The Saint Series...starring George Sanders

     The Saint Strikes Back***1/2    1939

     The Saint in London****     1939

     The Saint's Double Trouble***1/2     1940's_Double_Trouble

     The Saint Takes Over****     1940's_Double_Trouble

     The Saint in Palm Springs***1/2     1941

The Saint (film series) refers to eight B movies made by RKO Pictures between 1938 and 1941, based on some of the books in British author Leslie 

Charteris' long-running series about the fictional character Simon Templar, better known as The Saint.

A few years after creating the character in 1928, Charteris was successful in getting RKO Radio Pictures interested in a film based on one of his 

books. The first, The Saint in New York, came in 1938 and was based on the 1935 novel of the same name. It starred Louis Hayward as Simon 

Templar and Jonathan Hale as Inspector Henry Farnack, the American counterpart to the British character, Chief inspector Claud Eustace Teal.

The film was a success and seven more films followed rapidly. They were sometimes based upon outlines by Charteris, while others were based 

loosely on his novels or novellas. George Sanders took over from Hayward as The Saint in the second film, and starred in a further four between 1939 

and 1941, before being enticed by RKO to play the lead in their forthcoming series about The Falcon, which they made into a blatant copy of The 


In 1941, Hugh Sinclair took over the role as Templar for two more films; The Saint's Vacation and The Saint Meets the Tiger. However, by the time 

shooting finished of The Saint Meets the Tiger in June 1941, a major dispute ensued between Charteris and RKO over the upcoming first film in The 

Falcon series, The Gay Falcon, which was due for release in October 1941. Charteris argued that it was a case of copyright infringement, as RKO's 

version of The Falcon was an obvious copy of his own character, and the fact that the actor who personified The Saint after having played him in five 

of the seven films released up to that point, made this even more obvious.[1]

The legal disputed forced RKO to put the film on hold. The conflict wasn't settled until 1943, with RKO selling the US distribution rights to Republic 

Pictures, while RKO's British arm handled the UK distribution as originally planned. The film was released in both countries in 1943.[1]


                                                                                                          Above: The Saint in London, with Sally Grey 

Above: The Saint's Double Trouble


Sandpiper, The***1/2       1965 

This film was very much neglected on my part. Many times it appeared on the TV schedule but I chose not to view it. Recently I felt

impelled to view it and I was glad I did. I have been viewing Elizabeth Taylor films with a renewed vigour as I have done her injustice

in the past. This might be a result of her performance in Cleopatra, which was almost laughable. Taylor as Laura Reynolds, was a

free-spirit, rather  simplistic, but very poignant in representing that spirit. She was a loveable  heroine, played with ease a total lack

of self-consciousness. It was Taylor's extremely low-key performance that set the film aglow,and demonstrated her natural performing

ability. The simple plot, and possibly even tire plot; the husband, who in "finding himself" has an affair which he cannot resist, and his

life is unexpectedly re-inspired. Laura's Bohemian lifestyle is illustrated somewhat comically, and it is in accordance with this portrayal

that the rather sophisticated Dr. (Reverend) Hewitt breaks in on these festivities to visit his new found love. The response of the main

characters to the complications are depicted with a soft realism, the Doctors wife (played by the impeccable Eva Marie Saint) being initially

angered, and then uncertain. The Doctor realizes that he has lost both his loves, one out of impracticability and the other demanding his

patience. Laura is left with her art and son, which is what she feels is her fate as she has made the choices in life to be on the perimeter,

although she is over-shadowed in doubt because of her love for Dr. Hewitt.

Twenty-something Laura Reynolds is a free spirit who questions social conventions, laws and regulations. A struggling artist, she lives in a

secluded beach-side cabin in Big Sur with her nine year old illegitimate son, Danny, on who she has instilled her values. Because of this questioning

 of convention, Laura has decided to home school Danny. Also because of this questioning of the law, Danny runs into some legal problems,

 and as such is court ordered to be sent to San Simeon, a Christian school in Monterrey. This order is against Laura's wishes. The school's

 headmaster is Dr. Rev. Edward Hewitt, who tries to convince Laura that San Simeon is not the prison she probably believes it to be. Married

 for twenty-one years to his faithful wife Claire, Edward has become more a fund-raiser at all cost (for a new chapel) rather than an educator or

 priest. Despite their differences, Laura and Edward begin to fall for each other. Both but especially Edward have to reconcile their feelings for

 each other to their beliefs, which they learn are closer to each other than what may appear on the surface. Their feelings also bring to the forefront

 what each really wants in life beyond their current lot. Written by Huggo

Sante Fe Trail***1/2         1940 


The film purports to follow the life of J.E.B. Stuart (Errol Flynn) before the outbreak of theAmerican Civil War. Among its sub-plots 

are a romance with the fictional Kit Carson Holliday (Olivia de Havilland), friendship with George Armstrong Custer (Ronald Reagan),

and battles against abolitionist John Brown (Raymond Massey).

The movie significantly differs from the actual details of Stuart's life. For instance, Stuart is depicted as having been classmates at 

West Point Academy with Custer and others, who on graduation were appointed to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In reality, Custer 

was admitted to West Point in 1858, four years after Stuart graduated in 1854. Custer graduated in 1861 after the Civil War had 

begun. A later scene in Kansas, where an Indian woman predicts the future, suggests that these West Point officers, once friends, 

would be divided against each other in a conflagration unimaginable. They laugh uncomfortably at such a prospect. The 

conflagration foretold, of course, is the impending Civil War, yet to begin.


Saturday Night and Sunday Morning****     1960


Arthur Seaton is a 22-year-old factory worker in Nottingham, a sprawling industrial city in the British Midlands. All week long he 

works hard at his lathe, asking and expecting nothing more than his weekly pay; but on Saturday evenings he asserts his 

independence by drinking, brawling, and playing practical jokes at the local pub. Saturday nights he spends with Brenda, the wife of

a fellow worker. He is also involved with Doreen, a girl with rigid ideas on sex and marriage. Brenda becomes pregnant, and Arthur 

takes her to his Aunt Ada in hopes of procuring an abortion, but without success. Arthur dutifully offers to marry Brenda, but she 

senses that their affair is over and decides to have the baby and accept the consequences. Eventually, her husband, Jack, learns of 

the affair; and his soldier brother and a friend waylay Arthur at a fair and beat him into senselessness. But this punishment Arthur 

accepts as part of life, and a week later he returns to his job. His attitude toward marriage has changed, however, and he agrees to 

marry Doreen and move into a new housing development. He warns her, nevertheless, that he has not yet lost his independence. 


Scaramouche****     1923

A meticulous film, very sordid in mood and atmosphere. Lewis Stone is perfectly sullen and vicious as the

Marquis and Ramon Navarro is swashbuckling as Moreau. Their is a taste of Romeo and Juliet with the 

star-crossed theme and the array of ludicrous characters.

More a lushly romantic melodrama than a straight Fairbanksian swashbuckler, Rex Ingram's Scaramouche, from the sprawling 
1921 novel by Rafael Sabatini, remains one of the most beautifully spectacular of silent epics despite the fact that both Sabatini 
and Ingram at times seem to have been overwhelmed by the weighty historical events surrounding the story; in addition to the 
expected presence of Danton, Robespierre, Marat, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, a brief glimpse of a keenly interested 
Napoleon Bonaparte is thrown in for good measure in the person of second unit director Slavko Vorkapich. Metro and Ingram, 
aided by hordes of set and costume designers, made every penny spent show up on the screen and Scaramouche was probably 
one of the era's most vividly researched blockbusters. Every wig, every plush bonnet, and every haughtily placed beauty mark 
seem authentic and only once or twice does a bit of typical Southern California landscape encroach on the realistic mise-en-
scene. Ramon Novarro, who became a major star in the title-role, is as stalwart as Sabatini could have hoped for and Lewis 
Stone delivers a modulated performance as his aristocratic adversary. As the anguished Aline, Alice Terry, the director's wife, is 
little more than window dressing, but a huge cast paints scores of vivid minor portraits. It is of course all very grim with nary a 
smile in evidence but plenty of severed heads on revolutionary stakes. Beautifully restored and awarded a highly awaited 
television premiere in December of 2000, Scaramouche has been augmented with an appropriately lush score by Jeffrey Mark 

Scarlet Empress, The****   1934

The young German princess Sophia Frederica is chosen by Queen Elizabeth of Russia to marry her nephew, the "royal halfwit" 

Peter, in order to provide a sane male heir to the throne. Elizabeth changes Sophia's name to Catherine and, following the 

wedding, Peter tells the queen he hates his wife. When the marriage remains unconsummated, Catherine is blamed. Meanwhile, 

the debonair Count Alexei pursues Catherine and gives her a locket that contains his picture. The queen discovers their 

rendezvous, however, and demands that Catherine not leave her sight. That night, Catherine discovers Alexei is the queen's 

lover and throws his locket out her window, but in remorse goes out into the snowy night to find it. There she meets Lieutenant 

Dmitri, a guard, who does not recognize her. In an act of vengeance, Catherine makes love with him and becomes pregnant. 

When she gives birth to a boy, Catherine satisfies the queen, but Peter knows the child is not his and his hatred for Catherine 

grows. When the queen dies, Peter becomes czar and begins a reign of terror, torturing and murdering thousands of Russians. 

By befriending much of the royal army through her feminine wiles, Catherine builds her defense against the increasingly insane 

Peter. When Peter has Catherine arrested in order to bring his mistress to the throne, Catherine escapes and, with the help of 

General Orloff, storms the palace, after which Orloff murders Peter.

Scarlet Pimpernel*****     1934


Full movie:

London. Director Harold Young; Producer Alexander Korda; Screenplay Lajos Biro, S.N. Behrman, Robert Sherwood, Arthur Wimperis; Camera Harold Rosson; Editor William Hornbeck; Music Arthur Benjamin; Art Director Vincent Korda
Leslie Howard Merle Oberon Raymond Massey Nigel Bruce Bramwell Fletcher Joan Gardner
An intriguing adaptation of a noted novel, the English-made Pimpernel is distinguished by a splendid cast and productional mounting that rates with Hollywood's best.

Leslie Howard's performance in the title role is not only up to the Howard standard, but so fine that an extraordinary production job was required to prevent this from being a monolog film.

As the Scarlet Pimpernel, an English nobleman who seeks to rescue the aristocrats of France from Robespierre's guillotine, Howard essays what amounts to a dual role. At home a foppish, affected clotheshorse; abroad, a gallant adventurer playing a dangerous game.

With the story in his favor, Howard has the acting edge all the way, so it was only by their own efforts that the supporting players could stand out. As Chauvelin, the villain of the piece, Raymond Massey turns in a gem of a performance.

Co-starred with Howard is Merle Oberon, the slant-eyed knockout. Portraying Lady Blakeley, a tragic young woman who nearly betrays her husband, Oberon is confined by script limitations to sad moments only.

Enough of Baroness Orczy's novel is retained to make the picture plot recognizable to the book readers.

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1934. Running time: 98 MIN.

