The Emperor Waltz (1948)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA, 1948.  Paramount Pictures.  Directed by Billy Wilder.  Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder.  Cinematography by George Barnes.  Produced by Charles Brackett.  Music by Victor Young.  Production Design by Franz Bachelin, Hans Dreier.  Costume Design by Edith Head, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.  Academy Awards 1948.   Corny nonsense that marks a rare misfire for director Billy Wilder and…

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The Last Outpost (1935)

CHARLES BARTON, LOUIS J. GASNIER Bil’s rating (out of 5):   B.  USA, 1935.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Philip MacDonald, adaptation by Charles Brackett, Frank Partos, based on the short story The Drum by F. Britten Austin.  Cinematography by Theodor Sparkuhl.  Produced by E. Lloyd Sheldon.  Music by Bernard Kaun, William E. Lynch, Milan Roder, Heinz Roemheld.  Production Design by Hans Dreier, A….

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The Major And The Minor (1942)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1942.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, suggested by a play by Edward Childs Carpenter, from a story by Fanny Kilbourne.  Cinematography by Leo Tover.  Produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr..  Music by Robert Emmett Dolan.  Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hans Dreier.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.   Tired of…

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Wake Island

BBBB (out of 5) Fact-based account of the American servicemen stationed on Wake Island, a small oasis in the Pacific ocean.  The soldiers are barely kept in line by their commander (Brian Donlevy) while a private contractor (Albert Dekker) ignores army protocol to carry out his building project, but all differences are put aside when the events…

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Five Graves to Cairo (1943)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1943.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, based on the play by Lajos Biro. Cinematography by John F. Seitz.  Produced by Charles Brackett.  Music by Miklos Rozsa.  Production Design by Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.  Academy Awards 1943.   A British soldier (Franchot Tone, employing very little Britishness) arrives…

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A Foreign Affair (1948)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1948. Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Richard L. Breen, adaptation by Robert Harari, based on an original story by David Shaw.  Cinematography by Charles Lang.  Produced by Charles Brackett.  Music by Friedrich Hollaender.  Production Design by Hans Dreier, Walter H. Tyler.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.  Academy Awards 1948.   Billy Wilder…

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The Last Command

BBBB (out of 5) An aging movie extra (Emil Jannings) drags his tired body to the set of his latest assignment, another day of earning a dollar fulfilling a silent-era stereotype. He flashes back to ten years earlier when, as a Russian general who was also cousin of the Czar, his Bolshevik enemies make a pauper…

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The Stork Club

BB.5 (out of 5) Betty Hutton is adorable as a coat check girl at the titular nightclub, who rescues an old man (Barry Fitzgerald) from drowning thinking him a poor lost soul. What she doesn’t know is that he is a millionaire who, touched by the girl’s concern, becomes her anonymous benefactor and sets her up…

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You And Me

BB (out of 5) Early Hollywood project by the recently-arrived Fritz Lang shows him off at his corniest. George Raft and Sylvia Sidney play employees at a department store whose big-hearted owner (Harry Carey) has a strange hiring practice: he gives ex-cons the opportunity to go straight by giving them an honest living in his store. Raft…

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My Favourite Brunette

BB.5 (out of 5) Bob Hope is on death row waiting to be executed for murder and is visited by curious reporters who want to know his story.  He flashes back to some time earlier when he was working as a portrait photographer, renting an office next to a private investigator (played in a tongue-in-cheek…

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Sunset Blvd.

BBBBB (out of 5) The mother of all backstage Hollywood movies that just never seems to age. One of the peaks of Billy Wilder’s abundantly successful career is this fantastic film about a struggling screenwriter (William Holden) who takes refuge in the decaying home of a has-been silent movie queen (Gloria Swanson, in a career-reviving…

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The Lost Weekend

BBBB (out of 5) Effective look at alcoholism is one of Hollywood’s first unapologetic looks at a truly unattractive subject. Ray Milland‘s performance in the lead as a perpetually drunk screenwriter with no ambitions beyond getting to his next tall drink is powerful, while Jane Wyman stars as the good woman who loves him but can’t…

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