Quicksand (1950)

IRVING PICHEL Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1950.  Samuel H. Stiefel Productions.  Screenplay by Robert Smith.  Cinematography by Lionel Lindon.  Produced by Mort Briskin.  Music by Louis Gruenberg.  Production Design by Boris Leven.  Costume Design by Joan Joseff.  Film Editing by Walter Thompson.   Mickey Rooney plays an auto mechanic who is out drinking with the boys when he spots a dangerous blonde…

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Drums In The Deep South

BB.5 (out of 5) Barbara Payton‘s beautiful life on her southern plantation is interrupted by the outbreak of Civil War, which sends her husband up north to fight and brings home an old flame who is still in love with her.  He himself has his life complicated by the fact that his best friend is…

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My Favourite Brunette

BB.5 (out of 5) Bob Hope is on death row waiting to be executed for murder and is visited by curious reporters who want to know his story.  He flashes back to some time earlier when he was working as a portrait photographer, renting an office next to a private investigator (played in a tongue-in-cheek…

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I Want To Live

BBBB (out of 5) Susan Hayward shines in this riveting biography of Barbara Gordon, a woman whose bad choices eventually led her to the gas chamber. After struggling to keep her home together and raise her children properly, Gordon turns to prostitution and the wrong crowd in order to survive. Stupidly involved in a robbery and murder,…

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Destination Moon

BBB.5 (out of 5) Today this film is merely a curiosity of yesteryear, but at the time it came out it was considered a serious attempt at marrying entertainment with science. Spending years on research, the filmmakers came up with the best possible case scenario for what would happen if astronauts took a trip to…

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The Blue Dahlia

BBB.5 (out of 5) The definitive film noir for fans of the genre, and in particular the most famous pairing of Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd.  Ladd plays a returned veteran whose fight with his unfaithful wife makes him the prime suspect in her murder when he later finds her dead in their apartment. Running from…

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Going My Way

BBB (out of 5) Delightful musical about a kindhearted Irish American priest (Bing Crosby) trying to lift up the spirits of the street kids in his neighbourhood. He’s so laid back and easygoing a guy, he doesn’t even object to singing a song or two for the kiddies, even while tight assed superior Barry Fitzgerald (who…

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

BBBBB (out of 5) Having returned from service in the Korean War, Frank Sinatra is plagued by bad dreams in which he sees his former war buddy Laurence Harvey being brainwashed into becoming a killing machine for the Soviets.  Convinced that his dreams are more than just fantasies, Sinatra goes to Washington where Shaw is…

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Too Late Blues

BBB (out of 5) Early feature directed by John Cassavetes that shows his penchant for atmosphere and mood, even though the narrative leaves a lot to be desired.  Bobby Darin is impressive as a musician whose mood swings make his fellow band mates suffer, though nobody takes the brunt of his bad attitude more than his…

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Around The World In 80 Days (1956)

BBBB (out of 5) Thoroughly enjoyable adaptation of Jules Verne’s popular adventure novel is highlighted by gorgeous photography and numerous celebrity cameos. British gentleman Phileas Fogg (a delightfully dapper David Niven) makes a bet with a friend that he can traverse the entire globe in exactly eighty days, then proceeds to do so. Along the…

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