A Thousand Clowns

BBB.5 (out of 5) Jason Robards is raising his whipsmart nephew (Barry Gordon) after the boy’s mother left him without explanation, but thanks to his sharing his unconventional view of life with the boy(working every day is for suckers!) has inspired the concern of the welfare board.  Tightass William Daniels and a delightful Barbara Harris (in her…

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The Sandpiper

B (out of 5) Bohemian artist Elizabeth Taylor (who despite the trappings is wonderful) has her idyllic life by the sea interrupted when her son, who she is trying to raise as a free-thinking nature boy, gets into serious trouble and is forced to attend a religious boarding school. The pastor who runs the place (Richard Burton,…

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Inside Daisy Clover

BBBB (out of 5) Natalie Wood is terrific as a teenager living on a grimy boardwalk in 1930s California with her mentally unstable, tarot-card reading mother (Ruth Gordon). When a film studio head (Christopher Plummer) gets wind of a record that shows off her enormously charming voice, Wood is whisked away to the stardom she dreams of,…

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Cat Ballou

BBB (out of 5) The tone is perfect in this spoof-flavoured western, starring a delicious Jane Fonda as the title character and featuring an Oscar-winning double performance from Lee Marvin as two gunslingers. Fonda returns to the frontier after finishing her education, determined to be a schoolteacher and live on the farm run by her cantankerous and…

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The Collector

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Terence Stamp was a poor clerk who won the lottery and now owns a beautiful mansion in the remote British countryside.  His passion for pinning butterflies behind glass might seem a harmless hobby except it soon makes way for something far more sinister:  he is in love with posh Samantha Eggar and, rather…

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The Yellow Rolls-Royce

BB.5 (out of 5) Anthony Asquith and Terence Rattigan team up to recreate the success of The V.I.P.s with another all-star affair, three stories of disappointed love linked by the titular vehicle. It begins in the 1930s, when the luxury car makes its way straight from the factory into the possession of aristocrat Rex Harrison,…

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The Sound Of Music

BBBB (out of 5) The hills are alive with some of the most enjoyable schmaltz you’ll ever see. There’s plenty to criticize in this candy-coloured version of the life of the Von Trapp Family Singers, but it’s just so damn chipper you might as well go with the flow and like it anyway.  Julie Andrews is absolutely…

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The Great Race

BB (out of 5) Blake Edwards hits the big time with this bloated epic comedy, in which he combines his madcap style with an international setting, top-flight cast and all the set pieces that money can buy. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play rival daredevils who are in a constant war of one-upmanship that sees them sabotaging…

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Ship Of Fools

BBB.5 (out of 5) Stanley Kramer followed his successful Judgment At Nuremberg with another epic-length World War II-themed drama. This one takes place in the mid-thirties, on a cruise liner setting sail from Mexico on its way to Germany. On board is a huge assortment of characters, all played by an internationally famous cast including…

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Doctor Zhivago

BBBB (out of 5) David Lean followed his epic Lawrence of Arabia with this equally large and mostly impressive screen adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s novel. It stars Omar Sharif as a Russian doctor whose marriage to placid Geraldine Chaplin is threatened by his love of a political activist’s wife (Julie Christie, the same year she won an…

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Darling

BBBB (out of 5) A fashion model and actress (Julie Christie) works her way up to the big time by having affairs with all the right men and leaving behind everyone who truly loves her, only to get to the top and realize that it’s all empty and meaningless. This highly stylized film, shot at…

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The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

BBB.5 (out of 5) John Le Carre’s spy novel and this subsequent film adaptation came out at the perfect time to give the world the ultimate James Bond antidote. Where Ian Fleming’s hero is besotted with martinis, girls and guns, Le Carre’s protagonist Alec Leamas (Richard Burton in a marvelously intense performance) is the victim of…

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