This Land Is Mine (1943)

JEAN RENOIR Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.   USA, 1943.  Jean-Renoir- Dudly Nichols Productions, RKO Radio Pictures.  Screenplay by Dudley Nichols.  Cinematography by Frank Redman.  Produced by Dudley Nichols, Jean Renoir.  Music by Lothar Perl.  Production Design by Eugène Lourié.  Costume Design by Renié.  Film Editing by Frederic Knudtson.  Academy Awards 1943. An small, unnamed European country is suffering under Nazi occupation, the brutish…

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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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The Long Voyage Home (1940)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1940.  Argosy Pictures, Walter Wanger Productions.  Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, based on four Sea Plays by Eugene O’Neill.  Cinematography by Gregg Toland.  Produced by John Ford.  Music by Richard Hageman.  Production Design by James Basevi.  Film Editing by Sherman Todd.  Academy Awards 1940.   Four nautically-themed plays by Eugene O’Neill are strung together for a haunting and…

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Scarlet Street

BBB.5 (out of 5) Fritz Lang remakes Jean Renoir’s La Chienne as a reunion for the stars of his Woman In The Window the year before.  Edward G. Robinson plays a timid insurance clerk with a shrew of a wife whose hobby as a painter in his spare time is his only comfort.  A random encounter with a prostitute (Joan Bennett) puts him immediately…

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The Bells Of St. Mary’s

BBBB (out of 5) Sappy, manipulative and wholly engrossing sequel to the equally disarming Going My Way, with Bing Crosby resuming his role as the caring Catholic priest who never shuts up. He has been sent to oversee the running of a parochial school that is falling apart. Once there, his liberal methods (i.e. letting students…

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Pinky

BBBBB (out of 5) Years after she was sent away to nursing school to avoid the fate of her washer-woman grandmother (legendary singer Ethel Waters), Pinky (Jeanne Crain) returns to her Southern home a graduate who is running away from a serious problem.  Her extremely light skin allows her to pass for white among those who…

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Stagecoach (1939)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1939.  Walter Wanger Productions.  Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, based on the story by Ernest Haycox.  Cinematography by Bert Glennon.  Produced by John Ford.  Music by Gerard Carbonara.  Production Design by Alexander Toluboff.  Costume Design by Walter Plunkett.  Film Editing by Otho Lovering, Dorothy Spencer.  Academy Awards 1939.   The western that started it all; certainly the genre was already well established…

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The Informer (1935)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1935.  RKO Radio Pictures.  Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, from the story by Liam O’Flaherty.  Cinematography by Joseph H. August.  Produced by John Ford.  Music by Max Steiner.  Production Design by Van Nest Polglase.  Costume Design by Walter Plunkett.  Film Editing by George Hively.  Academy Awards 1935.   Victor McLaglen plays an ex-IRA soldier who was thrown out by his…

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And Then There Were None

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Ten individuals are invited by a mysterious guest to a remote, island mansion where they are told that they have each committed a grievous offence for which they deserve to be punished.  One by one they are murdered, and with each death the remaining guests try to figure out who it…

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Carefree

BBB (out of 5) One of the weakest of the many delightful films that Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire did together. He plays a psychiatrist whose most frequent patient (Ralph Bellamy) wants him to help with his fiancee (Rogers). It seems the dizzy dame is avoiding marriage, and Bellamy hopes that psychotherapy will cure her fear of…

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For Whom The Bell Tolls

BB.5 (out of 5) This wooden adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s famous novel might have seemed like an instant classic when originally released in 1943, but today it’s tedious.  A story about patriots and foreigners joining the fight during the Spanish Civil War, the film boasts a marvelously energetic performance by Katina Paxinou as rebellious hero Pilar,…

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Bringing Up Baby

BBBBB (out of 5) Prototypical screwball comedy has been attempted many times since and was never quite replicated. Cary Grant is a bumbling scientist whose life work is the reconstruction of dinosaurs through the discovery of their fossilized bones. Katharine Hepburn is a klutzy heiress who manages to get in everyone’s way no matter where she goes….

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