The Hurricane (1937)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.  USA, 1937.  The Samuel Goldwyn Company.  Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, adaptation by Oliver H.P. Garrett, based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall.  Cinematography by Bert Glennon.  Produced by Samuel Goldwyn.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day.  Costume Design by Omar Kiam.  Film Editing by Lloyd Nosler.  Academy Awards 1937.  This excellent…

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Miracle On 34th Street (1947)

BBBB (out of 5) Although not as ubiquitously adored as It’s A Wonderful Life as classic Christmas movies go, this one has the advantage of being much sassier than Capra’s heartwarmer. Maureen O’Hara is excellent as a Macy’s employee who is in serious trouble when the Santa Claus she has hired for the annual Christmas parade turns…

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The Song Of Bernadette

BBBB (out of 5) This adaptation of the novel by Franz Werfel mixes fact and supposition for a film that tells the tale of a miracle: the now venerated saint of Lourdes who saw a vision of a “beautiful lady” by a stream and went back to pray at her feet every day for two…

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June Bride

BB (out of 5) Low-point in Bette Davis‘s career, the box-office results of this film were one of the reasons she was labeled ‘poison’ in the late forties before her comeback with All About Eve two years later (actually the term was used by movie studios to tell a woman, for it was never used…

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Mr. Skeffington

BB.5 (out of 5) As with many similar soap opera films in which Bette Davis appeared, this one provides her with a magnificently juicy role while being in itself a grand bore. She plays a society bitch who mistreats everyone for decades (thanks to very impressive ageing makeup) until she finally gets the chance to make…

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The Old Maid (1939)

EDMUND GOULDING Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1939.  Warner Bros..  Screenplay by Casey Robinson, from the play by Zoe Akins and the novel by Edith Wharton.  Cinematography by Tony Gaudio.  Produced by Hal B. Wallis.  Music by Max Steiner.  Production Design by Robert M. Haas.  Costume Design by Orry-Kelly.  Film Editing by George Amy.   Typical Bette Davis soaper has the great actress giving birth to a…

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The Great Lie (1941)

EDMUND GOULDING Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1941.  Warner Bros..  Screenplay by Lenore J. Coffee, based on the novel The Far Horizon by Polan Banks.  Cinematography by Tony Gaudio.  Produced by Hal B. Wallis.  Music by Max Steiner.  Production Design by Carl Jules Weyl.  Costume Design by Orry-Kelly.  Film Editing by Ralph Dawson.  Academy Awards 1941.   When Mary Astor and George Brent elope, they find out…

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The Maltese Falcon (1941)

JOHN HUSTON Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1941.  Warner Bros..  Screenplay by John Huston, based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett.  Cinematography by Arthur Edeson.  Produced by Hal B. Wallis.  Music by Adolph Deutsch.  Production Design by Robert M. Haas.  Costume Design by Orry-Kelly.  Film Editing by Thomas Richards.  Academy Awards 1941.   The one and only original film noir, the film that launched a thousand imitations….

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The West Point Story (Fine and Dandy)

BB.5 (out of 5) Even fans of musicals find it difficult to endure the military-themed ones, but this one is bearable thanks to the energy and charm of its stars. James Cagney plays a washed-up Broadway director who is hired to direct a musical production done by the students of West Point Academy. Arriving there he…

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Young Man With A Horn

BBB.5 (out of 5) A little boy, parentless and being raised by a mostly absent older sister, wanders into a jazz club one night and decides that the trumpet is the sound of his soul. Immediately coming under the wing of a caring horn player (Juano Hernandez), he grows up (now played by Kirk Douglas)…

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Pocketful Of Miracles

BB.5 (out of 5) Frank Capra remakes his own Lady For A Day with mediocre results, taking a charming little black and white movie and blowing it up into a ridiculously overproduced Technicolour feast for the senses. Bette Davis, in a role that the producers should be ashamed of wasting her talents in, plays a…

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Shall We Dance (1937)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) You simply can’t go wrong with the Rogers–Astaire musicals; they were the most sophisticated, best written, best danced musicals of the thirties and forties, and the two stars had marvelous chemistry together. In this entry, which is sheer delight from start to finish, Astaire plays an American in Paris who is…

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