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Schindler's List****1/2   1993

The relocation of Polish Jews from surrounding areas to Krakow in late 1939, shortly after the beginning of World War II. Oskar 
Schindler (Liam Neeson), a successful businessman, arrives from Czechoslovakia in hopes of using the abundant cheap labour 
force of Jews to manufacture goods for the German military. Schindler, an opportunistic member of the Nazi party, lavishes 
bribes upon the army and SS officials in charge of procurement. Sponsored by the military, Schindler acquires a factory for the 
production of army mess kits. Not knowing much about how to properly run such an enterprise, he gains a contact in Itzhak 
Stern (Ben Kingsley), a functionary in the local Judenrat (Jewish Council) who has contacts with the now underground Jewish 
business community in the ghetto. They loan him the money for the factory in return for a small share of products produced 
(for trade on the black market). Opening the factory, Schindler pleases the Nazis and enjoys his new-found wealth and status 
as "Herr Direktor," while Stern handles all administration. Stern suggests Schindler hire Jews instead of Poles because they cost 
less (the Jews themselves get nothing; the wages are paid to the Reich). Workers in Schindler's factory are allowed outside the 
ghetto, and Stern falsifies documents to ensure that as many people as possible are deemed "essential" by the Nazi bureaucracy, 
which saves them from being transported to concentration camps, or even being killed.

Amon Göth (Ralph Fiennes) arrives in Krakow to initiate construction of a labor camp nearby, Paszów. The SS soon clears the 
Krakow ghetto, sending in hundreds of troops to empty the cramped rooms and shoot anyone who protests, is uncooperative, 
elderly, or infirm, or for no reason at all. Schindler watches the massacre from the hills overlooking the area, and is profoundly 
affected. He nevertheless is careful to befriend Göth and, through Stern's attention to bribery, he continues to enjoy the SS's 
support and protection. The camp is built outside the city at Paszów. During this time, Schindler bribes Göth into allowing him 
to build a sub-camp for his workers, with the motive of keeping them safe from the depredations of the guards. Eventually, an 
order arrives from Berlin commanding Göth to exhume and destroy all bodies of those killed in the Krakow ghetto, dismantle 
Paszów, and to ship the remaining Jews to Auschwitz. Schindler prevails upon Göth to let him keep "his" workers so that he can 
move them to a factory in his old home of Zwittau-Brinnlitz, in Moravia -- away from the "final solution" now fully under way in 
occupied Poland. Göth acquiesces, charging a certain amount for each worker. Schindler and Stern assemble a list of workers 
that should keep them off the trains to Auschwitz.

"Schindler's List" comprises these "skilled" inmates, and for many of those in Paszów camp, being included means the difference 
between life and death. Almost all of the people on Schindler's list arrive safely at the new site, with the exception to the train 
carrying the women and the children, which is accidentally redirected to Auschwitz. There, the women are directed to what they 
believe is a gas chamber; but they see only water falling from the showers. The day after, the women are shown waiting in line 
for work. In the meantime, Schindler had rushed immediately to Auschwitz to solve the problem and to get the women off from 
Auschwitz; to this end he bribes the camp commander, Rudolf Höß (Hans-Michael Rehberg), with a cache of diamonds so that
he is able to spare all the women and the children. However, a last problem arises just when all the women are boarding the 
train because several SS officers attempt to hold some children back and prevent them from leaving. So Schindler, who is there
to personally oversee the boarding, steps in and is successful in obtaining from the officers the release of the children. Once the 
Schindler women arrive in Zwittau-Brinnlitz, Schindler institutes firm controls on the Nazi guards assigned to the factory, permits
the Jews to observe the Sabbath, and spends much of his fortune bribing Nazi officials. In his home town, he surprises his wife 
while she's in church during mass, and tells her that she is the only woman in his life (despite having been shown previously to 
be a womanizer). She goes with him to the factory to assist him. He runs out of money just as the  German army surrenders, 
ending the war in Europe.

As a German Nazi and self-described "profiteer of slave labor," Schindler must flee the oncoming Soviet Red Army. After 
dismissing the Nazi guards to return to their families, he packs a car in the night, and bids farewell to his workers. They give 
him a letter explaining he is not a criminal to them, together with a ring engraved with the Talmudic quotation, "He who saves 
the life of one man, saves the world entire." Schindler is touched but deeply distraught, feeling he could've done more to save 
many more lives. He leaves with his wife during the night. The Schindler Jews, having slept outside the factory gates through 
the night, are awakened by sunlight the next morning. A Soviet dragoon arrives and announces to the Jews that they have been 
liberated by the Red Army. The Jews walk to a nearby town in search of food. As they walk abreast, the frame changes to 
another of the Schindler Jews in the present day at the grave of Oskar Schindler in Israel. The film ends by showing a procession 
of now-aged Jews who worked in Schindler's factory, each of whom reverently sets a stone on his grave. The actors portraying 
the major characters walk hand-in-hand with the people they portrayed, also placing stones on Schindler's grave as they pass. 
The audience learns that the survivors and descendants of the approximately 1,100 Jews sheltered by Schindler now number 
over 6,000. The Jewish population of Poland, once numbering in the millions, was at the time of the film's release approximately
4,000. In the final scene, a man (Neeson himself, though his face is not visible) places a pair of roses on the grave, and stands
contemplatively over it.

Secret Garden, The***1/2    1949

The oft-filmed Frances Hodgson Burnett novel The Secret Garden was given the usual plush MGM treatment in 1949. 

Tempestuous orphan girl Mary Lennox (Margaret O'Brien) is sent to live with her reclusive, long-widowed uncle Archibald Craven 

(Herbert Marshall). The embittered Craven has an invalid son named Colin (Dean Stockwell), with whom the troublesome Mary 

constantly clashes. Her only real friend is neighbor-boy Dickon (Brian Roper). Things soon change after Mary discovers the key 

to the Craven household's garden, which has been locked up and neglected since the death of Craven's wife. Through the 

influence of the Secret Garden, Mary learns to think of others rather than herself, Craven drops his curmudgeonly veneer, and 

Colin's health slowly but steadily improves. In the tradition of The Wizard of Oz, the sequences taking place in the Secret Garden

are lensed in Technicolor. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Secrets & Lie****    1996 


A family is forced to confront the personal issues they've been avoiding for years in this powerful, realistic drama. Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn)

 is a working-class British woman whose life has been a long series of painful disappointments. She's single with no romantic prospects

 and a dead-end job at a box factory. Her daughter Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook) works as a street sweeper and is chronically bitter. Cynthia

 helped raise her brother, Maurice (Timothy Spall), who is doing well as a photographer, but she rarely sees him and usually blames his 

 wife, Monica (Phyllis Logan). One day, Cynthia receives a phone call from a woman named Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), who claims

 to be the daughter Cynthia put up for adoption years ago. Cynthia initially reacts with panic, but she agrees to meet Hortense and is

 surprised to discover that she's a successful and soft-spoken eye doctor -- and that she's black. Cynthia is soon convinced that Hortense

 is just who she claims to be, and they quickly form a friendship that gives Cynthia a new source of emotional strength. However, when

 Cynthia decides to introduce the family to her new "friend," it forces them to confront the lies and evasions that have kept them apart all

 these years. Largely improvised by director Mike Leigh and his cast, Secrets & Lies features standout work by Brenda Blethyn (who earned

 an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (who was nominated as Best Supporting Actress), and Timothy

 Spall. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi 

Selena****     1997

Selena Quintanilla was a major figure in Tejano music, a Grammy-winning recording artist, a beloved star in the American Southwest 

and Mexico, and seemed poised to cross over into mainstream popularity on the U.S. pop charts when she was murdered on March 31, 1995

 by the president of her fan club. Written and directed by Gregory Nava, this biopic concentrates on Selena's relationship with her family and

 her rise to fame, dealing only briefly with her tragic death. Abraham Quintanilla (Edward James Olmos) is a veteran musician who leads a

 family-based singing group, The Dinos. At a young age, he notices that his daughter Selena (played as a child by Becky Lee Meza) has a

 strong singing voice, and he works her into the act (her big number is a version of Over the Rainbow). However, as she grows older, Selena

 (played as an adult by Jennifer Lopez) wants to establish her own musical identity; while her heritage is Mexican-American, her primary

 language is English, and her favorite artists are American pop acts like Donna Summer. While Selena and Abraham sometimes argue

 about the musical direction of the group, he always respects and supports her talent, and her blend of Tejano roots music and danceable

 pop rhythms soon sparks a revolution in Latin music. Selena later earns the wrath of her father when she becomes romantically involved

 with Chris Perez (Jon Seda), a rebellious and long-haired guitarist hired to play with the group, but when they elope and Selena convinces

 Abraham that their love is sincere, Chris is welcomed into the family. After a long string of successes on the Latin charts and playing to a 

sellout crowd at the Houston Astrodome and a crowd of 100,000 at a stadium in Monterey, Mexico, Selena begins recording her first album

 in English, which is expected to make her a mainstream star on the level of Whitney Houston or Gloria Estefan. However, the fates decreed

 it was an album she would never complete. Selena was produced with the participation of the Quintanilla Family (Abraham was executive

 producer), and Selena's own recordings were used on the soundtrack. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Sense and Sensibility****   1995

When Mr. Dashwood dies, his wife and three daughters – Elinor, Marianne and Margaret – are dismayed to learn that their 

inheritance consists of only £500 a year, with the bulk of the estate of Norland Park left to his son John from a previous 

marriage. John's scheming, greedy, snobbish wife Fanny immediately installs herself and her spouse in the palatial home and 

invites her brother Edward Ferrars to stay with them. She frets about the budding friendship between Edward and Elinor and 

does everything she can to prevent it from developing.

Sir John Middleton, a cousin of the widowed Mrs. Dashwood, offers her a small cottage house on his estate, Barton Park in 

Devonshire. She and her daughters move in. It is here that Marianne meets the older Colonel Brandon, who falls in love with her 

at first sight. Competing with him for her affections is the dashing but deceitful John Willoughby, who steals Marianne’s heart. 

Unbeknownst to the Dashwood family, Brandon’s ward is found to be pregnant with Willoughby’s child, and Willoughby’s aunt 

Lady Allen disinherits him. He moves to London, leaving Marianne heartbroken.

Sir John’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Jennings, invites her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, to visit. They bring with 

them the impoverished Lucy Steele. Lucy confides in Elinor that she and Edward have been engaged secretly for five years, thus 

dashing Elinor’s hopes of romance with him. Mrs. Jennings takes Lucy, Elinor, and Marianne to London, where they meet 

Willoughby at a ball. They learn that he is engaged to the extremely wealthy Miss Grey; and the clandestine engagement of 

Edward and Lucy comes to light. Edward’s mother demands that he break off the engagement. When he refuses, his fortune is 

taken from him and given to his younger brother Robert.

On their way home to Devonshire, Elinor and Marianne stop for the night at the country estate of the Palmers, who live near 

Willoughby. Marianne cannot resist going to see his estate and walks five miles in a torrential rain to do so. As a result, she 

becomes seriously ill and is nursed back to health by Elinor after being rescued by Colonel Brandon.

