The Country Girl

BBB.5 (out of 5) Strong film version of Clifford Odets’ play about an over-the-hill alcoholic singer (Bing Crosby) whose attempts at a comeback in a big Broadway musical seem to be thwarted by his long-suffering and unhappy wife (Grace Kelly). A well-meaning director (William Holden) does his best to keep Crosby in the show, but…

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Carmen Jones

BBBB (out of 5) Otto Preminger made history when he decided to bring his all-black stage production of the Oscar Hammerstein II adaptation of Bizet’s opera to the big screen. Dorothy Dandridge won the lead role, the sassy vixen of the title who works at an umbrella factory during the second World War and wins the…

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The Barefoot Contessa

BBB.5 (out of 5) Ava Gardner is usually defined by her appearance in this movie, and the definition is apt; she’s perfectly cast as the irresistibly beautiful and mysterious movie star who comes out of nowhere and dies tragically young.  Humphrey Bogart plays a movie director who finds himself in a town in Spain with an eager…

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On The Waterfront

BBBBB (out of 5) Incredible drama that still crackles with tension after almost fifty years. Marlon Brando is brilliant as a fighter turned longshoreman who gets involved in the strikes going on among his colleagues along New York City’s harbour. Having been brought into this semi-criminal life by his brother, he now desires to turn…

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Brigadoon

BB.5 (out of 5) Gene Kelly and Van Johnson play tourists in the highlands of Scotland who happen upon a mystical village in the middle of enchanted glade, a tiny hamlet that only comes to life for one day every hundred years. Their time spent there is mostly utilized in getting to know the charming locals,…

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Broken Lance

BBBB (out of 5) Excellent western by Edward Dmytryk and featuring a terrific performance by Spencer Tracy as a cattle baron who raids a copper smelter that is polluting his water and harming his livestock. His son (Robert Wagner) takes credit for the crime and goes to jail in place of his father, while Tracy’s other…

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A Star Is Born (1954)

BBBBB (out of 5) This is the best version of the oft-told tale of stardom and personal loss. Judy Garland gives the performance of a lifetime as an aspiring singer who meets famous movie star James Mason and falls in love with him. He promotes her to his film studio and she eventually becomes a big…

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Genevieve

BBBB (out of 5) Whacky, charming comedy about a cross-country race between two Brits driving their antique cars. Genevieve is the name that one of them gives his automobile, and the adventures she takes him on during his intended victory race include her breaking down many times along the way. Kay Kendall is delightful in…

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Sabrina (1954)

BBBB (out of 5) Glossy, charming romantic film that is one of the hallmarks of Audrey Hepburn‘s career. She plays the title character, daughter of a chaffeur who grows up above the garage and constantly watches the lives of the wealthy family her father works for.  Having long fostered a fixation on the clan’s young prince…

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