Witness For The Prosecution

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A mind-warping mystery about a tired, aging lawyer (Charles Laughton) who must defend a hopeless murder suspect (Tyrone Power).  Marlene Dietrich‘s scantily-disguised double role is the supreme winner of the show, and she steals literally every scene she’s in (and thanks to the studio’s not wanting to ruin the surprise ending, was…

Rate this:

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

BBBB (out of 5) The rise of consumer culture in post-war America and the increased obsession with celebrity that predominates the rest of the century are all predicted with perfect accuracy in this hilarious adaptation of the Broadway play. Tony Randall is terrific as the low-level advertising agency employee who comes up with the brilliant idea…

Rate this:

Pal Joey

BB.5 (out of 5) Less than enjoyable mangling of the extremely popular Broadway show, with the writers making the main character, who’s supposed to be a total heel (played by Gene Kelly on Broadway), into a nicer guy for Frank Sinatra to play. The musical directors in turn take apart Rodgers and Hart’s original musical score…

Rate this:

Peyton Place

BBBB (out of 5) The bestselling novel about sex and scandal in small-town America reaches the big screen with surprisingly few compromises.  Lana Turner plays a single mother trying to raise her daughter (Diane Varsi) in a perfect, white picket-fence environment but with great difficulty. Imagine her surprise when she interrupts a teenage after-school party where…

Rate this:

The Three Faces Of Eve

BBB.5 (out of 5) Ignore the painfully cheesy commentary by the “expert medical opinion” in this film and you have an engrossing psychological drama. Joanne Woodward is electrifying as a young woman suffering from multiple personality disorder, with two extra people inhabiting her besides her own self. Through sessions with her analyst, she is able to…

Rate this:

The Bridge On The River Kwai

BBBB (out of 5) American and British soldiers in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp decide that they are not helpless to fight the enemy, even from within their prison cells. A stiff, old-world Brit (Alec Guinness) sees the prisoners’ being forced to help the Japanese build a bridge over the river Kwai as an opportunity to…

Rate this:

Sayonara

BBB (out of 5) This South Pacific war drama must have seemed fantastic upon its successful original release, but in the years since it has definitely gathered a little dust. Still, it’s an enjoyable melodrama about an American soldier (Marlon Brando) stationed in Japan who indulges in a forbidden affair with a gorgeous ‘geisha girl’…

Rate this:

12 Angry Men

BBBBB (out of 5) Scintillating drama that takes place in one confined room, where twelve jurors are locked up in seclusion to decide the fate of a young inner-city defendant in a murder case. Most of them are ready to let the kid hang, but one (Henry Fonda) decides that he sees the possibility for…

Rate this:

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

JOHN HUSTON Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.   A Marine Corporal (Robert Mitchum) is stranded on a South Pacific island with a kindly nun (Deborah Kerr) who was herself left to fend for herself on the island after her superior died of a fatal disease. The two are completely at odds with each other until a…

Rate this:

Raintree County

BBB (out of 5) Almost twenty years after Gone With the Wind, another attempt was made to mount a giant epic of Southern Gothic proportions as a vehicle for Elizabeth Taylor.  Taylor’s performance shows more than enough skill to make a good Scarlett O’Hara, particularly in a nine-minute dramatic monologue that she delivers almost all…

Rate this:

Les Girls

BBBB (out of 5) Glorious MGM musical perfectly highlights how much the world of entertainment lost in the premature death of Kay Kendall two years later. She stars alongside Mitzi Gaynor and Taina Elg as three women who conflict in opinion over their various affairs with an American entertainer living in Paris (Gene Kelly). When Kendall publishes a…

Rate this:

Love In The Afternoon

BBB (out of 5) For some odd reason, filmmakers were under the distinct impression that Audrey Hepburn liked to get it on with old men. Humphrey Bogart (Sabrina), Cary Grant (Charade), Fred Astaire (Funny Face) and Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady) were all long in the tooth when they got to have a crack at the (very)…

Rate this: