Topaz (1969)

ALFRED HITCHCOCK Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  USA, 1969.  Universal Pictures.  Screenplay by Samuel A. Taylor, based on the novel by Leon Uris.  Cinematography by Jack Hildyard.  Produced by Alfred Hitchcock.  Music by Maurice Jarre.  Production Design by Henry Bumstead.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by William H. Ziegler. Alfred Hitchcock returns to a Cold War theme following his underwhelming Torn Curtain, this…

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The Emperor Waltz (1948)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA, 1948.  Paramount Pictures.  Directed by Billy Wilder.  Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder.  Cinematography by George Barnes.  Produced by Charles Brackett.  Music by Victor Young.  Production Design by Franz Bachelin, Hans Dreier.  Costume Design by Edith Head, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.  Academy Awards 1948.   Corny nonsense that marks a rare misfire for director Billy Wilder and…

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Family Plot

BBB (out of 5) A wealthy dowager (Cathleen Nesbitt) enlists her psychic (Barbara Harris) to help her with a very private family matter: years ago she forced her sister to give up her illegitimate son for adoption and, now nearing her death without an heir in sight, wants to find the lost child and bequeath…

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The Major And The Minor (1942)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1942.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, suggested by a play by Edward Childs Carpenter, from a story by Fanny Kilbourne.  Cinematography by Leo Tover.  Produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr..  Music by Robert Emmett Dolan.  Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hans Dreier.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.   Tired of…

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Five Graves to Cairo (1943)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1943.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, based on the play by Lajos Biro. Cinematography by John F. Seitz.  Produced by Charles Brackett.  Music by Miklos Rozsa.  Production Design by Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.  Academy Awards 1943.   A British soldier (Franchot Tone, employing very little Britishness) arrives…

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A Foreign Affair (1948)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1948. Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Richard L. Breen, adaptation by Robert Harari, based on an original story by David Shaw.  Cinematography by Charles Lang.  Produced by Charles Brackett.  Music by Friedrich Hollaender.  Production Design by Hans Dreier, Walter H. Tyler.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.  Academy Awards 1948.   Billy Wilder…

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The Black Orchid

BBBB (out of 5) Sophia Loren is in mourning after the death of her husband, working day and night to make ends while her son is upstate in a juvenile detention centre. Anthony Quinn espies this sad beauty while visiting her neighbours and immediately falls in love, begging her to go out with him and refused the pleasure until…

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Sextette

BB (out of 5) Always the one to make a lasting impression, Mae West made one final film as writer and star before her death two years later. In her usual tongue in cheek style, she plays the boy-crazy centre of attention who has just married luscious young Timothy Dalton and can’t wait to get him into…

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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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Desert Fury

BBBB (out of 5) Problem child Lizabeth Scott comes home to her saloon-owning mother (Mary Astor) after having been thrown out of yet another boarding school.  Astor has tried to raise her to be more than just a booze-slinging casino owner, but trying to get her daughter beyond her origins proves very difficult when Scott falls…

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The Stork Club

BB.5 (out of 5) Betty Hutton is adorable as a coat check girl at the titular nightclub, who rescues an old man (Barry Fitzgerald) from drowning thinking him a poor lost soul. What she doesn’t know is that he is a millionaire who, touched by the girl’s concern, becomes her anonymous benefactor and sets her up…

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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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