The Seven Year Itch

BBB.5 (out of 5) Billy Wilder comedy that is most notable for the now historic image of Marilyn Monroe standing above a subway grate while her dress billows in the rushing air coming from below. Tom Ewell (recreating his stage role) is hilarious as a happily married man who sends his wife (Evelyn Keyes) and son away…

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Marty

BBBB (out of 5) Ernest Borgnine is excellent in this low-key drama, as a Brooklyn butcher who goes through life expecting very little. His existence mostly revolves around his lonely job followed by coming home to his judgmental mother until a timid schoolteacher (Betsy Blair) shows up and perks up his interests. Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay is…

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Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing

BBB.5 (out of 5) Melodrama was hardly ever more purple than in this sudsy romance. William Holden plays a G.I. posted in Korea who meets a half-European, half-Asian woman (Jennifer Jones with heavy eyeliner) who keeps calling herself “Eurasian” as if it were a thing.  The two embark on an illicit, forbidden love affair set…

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Guys And Dolls

BBBB (out of 5) Frank Loesser’s fantastic musical, based on stories by Damon Runyon, is served quite faithfully in this thoroughly enjoyable musical. The cast is (surprisingly) headed by Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons, and both of them do exceedingly well in both the singing and dancing departments. They play a notorious gambler (him) and a…

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Picnic

BBBB (out of 5) The sexual subtext of this adaptation of William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play has tamed considerably over the years, but an enjoyable, character-driven drama still remains. William Holden plays an ex-convict who seeks out an old friend (Cliff Robertson), now a rich factory owner, in order to ask for his help in getting…

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The Rose Tattoo

BB.5 (out of 5) Anna Magnani stars as an Italian immigrant housewife living in the American south. She loses her pride-and-joy of a husband in a truck accident and afterwards discovers that he wasn’t faithful to her. Her refusal to believe that her man was anything less than perfect estranges her from her daughter (Marisa…

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Stella (1955)

BBB (out of 5) Fans of Never On Sunday will want to see this earlier drama which features its stars, Melina Mercouri and Giorgos Foundas.  Mercouri (in her very first film) plays a high-spirited party girl who refuses to be demure and simple in order to land herself a husband. She catches Foundas’ eye, but his…

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East Of Eden

BBBBB (out of 5) My favourite James Dean performance (of the mere three main roles he played) is in this superbly brilliant adaptation of part of John Steinbeck’s novel.  He and Richard Davalos play religiously upstanding Raymond Massey‘s two sons, Davalos the good one with a strong moral character, and Dean the one who is no…

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Ordet

BBBBB (out of 5) A Danish farmer lives with his three sons on their peaceful, wealthy countryside estate. After a life steeped in life-affirming religious devotion, the one son has turned atheist, the other is in love with a fundamentalist preacher’s daughter, and the third has spent so much time in his theological studies that…

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