A Double Life (1947)

GEORGE CUKOR Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.  USA, 1947.  Kanin Productions.  Screenplay by Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin.  Cinematography by Milton R. Krasner.  Produced by Michael Kanin.  Music by Miklos Rozsa.  Production Design by Harry Horner.  Costume Design by Travis Banton, Yvonne Wood.  Film Editing by Robert Parrish.  Academy Awards 1947.  Golden Globe Awards 1947.   Ronald Colman plays a famous Broadway actor who struggles with detaching…

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Imitation of Life (1934)

JOHN M. STAHL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1934.  Universal Pictures.  Screenplay by William Hurlbut, based on the novel by Fannie Hurst.  Cinematography by Merritt B. Gerstad.  Produced by Carl Laemmle Jr..  Music by Heinz Roemheld.  Production Design by Charles D. Hall.  Costume Design by Travis Banton.  Film Editing by Philip Cahn, Maurice Wright.  Academy Awards 1934. The Douglas Sirk remake of 1959 is better…

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The Eagle and the Hawk

BBBB (out of 5) Tragic drama made in the shadow of popular hits like Wings and Hell’s Angels.   Cary Grant and Fredric March play army buddies whose friendship is ruined when March recommends Grant not be given the opportunity to fly planes in World War I because he is a danger to himself and his unit.  Grant never forgives…

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Scarlet Street

BBB.5 (out of 5) Fritz Lang remakes Jean Renoir’s La Chienne as a reunion for the stars of his Woman In The Window the year before.  Edward G. Robinson plays a timid insurance clerk with a shrew of a wife whose hobby as a painter in his spare time is his only comfort.  A random encounter with a prostitute (Joan Bennett) puts him immediately…

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The Last Command

BBBB (out of 5) An aging movie extra (Emil Jannings) drags his tired body to the set of his latest assignment, another day of earning a dollar fulfilling a silent-era stereotype. He flashes back to ten years earlier when, as a Russian general who was also cousin of the Czar, his Bolshevik enemies make a pauper…

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Underworld (1927)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) This excellent, beautifully shot drama is considered the film that sparked the craze for gangster movies in the thirties. Rough thug George Bancroft finds his lawyer friend Clive Brook at a bar and convinces him to give up the booze, turning the man from a useless bum to a dapper dan in no…

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Cover Girl

BB.5 (out of 5) Beautiful but eventually tiresome show-within-a-show musical about a hot stuff chorus girl (Rita Hayworth) who is given the chance of a lifetime when a sugardaddy wants to put her on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Trouble is, she’s in love with the selfish choreographer (Gene Kelly) of the nightclub act…

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We’re Not Dressing (1934)

NORMAN TAUROG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1934.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Horace Jackson, Francis Martin, George Marion Jr., based on stories by Walton Hall Smith, Benjamin Glazer and the play The Admirable Crichton by J.M. Barrie.  Cinematography by Charles Lang.  Produced by Benjamin Glazer.  Music by Howard Jackson.  Production Design by Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte.  Costume Design by Travis Banton.  Film Editing by Stuart Heisler.   Imagine…

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True Confession

BBB (out of 5) Highly imaginative fiction writer Carole Lombard (in one of her most adorable, zany performances) is married to honest, straight-laced lawyer Fred MacMurray.  When she decides to supplement their income by taking on an extra job, she winds up walking straight into a murder scene after her boss is killed on her first…

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I’m No Angel

BBBB (out of 5) Mae West made her starring debut in this wisecracking comedy that she also scripted (as she did most of her films). She plays a lion tamer with a penchant for making the men roar loader than the wildcats, plying her trade in a circus until a wealthy, engaged gentleman makes her his…

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No Man Of Her Own

BBB.5 (out of 5) Clark Gable plays a big-time con artist who escapes the city of Manhattan for a little while when the cops get hot on his tail. While staying in a rural upstate town, he meets a beautiful woman (Carole Lombard, the only film the real-life couple ever did together) with whom he falls…

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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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