The Great Caruso (1951)

RICHARD THORPE Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1951.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, suggested by the biography of Enrico Caruso by Dorothy Caruso.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Music by Johnny Green, Peter Herman Adler.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Gabriel Scognamillo.  Costume Design by Helen Rose, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Gene Ruggiero.  Academy Awards 1951.  …

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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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The White Cliffs Of Dover (1944)

CLARENCE BROWN Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.  USA, 1944.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Claudine West, Jan Lustig, George Froeschel, additional poetry by Robert Nathan, based on the poem by Alice Duer Miller.  Cinematography by George J. Folsey.  Produced by Clarence Brown, Sidney Franklin.  Music by Herbert Stothart.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Robert Kern.  Academy Awards 1944.  …

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Callaway Went Thataway (The Star Said No)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Old westerns starring Howard Keel are being played on television and thrilling the kids who watch them on the small screen with their parents.  Film producers realize this is a great opportunity to resurrect the star’s career and put new films out in theatres that will net a huge profit, but there’s one…

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Marie Antoinette (1938)

BBB (out of 5) Married to the king of France as a teenager, brought to the court of Paris from her native Austria, Marie Antoinette (Norma Shearer) quickly made friends and enemies and, in dealing with the latter, decided that living high on the hog was the best way to put fear in all who…

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Little Nellie Kelly (1940)

NORMAN TAUROG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1940.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Jack McGowan, based on the musical comedy by George M. Cohan.  Cinematography by Ray June.  Produced by Arthur Freed.  Music by George Bassman, Roger Edens, George Stoll.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Gile Steele, Dolly Tree.  Film Editing by Fredrick Y. Smith.   Ridiculously boring yarn has lovely lass Judy Garland give birth…

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Scaramouche

BBB (out of 5) The famed swordsman (played by Stewart Granger) scampers around 18th-century France in search of new villains to slay. When the evil Mel Ferrer slays Granger’s brother, our hero must hide out in a troupe of travelling players as the clownish character Scaramouche until he can find his opportunity to seek vengeance. Meanwhile,…

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Bitter Sweet

BBB (out of 5) If you can buy a late-thirties Jeanette MacDonald as a lovestruck teenager than you will get no end of pleasure from this stilted but beautifully shot adaptation of Noel Coward’s musical play. MacDonald abandons a life of privilege and wealth, not to mention a pre-arranged suitor, in order to live with violinist…

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Go West

BBB.5 (out of 5) The wind had long gone out of the creative sails of the Marx Brothers movies by this point, but like A Night In Casablanca, this is one of their later films that still managed to be pretty funny even if it wasn’t as brilliant as A Day At The Races or…

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The Merry Widow (1952)

CURTIS BERNHARDT Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA, 1952.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, based on the operetta by Viktor Leon, Leo Stein.  Cinematography by Robert Surtees.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse.  Costume Design by Helen Rose, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Conrad A. Nervig.  Academy Awards 1952.   The worst version of the popular operetta is this…

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For Me And My Gal

BBBB (out of 5) Gene Kelly‘s film debut came about in this delightful period musical starring him and Judy Garland (of trivial note: it’s the only film she was ever in where she was the sole name billed above the title). They play vaudevillians during World War I who are thrown together in love but…

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Strike Up The Band

BBBB (out of 5) The best of the Mickey Rooney–Judy Garland ‘Let’s Put On A Show!’ movies was this exciting MGM musical that has both stars at the peak of their teenage talents (though Garland would definitely blossom as an adult actress much later). The pair play a shyly romantic couple who decide to enter…

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