After Marianne recovers, the sisters return home. They learn that Miss Steele has become Mrs. Ferrars and assume that she is 

married to Edward. However, he arrives to explain that Miss Steele has unexpectedly wed Robert Ferrars and is thus released 

from his engagement. Edward proposes to Elinor and becomes a vicar, while Marianne falls in love with and marries Colonel 


Seven Days In May****1/2   1964

At the height of the cold war, a weakened President and a popular four-star general face off in a battle for control of the US 

government. President Jordan Lyman has successfully negotiated an arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union, but his 

measure is unpopular and does not sit well with General James Mattoon Scott, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who 

has been quite vocal in his opposition. Marine Corps Col. Jiggs Casey, who works for Scott, comes to the conclusion that senior 

military officers are plotting a coup to overthrow the government. Working with a small circle of reliable and loyal officials, 

President Lyman tries to get the evidence of Scott's treachery and stop him. Written by garykmcd

Seven Year Itch, The****1/2   1955

The Seven Year Itch (1955) is a delightful, sophisticated and witty farce, using to the fullest extent the mordant humor of 

director Billy Wilder on the subject of sex. The 'seven year itch' refers to the urge to be unfaithful after seven years of 

matrimony, with a desire to satisfy one's sexual urges ('itches').

It was adapted from a Broadway play of the same name by George Axelrod, with Tom Ewell reprising his Broadway role (although 

on stage, Ewell had played opposite Vanessa Brown instead of the alluring MM). The film's entire story was an elaboration of the 

first scene in Wilder's directorial debut film The Major and the Minor (1942). Although the play was about an actual 

consummated affair, it was modified due to the Hays Code in force at the time, and many of the best lines from the play were 


The entertaining film is best known for the definitive performance of the radiant Marilyn Monroe with a little girl's giggly voice 

(her 23rd film) - basically portraying herself as a blonde bombshell, and known simply as The Girl. The film's promotional tease 

photographs packaged her as the sexually-endowed girl next door - an ideal fantasy figure. In the film, one indeed wonders 

whether Marilyn Monroe's character is an actual person or rather the living embodiment of the urban executive's wild 

imagination - a fantasy. 

Shadow of a Doubt****1/2   1943

A bored teenager living in Santa Rosa, California, Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (Wright), is frustrated because nothing seems to 

be happening in her life and that of her family. Then, she receives wonderful news: her uncle (for whom she was named), 

Charlie Oakley (Cotten), her mother's brother, is arriving for a visit.

Two men show up pretending to be photographers and journalists working on a national survey of the average American family. 

One of them speaks to Charlie privately, identifying himself as Detective Jack Graham (Macdonald Carey) and telling her that 

her uncle is one of two men who are suspected of being a serial killer known as the "Merry Widow Murderer". This murderer has 

modus operandi of seducing, murdering and robbing wealthy widows.

Young Charlie at first refuses to even consider that her uncle could be a murderer, but she cannot help noticing him acting 

strangely on several occasions. She confirms her suspicions after seeing the initials on the engraving on the ring Uncle Charlie 

gave her match one of the recent victims of the killer. Particularly chilling is a family dinner conversation during which Uncle 

Charlie reveals his hatred of rich widows, comparing them to fat animals deserving of slaughter.

Young Charlie's growing suspicion soon becomes apparent to her uncle. He confronts her and admits that he is indeed the man 

the police are after. He begs her for help; she reluctantly agrees not to say anything, as long as he leaves soon, to avoid a 

horrible scandal in the town that would destroy her family, especially her mother, who idolizes her younger brother.

Then news breaks that the second suspect was killed fleeing from the police in Portland, Maine, and is assumed to have been 

the guilty one. The detective Graham leaves after telling Young Charlie that he loves her and would like to marry her someday. 

Uncle Charlie is delighted at first, until he remembers that Young Charlie fully knows his secret. Soon, the young woman has a 

couple of near fatal "accidents", falling down some very steep stairs at her home, and being trapped in a closed garage with a 

car spewing exhaust fumes.

Uncle Charlie soon announces that he is leaving by train for San Francisco, following what is presumably his next victim. As he 

departs, he contrives for young Charlie to stay on board, planning to kill her by pushing her off as soon as the train gets up to 

speed. Instead, in the ensuing struggle between them, he falls into the path of an oncoming train. At his funeral Uncle Charlie 

is highly honored by the townspeople of Santa Rosa, who know nothing of his crimes. Jack has come back to comfort Charlie; 

she tells him she had withheld from him information about her uncle which would have confirmed him as the murderer, but 

Jack already knows and accepts that, realizing her difficult situation. They become a couple, and resolve to keep Uncle Charlie's 

crimes a secret.

Shakepeare In Love****  1998

William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is a poor playwright for Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of The Rose Theatre, in 

1593 London. After learning that his love was cheating on him with his patron, Shakespeare burns his new comedyRomeo and 

Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter, rewriting it as the tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Suffering from writer's block, he is unable to 

complete the play, but begins auditions for Romeo. A young man named Thomas Kent is cast in the role after impressing 

Shakespeare with his performance and his love of Shakespeare's previous work. Kent is actually Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth 

Paltrow), the daughter of a wealthy merchant who desires to act, but women are banned from the stage and she must disguise 


After Shakespeare discovers his star's true identity, he and de Lesseps begin a passionate secret affair. Inspired by her, 

Shakespeare writes quickly, and benefits from the advice of playwright and friendly rival Christopher 'Kit' Marlowe (Rupert 

Everett). Shakespeare and de Lesseps know, however, that their romance is doomed. He is married, albeit long separated from 

his wife, while de Lesseps' parents have arranged her betrothal to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth), an aristocrat who needs money. 

When de Lesseps is summoned to the court of Queen Elizabeth I (Judi Dench), Shakespeare dons a woman's disguise to 

accompany her as her cousin. At court, he persuades Wessex to bet £50 that a play cannot capture the nature of true love

If Romeo and Juliet is a success, Shakespeare as playwright will win the money. The Queen, who enjoys Shakespeare's plays, 

agrees to witness the wager.

Edmund Tilney (Simon Callow), the Master of the Revels, the Queen's official in charge of the theatres, learns that there is a 

woman in the theatre company at The Rose playhouse, and orders the theatre closed for violating morality and the law. Left 

without a stage or lead actor, it seems that Romeo and Juliet must close before it even opens, until Richard Burbage (Martin 

Clunes), the owner of a competing theatre, the Curtain, offers his stage to Shakespeare. Shakespeare assumes the lead role of 

Romeo, with a boy actor playing Juliet. De Lesseps learns that the play will be performed on her wedding day, and after the 

ceremony secretly travels to the theatre. Shortly before the play begins, the boy playing Juliet starts experiencing the voice 

change of puberty. De Lesseps replace him and plays Juliet to Shakespeare's Romeo. Their passionate portrayal of two lovers 

inspires the entire audience.

Tilney arrives at the theatre with Wessex, who has deduced his new bride's location. Tilney plans to arrest the audience and 

cast for indecency, but the Queen is in attendance. Although she recognizes de Lesseps the Queen does not unmask her, 

instead declaring that the role of Juliet is being performed by Thomas Kent. However, even a queen is powerless to end a lawful 

marriage, so she orders "Kent" to fetch de Lesseps so that she may sail with Wessex to the Colony of Virginia. The Queen also 

states that Romeo and Juliet has accurately portrayed true love so Wessex must pay Shakespeare £50, the exact amount 

Shakespeare requires to buy a share in the Lord Chamberlain's Men. The Queen then directs "Kent" to tell Shakespeare to write 

something "a little more cheerful next time, for Twelfth Night".

De Lesseps and Shakespeare part, resigned to their fates. The film closes as Shakespeare begins to write Twelfth Night, Or 

What You Will imagining his love washed ashore in a strange land after a shipwreck and musing, "For she will be my heroine for 

all time, and her name will be...Viola", a strong young woman castaway who disguises herself as a young man.

Shall We Dance****     1937

 Smitten with photographs of musical revue star Linda Keene, Pete P. Peters, an American ballet dancer living in Paris and performing under

 the name Petrov, vows to his impresario, Jeffrey Baird, that he will meet and marry her. However, when Pete, who secretly prefers jazz dancing

 to formal ballet, finally arrives at Linda's apartment, he overhears her eschewing her fawning male admirers and expressing to her nearly bankrupt

 producer, Arthur Miller, her desire to quit show business. With his thickest Russian accent, Pete introduces himself as Petrov, the temperamental

 ballet star, and pretends to be unimpressed by Linda. Then, to be near her as well as be away from Lady Tarrington, a former ballerina and dogged

 admirer of his, Pete tricks Jeffrey into booking passage for him on the same New York-bound boat on which Linda is sailing the next day. Before

 boarding the liner, Pete encounters Lady Tarrington and, in order to rid himself of her, confirms Jeffrey's story that he has been married in secret for

 four years. While sailing to New York, Pete connives to join Linda as she takes her little dog on his daily walks and gradually wins favor with her.

 However, after rumors generated through Lady Tarrington about Pete's "secret marriage" begin to spread around the boat, Linda's attentions to Pete

 lead to speculation that she is Pete's wife and is pregnant. When an outraged Linda then hears from Jeffrey that Pete used her to avoid Lady Tarrington,

 she grabs the next mail airplane to New York. After Linda assures her confused Park Avenue fiancé, Jim Montgomery, that she is still single, Arthur

 throws a party for the couple on the hotel's roof. During the party, Arthur, who doesn't want Linda to marry Jim and leave show business, connives to

 have her perform an impromptu dance with Pete, then conspires with a publicity man to have a sleeping Pete photographed with a mannequin of Linda.

 The published photograph, which is offered as proof of Pete and Linda's marriage, forces the reluctant couple to flee from reporters, and eventually

 leads them to marry secretly in New Jersey. Linda agrees to the marriage on condition that she can divorce Pete immediately, but soon realizes that

 she truly loves the dancer. However, when she finds Pete with Lady Tarrington, she disappears from the hotel and initiates divorce proceedings.

 Although the resulting scandal causes Pete to lose his engagement with the Metropolitan Ballet Company, Arthur, desperate over the absence of Linda,

 offers to feature him in his upcoming musical revue. At the show's opening, Linda arrives to serve Pete his divorce papers, but when she sees the

 number that he created, in which all of the dancers are wearing masks of her face, her anger dissolves. By placing herself in the dance, Linda reunites

 on stage with a joyful Pete.


Shop Around the Corner, The****   1940

Set in and around a Budapest store, co-workers Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) and Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) hold an 

intense dislike for each other, while maintaining a secret letter-writing relationship, neither realizing who their pen-pal is. They 

fall in love via their correspondence, while being antipathic and peevish towards one another in real life. A major subplot 

concerns the apparent infidelity of the store owner's wife, and its spillover effect upon the various working relationships in the 

shop.[1] Comic relief is provided throughout by William Tracy's characterization of Pepi the delivery boy.

Shopgirl***  2005

Clare Danes and Steve Martin seemed to fit as love interests, despite their large age difference. 

Although bordering on grotesque, and not critically acclaimed  I found that the film generated an 

emotional response that kept me glued to the end.

