Topaz (1969)

ALFRED HITCHCOCK Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  USA, 1969.  Universal Pictures.  Screenplay by Samuel A. Taylor, based on the novel by Leon Uris.  Cinematography by Jack Hildyard.  Produced by Alfred Hitchcock.  Music by Maurice Jarre.  Production Design by Henry Bumstead.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by William H. Ziegler. Alfred Hitchcock returns to a Cold War theme following his underwhelming Torn Curtain, this…

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Dreamscape (1984)

JOSEPH RUBEN Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1984.  Zupnik-Curtis Enterprises, Bella Productions, Chevy Chase Films, Weintraub Entertainment Group.  Story by David Loughery, Screenplay by David Loughery, Chuck Russell, Joseph Ruben.  Cinematography by Brian Tufano.  Produced by Bruce Cohn Curtis.  Music by Maurice Jarre.  Production Design by R. Clifford Searcy, Jeff Staggs.  Costume Design by Johanna Ray.  Film Editing by Richard Halsey. Dennis Quaid plays…

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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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The Only Game In Town (1970)

GEORGE STEVENS Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1970.  Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  Screenplay by Frank D. Gilroy, based on his play.  Cinematography by Henri Decae.  Produced by Fred Kohlmar.  Music by Maurice Jarre.  Production Design by Herman A. Blumenthal, Auguste Capelier.  Costume Design by Mia Fonssagrives, Vicki Tiel.  Film Editing by John W. Holmes, William Sands, Pat Shade.   Vegas showgirl Elizabeth Taylor stops at a divey bar…

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Winter Kills

BB.5 (out of 5) Fictionalized expose of the JFK assassination would be more palatable if it were either more credible or, conversely, more self-aware of its ridiculous nature.  Jeff Bridges plays the Bobby-esque son of a Joe Kennedy stand-in (played with unapologetic zeal by a wonderful John Huston) who is told by a man dying on…

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Judex

BBBBB (out of 5) This stylish masterpiece by Georges Franju is adapted from a 1916 film serial by Louis Feuillade, inspiring the filmmaker to include a great deal of silent film technique in its remarkably smooth telling.  A wealthy banker with a shady past is warned that his comeuppance will come at the stroke of…

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The Collector

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Terence Stamp was a poor clerk who won the lottery and now owns a beautiful mansion in the remote British countryside.  His passion for pinning butterflies behind glass might seem a harmless hobby except it soon makes way for something far more sinister:  he is in love with posh Samantha Eggar and, rather…

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Sundays and Cybele (Les dimanches de Ville d’Avray)

BBBB (out of 5) A little girl is abandoned at a convent by her thoughtless father, the same night making friends with a shell-shocked Vietnam war veteran (Hardy Krüger) who has partial amnesia after having killed a girl in battle.  They become friends, spending their Sundays together while his girlfriend is on call at the…

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Red Sun (Soleil Rouge)

BB.5 (out of 5) East meets west in this fun western that combines the star power of Charles Bronson with the brooding genius of Toshirô Mifune.  Bronson and his merry men of outlaws, including sadistic gunman Alain Delon, hold up a train travelling from San Francisco to Washington with the ambassador of Japan as one of…

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Ghost

BBB.5 (out of 5) Audiences always love a good romance, and when it’s spiced up by a nifty murder mystery and some supernatural plot elements, it’s not possible to believe that you have anything but a winner. This extremely enjoyable melodrama was released to ecstatic audience response, and along with Pretty Woman ruled the box…

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Isadora

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Vanessa Redgrave gives one of her most electrifying performances in this fascinating biography of modern dancer Isadora Duncan. Never having had any rigorous, traditional training, Duncan wowed the world with her physically free and exotic (sometimes erotic) methods of movement, ushering in a whole new era of the artform and capturing international…

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Ash Wednesday

BB (out of 5) Elizabeth Taylor plays an ageing housewife who decides to go in for a face lift in order to save her loveless marriage to Henry Fonda.  Naturally, the filmmakers made sure to hag Liz up a lot in order to make her post-surgery looks more impressive (which they definitely are). After she…

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