The Spirit Of St. Louis (1957)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1957.  Leland Hayward Productions, Warner Bros., Billy Wilder Productions.  Screenplay by Billy Wilder, Wendell Mayes, adaptation by Charles Lederer, based on the book by Charles A. Lindbergh.  Cinematography by Robert Burks, J. Peverell Marley.  Produced by Leland Hayward.  Music by Franz Waxman.  Production Design by Art Loel.  Costume Design by Jane Leonard, Vic Vallejo.  Film Editing…

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Possessed (1947)

CURTIS BERNHARDT Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1947.  Warner Bros..  Story by Rita Weiman, Screenplay by Silvia Richards, Ranald MacDougall.  Cinematography by Joseph A. Valentine.  Produced by Jerry Wald.  Music by  Franz Waxman.  Production Design by Anton Grot.  Costume Design by Adrian, Bernard Newman.  Film Editing by Rudi Fehr.  Academy Awards 1947.  Cannes Film Festival 1947.   Joan Crawford is madly in love with architect Van Heflin, but he’s had his…

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My Cousin Rachel (1952)

BBBB (out of 5) Daphne Du Maurier’s captivating mystery was barely on the shelves for a year when this big screen adaptation was released, introducing mass audiences to the talent of Richard Burton in his first widely seen role (and his first of seven Oscar nominations).  He plays the orphan raised by a loving cousin who…

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Bad Seed (Mauvaise Graine)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Billy Wilder made his directorial debut in France before escaping oncoming Nazi power and heading to Hollywood.  He shows talent as a filmmaker early on in a charming story he co-helmed with Alexander Esway that also features an early appearance by a seventeen year-old Danielle Darrieux.  She plays the sole female member of…

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Sunrise At Campobello

BBB (out of 5) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Ralph Bellamy) is enjoying wife and family at his summer home on Campobello Island in New Brunswick when pain in his back and fatigue in his legs turns out to be the onset of the polio virus. Wife Eleanor (Greer Garson) is immensely concerned and becomes devoted to his…

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Mister Roberts (1955)

MERVYN LeROY, JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1955.  Warner Bros., Orange.  Screenplay by Frank S. Nugent, Joshua Logan, based on the play by Thomas Heggen, Joshua Logan, from the novel by Thomas Heggen.  Cinematography by Winton C. Hoch.  Produced by Leland Hayward.  Music by Franz Waxman.  Production Design by Art Loel.  Costume Design by Moss Mabry.  Film Editing by Jack Murray.  Academy…

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Stalag 17 (1953)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1953. Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Billy Wilder, Edwin Blum, based on the play by Donald Bevan, Edmund Trzcinski.  Cinematography by Ernest Laszlo.  Produced by Billy Wilder.  Music by Franz Waxman.  Production Design by Franz Bachelin, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Allan Sloane.  Film Editing by George Tomasini.  Academy Awards 1953.   Inmates in a prisoner-of-war camp in World War II Germany are…

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Sunset Blvd.

BBBBB (out of 5) The mother of all backstage Hollywood movies that just never seems to age. One of the peaks of Billy Wilder’s abundantly successful career is this fantastic film about a struggling screenwriter (William Holden) who takes refuge in the decaying home of a has-been silent movie queen (Gloria Swanson, in a career-reviving…

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A Day At The Races

BBBBB (out of 5) Reviews of this film always point out that it isn’t quite as good as its predecessor A Night At The Opera, but who cares?  The plot is strung together a little more haphazardly than before, but it doesn’t make Groucho any less witty or the sight gags any less brilliant. The story,…

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Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

JAMES WHALE Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1935.  Universal Pictures.  Adapted by William Hurlbut, John L. Balderston, Screenplay by William Hurlbut, suggested by the story Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  Cinematography by John J. Mescall.  Produced by Carl Laemmle Jr..  Music by Franz Waxman.  Production Design by Charles D. Hall.  Costume Design by Vera West.  Film Editing by Ted J. Kent.  Academy Awards 1935. Superior sequel to the…

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Taras Bulba

BBB (out of 5) Anyone looking for a how-to guide on being the perfect Cossack need look no further than this bloated but strangely enjoyable drama starring Yul Brynner and Tony Curtis.  Brynner is part of a band of warriors who are duped by the Polish into giving up their beloved Steppes; many years later, he…

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Mr. Skeffington

BB.5 (out of 5) As with many similar soap opera films in which Bette Davis appeared, this one provides her with a magnificently juicy role while being in itself a grand bore. She plays a society bitch who mistreats everyone for decades (thanks to very impressive ageing makeup) until she finally gets the chance to make…

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