Shopgirl is the big screen adaptation of Steve Martin’s popular novella, which plays better on paper than on the big screen. 
Mirabelle (Claire Danes) is a sullen retail clerk at the glove department of Saks 5th Ave. She spends her days trapped behind the 
counter, staring into space, and waiting for Prince Charming to rescue her. But the story takes place in Los Angeles, where 
romance is nothing more than a projected hallucination. I guess she should have read the pamphlets before moving from 

While washing clothes at a Laundromat, she meets Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), a grungy, scruffy artist completely devoid of 
game. He awkwardly initiates small talk, clueing her in that he’s “an okay guy, by the way.” They exchange numbers, and he 
takes her on a date to visit City Walk and ogle at the outside of the Imax movie theater. Going inside would cost money, of 
which Jeremy has none to offer. The date is a bust, but Mirabelle is lonely enough to call him over for sex a short while later. 
The magic is missing, but at least it’s one night she won’t have to spend completely alone. 

Enter Mr. Suave, Ray Porter (Steve Martin) who comes into the store with his snazzy suits and perfectly slicked hair. Who cares 
if he’s old enough to be her granddaddy, at least he makes good bank. He buys an expensive pair of gloves at her counter, and 
Mirabelle comes home to find them waiting for her in a neatly wrapped box, with a card asking her to dinner. While such 
stalkerish behavior might scare most women into running for the hills, Mirabelle accepts his invitation and they have a meal at 
an upscale restaurant. Before long, their relationship escalates and they’re doing the deed back at his fancy pants mansion. 

Everything is great, except that Ray informs her after they sleep together that he travels a lot and they should keep their 
options open. Basically, he’s a shallow, detached guy who wants a young pretty lady at his disposal on the rare occasions he is 
home. In return, he buys her expensive dresses and pays off her hefty student loans. Mirabelle may see romantic potential, 
instead of what the arrangement truly is: glorified prostitution. Meanwhile, Jeremy is on the road helping rockers with their 
gear, and is introduced to a slew of self-help DVD’s that get him in touch with his well-hidden classy side. 

Shopgirl has promise, as a film about lonely people struggling to find purpose in L.A., but the execution is all over the place. It 
begins as a bittersweet comedy and then dives headfirst into minimalist drama. The repetitive, jarring slam-a-piano-note score 
seems to just add into the confusion of the tone. Jason Schwartzman offers witty comic relief, and is sorely missed when he 
vanishes for long stretches of the movie. The story revolves mainly around the relationship between Mirabelle and Ray, but it 
fails to be interesting because his character is a big raging bore. We really don’t know much about him, except that he seems 
to be a bit of an arse with nothing to offer but cash. His involvement in Mirabelle’s life leads her to travel from spacey la-la 
land into a crying world of desperation. 

The biggest issue with Shopgirl is that it seems clear that neither of the men are right for her, and they both just happen to be 

around at different moments. Even for a film that revels in its anti-romantic stance, there is something too downbeat about 

seeing people latch onto whoever is nearby, like proximity infatuation. It wasn’t the fact that she was dating such an older man 

that seemed grotesque; it was that their story simply wasn’t worth telling. A lack of purpose and invigorating new ideas keep 

the film at a distance. Shopgirl has the ingredients for greatness, but sadly, the final product winds up half-baked and stale.

Show He Never Gave, The****1/2



People who know Hank Williams know that he wasn't just the greatest star of country music who ever lived, he was the greatest who ever will live. With license on personal 

loan from God himself, Hank reached into the hearts of many of us when we were in a dark corner of our lives and helped pull us back. This miraculous film originated in 

London as a stage play and now comes to us as a video from Canada. The entire action takes place within a two hour time frame on the New Years Eve when Hank died. It 

envisions his going into a smoky bar and playing a show for the folks. The story is told through his songs and remarks. Important to know is that the show's creator fully 

understood Hank's legacy and thereby touches all the right buttons. This is the most emotional movie I've ever seen and I'm personally on a diet allowing no more than one 

screening every two years for the emotional drain of watching it. On the other hand, I've seen people watch it and simply enjoy the ample good music, with no trace of the 

buckets of tears that one might observe if they watched with me.

Country-music great Hank Williams died of heart failure in the backseat of a Cadillac carrying him to a stadium concert in Ohio on Jan. 31, 1952. Writer Maynard Collins and 

director David Acomba took these facts and added a small fantasy: In this Canadian-made feature film, Williams asks his driver to stop at a little roadside honky-tonk, where 

the star gives the small crowd a thrill with an impromptu concert. Williams is played by one Sneezy Waters, who isn't much of an actor and is even less of a singer — he 

sounds like Hank with bad allergies. But Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave still fascinates, because it taps into the deep, melancholy power of its subject. 

Williams wrote masterpieces of country misery and was by all accounts a pretty miserable fellow himself. Show depicts him as an artist alienated by his own stardom, 

hoping for some small pleasure by connecting with a few people in a bar. Waters' Hank sings a slew of songs, gets drunk, shoots drugs into his arm in a back room, and 

then climbs back into his car to die. Dark, eerie, and atmospheric, this Show is a heartfelt work. 

Sisters, The****  1938

At a ball held on the night of the 1904 presidential election, serious Louise, frivolous Helen, and stolid Grace, daughters of 

Medicine Bow, Montana pharmacist Ned Elliott and his wife Rose, find themselves dealing with romantic prospects. Tom Knivel 

is about to propose to Louise when Frank Medlin, a San Francisco sports reporter, asks her to dance. Infatuated with the young 

woman, Frank extends his stay, and at Sunday dinner in the Elliott home he announces he and Louise plan to wed. Although her 

parents disapprove of the union, Louise leaves for San Francisco with Frank that night. Grace eventually marries the jilted Tom 

and Helen weds wealthy Sam Johnson, who promises her freedom and asks for nothing in return.

Although facing financial difficulty, Louise urges Frank to complete his novel. When she becomes pregnant, she decides to keep 

her condition a secret, but finally reveals the truth when she accompanies Frank to a boxing match and the smoke and smells 

make her ill. Returning home, Louise suffers a miscarriage while climbing the stairs to their apartment, and her distraught 

husband begins to drink heavily.

Overwhelmed by increasing medical bills and a sense of worthlessness, Frank demands a raise but is rebuffed by his editor who, 

telling him his writing is suffering as a result of his drinking, fires him. Louise tries to console him by announcing she has found 

employment at a local department store, but Frank's hurt pride prompts him to forbid her to work. Louise ignores his demand, 

and while her husband struggles to find a job, she thrives as secretary to store owner William Benson.

Fellow sportswriter Tim Hazelton suggests Frank leave San Francisco in order to get a fresh start, and he decides to accept 

work on a ship bound for Singapore. When Louise arrives home, she finds a note from Frank and rushes to the docks, where a 

policeman mistaking her for a prostitute arrests her. By the time she is released, Frank's ship has sailed.

A few hours later, much of the city, including Louise's apartment building, is destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. When Ned is 

unable to contact his daughter, he travels to San Francisco to search for her, but she has sought refuge with her friend Flora 

Gibbon in Flora's mother's bordello in Oakland. With William's help, Ned locates Louise and brings her back to San Francisco.

Two years pass, the city has been rebuilt, and Louise is an executive in the department store. When she learns Tom has been 

unfaithful to Grace, she returns to Silver Bow and is reunited with both her sisters. Meanwhile, Frank returns to San Francisco, 

and although he is ill, he travels to Silver Bow with Tim when he learns Louise is there. At the ball on the night of the 1908 

presidential election, Frank and Louise are reunited and decide to give their marriage another chance.

Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story (TV)***1/2    1994

A television movie about the ordeal of Jim and Jennifer Stolpa, a couple lost with their five-month-old baby for eight days in a 

blizzard in Nevada in December 1992. Based on a true story. 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs*****   1937

Through a textual prologue the audience is told that Snow White is a princess living with her stepmother, a vain and wicked 

witch known only as the Queen. Fearing Snow White's beauty, the Queen forced her to work as a scullery maid and would daily 

ask her Magic Mirror "who is the fairest one of all". The mirror would always answer that the Queen was, pleasing her.

At the film's opening, the Magic Mirror informs the Queen that Snow White is now the fairest in the land. The jealous Queen 

orders her huntsman to take Snow White into the woods and kill her, demanding that he bring her the dead girl's heart in a 

jeweled box as proof of the deed. The huntsman, unwilling to harm Snow White, instead spares her life, and urges her to flee 

into the woods and never come back, bringing back a pig's heart instead.

Lost and frightened, the princess is befriended by woodland creatures who lead her to a cottage deep in the woods. Finding 

seven small chairs in the cottage's dining room, Snow White assumes the cottage is the untidy home of seven orphaned children.

 It soon becomes apparent that the cottage belongs instead to seven adult dwarfs, Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy,

and Dopey, who work in a nearby mine. Returning home, they are alarmed to find their cottage clean and surmise that an 

intruder has invaded their home. The dwarfs find Snow White upstairs, asleep across three of their beds. The princess awakens,

introduces herself, and all of the dwarfs except Grumpy (who is suspicious, but eventually warms up to her) welcome her as a 

house guest after they learn she can cook. Snow White begins a new life cooking and keeping house for the dwarfs.

The Queen eventually discovers that Snow White is still alive when the mirror again answers that Snow White is the fairest in 

the land. Using magic to create a drink that will disguise herself as an old hag, the Queen goes to the cottage while the dwarfs 

are away and tricks Snow White into biting into a poisoned (magic wishing) apple that sends her into a deep sleep, which can 

only be broken by love's first kiss. As Snow White falls asleep the Queen exclaims "Now I'll be fairest in the land!" The vengeful 

dwarfs, alerted by the woodland animals who recognized the Queen, chase the Queen up a cliff and trap her. She tries to roll a 

boulder over them but lightning strikes the cliff she is standing on and she falls to her death.

The dwarfs return to their cottage and find Snow White seemingly dead. Unwilling to bury her body out of sight in the ground, 

they instead place her in a glass coffin trimmed with gold in a clearing in the forest. Together with the woodland creatures, 

they keep watch over her body through the seasons in an "eternal vigil".

After several seasons pass, a Prince who had previously met and fallen in love with Snow White, learns of her plight and visits 

her coffin. Captivated by her beauty, he kisses her, which breaks the spell and awakens her. The dwarfs and animals all rejoice 

as Snow White and the prince ride off to the Prince's castle. The film ends with a non-animated scene showing the last page of 

a book which reads "...and they lived happily ever after.

Some Came Running****     1958


This is great copy from Shirley MacLaine...for the complete article see

Some Came Running


Frank Sinatra had seen me do a television special with Gizelle McKensie and Pat Boone and he said, " I want that girl." Frank wanted me, 

because they couldn't get Shelly, I went up and met Frank at his house on Beaumont Drive. I was nervous when I rang the 

bell, terrified, when I heard his recorded message from the gate speaker.

"You better have a goddamned good reason for being here."

His house was decorated all in Japanese and he was a gracious host spending hours talking about this new film, which was based on the 

novel by James Jones that would be directed by Vincent Minnelli. They were already in production and I was asked to report on location to 

Madison, Indiana as soon as possible.

Upon learning that I had landed the role of Ginny Moorehead, I immediately went to a specialty store and had a stuffed toy dog made, 

which I would use as a prop for the role.

I boarded a bus for Madison and arrived on location completely in character. Frank saw me get off the bus and just fell down laughing, 

"That's Ginny," he said.

