The Great Caruso (1951)

RICHARD THORPE Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1951.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, suggested by the biography of Enrico Caruso by Dorothy Caruso.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Music by Johnny Green, Peter Herman Adler.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Gabriel Scognamillo.  Costume Design by Helen Rose, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Gene Ruggiero.  Academy Awards 1951.  …

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In Old Chicago (1937)

HENRY KING Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1937.  Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Darryl F. Zanuck Productions.  Story by Niven Busch, Screenplay by Lamar Trotti, Sonya Levien.  Cinematography by J. Peverell Marley.  Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.  Music by Cyril J. Mockridge.  Production Design by William S. Darling, Rudolph Sternad.  Costume Design by Royer.  Film Editing by Barbara McLean.  Academy Awards 1937.   The old…

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Interrupted Melody (1955)

CURTIS BERNHARDT Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1955.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by William Ludwig, Sonya Levien, based on the life story by Marjorie Lawrence.  Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg, Paul Vogel.  Produced by Jack Cummings.  Music by Alexander Courage, Adolph Deutsch.  Production Design by Daniel B. Cathcart, Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Helen Rose.  Film Editing by John D. Dunning.  Academy Awards 1955.   Marjorie Lawrence (Eleanor…

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Cavalcade

BBB (out of 5) Dull classist drama that managed to win Best Picture but hasn’t dated at all well, and neither have the performances. Based on the play by Noel Coward, the action follows an upstairs-downstairs romance between a rich society boy and a serving girl, and the cordial relationships between their families until the…

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Quo Vadis

BBB (out of 5) Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr throw Christians to the lions, then live to feel the conscientious guilt. Huge sets and thousands of extras in ‘authentic’ Biblical period costumes are exciting and eye-popping, but the only thing that makes this film worth reaching for instead of similar sandal epics like Ben-Hur and The Robe…

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State Fair

BBB.5 (out of 5) When Twentieth Century-Fox decided to remake their ever-popular Will Rogers comedy of 1933 for audiences of the forties, their decision to make it a musical brought them to the doorstep of musical team Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, who had just revitalized the American musical on Broadway with their first…

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Oklahoma!

BBBBB (out of 5) Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical success arrives on the big screen with all its gorgeous beauty and lively songs intact. Shirley Jones couldn’t be cuter as Laurey Morgan, a young girl in turn-of-the-century Oklahoma (a territory on the verge of becoming a state at the time), who resists her feelings for Curley…

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The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1939)

BBBBB (out of 5) Richly enjoyable, thoroughly satisfying drama based on the novel by Victor Hugo.  Charles Laughton is the misshapen denizen of the titular cathedral who inspires horror and revulsion in the citizens of King Louis XI’s France. The moral order of Paris is enforced by Frollo, the hard-bitten, hypocritical bishop who falls in…

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The Merry Widow (1952)

CURTIS BERNHARDT Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA, 1952.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Sonya Levien, William Ludwig, based on the operetta by Viktor Leon, Leo Stein.  Cinematography by Robert Surtees.  Produced by Joe Pasternak.  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse.  Costume Design by Helen Rose, Gile Steele.  Film Editing by Conrad A. Nervig.  Academy Awards 1952.   The worst version of the popular operetta is this…

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Ziegfeld Girl

BB (out of 5) The star power of Judy Garland, Lana Turner, and Hedy Lamarr is reason enough to watch this overbloated MGM spectacular. Three women want to get into the big time of the Ziegfeld follies and each use whatever means to do it. This is another one of those films where Garland blows the audience…

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Drums Along The Mohawk (1939)

JOHN FORD Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1939.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by Lamar Trotti, Sonya Levien, based on the novel by Walter D. Edmonds.  Cinematography by Bert Glennon, Ray Rennahan.  Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.  Music by Alfred Newman.  Production Design by Richard Day, Mark-Lee Kirk.  Costume Design by Gwen Wakeling.  Film Editing by Robert L. Simpson.  Academy Awards 1939.   Pre-revolutionary Americans Henry Fonda and Claudette…

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