It Started In Naples (1960)

MELVILLE SHAVELSON Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  USA, 1960.  Capri Productions, Paramount Pictures.  Story by Michael Pertwee, Jack Davies, Screenplay by Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose, Suso Cecchi D’Amico.  Cinematography by Robert Surtees.  Produced by Jack Rose.  Music by Alessandro Cicognini, Carlo Savina.  Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Orietta Nasalli-Rocca.  Film Editing by Frank Bracht.  Academy Awards 1960.  Golden Globe Awards…

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The Major And The Minor (1942)

BILLY WILDER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1942.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, suggested by a play by Edward Childs Carpenter, from a story by Fanny Kilbourne.  Cinematography by Leo Tover.  Produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr..  Music by Robert Emmett Dolan.  Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hans Dreier.  Costume Design by Edith Head.  Film Editing by Doane Harrison.   Tired of…

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The Black Orchid

BBBB (out of 5) Sophia Loren is in mourning after the death of her husband, working day and night to make ends while her son is upstate in a juvenile detention centre. Anthony Quinn espies this sad beauty while visiting her neighbours and immediately falls in love, begging her to go out with him and refused the pleasure until…

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The Mating Season

BBB.5 (out of 5) John Lund plays an ambitious worker at an Ohio industrial company who meets and marries a gorgeous socialite (Gene Tierney) after he saves her from falling down a cliff. The day of their marriage, his mother (Thelma Ritter) comes to visit, having just shut down her New Jersey hamburger joint after the…

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Holiday Inn

BB.5 (out of 5) This was the film that the hit song “White Christmas” was originally written for, and you’ll wonder why it never became a traditional Christmas movie (the way 1954’s White Christmas did) until you actually watch it.  Bing Crosby gives up on struggling to make it in show business and instead buys a…

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The Country Girl

BBB.5 (out of 5) Strong film version of Clifford Odets’ play about an over-the-hill alcoholic singer (Bing Crosby) whose attempts at a comeback in a big Broadway musical seem to be thwarted by his long-suffering and unhappy wife (Grace Kelly). A well-meaning director (William Holden) does his best to keep Crosby in the show, but…

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Love With The Proper Stranger

BBBB (out of 5) Steve McQueen plays a loose-living New York City musician who thinks he’s going to have a great day when he gets himself a high-paying gig. The prospect of enjoyment is shattered, however, when a girl (Natalie Wood) shows up and announces that she is pregnant thanks to a night they spent…

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The Perils Of Pauline

BBB (out of 5) Pearl White was a silent screen movie star who appeared in the cliffhanger film series “The Perils of Pauline”. This delightful comedy, made in 1947, stars a wonderfully energetic Betty Hutton as White, a woman who moved up from textile sweat shops to a career on stage and eventually into her highly…

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To Each His Own

BBB (out of 5) Olivia de Havilland won her first Academy Award for this mother of all housewife melodramas. She plays a beautiful young lady circa World War I who falls in love with an airplane pilot shortly before he leaves for battle. When he goes missing in action, she has to decide what to do about…

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Hands Across The Table

BBBB (out of 5) Carole Lombard shines in this comedy about a manicurist who aims high in hopes that she will marry rich Ralph Bellamy, but ends up falling in love with broke Fred MacMurray.  The message that the movie industry was sending to Depression-era audiences, to accept their poverty cause it’s all they can expect…

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Cleopatra (1934)

BBBB (out of 5) Not nearly as grand as the Elizabeth Taylor version, its more modest length and sharper plotline make this version of the Queen of the Nile’s story more entertaining (though Liz was, by comparison, more historically accurate). Claudette Colbert ably plays the most famous seductress in history after Eve, swishing around in…

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White Christmas

BBB (out of 5) The biggest box-office hit of 1954 was this enjoyable musical romp that rides on the success of the titular Irving Berlin song. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are holed up at a hotel resort with sisters Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen over the holidays. The weak screenplay is mostly an excuse for the many pleasant musical…

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