Before long, Frank, Dean and I started hanging out together. It was great to renew my friendship with Dean Martin after Artists and Models. He was more relaxed and in good spirits and fun to be with and, in my opinion, his role as Bama in 

Some Came Running was the best acting of his very talented, very lengthy career.

I stayed at a hotel, which was adjacent to the house that had been rented for Dean and Frank. I was the only woman in the cast or crew 

which was allowed into that house. I was fortunate to spend considerable time in their private world, tidying up for them, arranging flowers 

and making the place livable. All they did is play gin rummy and entertain 'friends'. There was always some guy from the mob there. 

That's where I met Sam Giancana. We played gin together and he would always cheat by looking at the reflection of my cards in my 

reading glasses to see what cards I held in my hand.

Sinatra as Dave Hirs and Shirley MacLaine in the brilliant portrayal of Ginny Moorehead


Dean Martin is possibly his greatest performance                 Martha Hyer

Some Like It Hot*****   1959

This is a classic comedy that breaks a lot of the rules, but it works magnificently. There is very little

 flucuation in dynamics, as even the potentially dramatic moments do not create much empathy. The

 fact is simply that the funny scenes, which are many, are absolutely hilarious. The most significant and

 humorous aspect of the film is based upon the Daphne character played by Jack Lemmon. As Daphne,

 who is disguised as a woman strictly for the purpose of getting employed (in an all-girl orchestra) he has

 so many misadventures as a female that he begins to forget his true identity. Josephine, played by Tony

 Curtis, is the exact opposite, keenly aware that he can use his disguise to gain access to females, in

 particular Sugar Kane, played by Marilyn Monroe. There are too many great scenes to mention, but one

 I will refer to is the berth scene. Daphne is in her berth, and when Sugar finds out "she" he has a

 container of alcohol, the word spreads and suddenly there is a maze of arms and legs in which Daphne

 is entangled. "She" starts wiping her brow in a rather aroused excitemnt. Priceless! Everyone of course,

 know the classic last line, spoken by Joe E. Brown. The relationship between Daphne and Josephine is

 paramount. When Josephine bumps agianst Daphne, he creates a shift in her fake bosoms, instigating

 a comment from Daphne,

        JOE (grabbing him)
	Not there - that's the emergency brake.

	(clutching bosom)
	Now you've done it!

	Done what?

	Tore off one of my chests.

	You'd better go fix it.

The launching pad for Billy Wilder's comedy classic was a rusty old German farce, Fanfares of Love, whose two main characters 

were male musicians so desperate to get a job that they disguise themselves as women and play with an all-girl band in gangster-

dominated 1929 Chicago. In this version, musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) lose their jobs when a speakeasy

owned by mob boss Spats Columbo (George Raft) is raided by prohibition agent Mulligan (Pat O'Brien). Several weeks later, on 

February 14th, Joe and Jerry get a job perfroming in Urbana and end up witnessing a gangland massacre in a parking garage. 

Fearing that they will be next on the mobsters' hit lists, Joe devises an ingenious plan for disguising their identities. Soon they 

are all dolled up and performing as Josephine and Daphne in Sweet Sue's all-girl orchestra. En route to Florida by train with 

Sweet Sue's band, the boys (girls?) make the acquaintance of Sue's lead singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe, in what may be her 

best performance). Joe and Jerry immediately fall in love, though of course their new feminine identities prevent them from 

acting on their desires. Still, they are determined to woo her, and they enact an elaborate series of gender-bending ruses 

complicated by the fact that flirtatious millionaire Osgood Fielding (Joe E. Brown) has fallen in love with "Daphne." The plot gets 

even thicker when Spats Columbo and his boys show up in Florida. Nominated for several Oscars, Some Like It Hot ended up the 

biggest moneymaking comedy up to 1959. Full of hilarious set pieces and movie in-jokes, it has not tarnished with time and in 

fact seems to get better with each passing year, as its cross-dressing humor keeps it only more and more up-to-date.

Some Things That Stay****    2004


Some Things That Stay (Canada) (2004)

Also Known As:
Que nous reste-t-il?
Director: Gail Harvey
Starring: Tatum Knight, Katie Boland, Jack Knight
Synopsis: After years of moving, 15-year-old Tamara is tired of starting over. When her unconventional family relocates to a
 conservative country town, she discovers new friends, new romance-and a chance at a normal life. But just
 as she begins to feel at home, her mother is hospitalized, forcing young Tamara to grow up quickly and find the strength to
 keep her family from falling apart. Set in rural 1950's America, this coming-of-age story tells a tale of courage, faith, and the
 power of forgiveness. - IMDb 

Song for a Raggy Boy****1/2     1993 


 A teacher takes on the corrupt leadership of an Irish reform school in this drama based on a true story. William Franklin

 (Aidan_Quinn) is a teacher who was born in Ireland and moved to the United States only to repatriate in 1939 after his

 leftist political views cause him to lose his job. Franklin becomes the first non-cleric instructor at St. Jude's, a school for

 wayward boys run by Brother John Iain_Glen, who is a firm believer in strong discipline. But Franklin comes to believe

 the students are being treated with excessive force, with many of the children severely punished for trivial violations of

 the rules, and some treated as delinquents for the crime of not having parents. As Franklin campaigns for more humane

 treatment of his charges, he makes a powerful enemy in Brother John, who responds to Franklin's reform efforts with

 greater vehemence against the students, in particular Mercier (John_Travers), an inquisitive child who has become a

 favorite of Franklin. Franklin's distrust of Brother John's regime reaches a high point when a new student informs him

 that he was sexually assaulted by one of the clerics. Song for a Raggy Boy was adapted from the memoir by

 Patrick_Galvin, who also helped adapt his story for the screen. Mark Deming, Rovi


Sophie's Choice****   1982

In 1947, the movie's narrator, Stingo (Peter MacNicol), relocates to Brooklyn in order to write a novel and is befriended by 

Sophie Zawistowski (Meryl Streep), a Polish immigrant, and her lover, Nathan Landau (Kevin Kline).

One evening, Stingo learns from Sophie that she was married but her husband and her father were killed in a German work 

camp and that she was interned in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp.

Nathan is constantly jealous, and when he is in one of his violent mood swings he convinces himself that Sophie is unfaithful to 

him and abuses and harasses her. There is a flashback showing Nathan rescuing Sophie from near death from starvation shortly 

after her immigration to the U.S. Sophie eventually reveals that her father was a Nazi sympathizer. Sophie had a lover, Józef 

(Neddim Prohic), who lived with his half-sister, Wanda (Katharina Thalbach), a leader in the Resistance. Wanda tried to 

convince Sophie to translate some stolen Gestapo documents, but fearing she may endanger her children, she declined. Two 

weeks later Józef was murdered by the Gestapo, and Sophie was arrested and sent to Auschwitz with her children. Upon arrival, 

Jan (Adrian Kaltika), Sophie's son, was sent to the children's camp, and her daughter, Eva (Jennifer Lawn), was sent to her 

death in Crematorium Two.

Nathan tells Sophie and Stingo that the research that he is doing at the pharmaceutical company is so groundbreaking that he 

will win the Nobel Prize. At a meeting with Nathan's physician brother, Stingo learns that Nathan is mentally ill (Paranoid 

Schizophrenic) and that all of the "research facilities" that Nathan has worked at have been "expensive funny farms." (He has a 

job in the library of a pharmaceutical firm, which his brother got for him, and occasionally helps researchers with their research, 

but otherwise, is not one at all.) After Nathan discharges a firearm over the telephone in a violent rage, Sophie and Stingo flee 

to a hotel, where Sophie describes the incident giving rise to the film's title. While being unloaded in Auschwitz, Sophie was 

asked to choose which of her children would live and which would die. When she was unable to choose, a Nazi officer said both 

would be sent to die, so she chose Jan to survive. Sophie and Stingo make love, but while Stingo is sleeping, Sophie, tormented 

by her memory, returns to Nathan, where both Sophie and Nathan commit suicide by taking cyanide. Stingo moves away from 

Brooklyn and into a small farm his father recently inherited in southern Virginia to finish writing his novel.

The Spirit of the Beehives*****     1973

Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish cinema, this allegorical tale is set in a remote village in the 1940s. The life in the village is calm

 and uneventful -- an allegory of Spanish life after General Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War. While their father (Fernando Fernán Gómez)

 studies bees in his beehive and their mother (Teresa Gimpera) writes letters to a non-existent correspondent, two young girls, Ana (Ana Torrent) and

 Isabel (Isabel Telleria), go to see James Whale's Frankenstein at a local cinema. Though they can hardly understand the concept, both girls are

 deeply impressed with the moment when a little girl gives a flower to the monster. Isabel, the older sister, tells Ana that the monster actually exists

 as a spirit that you can't see unless you know how to approach him. Ana starts wandering around the countryside in search of the kind creature. The

 film received critical accolades for its subtle and masterful use of cinematic language and the expressive performance of the young Ana Torrent.

 ~ Yuri German, Rovi


Spitfire Grill***1/2     1996

The story centers on a young woman named Percy (Alison Elliott) who served prison time. Upon her release, she arrives in a 

small town in Maine with hopes of beginning a new life. She works as a waitress in the Spitfire Grill, owned by Hannah (Ellen 

Burstyn), whose gruff exterior conceals a kind heart and precious little tolerance for the grill's regular customers, who cast their 

suspicions on Percy's mysterious past. No one is more suspicious than Nahum, Hannah's nephew, although his wife, Shelby, has 

a kinder curiosity.

When Hannah becomes bedridden due to a nasty fall, Percy and Shelby pitch in to save the Grill and win the approval of Hannah, 

who learns that she does need friends. Joe, an attractive young man in town, becomes smitten with Percy, and brings to town a 

scientist who thinks that the town's trees might cure cancer and arthritis. As the plot unfolds, Hannah holds a $100-per-entry 

essay contest to find a new owner for the grill. This creates a positive change in the town, but the plans are disrupted by 

Nahum's suspicions and the revelation that a local hermit is really Hannah's shell-shocked Vietnam veteran son. Percy sacrifices 

her own life to save Hannah's son and prompts a number of characters in the town to consider their own conduct more deeply.

Overall, the film deals with powerful themes of redemption, hatred, compassion, independence, the economic problems of small 

towns, the plight of Vietnam War veterans and to some extent female empowerment. A "trick" of the film is that while it may 

be expected that the redemption will primarily be of Percy, in fact other characters and relationships, and indeed the town 

itself, are powerfully redeemed through the actions of Percy.

