Little Lord Fauntleroy

BBB.5 (out of 5) Adorable adaptation of the popular novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett features a starmaking turn by Freddie Bartholomew as the refined young man being raised on the streets of late nineteenth-century Brooklyn.  Possessing an English accent thanks to a dead British father (because that makes sense), little Ceddie is hopelessly devoted to his mother (a wonderful…

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Cimarron

BB (out of 5) Richard Dix brings his wife Irene Dunne and their young son to the newly opened Oklahoma territory in the late nineteenth century, his heart in search of adventure and his restless spirit constantly ready to wander.  She endures forty years of waiting patiently at home, running his newspaper and eventually entering politics while…

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Cash McCall

BB (out of 5) When an aging businessman decides to sell his successful company and enjoy the comforts of retirement, it draws the interest of a multimillionaire business tycoon (James Garner) who is ready to slap down the cash and buy it. Sweetening the deal is the appearance of the prospective seller’s daughter (Natalie Wood),…

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Since You Went Away

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Claudette Colbert says goodbye to her voluntarily enlisted husband and goes home to wait out the Second World War with her two daughters (Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple). Things are tight around the house, which means letting their maid (Hattie McDaniel) go while taking in a boarder (Monty Woolley) to help make ends…

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Watch On the Rhine

BBB (out of 5) Lillian Hellman’s play is adapted to the screen by Dashiell Hammett with respectable results, giving Bette Davis another chance to prove herself queen of Warners dramas and winning Paul Lukas an Oscar for his noble performance.  They play a couple who leave Germany as Nazi terror is brewing ever more noisily, bringing their…

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Life With Father

BBB.5 (out of 5) Delightful family comedy, the kind of nostalgia that was made in the forties to capitalize on the success of Meet Me In St. Louis. Adapted from the hit play based on the autobiographical tales of Clarence Day (junior), it surrounds the experience of a family living under the rule of a…

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White Heat

BBBBB (out of 5) One of James Cagney‘s absolute finest moments, and one of the most exciting and polished gangster movies ever made. He plays a psychopathic badass who is in the thrall of his controlling mother (Margaret Wycherly, in a ghoulish role that serves as a fine antithesis to her Oscar-nominated turn as the…

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Operation Pacific

BBB (out of 5) Shameless war propaganda that isn’t without its merits.  John Wayne is excellent as a submarine officer whose vessel is trying to perfect the launching of missiles that will not explode. Returning to Pearl Harbour (only a few years after the historical invasion) after an island rescue mission, Wayne is reunited with…

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Now, Voyager (1942)

IRVING RAPPER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1942.  Warner Bros..  Screenplay by Casey Robinson, based on the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty.  Cinematography by Sol Polito.  Produced by Hal B. Wallis.  Music by Max Steiner.  Production Design by Robert M. Haas.  Costume Design by Orry-Kelly.  Film Editing by Warren Low.  Academy Awards 1942. One of Bette Davis‘ greatest Warner Bros. melodramas is this…

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Marjorie Morningstar (1958)

IRVING RAPPER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA, 1958.  Beachwold Productions.  Screenplay by Everett Freeman, based on the novel by Herman Wouk.  Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr..  Produced by Milton Sperling.  Music by Max Steiner.  Production Design by Malcolm C. Bert.  Costume Design by Howard Shoup.  Film Editing by Folmar Blangsted.  Academy Awards 1958. Fans of the two leads are the only people likely…

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The Corn Is Green (1945)

IRVING RAPPER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1945.  Warner Bros..  Screenplay by Frank Cavett, Casey Robinson, based on the play by Emlyn Williams.  Cinematography by Sol Polito.  Produced by Jack Chertok.  Music by Max Steiner.  Production Design by Carl Jules Weyl.  Costume Design by Orry-Kelly.  Film Editing by Frederick Richards.  Academy Awards 1945. This fully vibrant adaptation of Emlyn Williams’ successful stage play is…

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Intermezzo (Intermezzo: A Love Story)

BBB (out of 5) Ingrid Bergman was so impressive in the original Swedish 1936 version of this film that producer David O. Selznick made the American remake her English-language debut when he brought her over to the States. She plays a young pianist who has a torrid love affair with a married violinist (Leslie Howard). It’s…

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