Here Comes The Navy (1934)

LLOYD BACON Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1934.  Warner Bros..  Story by Ben Markson, Screenplay by Earl Baldwin, Ben Markson.  Cinematography by Arthur Edeson.  Produced by Hal B. Wallis, Jack L. Warner.  Music by Leo F. Forbstein.  Production Design by Esdras Hartley.  Costume Design by Orry-Kelly.  Film Editing by George Amy.  Academy Awards 1934. James Cagney plays a construction worker who gets into a fight…

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I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang (1932)

MERVYN LeROY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1932.  Warner Bros..  Screenplay by Howard J. Green, Brown Holmes, based on the story by Robert E. Burns.  Cinematography by Sol Polito.  Produced by Hal B. Wallis.  Music by Bernhard Kaun.  Production Design by Jack Okey.  Costume Design by Orry-Kelly.  Film Editing by William Holmes.  Academy Awards 1932/1933.   A mere two years after The Big House and the movies have…

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Dangerous

BBB (out of 5) Popular opinion had it that Bette Davis was overlooked by the Academy for her performance in Of Human Bondage, so she was easily expected to garner her first of two trophies for this film, essentially the same role but written by a far less conspicuous writer than the great Somerset Maugham. The truth…

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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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Baby Face

BBBB (out of 5) You need look no further for proof that Barbara Stanwyck was destined for stardom than this early talkie, too hot for the censors of the time (it’s partly what inspired the Hays Code) and had four minutes excised until they were recently restored. Given that she beds her way to the top…

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Kings Row

BBBBB (out of 5) This is the most curious masterpiece: a perfect blend of film noir, period drama, and charming small-town situational comedy, all lensed to perfection by cinematographer James Wong Howe. Director Sam Wood knows exactly what he’s doing the whole time, and his risks (like introducing a major character in the last half…

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Irma La Douce

BB.5 (out of 5) The idea here was to reunite the cast and director of The Apartment and create yet another successful masterpiece that would please both critics and audiences. The result was probably favourable to audiences at the time, but forty years down the road it doesn’t look nearly as good as their previous…

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Some Like It Hot

BBBB (out of 5) This hysterical comedy of gender-errors was recently ranked the greatest American comedy of the century by the American Film Institute. It’s a laughfest that begins when struggling musicians Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre in Prohibition-era Chicago and are spotted by the gangsters who did it. To hide…

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Mr. Skeffington

BB.5 (out of 5) As with many similar soap opera films in which Bette Davis appeared, this one provides her with a magnificently juicy role while being in itself a grand bore. She plays a society bitch who mistreats everyone for decades (thanks to very impressive ageing makeup) until she finally gets the chance to make…

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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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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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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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