Stagecoach****   1939

In 1855, the Overland stage from Tonto to Lordsburg leaves town with eight people on board. In the front, sit Buck the driver 

and Marshal Curley Wilcox, who is riding shotgun to protect the stage from hostile Indians and from the Plummer brothers, a 

vicious band of outlaws. The passengers consist of Doc Josiah Boone, the town drunk; Dallas, a woman of ill repute, who, like 

Doc, has been banished from town; the pregnant Lucy Mallory, who is taking the stage to meet her husband, a cavalry officer, 

and is treated gallantly by her fellow passenger, Hatfield, a gambler; Gatewood, the town's sanctimonious banker who mouths 

respectability while clutching a carpet bag filled with stolen money; and Peacock, a timid whiskey drummer. Because of an 

Apache uprising by Geronimo, the cavalry escorts the coach to the first station at Dry Fork. Along the way, Buck stops to pick 

up the Ringo Kid, who has escaped from prison to seek revenge on the Plummers, who killed his family and sent him to jail on 

false testimony. After Curley arrests Ringo, the stage continues on to Dry Fork, where they discover that there are no troops to 

escort them farther. Voting to continue on alone, they reach the next stop, where their journey is delayed when Mrs. Mallory, 

learning that her husband has been wounded, goes into premature labor. Doc sobers up to deliver the baby, and as they await 

Mrs. Mallory's recovery, Dallas and Ringo fall in love and Dallas urges Ringo to escape. Ringo is on the verge of leaving when he 

sees Apache war signals, and the passengers hastily board the stage to make a desperate dash to Lordsburg. Just as they think 

the danger has passed, the Apaches attack at a dry lake bed, wounding Peacock and Buck and killing Hatfield. At the last 

minute, the cavalry rides to the rescue and escorts the stage to Lordsburg, where Gatewood is arrested for embezzlement. 

There, Curley grants Ringo his freedom so that he can avenge the murder of his family, and after gunning down the Plummers,

Ringo and Dallas ride off into the night to begin life anew at his ranch across the border. 

Stage Door****1/2   1937

One of the best "actresses living in a hostel" films ever made. This may be Ginger Rogers best film

(despite her academy award winning performance in Kitty Foyle). She has a  sharp and witty script to 

work with and her sometimes antagonists reply with a sparkle, especially Katharine Hepburn and Lucille 

Ball. Hepburn plays a polished and apparently snobbish character, but beautifully evolves her persona 

into a sympathetic friend to the career challenged girls. Ginger Rogers lets her vulnerability filter 

through her flippancy. Despite the melodramatic nature of this moviee, it tastes of realism and 

dramatically balances triviality with tragedy.

Terry Randall (Katharine Hepburn) moves into the Footlights Club,[1] a theatrical rooming house in New York. Her polished 

manners and superior attitude make her no friends among the rest of the aspiring actresses living there, particularly her new 

roommate, flippant, cynical dancer Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers). From Terry's expensive clothing and her photograph of her 

elderly grandfather, Jean assumes she has obtained the former from her sugar daddy, just as fellow resident Linda Shaw (Gail 

Patrick) has from her relationship with influential theatrical producer Anthony Powell (Adolphe Menjou). In truth however, Terry 

comes from a very wealthy, upper class, Midwest family. Over the strong objections of her father, Henry Sims (Samuel S. 

Hinds), she is determined to try to fulfill her dreams on her own. In the boarding house, Terry's only supporter is aging actress 

Catherine Luther (Constance Collier), who appoints herself Terry's mentor.

When Powell sees Jean dancing, he decides to dump Linda. He arranges for Jean and her partner Annie (Ann Miller) to get hired 

for the floor show of a nightclub he partly owns. He then starts dating Jean, who, despite her initial reluctance, starts falling for 

the man.

Meanwhile, well-liked Kay Hamilton (Andrea Leeds) had a great success and rave reviews in a play the year before, but has had 

no work since, and is running out of money. She clings desperately to the hope of landing the leading role in Powell's new play, 

Enchanted April. She finally gets an appointment to see Powell, only to have him cancel at the last minute. She faints in the 

reception area, the result of malnutrition and disappointment. Seeing this, Terry barges into Powell's private office and berates 

him for his callousness. As a result, the other boarding house residents start to warm to the newcomer.

Terry's father secretly finances Enchanted April on condition that Terry be given the starring role. Powell invites Terry to his 

penthouse to break the news. When Jean shows up unannounced, Terry sees the opportunity to save her friend from the 

philandering Powell. She pretends that Powell is trying to seduce her. It works. However, it makes things uncomfortable around 

the boarding house. In addition to Jean's loathing, Terry's landing of the plum part breaks Kay's heart.

The totally inexperienced Terry is so horribly bad during rehearsals that Powell tries desperately to get out of his contract with 

Sims. On opening night, after she learns that the depressed Kay has committed suicide, Terry decides she cannot go on. 

Catherine tells her that she must, not just for herself, but also for Kay. She does, and gives a heartfelt performance. The play is 

a hit, much to the chagrin of Terry's father. At her curtain call, Terry pays homage to her dead friend, and Terry and Jean are


Stealing Home****   1988

The storytelling device of the flashback gets an intense workout in this tragic coming-of-age drama. Mark Harmon stars as 

washed-up baseball player Billy Wyatt, who is shocked when he receives news that his childhood sweetheart and friend Katie 

Chandler (Jodie Foster) has committed suicide and left the disposal of her ashes to his judgment. Although Billy and Katie have 

not kept in touch through the years, he has always carried a torch for her, his first love. On his way home, Billy recalls his past 

associations with the free-spirited Katie: their first meeting, the time they made love, and conversations they had, mostly 

during summers at the New Jersey shore. Billy also remembers the adolescent mischief he got into with his best friend, Alan 

Appleby (played by Jonathan Silverman in the flashbacks, Harold Ramis in the present-day), like when each of them ended up 

sleeping with other's prom date. Billy finally decides to cast Katie's ashes to the wind in the place where they were happiest, by 

the seashore. Stealing Home was reportedly based on the real-life experiences of its writers, former Second City troupe 

members and WKRP in Cincinnati writers Steven Kampmann and Will Aldis. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide


Story of Temple Drake****     1933


One possible reason for the scarcity of viewing prints has to do with the rudimentary censorship editing that occurred from town to town, in keeping with the PCA

 requirements. Snip a few frames out in Kansas City and some more in Mobile, not to mention the ones removed in Philadelphia, and you have a very compromised

 35mm print with splices, handling marks, and other imperfections throughout, easily subject to breaking down and being tossed away. (In 1933 the awareness of film

 preservation was minimal to totally nonexistent. The MoMA Film Library was not founded until 1935.) Also, the reviews were ambivalent, with New York Times film critic

 Mordaunt Hall writing on May 6, 1933, “There are loopholes in the story as it comes to the screen, but the adroitly sustained suspense atones for such shortcomings.”

 And let’s not dwell on the fact that lead actress Miriam Hopkins, at a mature 31 years old, was playing a dewy girl of 19. Wink, wink.


Dr. McHaney concluded his introductory remarks by stating, “The film was further sensationalized by being banned in many cities, so that Paramount pulled it from

circulation and never reissued it in any form...

Storm In a Teacup***1/2    1937 


Victoria Gow and reporter Frank Burden have a brief, chance meeting as they disembark from a ship at Baikie, on the west coast of 

Scotland. After Vickie leaves, Frank observes the police enter the cottage of Honoria Hegarty and seize her dog Patsy for non-

payment of fines. Meanwhile, Vickie is reunited with her father, Willie Gow, the Provost, and learns that he now believes himself to 

be a man of destiny and has joined the Scottish Nationalist Party, hoping to win its nomination for a seat on the town council. Frank 

and Vickie encounter each other again at a town council meeting, where Frank offends her by his comments about her father. Gow 

gives Frank an officious interview, which is interrupted by Hegarty's complaints about her treatment. Both Vickie and Frank are 

sympathetic, but Gow ignores her, so Frank changes the headline to note the dog incident. Before Gow can see the morning paper, 

he addresses a planned rally, where he is jeered with imitation dog barks as the crowd shouts him down. Gow believes that Frank 

set up the mob, but Vickie knows he is innocent. Just as Frank is about to help Gow, he learns that Hegarty's ice cream truck has 

been seized, which means war between the two men. When the party leaders gather at the Gow home, Frank fills it with dogs to 

embarrass Gow and prevent him from receiving the nomination. Meanwhile, Lisbet, the wife of newspaper owner Horace Skirving, is 

moved by Gow's humiliation to admit that she loves him. When Horace announces that he plans to divorce Lisbet, Vickie believes 

she is no longer wanted at home. Gow orders Frank's arrest, but he and Hegarty are defended by the F.F.F.F., an animal rights 

organization. When Frank refuses to cooperate with his attorney at the trial, Frank is left to defend himself, and cross-examines 

Gow bitterly. Vickie, about to be called as a prosecution witness, announces that she cannot give testimony because she and Frank 

are married. Drawing her aside, Gow learns that this is not true, and therefore he must sabotage the case to prevent his daughter 

from being prosecuted for perjury. Claiming to the court that Frank's actions were justified, Gow proclaims he has learned a lesson 

in humility, and he gives a similar speech at another rally, thereby resuming his political career. 


Strait-Jacket***     1963


 Lucy Harbin returns unexpectedly to her farm after a trip out of town and discovers her husband in bed with another woman. Crazed, she grabs an ax

 and hacks the lovers to death in full view of her 3-year-old daughter, Carol. Lucy is committed to an asylum and her brother and sister-in-law take

 Carol and move west to another farm. Twenty years later Lucy is released from the asylum and comes to find her family. Carol, now a talented

 sculptress, is in love with wealthy young Michael Fields. The girl is anxious for her dowdy mother to look as she did 20 years earlier and persuades her

 to wear makeup, a black wig, youthful clothing, and jangling jewelry. Lucy behaves badly when she meets Michael; and the arrival of Dr. Anderson,

 the psychiatrist who treated her at the asylum, upsets her further. The doctor tells Carol that he thinks Lucy should return to the asylum and he is

 about to tell Lucy when he is hacked to death in a farm building. Later, Lucy tells Carol that the doctor left, but the girl finds the doctor's car and,

 suspecting that Lucy has reverted to violence, she hides the car. A hired hand sees her, and the next day Carol finds him repainting the car, which he

 says is his. She fires him but he refuses to leave, threatening to reveal that he discovered Dr. Anderson's body in the meat refrigerator. Lucy

 overhears the conversation, and the hired hand is later found axed to death. That night Lucy meets Michael's parents and she nervously reveals the

 couple's plan to wed. Mrs. Fields objects and is rude to Lucy, who flies into a rage, vows that nothing will stop the marriage, and rushes from the house.

 Later that night, Mr. Fields is chopped to death and, when his wife investigates the noise, a woman who appears to be Lucy attempts to kill her, but

 Lucy walks in and stops her. The look-alikes grapple until Lucy strips a mask and wig from the other woman, revealing her own daughter, who had

 planned the deaths of her beau's parents even before Lucy's release. Carol has a complete breakdown and is committed to an asylum. Realizing that

 her own crime led to Carol's insanity, Lucy goes to care for her at the asylum.


Stranger, The ****     1946


The Stranger was Orson Welles' third film. He set out to prove that he could make a movie that could perform at the box office. His

 previous two directorial efforts – the absolute film classics Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons – were box office failures. His

 third was a more traditional film and, like one of it's movie poster predicted, was Welles' first box office successes. 

 Today the “programmer” is considered Welles' weakest. I don't buy it. The Stranger is an amazing looking film – and Welles first directed

 film noir. The most notable and memorable scene in The Stranger is an exciting chase in and on an elaborate clock tower. Foster Hirsch –

 in his book Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen– writes: 

 "Places in noir reveal character... Settings are chosen for thematic reinforcement. Cars and trains and boxing arenas figure

 prominently in noir stories because they provide visual metaphors of enclosure and entrapment."

