The Hurricane (1937)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.  USA, 1937.  The Samuel Goldwyn Company.  Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, adaptation by Oliver H.P. Garrett, based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall.  Cinematography by Bert Glennon.  Produced by Samuel Goldwyn.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day.  Costume Design by Omar Kiam.  Film Editing by Lloyd Nosler.  Academy Awards 1937.  This excellent…

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How The West Was Won (1962)

JOHN FORD, HENRY HATHAWAY, GEORGE MARSHALL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1962.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Cinerama Productions Corp..  Screenplay by James R. Webb, suggested by his Life Magazine series “How The West Was Won”.  Cinematography by William H. Daniels, Milton R. Krasner, Charles Lang, Joseph LaShelle.  Produced by Bernard Smith.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by George W. Davis, William Ferrari, Addison…

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Possessed (1947)

CURTIS BERNHARDT Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1947.  Warner Bros..  Story by Rita Weiman, Screenplay by Silvia Richards, Ranald MacDougall.  Cinematography by Joseph A. Valentine.  Produced by Jerry Wald.  Music by  Franz Waxman.  Production Design by Anton Grot.  Costume Design by Adrian, Bernard Newman.  Film Editing by Rudi Fehr.  Academy Awards 1947.  Cannes Film Festival 1947.   Joan Crawford is madly in love with architect Van Heflin, but he’s had his…

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A Matter Of Life And Death (Stairway To Heaven) (1946)

MICHAEL POWELL, EMERIC PRESSBURGER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  United Kingdom, 1946.  The Archers.  Screenplay by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger.  Cinematography by Jack Cardiff.  Produced by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger.  Music by Allan Gray.  Production Design by Alfred Junge.  Costume Design by Hein Heckroth.  Film Editing by Reginald Mills.  Gorgeously photographed, full-colour romantic fantasy set during World War II, about a fighter pilot (David Niven)…

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49th Parallel (The Invaders) (1941)

MICHAEL POWELL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  United Kingdom, 1941.  Ortus Films.  Scenario by Rodney Ackland, Emeric Pressburger, Original story and screenplay by Emeric Pressburger.  Cinematography by Freddie Young.  Produced by Michael Powell.  Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Production Design by David Rawnsley.  Film Editing by David Lean.  Academy Awards 1941.   The first international hit that put the team of Powell and Pressburger on the…

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The Drum

BBB (out of 5) Passable adventure whose colour cinematography delights while its narrative is only mildly amusing.  Sabu‘s natural charms are put to good use as the son of a murdered ruler who goes into hiding as a peasant while his evil usurping uncle (Raymond Massey in brownface) takes over the throne.  Sabu befriends a…

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East Of Eden

BBBBB (out of 5) My favourite James Dean performance (of the mere three main roles he played) is in this superbly brilliant adaptation of part of John Steinbeck’s novel.  He and Richard Davalos play religiously upstanding Raymond Massey‘s two sons, Davalos the good one with a strong moral character, and Dean the one who is no…

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Things To Come

BBBB (out of 5) Rare case of classic science fiction that does not undercut its serious social message with cheesy characters or effects.  H.G. Wells’ novel is turned into a thought-provoking examination of human nature as the little hamlet of Everytown in England is undone by the destruction of war (the film was produced a…

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Santa Fe Trail

BBB (out of 5) Although its historical accuracy is more than questionable, this mixed up western does offer up the opportunity to see a part of the American past that is rarely dealt with in films: the years leading up to the Civil War. After graduating from West Point, young Jeb Stuart (Errol Flynn) and…

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The Prisoner Of Zenda

BBBB (out of 5) Ronald Colman returns to the small, fictional European country of his ancestry and is delightfully surprised to learn that he is identical in looks and manner to his cousin (also Colman), the soon-to-be King of the nation. For fear of an assassination attempt, the non-royal Colman is asked to substitute his…

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Arsenic And Old Lace

BBBB (out of 5) Hilarious adaptation of the popular play about a well-intentioned suitor (Cary Grant) who is trying to court Priscilla Lane but hopes that she won’t find out his dark family secret: all of his relatives are loony! “Insanity runs in my family…practically gallops,” he finally admits to her. What she doesn’t know is…

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The Fountainhead

BB.5 (out of 5) Ayn Rand’s ever-popular novel makes for a dull film in this tepid drama starring Gary Cooper and a debuting Patricia Neal. Cooper plays an individualistic architect who is expelled from college because of his unique ideas, which do not fit the architectural norms being set by professionals during his time. He has…

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