The Great Caruso (1951)

RICHARD THORPE Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1951.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, suggested by the biography of Enrico Caruso by Dorothy Caruso.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Music by Johnny Green, Peter Herman Adler.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Gabriel Scognamillo.  Costume Design by Helen Rose, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Gene Ruggiero.  Academy Awards 1951.  …

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Julia Misbehaves (1948)

JACK CONWAY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1948.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by William Ludwig, Harry Ruskin, Arthur Wimperis, adaptation by Gina Kaus, Monckton Hoffe, based on a novel by Margery Sharp.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.  Produced by Everett Riskin.  Music by Adolph Deutsch.  Production Design by Daniel B. Cathcart, Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Irene.  Film Editing by John D. Dunning.   Positively delightful, this is…

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Moonfleet

BBB (out of 5) Having recently lost his mother, young and innocent Jon Whiteley follows her last spoken instructions and makes his way back to a village he has never known, seeking out a roguish aristocrat (Stewart Granger) to whom he immediately becomes attached.  Granger is living the high life of a fornicating cad in his…

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Witness For The Prosecution

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A mind-warping mystery about a tired, aging lawyer (Charles Laughton) who must defend a hopeless murder suspect (Tyrone Power).  Marlene Dietrich‘s scantily-disguised double role is the supreme winner of the show, and she steals literally every scene she’s in (and thanks to the studio’s not wanting to ruin the surprise ending, was…

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Pollyanna

BBBB (out of 5) A perennial family favourite, this delightful Disney film is about a sweet young orphan (Hayley Mills) who comes to live with relatives and ends up charming an entire town. The formula, which involves cheering up old ladies and assisting with social problems, has been repeated many times since (including by Disney),…

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Jinxed

BB (out of 5) A blackjack dealer (Ken Wahl) is in a major professional crisis when a lowlife gambler (Rip Torn) feeds off his luck and gets him fired from every casino on the west coast. The gambler’s abused wife (Bette Midler) begins an affair with the dealer and together they conspire to kill the…

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Rebel Without A Cause

BBBB.5 (out of 5) The original teen angst masterpiece that made James Dean a movie star and later a permanent icon following his untimely death. Sal Mineo plays an awkward adolescent who can’t fit in with any of the brutal teenagers in his tiny little town; Dean plays his only friend, a cool dude for whom social…

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They Live By Night

BBB.5 (out of 5) Farley Granger gets out of prison at the age of 23 after having gone in at 16 for killing a man. With no experience of any good society, it isn’t long before he and his much older prison buddies are hitting the road robbing banks. His path hits a snag when he meets…

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The Great Commandment (19

IRVING PICHEL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1939.  Cathedral Films.  Story and Screenplay by Dana Burnet.  Cinematography by Charles P. Boyle.  Produced by John T. Coyle.  Music by Walter Jurmann, Hans J. Salter.  Production Design by Edward C. Jewell.  Costume Design by Travis Banton.  Film Editing by Ralph Dixon.   An industry of religious B-movies existed in the earlier half of the twentieth century, mostly…

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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

BBBBB (out of 5) Cary Grant is an absolute riot in this hilarious comedy about a suburban family man trying to build his dream home. It starts out as a simple operation, but the demanding specifications of his adorable wife (Myrna Loy) and the acid-tongued opinions of his daughters are to be taken into account, not…

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Mutiny On The Bounty (1935)

BBBBB (out of 5) Exceptional adventure film that, along with The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, makes 1935 a top-notch year for action films. By far the best of all three versions made of this story, it stars a heroic Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian, the Lieutenant aboard the ship Bounty, bound for Tahiti in search of…

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Julius Caesar

BBBB (out of 5) You wouldn’t think that Marlon Brando‘s mumbling Method acting would suit Shakespeare so well, but here’s evidence that given the right director (in this case, Joseph L. Mankiewicz slapping Brando around to get him to enunciate), it’s a possibility.  He is excellent as Marc Antony, the conflicted politician who must become…

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