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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The Last Tycoon (1976)

ELIA KAZAN Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.  USA, 1976.  Academy Pictures Corporation.  Screenplay by Harold Pinter, based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Cinematography by Victor J. Kemper.  Produced by Sam Spiegel.  Music by Maurice Jarre.  Production Design by Gene Callahan.  Costume Design by Anna Hill Johnstone, Anthea Sylbert.  Film Editing by Richard Marks.  Academy Awards 1976.   F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stories frequently take…

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Myra Breckenridge

BB (out of 5) Based on the popular, scandalous book by Gore Vidal, this film was disowned by the author the moment he saw it. Future film critic Rex Reed  stars as a lonely gay man named Myron Breckenridge who decides to have plastic surgery and turn into Raquel Welch (fat chance!) Now renamed Myra, Miss…

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The Ice Pirates

B.5 (out of 5) Hilariously campy science-fiction adventure about futuristic pirates in a dried-up universe, who navigate the stars in search of its most precious resource, water. The one planet that is brimming over with water is rigorously controlled by evil Templars who seek to make slaves of the cosmos, prompting our heroes to steal…

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Johnny Guitar

BBBB (out of 5) Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge have a hoot of a time shooting it up in this fantastic female-led western. Crawford plays a saloon owner who has to protect her territory from land-owning, money-hungry McCambridge when a prospective railway construction jacks up the territory prices all around them. Between personal bouts, Joan manages to…

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The Mummy’s Ghost

BB (out of 5) After The Mummy’s Tomb, the evil mummy Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr. in excellent makeup) returns to New England with a deranged priest (John Carradine) who wants to get revenge on the people for their treatment of his beloved monster. Same old boring stuff, with women screaming and doctors feeling confounded until someone…

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Captain Kidd

BB.5 (out of 5) Charles Laughton‘s personality makes worthwhile viewing of this otherwise forgettable adventure film set on the high seas. He plays a pirate who feigns reform in an effort to convince the king of England to allow him to escort a shipment of treasure from India back to the motherland. Naturally his intentions…

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Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938)

HENRY KING Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1938.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by Kathryn Scola, Lamar Trotti, adaptation by Richard Sherman.  Cinematography by J. Peverell Marley.  Produced by Harry Joe Brown.  Music by Irving Berlin, Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Bernard Herzbrun, Boris Leven.  Costume Design by Gwen Wakeling.  Film Editing by Barbara McLean.  Academy Awards 1938.   Fantastic Irving Berlin musical features over two…

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1962.  Paramount Pictures, John Ford Productions.  Screenplay by James Warner, Willis Goldbeck, based on the story by Dorothy M. Johnson.  Cinematography by William H. Clothier.  Produced by Willis Goldbeck.  Music by Cyril J. Mockridge.  Production Design by Eddie Imazu, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Otho Lovering.  Academy Awards 1962.   An aged James Stewart shows up…

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The Grapes Of Wrath (1940)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1940.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by Nunnally Johnson, based on the novel by John Steinbeck.  Cinematography by Gregg Toland.  Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day, Mark-Lee Kirk.  Costume Design by Gwen Wakeling.  Film Editing by Robert L. Simpson.  Academy Awards 1940.   One of John Ford’s best films is this…

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Stagecoach (1939)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1939.  Walter Wanger Productions.  Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, based on the story by Ernest Haycox.  Cinematography by Bert Glennon.  Produced by John Ford.  Music by Gerard Carbonara.  Production Design by Alexander Toluboff.  Costume Design by Walter Plunkett.  Film Editing by Otho Lovering, Dorothy Spencer.  Academy Awards 1939.   The western that started it all; certainly the genre was already well established…

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Captains Courageous

BBBBB (out of 5) Rousing adventure based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling is one of the heartiest adaptations of his works. Snotty British schoolboy Freddie Bartholomew gets up to the worst kind of behaviour at school and then uses his rich father (Melvyn Douglas) as an excuse to get out of all punishments. He’s…

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