 The clock tower is a dark cramped place which can only be entered by climbing rickety ladders. The clock is referenced a number of times

 throughout the film and you just know the hero of the story is going to end up there. The editing during the clock sequence is just amazing.

 Welles and Edward G. Robinson – up until that point just toying with each other by playing cat and mouse – frantically rush through the

 giant cuckoo clock. The scene is edited in such a way that it seems like both men – going back and forth - are mimicking each others

 actions. All of it taking place in a dangerous enclosed environment. 

 But that's the end. The setup is excellent as well. 

 Edward G. Robinson plays Wilson – a Nazi hunter. He convinces authorities holding a former Nazi to release a low-level war criminal

 (twitchy Konrad Meinike played by Konstantin Shayne) in hopes that the German will lead them to his Nazi superior. Wilson breaks his

 pipe when he passionately pleads for them to release the man. The little man is let go – and it's made to look like a breakout. Robinson

 follows him to a small peaceful New England town. Wilson is an intellectual (like Robinson himself) and not a cop. He botches the tail job

 and is spotted quickly – thanks to the tape around his repaired pipe. In a handsomely shot scene in a gymnasium (Welles and

 photographer Russell Metty are in fine form during the opening scenes) the escapee bops Wilson in the head erasing the trail Wilson was

 following. Meinike – losing his tail – now feels free to visit his former superior. 

 Loretta Young
 plays Mary Longstreet – the town's prep school headmaster's naive daughter that who's first seen hanging curtains on her

 wedding day. Young plays “women teetering on the edge” in a few other good noirs. She's a frantic housewife in Cause for Alarm!and

 plays a spinster professor who tries to fulfill her sexual desires in The Accused – only to kill the man making advances on her in self

 In The Stranger, while waiting for her husband-to-be to come home, she is visited by Meinike. The strange man runs off when he finds her

 fiance Professor Charles Rankin isn't home. Then we're introduced to Orson Welles as Professor Rankin. Welles – directing himself – is

 excellent. Rankin is revealed to be a former Nazi. He's approached walking down the street by Meinike and he quickly hustles him off into

 the woods. He kills the man while he prays. Rankin evil streak clearly hasn't stopped since the war ended. The shookup professor throws

 the body in a ditch just seconds before some student “paper chase” happens by. Later in the movie he kills his wife's beautiful golden

 retriever Red – after the dog uncovers the man Rankin killed in a shallow grave. Welles brilliantly and convincingly plays the part without

 a hint of a German accent. After killing his old friend, Rankin returns home and the wedding goes as planned. Wilson suspects there may

 be something up with Rankin – who he finds out is new in town. Wilson – posing as an antique dealer - works his way over to the

 newlyweds house for dinner. It's only later in the night – popping out of bed - does he realize that Rankin is a Nazi when he remembers

 one of the professor's outrageous lines during dinner. Wilson reasons, “Well, who but a Nazi would deny that Karl Marx was a German... 

 because he was a Jew?” Methodical and intelligent Wilson doggedly investigates Charles Rankin (the alias for Nazi Franz Kindler).

 Rankin/Kindler – always one step ahead of Wilson - convinces his wife and the townsfolk that he's innocent. The town's mood collectively

 goes from sunny to sullen under the pressure of the murder investigation. Hardest to convince of Rankin's guilt is Rankin/Kindler's loyal

 new wife Mary. Finally, she's exposed to the atrocities of war by Wilson (in a daring scene for 1946). Mary confronts her husband and he

 goes over the edge. Rankin (Welles goes appropriately over the top) attempts to kill her and then flees to the clock tower – and to a 

 – and to a thrilling conclusion to The Stranger


Strange Loves of Martha Ivers, The***1/2   1946

Unquestionably a melodrama, guilty of being overly melodramatic at times. Slander, murder, the love triangle, a crooked and drunkard  lawyer, a sultry blonde, a coniving wealthy brunette,  blackmail,  a runaway...and probably more! The film still manages to be great because the plot is so adventurous and intertwining, and the performances are sensational, particularly by Lizabeth Scott, the ultimate in sultry and Van Heflin as the tough wisecracking rebel. Of course Barbara Stanwyk Kirk and Douglas are their reliable selves. Judith Anderson is short-lived as the protagonists mother and she is at her scene stealing best.

In The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, relationships formed in childhood lead to murder and obsessive love. The wealthy Martha Ivers (Barbara Stanwyck) is the prime mover of the small Pennsylvania town of Iverston. Martha lives in a huge mansion with her DA husband, Walter O'Neil (Kirk Douglas), an alcoholic weakling. No one knows just why Martha and Walter tolerate one another....but Sam Masterson (Van Heflin), an Iverstown boy who returns to town, may just have a clue. At least that's what Martha thinks when Sam asks Walter to intervene in the case of Toni Marachek (Lizabeth Scott), who has been unjustly imprisoned. It seems that, as a young boy, Sam was in the vicinity when Martha's rich aunt (Judith Anderson) met with her untimely demise. What does Sam know? And what dark, horrible secret binds Martha and Walter together? Directed by Lewis Milestone, and based on John Patrick's Oscar-nominated original story, Love Lies Bleeding, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers creates in Martha a unique and interesting, driven, obsessed, and spoiled character, but one not without sympathy. Barbara Stanwyck is outstanding as Martha, with her predatory smile and sharp, manicured nails. Kirk Douglas is surprisingly convincing as a lost, sad, weak man, who loves his wife, but is unable to gain her respect. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers eventually lapsed into public domain and became a ubiquitous presence on cable television. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Strangers On a Train****    1950

In In one of Alfred Hitchcock's suspense classics, tennis pro Guy Haines (Farley Granger) chances to meet wealthy wastrel Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) on a train. Having read all about Guy, Bruno is

 aware  that the tennis player is trapped in an unhappy marriage to to wife Miriam (Laura Elliott) and has been seen in the company of senator's daughter Ann Morton (Ruth Roman). Baiting Guy, Bruno 

reveals that he feels trapped by his hated father (Jonathan Hale). As Guy listens with detached amusement, Bruno discusses the theory of "exchange murders." Suppose that Bruno were to murder Guy's 

wife, and Guy in exchange were to kill Bruno's father? With no known link between the two men, the police would be none the wiser, would they? When he reaches his destination, Guy bids goodbye to 

Bruno, thinking nothing more of the affable but rather curious young man's homicidal theories. And then, Guy's wife turns up strangled to death. Co-adapted by Raymond Chandler from a novel by Patricia 

Highsmith, Strangers on a Train perfectly exemplifies Hitchcock's favorite theme of the evil that lurks just below the surface of everyday life and ordinary men. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

From the opening shots of two pairs of shoes walking, two train tracks crisscrossing, and those shoes accidentally bumping toes, Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951) explores one of his signature 

concerns: the coexistence of good and evil in one person. In a story adapted from Patricia Highsmith's novel and structured through a series of doublings, Robert Walker's Bruno becomes the flamboyant 

homicidal id to Farley Granger's stiff arriviste Guy, obliging Guy's desire to eliminate his wife and expecting Guy to return the favor with Bruno's father. After the murder, dreamily reflected in a pair of 

eyeglasses, Bruno haunts Guy, menacingly popping into Guy's life in Washington and on the tennis court. Yet, with Walker's charisma and Granger's weakness, Bruno is the more charming figure, revealing 

the appeal of moral chaos even as that chaos must be punished. Hitchcock's persistent pairs -- shoes, train tracks, crossed tennis racquets on Guy's lighter, two fateful carnival trips, two bespectacled 

women -- point to the ineffable connection between Bruno and Guy, and the (literally) dark psychosis that lurks beneath everyone's bright, well-ordered surface. A popular success, Strangers on a Train 

was Hitchcock's return to form after several failures. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Strangers When We Meet**1/2   1960

Kirk Douglas plays Larry Coe, a Los Angeles architect who's married with two kids. He has a very bright wife, Eve. She's ambitious for him, but he wants to do work more imaginative than the commercial buildings he's designing. Maggie Gault (Kim Novak), one of his neighbors whose son is friends with his son, helps him get a commission to build a house for an eccentric writer named Roger Alter (Ernie Kovacs, for comic relief). Both Larry and Maggie are dissatisfied in their marriages. Larry's wife is too hard-headed and practical and Maggie's husband isn't interested in having sex with her (or maybe he can't). So they have an affair that involves lots of walking on the beach and having drinks in oceanside hideaways. They both know what they're doing is wrong, and they each love their spouses in their own way and they're devoted to their children.

Felix Anders (Walter Matthau) is a dirty old man neighbor who snoops around and finds out about their affair. His leering and insinuations to Larry makes Larry realize the risks he's taking and he tells Maggie that they shouldn't see each other for a while. Felix, in the meantime, makes a play for Larry's wife Eve in an unbelievably creepy scene. In a way, Felix is a personification of the tawdriness of Larry and Maggie's affair. After her near-rape by Felix, Eve wises up and realizes that Larry has been unfaithful. She confronts him and they agree to stay together and move to Hawaii, where Larry has been offered a job to design a city.

Roger Alter's house is finished but still empty. Maggie drives up to take a look at it. Larry shows up and they talk about how they can never be together. Larry tells Maggie that he wishes they could live in the house and if they did, he would dig a moat around it and never leave it. Maggie doesn't say anything. Maybe she's thinking it's just as well the affair ended after all. The contractor for the house shows up and thinks Maggie is Larry's wife (which is strange because Eve has been a regular visitor to the building site). They both take a moment to savor the irony of his remark and Maggie drives away. On the way out of the driveway, one of the construction workers leers at her. She's not immune to one night stands, so she's already being put to the test. She drives back into their banal suburban enclave while Larry stands out on the house's balcony savoring the view of Los Angeles and no doubt thinking deep thoughts.

This is a long film that moves along at a leisurely pace that reflects the time when it was made. Larry is a successful architect, yet he still can take his kids to the school bus stop and have time to carry on his affair with Maggie without his wife suspecting (even though he works at home, she doesn't keep much of an eye on him). None of the women in the film work; they don't have to because their husbands have jobs that can support a family on one paycheck. America was a more economically secure country then. The film has nice expansive feel despite the constricted lives the characters lead.

