Tag Archive: Hal B. Wallis

Watch On the Rhine

BBB (out of 5) Lillian Hellman’s play is adapted to the screen by Dashiell Hammett with respectable results, giving Bette Davis another chance to prove herself queen of Warners dramas and winning Paul Lukas an… Continue reading

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Desert Fury

BBBB (out of 5) Problem child Lizabeth Scott comes home to her saloon-owning mother (Mary Astor) after having been thrown out of yet another boarding school.  Astor has tried to raise her to be… Continue reading

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Kings Row

BBBBB (out of 5) This is the most curious masterpiece: a perfect blend of film noir, period drama, and charming small-town situational comedy, all lensed to perfection by cinematographer James Wong Howe. Director… Continue reading

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Fun In Acapulco

BBB (out of 5) Another Elvis Presley music-fest that serves as a collection of music videos in the days before MTV. Girls! Girls! Girls! ended with him as the happiest captain of a sailboat… Continue reading

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Girls! Girls! Girls!

BB.5 (out of 5) The producers of this film seem to be slightly aware that acting wasn’t exactly Elvis’ strong suit:  every possible opportunity to start another song is crammed into the running… Continue reading

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Blue Hawaii

BB.5 (out of 5) Elvis Presley gets out of the army and returns home to Honolulu, avoiding his wealthy parents in favour of basking in the sun and surf with his gorgeous, presumably native… Continue reading

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Artists And Models

BB.5 (out of 5) Splashy colours and some fun songs don’t do much for this forgettable Martin and Lewis comedy. Dean Martin plays a cartoonist who is down on his luck for his inspiration… Continue reading

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Barefoot In The Park

BBB (out of 5) Neil Simon’s hit play transfers to the screen with charming results, obviously maintaining its small scope of space but never feeling cramped. Jane Fonda is delightful as the new bride… Continue reading

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Now, Voyager

BBBB (out of 5) One of Bette Davis‘ greatest Warner Bros. melodramas is this powerful drama about a woman’s emergence into her own self. She plays an ugly duckling spinster who, thanks to… Continue reading

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The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers

BBBB (out of 5) This terrific film noir is one of the darkest films to come out of the forties. It starts off with young Martha Ivers, a twelve year-old heiress who lives… Continue reading

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The Petrified Forest

BBBB (out of 5) Early Bette Davis classic is one of the best stage adaptations to come out of Hollywood in the thirties. Leslie Howard plays a motorist who stops in for car repairs at… Continue reading

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The Furies

BBBB (out of 5) The title refers as much to the temperaments of its main characters as it does to the land upon which they live.  Barbara Stanwyck is in fine form as the… Continue reading

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Little Caesar

BBB.5 (out of 5) The popularity of gangster films in the 1930s was the result of this film and Public Enemy being giant successes, and both of them remain milestones of the genre, this one… Continue reading

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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… Continue reading

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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… Continue reading

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Dark Victory

BBBB (out of 5) It always amazes me that my fellow campy queens who run around quoting Bette Davis lines (“Fasten your seat belts…blah blah blah…what a dump…blah blah blah”) don’t reach for any… Continue reading

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The Old Maid

BBB.5 (out of 5) Typical Bette Davis soaper has the great actress giving birth to a child out of wedlock and having her married cousin (Miriam Hopkins) raise her to hide the scandal. Naturally,… Continue reading

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The Great Lie

BBB.5 (out of 5) When Mary Astor and George Brent elope, they find out their marriage is invalid because her previous divorce has yet to come through. Complications ensue and soon Brent is off to… Continue reading

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Come Back, Little Sheba

BBB (out of 5) Shirley Booth wanders around her kitchen begging for our affection in this grimy little kitchen-sink drama. She won an Academy Award as a housewife who has to contend with the… Continue reading

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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… Continue reading

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Jezebel

BBB.5 (out of 5) Bette Davis stuns the crowd again as a rebellious southern gal who shockingly wears red to her cotillion ball (gasp!)  She also openly pursues a handsome gentleman (Henry Fonda)… Continue reading

