Moulin Rouge (1952)

BBBB (out of 5) Gorgeous romance focusing on the (fictionalized) love life of painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (Jose Ferrer), whose images forever became the symbol of Paris during the Belle Epoque.  Toulouse-Lautrec stood at barely more than four and a half feet thanks to stunted growth following an accident that broke his legs in his youth,…

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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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Ivanhoe

BBB (out of 5) Walter Scott’s popular novel is played as adventure for the Robin Hood fans in this handsomely mounted though hopelessly dated production. Robert Taylor is colorless as the titular knight who discovers that King Richard, long thought dead, is actually being held for ransom. Taylor must find a way to raise the money…

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With A Song In My Heart

BBBB (out of 5) Enormously enjoyable musical biopic of World World II songstress Jane Frohman. Frohman was on the rise in her exceptional recording career when an airplane accident injured her leg and left her handicapped for the rest of her life.  Susan Hayward gives a rip-roaring performance in the lead, overcoming the film’s more predictable…

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Monkey Business (1952)

BBBB (out of 5) Scientist Cary Grant discovers a formula that can give its taker a new found youthfulness. He starts off testing it on the apes in his laboratory, who all turn frisky and fun and spike his water bottle with the stuff. Now with a huge dosage in him, Grant ends up with the…

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Come Back, Little Sheba

BBB (out of 5) Shirley Booth wanders around her kitchen begging for our affection in this grimy little kitchen-sink drama. She won an Academy Award as a housewife who has to contend with the boring nature of her life while waiting for her beloved pet of the title to return home to her. Her husband (Burt…

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The Bad And The Beautiful

BBBB.5 (out of 5) The soap opera-style plot of this classic is easily overcome by the electrifying performances and artistic direction by Vincente Minnelli; not only is the film beautifully shot, but it is beautifully shot in black and white, when we all thought Minnelli was solely a genius with colour. Kirk Douglas plays a maniacal…

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The Quiet Man

BBBBB (out of 5) If The Searchers is John Wayne’s best western, The Quiet Man is his best film outside the Oater genre. He plays a champion boxer who runs away from his high-profile life after a tragic accident in the ring, seeking shelter in his mother’s native Ireland and looking to buy the home…

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Singin’ In The Rain

BBBBB (out of 5) The classic musical that has never aged a day. Gene Kelly plays a movie star during a time when silent films were switching over to synchronized sound. The effect on the careers of Hollywood luminaries at the time is the subject of this gorgeously shot, perfectly scored film, and a crisis arises…

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The Greatest Show On Earth

BBBB (out of 5) Cecil B. DeMille’s tribute to the wondrous world of the Big Top is impressively entertaining, a silly choice for a Best Picture Oscar (the Academy was obviously dead set against awarding more dramatic fare like The Quiet Man or the politically controversial High Noon) but an enjoyable one all the same….

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I’ll See You In My Dreams (1951)

BBB (out of 5) Unremarkable but pleasant film biography of song lyricist Gus Kahn, whose clever and lovely words still grace the lips of singers today. Danny Thomas plays Kahn, a delivery man who spent years writing song lyrics and poems before finally taking them to a music store and showing them to a whiz…

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High Noon

BBBBB (out of 5) Gary Cooper stars in this landmark western, one of the first notable films to play out (mostly) in “real time”. The story starts out with his wedding to Quaker Grace Kelly, then continues as he, the sheriff in town, discovers that a group of bandits are on their way to his town…

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