It Started In Naples (1960)

MELVILLE SHAVELSON Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  USA, 1960.  Capri Productions, Paramount Pictures.  Story by Michael Pertwee, Jack Davies, Screenplay by Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose, Suso Cecchi D’Amico.  Cinematography by Robert Surtees.  Produced by Jack Rose.  Music by Alessandro Cicognini, Carlo Savina.  Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Orietta Nasalli-Rocca.  Film Editing by Frank Bracht.  Academy Awards 1960.  Golden Globe Awards…

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Sons And Lovers

BBBB (out of 5) Adaptation of the second half of D.H. Lawrence’s masterful novel that takes liberties with dramatization but has at its core the same essential focus, a relationship between mother and son that has near-Oedipal levels of dependence. Wendy Hiller is perfectly cast as the woman who takes the disappointment of her marriage to a…

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Sunrise At Campobello

BBB (out of 5) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Ralph Bellamy) is enjoying wife and family at his summer home on Campobello Island in New Brunswick when pain in his back and fatigue in his legs turns out to be the onset of the polio virus. Wife Eleanor (Greer Garson) is immensely concerned and becomes devoted to his…

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The Alamo

BB (out of 5) Three hours of wet matches is what you will get from this bland disaster, starring and directed by the Duke himself. John Wayne as Davy Crockett, Richard Widmark as Col. Jim Bowie and Laurence Harvey as Col. William Travis defend the now mythical mission, where rebels held strong against the Mexican army determined to…

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The Virgin Spring (Jungfrukallan)

BBBBB (out of 5) An old Swedish legend is turned into gorgeous baroque drama by Ingmar Bergman in this deservedly famous, Oscar-winning film.  A medieval landowner (Max von Sydow) sends his dewy, beautiful daughter on horseback to the church across the other side of the woods to light a candle, with a resentful, heavily pregnant…

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The Apartment

BBBBB (out of 5) Jack Lemmon excels as a low-level office worker who, on occasion, lends his bachelor apartment to philandering business superiors to use for trysts with their mistresses. Unbeknownst to him, one of them (Fred MacMurray) is going there with the elevator girl who has caught Lemmon’s eye (Shirley MacLaine in the best American female…

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Our Man In Havana

BBBB (out of 5) In case The Third Man and The End of The Affair have you convinced that writer Graham Greene was a sober fellow, this wonderful black comedy should provide a wider perspective. Alec Guinness plays a British vacuum salesman in Cuba just before Castro’s revolution who is approached by a British spy (Noel Coward)…

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Exodus

BBB (out of 5) Otto Preminger’s three hour-plus presentation of the forming of the state of Israel has some great moments, but could definitely afford to be a lot shorter. It begins with European Jewish refugees stuck aboard an immobile ocean liner waiting for permission to land on the British-controlled shores of Cyprus, through to…

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Inherit The Wind

BBBB (out of 5) This riveting courtroom drama, based on the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, is one of Stanley Kramer’s most impressive films. Inspired by the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of 1925 in Tennessee, it stars Spencer Tracy as a defence lawyer assigned to the case of a schoolteacher being discharged for…

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Can-Can

BBB (out of 5) In nineteenth century Paris the lewd dance of the Can-Can is forbidden, but Shirley MacLaine has been performing it in her Montmartre nightclub, where she and the other girls keep police officers from ratting on them while kicking up their skirts for their customers’ pleasure. When a young, moralistic judge (Louis Jourdan)…

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The Sundowners

BBBB (out of 5) A sheep-herding Australian family lives nomadically across the wild outback of the continent in this enjoyable film. Their adventures, encounters and personal struggles are detailed beautifully by Fred Zinnemann’s strong direction and the intelligent script. Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr, reunited from Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, are both excellent as the parents,…

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Butterfield 8

BB (out of 5) Even Elizabeth Taylor insisted that it was her life-threatening illness and emergency tracheotomy that inspired the Academy to award her a Best Actress Oscar for this mundane film. She plays a high-class call girl who falls in love with swanky Laurence Harvey. It should work out for them both, but naturally it…

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