well go with the flow and like it anyway.  Julie Andrews is absolutely…

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The Andromeda Strain

BBBB (out of 5) A deadly virus is the evil villain in this terrifying thriller adapted from the novel by Michael Crichton. After an American satellite falls to Earth in the middle of the desert, it brings back with it an alien disease from outer space that scientists must work around the clock to identify….

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West Side Story

BBBB (out of 5) Fantastic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes the tale of star-crossed lovers and sets it as a musical among warring gangs of 1960s New York. Jerome Robbins’ energetic choreography is the main highlight of this colourful film, about a young Puerto Rican girl named Maria (Natalie Wood, with singing…

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Wildcats

BB.5 (out of 5) Goldie Hawn‘s bubbly personality is perfectly suited to this tolerable comedy, though the screenplay and direction aren’t nearly up to the par of Private Benjamin or Butterflies Are Free. She plays a high school track coach who vies for the position of football coach when the job suddenly becomes vacant. Initially…

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Anatomy Of A Murder

BBBB (out of 5) Small-town lawyer James Stewart returns from a fishing trip to discover that he is required to defend a soldier who shot a bartender at the town’s local eatery. The defendant (Ben Gazzara in one of his earliest roles) killed the murder victim because he allegedly raped his provocatively sexy wife (Lee Remick, also…

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Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938)

HENRY KING Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1938.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by Kathryn Scola, Lamar Trotti, adaptation by Richard Sherman.  Cinematography by J. Peverell Marley.  Produced by Harry Joe Brown.  Music by Irving Berlin, Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Bernard Herzbrun, Boris Leven.  Costume Design by Gwen Wakeling.  Film Editing by Barbara McLean.  Academy Awards 1938.   Fantastic Irving Berlin musical features over two…

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The Star

BB.5 (out of 5) Times were obviously getting tough for Bette Davis following her coup in All About Eve. One of the best roles she played before Whatever Happened To Baby Jane ten years later was in this forgettable soap opera about (you guessed it!) an ageing star who is having trouble getting work in Hollywood….

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