The Sterile Cuckoo

ALAN J. PAKULA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  USA, 1969.  Boardwalk Productions.  Screenplay by Alvin Sargent, based on the novel by John Nichols.  Cinematography by Milton R. Krasner.  Produced by Alan J. Pakula.  Music by Fred Karlin.  Production Design by Roland Anderson.  Costume Design by John A. Anderson, Jennifer L. Parsons.  Film Editing by Sam O’Steen, John W. Wheeler.  Academy Awards 1969.  Golden Globe Awards…

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Cactus Flower

BBB.5 (out of 5) Walter Matthau plays a successful dentist who lies to women and tells them he’s married with children in order to avoid complicated, serious relationships. His present girlfriend (Goldie Hawn in her film debut) believes that his children are the reason he won’t divorce his wife to be with her, when really he just…

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The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Maggie Smith earned her international reputation in this excellent British comedy-drama. She plays an eccentric Scottish teacher at an all-girls’ school in Edinburgh who pushes her pupils towards impractical passions and away from the minor concerns of everyday life. She herself has a personal life which is pretty messy, what with her…

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The Secret Of Santa Vittoria

BB.5 (out of 5) The Italian hamlet of Santa Vittoria decides, in the early forties, to oust their current leadership in favour of placing a drunken lout of a wine merchant (Anthony Quinn) as mayor. He takes the job with fervor but it does nothing to improve his standing with his nagging wife (Anna Magnani)…

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Hello, Dolly!

BB (out of 5) Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker gets a garish musical treatment in this overblown film.  Barbra Streisand plays Dolly Levi, a rich widow who specializes in setting up the single and the lovelorn. While assisting a wealthy Yonkers store owner (Walter Matthau) in landing the girl of his dreams (Marianne McAndrew), she decides to…

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Anne Of The Thousand Days

BBB.5 (out of 5) King Henry VIII (Richard Burton) risks the dangerous anger of the Vatican when he forms the Church of England in order to obtain a divorce from his wife, Catherine of Aragon (Irene Papas). Motivating him is a romance between himself and Anne Boleyn (Genevieve Bujold), and he believes that marrying her…

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Easy Rider

BBBB (out of 5) This classic is just as hip and fresh today as it was when it was originally released. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda play bikers who decide to go against their straight-laced contemporaries and ride their choppers across America from Los Angeles to New Orleans. Their various encounters with strange characters make up most…

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Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

BBBB.5 (out of 5) This classic western, which is about as popular as Sam Peckinpah’s marvelous The Wild Bunch, stars a perfectly matched Robert Redford and Paul Newman as a Bonnie and Clyde of the Wild West who travel across the country robbing trains and banks and shooting up anybody who gets in their way. Unfortunately, the…

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Midnight Cowboy

BBBBB (out of 5) Cowboy Jon Voight leaves a boring small town life behind and heads to New York City where he plans to become a big-time hustler, studding himself out to gorgeous, rich women and living the high life. The jolt of reality he receives instead is some occasionally willing older women and guys giving…

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True Grit (1969)

BBB (out of 5) John Wayne earned an Academy Award for his portrayal of a broken-down, drunk and forgotten marshal who is hired by a teenage girl (Kim Darby) to track down and bring in for hanging the man who killed her father. Wayne’s preference for a bottle of whiskey over a good day’s work constantly…

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969)

B (out of 5) All the charm has been sapped out of this musical version of the popular story, originally produced by MGM in 1939 with Robert Donat.  Peter O’Toole makes a wonderful Mr. Chipping (fondly called Chips), a kindly and shy teacher whose marriage to a good woman (Petula Clark) inspires him to give…

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Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

BBBB (out of 5) Natalie Wood and Robert Culp play a married couple who attend a group therapy retreat session as research for one of Culp’s documentaries. They find the experience of being with honest and frank people so powerful that they decide to start living it for real, telling their friends their feelings about everything…

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