The Black Orchid

BBBB (out of 5) Sophia Loren is in mourning after the death of her husband, working day and night to make ends while her son is upstate in a juvenile detention centre. Anthony Quinn espies this sad beauty while visiting her neighbours and immediately falls in love, begging her to go out with him and refused the pleasure until…

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The Mating Season

BBB.5 (out of 5) John Lund plays an ambitious worker at an Ohio industrial company who meets and marries a gorgeous socialite (Gene Tierney) after he saves her from falling down a cliff. The day of their marriage, his mother (Thelma Ritter) comes to visit, having just shut down her New Jersey hamburger joint after the…

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Detective Story

BBBB (out of 5) A New York police headquarters is the nexus of intense activity in this smooth adaptation of the hit Broadway play by Sidney Kingsley.  William Wyler keeps it stagebound without sacrificing cinematic style in a small world of action, at its head an incorruptible but darkly cynical cop (Kirk Douglas) who sticks…

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Ace In The Hole (The Big Carnival) (1951)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5. Paramount Pictures.  USA, 1951.  Story by Victor Desny, Screenplay by Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels, Walter Newman. Cinematography by Charles Lang.  Produced by Billy Wilder.  Music by Hugo Friedhofer.  Production Design by A. Earl Hedrick, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt.  Academy Awards 1951.   A stunning piece of news media satire, told with so…

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When Worlds Collide

BB.5 (out of 5) It must have dazzled the kids in 1951, but this film has not aged nearly as well as Forbidden Planet or The War Of The Worlds (heck, it hasn’t aged nearly as well as World Without End). When scientists announce that a star is headed for Earth and will destroy our planet…

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Stalag 17 (1953)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1953. Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Billy Wilder, Edwin Blum, based on the play by Donald Bevan, Edmund Trzcinski.  Cinematography by Ernest Laszlo.  Produced by Billy Wilder.  Music by Franz Waxman.  Production Design by Franz Bachelin, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Allan Sloane.  Film Editing by George Tomasini.  Academy Awards 1953.   Inmates in a prisoner-of-war camp in World War II Germany are…

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Double Indemnity (1944)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.  USA, 1944.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler, based on the novel by James M. Cain.  Cinematography by John F. Seitz.  Produced by Joseph Sistrom.  Music by Miklos Rozsa.  Production Design by Hans Dreier, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.  Academy Awards 1944.   One of film noir‘s greatest peaks is this fantastic Billy…

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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 the world ever did see. When Fun In Acapulco begins, the fun has ended on the water and Presley is stranded on…

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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 time of this mostly enjoyable fluff. The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll plays a fishing boat captain whose father lost his vessel to…

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Blue Hawaii (1961)

NORMAN TAUROG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1961.  Hal Wallis Productions.  Story by Allan Weiss, Screenplay by Hal Kanter.  Cinematography by Charles Lang.  Produced by Hal B. Wallis.  Music by Joseph J. Lilley.  Production Design by Hal Pereira, Walter H. Tyler.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Terry O. Morse.   Elvis Presley gets out of the army and returns home to Honolulu, avoiding his wealthy…

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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 until he realizes that Jerry Lewis‘s nocturnal dreams are a goldmine of ideas. Anita Ekberg appears as one of his models, and Shirley…

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A New Kind Of Love

BB.5 (out of 5) Definitely not a new kind of movie.  Joanne Woodward plays a dowdy fashion designer specializing in affordable knock-offs of Parisian haute couture, who meets up with cynical journalist Paul Newman while taking in some fashion shows in France’s beautiful capital. Newman doesn’t even look at her twice, but when Woodward dolls…

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