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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Oliver!

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Preposterously loud and long adaptations of hit Broadway musicals were a staple of sixties films and, while this one threatens to be another soulless experience like My Fair Lady or The Music Man, it is not, mainly thanks to the wise decision to hire a director of the caliber of Carol Reed to make it…

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Rhapsody

BB.5 (out of 5) Elizabeth Taylor announces to her wealthy father Louis Calhern that her latest rebellion is to abandon her current studies and move to Switzerland to study at a music academy there.  At her entrance exam she is immediately rejected and professor Michael Chekhov quickly gleans her real reason for wanting to attend the school:…

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Because You’re Mine

BB (out of 5) Mario Lanza plays (what else) a famous opera singer whose celebrity does nothing to keep him from the draft.  He is snatched up by Uncle Sam and put through basic training, though thanks to the fact that his sergeant (James Whitmore) is a huge opera buff, he is given pride of place…

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Something In The Wind (1947)

IRVING PICHEL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1947.  Universal International Pictures.  Story by Fritz Rotter, Charles O’Neal, Screenplay by Harry Kurnitz, William Bowers.  Cinematography by Milton R. Krasner.  Produced by Joseph Sistrom.  Music by Johnny Green.  Production Design by Alexander Golitzen, Frank A. Richards.  Costume Design by Orry-Kelly.  Film Editing by Otto Ludwig.   Deanna Durbin is all grown up and mistaken for her own great-aunt by…

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They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

BBBB (out of 5) A roaring-twenties dance marathon represents a microcosm of society in this devastating melodrama, where a group of desperate people take to the dance floor in order to achieve their American dream. Jane Fonda, in the role that broke her through her sex-kitten image and established her as a serious actress, plays a…

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Back To The Future

BBBB (out of 5) This first instalment in the popular science-fiction trilogy is still by far the best of the bunch, and one of the most delightful time-travel movies ever made. Michael J. Fox plays a teenager who is taken back in time by a kooky scientist (Christopher Lloyd) to the 1950s. When he gets…

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Raintree County

BBB (out of 5) Almost twenty years after Gone With the Wind, another attempt was made to mount a giant epic of Southern Gothic proportions as a vehicle for Elizabeth Taylor.  Taylor’s performance shows more than enough skill to make a good Scarlett O’Hara, particularly in a nine-minute dramatic monologue that she delivers almost all…

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