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Sorry, Wrong Number

BBBB (out of 5) Terrific adaptation of the marvelous radio play by Lucille Fletcher. A bedridden woman (Barbara Stanwyck) goes to make a phone call and accidentally overhears another conversation when the lines… Continue reading

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Becket

BBBBB (out of 5) The relationship between Kenry Henry II of England and his best friend Thomas Becket, later to become the Archbishop of Canterbury, makes for an unforgettable viewing experience in this… Continue reading

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The Maltese Falcon

BBBBB (out of 5) The one and only original film noir, the film that launched a thousand imitations. Granted, some of those imitations were even improvements on the original (I like The Big… Continue reading

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In This Our Life

BB (out of 5) A spoiled, bitchy socialite (Bette Davis, of course) dumps her fiancee (George Brent) and runs off with her sister’s instead. After the manipulated man (Dennis Morgan) commits suicide to escape… Continue reading

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Juarez

BBBB (out of 5) Powerful and impressively mounted film biography of the famous Mexican revolutionary Benito Juarez (Paul Muni, a mainstay of Warner Bros. film biographies at the time).  Juarez fights for the… Continue reading

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The Prince And The Pauper

BBB.5 (out of 5) Adorable adventure features a remarkable sense of time and place, the kind of period film that Warner Bros. excelled at in the late thirties and forties. Not as compelling… Continue reading

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The Story Of Louis Pasteur

BBBB (out of 5) Immensely entertaining, though only erratically factual biopic of the man who introduced us to the world of germs. Paul Muni won an Oscar for his full-throttle performance as the French… Continue reading

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The Charge Of The Light Brigade

BBB.5 (out of 5) Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem regarding the famous, unexplained suicide mission of 600 British cavalrymen attacking Russian troops numbering past twenty-five thousand provides the basis for this fictionalized adventure film.… Continue reading

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Casablanca

BBBBB (out of 5) Here’s another one of those rare classics that actually deserves its status among the greatest films ever made: in Casablanca, intrigue, romance and a colourful cast all conspire to… Continue reading

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Yankee Doodle Dandy

BBBBB (out of 5) James Cagney just can’t keep all that energy to himself in this lively film biography of Irish-American songwriter George M. Cohan. Beginning at Cohan’s childhood when he was a vaudeville… Continue reading

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Santa Fe Trail

BBB (out of 5) Although its historical accuracy is more than questionable, this mixed up western does offer up the opportunity to see a part of the American past that is rarely dealt… Continue reading

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The Sea Hawk

BBBBB (out of 5) My favourite of Errol Flynn‘s swashbuckling adventures (not counting The Adventures of Robin Hood) is this exciting tale of heroes and pirates on the wild seas. Liberally adapted from… Continue reading

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The Private Lives Of Elizabeth And Essex (Essex And Elizabeth)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) The volatile love affair between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Earl of Essex in 16th-century England is the main focus of this fascinating and gorgeously shot costume drama.  Bette… Continue reading

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Four Daughters

BBBBB (out of 5) Every frame of this wonderful comedy-tearjerker is chock full of charm as it follows the hilarious love lives of Claude Rains‘ four attractive daughters (three of them played by… Continue reading

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Sergeant York

BB.5 (out of 5) Even the corniest of corny American propaganda movies won’t prepare you for the cheesiness that is Sergeant York, an attempt to make an eternal legend out of a World… Continue reading

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Marked Woman

BBB.5 (out of 5) “I’ll get you! Even if I have to come back from the grave to do it!” Bette Davis screams at the man responsible for her innocent sister’s death. She plays… Continue reading

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Gold Diggers Of 1937

BB.5 (out of 5) Dick Powell stars in this pedestrian “Let’s put on a show” musical, one of the many choreographed by Busby Berkeley to entertain Depression-era audiences. Victor Moore wants to put on a… Continue reading

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The Rainmaker (1956)

BBB.5 (out of 5) An unmarried daughter is such serious business that in this film it’s the cause of major drama. Katharine Hepburn is excellent as the vulnerable woman in question, whose spinster state… Continue reading

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