The Big House (1930)

GEORGE W. HILL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.   USA, 1930.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Story and dialogue by Frances Marion, additional dialogue by Joseph Farnham, Martin Flavin.  Cinematography by Harold Wenstrom.  Produced by Irving Thalberg.  Music by William Axt.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by David Cox.  Film Editing by Blanche Sewell.  Academy Awards 1929/1930. Robert Montgomery is sent to prison for manslaughter, having killed a…

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Red Dust (1932)

VICTOR FLEMING Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.   USA, 1932.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by John Lee Mahin, based on the play by Wilson Collison.  Cinematography by Harold Rosson.  Produced by Hunt Stromberg, Irving Thalberg.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Adrian.  Film Editing by Blanche Sewell.  Clark Gable runs a rubber plantation in southeast Asia, his daily grind interrupted by the…

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A Day At The Races (1937)

SAM WOOD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1937.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Story by Robert Pirosh, George Seaton, Screenplay by Robert Pirosh, George Seaton, George Oppenheimer.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.  Produced by Irving Thalberg, Lawrence Weingarten, Sam Wood.  Music by Franz Waxman.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Dolly Tree.  Film Editing by Frank E. Hull.  Academy Awards 1937.   Reviews of this film always point out…

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The Merry Widow (1934)

ERNST LUBITSCH Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1934.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Ernest Vajda, Samson Raphaelson, based on the musical book and lyrics by Viktor Leon, Leo Stein, from the play L’Attache D’Ambassade by Henri Meilhac.  Cinematography by Oliver T. Marsh.  Produced by Ernst Lubitsch, Irving Thalberg.  Music by Franz Lehar, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Herbert Stothart.  Production Design by…

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Grand Hotel (1932)

EDMUND GOULDING Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.   USA, 1932.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Vicki Baum, based on the play America by William A. Drake.  Cinematography by William H. Daniels.  Produced by Irving Thalberg.  Music by Charles Maxwell.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Adrian.  Film Editing by Blanche Sewell.  Academy Awards 1931/1932. Perfectly enjoyable melodrama that puts a huge assortment of MGM stars…

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A Night At The Opera (1935)

SAM WOOD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1935.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, from a story by James Kevin McGuinness.  Cinematography by Merritt B. Gerstad.  Produced by Irving Thalberg.  Music by Herbert Stothart.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Dolly Tree.  Film Editing by William LeVanway.   More Madcap Marxist Madness! Groucho plays a theatrical impresario who…

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The Crowd (1928)

KING VIDOR Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1928.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by King Vidor, John V.A. Weaver, titles by Joseph Farnham.  Cinematography by Henry Sharp.  Produced by Irving Thalberg.  Music by Carl Davis.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Andre-ani.  Film Editing by Hugh Wynn.  Academy Awards 1927/1928. James Murray is terrific as John Sims, an American born on the fourth of…

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The Big Parade (1925)

KING VIDOR Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1925.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Story by Laurence Stallings, scenario by Harry Behn, titles by Joseph Farnham.  Cinematography by John Arnold.  Produced by Irving Thalberg, King Vidor.  Music by William Axt, Carl Davis.  Production Design by James Basevi, Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Ethel P. Chaffin, Robert Florey.  Film Editing by Hugh Wynn.   Wonderful epic silent film plays…

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China Seas

BBBB (out of 5) Fun adventure classic has wisecracking gal Jean Harlow travelling on a steamer piloted by Clark Gable. ‘When I wanna hear your bells ring, I’ll pull your chord!’ she says to a man who annoys her. Need you hear more? Okay: there’s pirates involved. Have fun! Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer USA, 1935 Directed by Tay Garnett…

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Romeo And Juliet (1936)

GEORGE CUKOR Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1936.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Adaptation by Talbot Jennings, based on the play by William Shakespeare.  Cinematography by William H. Daniels.  Produced by Irving Thalberg.  Music by Herbert Stothart.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Adrian, Oliver Messel.  Film Editing by Margaret Booth.  Academy Awards 1936.   While it has many things to recommend itself above other versions of…

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Camille (1936)

GEORGE CUKOR Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1936.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Zoe Akins, Frances Marion, James Hilton, from the play and novel by Alexandre Dumas fils.  Cinematography by William H. Daniels, Karl Freund.  Produced by Bernard H. Hyman, Irving Thalberg.  Music by Herbert Stothart.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Adrian.  Film Editing by Margaret Booth.  Academy Awards 1937. Greta Garbo is excellent in…

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The Barretts Of Wimpole Street

BBBB (out of 5) Norma Shearer gives one of the best performances of her career as Elizabeth Barrett (eventually Browning), the poet who lived many years as an invalid in her New York home with her eight siblings and domineering father (Charles Laughton).  Ruling his household with an iron first, Laughton’s fanatically religious beliefs force him…

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