Strawberry Blonde, The****1/2   1941

At the turn of the century, New York dentist Biff Grimes is reminiscing about the past when he receives a telephone call asking him to pull alderman Hugo Barnstead's aching tooth. Biff carries a grudge against Hugo, a man he has known from his youth: Their rivalry begins when both men fall in love with Virginia Brush, a strawberry blonde. Hugo arranges to meet Virginia "accidentally" in the park. In order that the meeting appear to be innocent, Virginia brings her friend, Amy Lind, a nurse who is outspokenly in favor of women's rights, and Hugo brings Biff. Hugo lures Biff into accompanying him by promising him that he can be Virginia's date, but when the foursome arrives in the country after a short carriage ride, Hugo pairs off with Virginia, leaving Biff to entertain Amy. To finish off Biff's disappointing evening, he is forced to pay for the carriage rental. The following week, Biff dates Virginia and spends all his money taking her to expensive places. When he tries to make another date with her, she turns him down, but Biff keeps trying and eventually Virginia agrees to meet him in the park. To Biff's surprise, Amy keeps the date in Virginia's place. When Biff learns from a passing friend that Virginia and Hugo eloped earlier that day, Amy does her best to console him. Eventually, Biff asks Amy if he can see her again, and over time, they fall in love and marry. One evening, Virginia invites Biff and Amy to dine with her and Hugo. Hugo spends the evening bragging about his wealth and then offers to bring Biff into his firm. Biff accepts his offer, but is frustrated when he learns that he is not expected to do much except sign his name to various papers. The reason for this becomes clear when the firm is accused of graft. Biff is held responsible for the crimes and Hugo, whose name does not appear on any papers, goes free. Things become even blacker when Biff's father, who is working on one of the firm's projects, is killed when a building collapses due to the use of inferior materials. Biff is held responsible and is sent to jail. By the time he is released, he has completed a correspondence school course in dentistry, and he and Amy move to a new neighborhood. Meanwhile, Hugo has gone on to a successful career in politics. Remembering these events, Biff vows vengeance on Hugo. When Hugo and Virginia arrive, they are surprised to discover that Biff is the dentist. Hugo and Virginia cannot stop quarreling and it is clear that they have a miserable marriage. Biff gets his revenge by pulling Hugo's tooth without gas, and realizes suddenly that he has a good life with Amy and is very glad that he did not marry Virginia, especially when Amy reveals that she is pregnant.

Student Prince of Old Heidelberg, The***1/2     1928


Crown Prince Karl Heinrich, nephew of the king of a small domain, has a joyless existence in the pretentious formalism of the moribund court until

his tutor, Dr. Juttner, arrives. After several years, Juttner takes Karl Heinrich to Heidelberg to study at the university. Here the prince falls in love

with Kathi, the niece of the owner of an inn where the tutor and the prince have taken rooms. Karl Heinrich's happiness is shattered when the king

dies and he must return to take the throne. Lonely and still in love with Kathi, although he is betrothed to an unattractive princess, Karl Heinrich

returns to Heidelberg and finds that everything has changed: the students who were once his comrades salute him stiffly; his tutor has died; and

only Kathi welcomes him as of old. After brief reunion they part again, for the Princess Ilse and he are celebrating their betrothal.

Summer of '42***1/2   1971

A surprise success in 1971 ($20 million worth of "surprise"), The Summer of '42 is a coming-of-age piece, drenched in nostalgia. Director Robert Mulligan narrates the film as the grown-up counterpart of Hermie (Gary Grimes), a teenager of the War Years who has a crush on twentyish Jennifer O'Neill. With O'Neill's soldier husband off to war, Grimes convinces himself that he can take hubby's place in every way. O'Neill is amused by Grimes' attentions (confined to doing chores and carrying her groceries), but never thinks of him in sexual terms. And then, O'Neill's husband is killed in battle. Herman Raucher based his intensely nostalgic script on his own experience, going so far as to use the real names of past acquaintances (including the Jennifer O'Neill counterpart) as character names in his screenplay. An Academy Award went to Michel LeGrand's evocative musical score. Summer of '42 was later novelized by Raucher, then followed up on screen by the less effective Class of 44. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Sunday In New York***1/2   1963

This great movie had a real early 60's feel. The film started with a swingin' vocal by Mel Torme, and the jazzy follow-up really set

an upbeat mode. It would be hard to make this kind of film shortly after, with the devastating assassination of JFK. The dialogue

is intelligent, witty, and tasteful. The story questions various outlooks on morality with realistic innocence...if there is such a thing!

Great acting by Rod Taylor, Robert Culp and Cliff Robertson, but Jane Fonda runs away with the show.

Airline pilot Adam Tyler's plans to spend a romantic weekend in his New York apartment with Mona Harris are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of his sister Eileen, who has just quarreled with her fiancé, Russ Wilson, because she refuses to sleep with him before marriage. After assuring Eileen that she has done the proper thing and advising her to remain a virgin, Adam persuades Mona to accompany him on his next flight. His assignment is changed at the last minute, however, and he is unable to reach Mona, who is stranded in a strange city. Meanwhile, Eileen finds evidence of her brother's double standard, and when she meets Philadelphia newspaperman Mike Mitchell on a Fifth Avenue bus, she becomes determined to seduce him. Mike respects her virtue and is reluctant to comply, even though both of them soon realize they are falling in love. After getting caught in a downpour, they take refuge in Adam's apartment and are surprised by the arrival of a forgiving Russ, who mistakes Mike for Eileen's brother. Upon his return Adam is introduced as his own co-pilot but goes along with the masquerade, even though he suspects the truth. The situation is resolved later that evening: Mike and Eileen admit their love; Russ, believing that Eileen has been unfaithful to him, admits defeat; and Adam decides it will be easier to marry Mona than to arrange illicit meetings with her.

Sunrise****1/2    1927

A Woman From The City (Margaret Livingston) travels to the country on a summertime vacation, and lingers in one particular lakeside town for weeks. One night she puts on a slinky black dress and wanders through town to a farmhouse where The Man (George O'Brien) and The Wife (Janet Gaynor) live with their infant child. She whistles from outside to the Man, who is sitting dejectedly at a table his wife is setting for dinner. The Man--with whom she has been having an affair--notices the Woman waiting for him outside and motions her to meet him nearby. He changes his coat, and leaves his wife and child alone in the house. The Wife, seeing her husband has left, leaves the empty dinner table to cry on her childs pillow. The Man walks through the moonlit woods to the shore of the lake where the Woman is waiting for him. The Woman seduces The Man into thinking that he should sell the farm and move with her to The City. Images of the big city, brass bands, and bright lights flash above them as they lie together among the reeds. When she suggests he could drown his wife, he objects violently at first but reluctantly agrees. They decide he will take her on a trip to The City, drown her on their way across the lake in a small boat, then sink the boat to make it look like an accident. The Man would then use bundles of reeds secretly placed in the boat to swim ashore on. The Wife happily agrees to go on the trip, yearning for any bit of time and affection from her emotionally distant husband. The next day, the Man and the Wife set off across the lake, but she soon grows suspicious of his strange behavior. Halfway across, the Man stands up menacingly and prepares to throw the Wife overboard. Looking into her eyes as he stands over her, he realizes he can't do it. He sits back down and begins rowing frantically. When the boat lands on the other shore, the Wife flees and the Man follows, begging her not to be afraid of him.

Eventually, the couple board a trolley that takes them into the City, and once there, the Wife runs from the Man in a state of fear and confusion into the busy street. The Man catches her and pulls her to safety. Together they wander the City, the Wife still fearful and unsure of the Man's intentions toward her. Slowly, she begins to grant forgiveness as he buys her a bouquet of flowers. Soon after, they see a church where a wedding is being performed. They go inside and watch as a young couple exchange their vows. The Man breaks down in terrible guilt and shame, realizing how horrible a husband he has been to her and begs forgiveness. After a tearful reconciliation, they leave the church and wander into the street gazing into each other's eyes, oblivious to the busy traffic around them. As they lose awareness of all but each other, the busy street slowly dissolves into an idyllic wooded meadow, where they kiss in a passionate embrace. When they come to their senses, they suddenly find themselves back in the middle of the city street again with traffic stopped around them. They wander giddily around the City, looking at wedding pictures in a window, visiting a barber shop, and having their picture taken. Making their way to a bustling amusement park, they play games, dance to a country tune, and in a state of marital bliss, dreamily imagine angels floating above their heads. As darkness falls and they leave the amusement park to board the trolley for home, fireworks light up the sky.

Soon they are drifting peacefully back across the lake under the moonlight. They pass a skiff filled with festive people, and the Wife falls asleep in the Man's arms. A storm begins to blow through the city, dispersing the people from the streets and the amusement park. As the storm reaches the lake, the Man tries desperately to keep them afloat, but the wind and waves become so violent that the boat begins to sink. The Man remembers the two bundles of reeds he placed in the boat earlier while planning the Wife's murder, and ties the bundles around her. They cling together as a wall of water hits them and the boat capsizes. The storm passes and the Man awakes on the rocky shore, where he calls repeatedly for his wife in vain. He gathers the townspeople to search the lake in boats for the Wife, but all they find is a broken bundle of reeds floating in the dark water.

The Woman From The City, who has waited patiently in the town to find out if their plan was successful, wakes to the frantic mobilization of the townsfolk and leaves to watch the activity from the shadows. Convinced the Wife has drowned, the grief-stricken Man stumbles home and sobs uncontrollably on the Wife's empty bed. The Woman goes to his house, assuming their nefarious plan has succeeded, but recoils in horror as the Man lunges at her in a murderous rage, chases her down, and begins to choke her. Someone calls to him that his wife is alive, and he releases the Woman. In stunned disbelief, he runs home to find the Wife has survived by clinging to one last bundle of reeds, and having been pulled from the lake by an old fisherman.

The Man kneels by the Wife's bed as she slowly opens her eyes and smiles radiantly at him. As the sun rises over their farmhouse, the Woman From The City leaves town, forlornly and unceremoniously, on the back of a cart, and the Man and Wife kiss as they dissolve into the sunrise itself.

Sunrise at Campobello***1/2     1960 

This film was one of the first bio-pics that I watched, and influenced me in my growing interest in politics.

 The look of Ralph Bellamy, pipe in mouth, grinning widely, while leaving the station aboard the train was

almost serial to me in it's lifelikeness. I found the depiction of Campobello to be an effective contrast to

the pending relationship Roosevelt would have with Washington. The film had a tenderness and warmth,

which was simply appealing. Hume Cronin and the great Greer Garson were perfect complements, as

Garson (as Eleanor) showed patience and courage, and a tinge of naive humour, while Cronyn as Louis

Howe demonstrated a sincere impatience and dry wit.

Beginning at the Roosevelt family's vacation home on Campobello IslandNew Brunswick (on the MaineCanada border), in the

summer of 1921, Franklin is depicted in early scenes as vigorously athletic, enjoying games with his children and sailing his boat.

Suddenly stricken with fever and then paralysis, subsequent scenes focus on the ensuing conflict in the following weeks between

 the bedridden FDR, his wife Eleanor, his mother Sara, and his close political adviser Louis Howe over FDR's political future. A

 later scene portrays FDR literally dragging himself up the stairs as, through grit and determination, he painfully strives to

 overcome his physical limitations and not remain an invalid. In the final triumphant scene, FDR is shown re-entering public life

 as he walks to the speaker's rostrum at a party convention, aided by heavy leg braces and on the arm of his eldest son James.

Swan, The***1/2 


Frances Howard starred as Princess Alexandria in the 1925 silent version of Ferenc Molnar's play The Swan; Lillian Gish assumed the role

 in the 1930 talkie version. The third and final adaptation starred Grace Kelly, who had one slight advantage over her predecessors; she

 would soon become a real princess instead of a make-believe one. And don't think that MGM, knowing full well that Grace would retire from

 moviemaking upon ascending the throne of Monaco, didn't carefully select the timeworn Molnar play for the express purpose of extra

 publicity. Outside of its mercenary considerations, The Swan is an enjoyable bittersweet tale of a princess who falls in love with her

 handsome tutor (Louis Jourdan), only to be required to give him up in favor of an arranged marriage of state. The nicest element of the

 story is that the prince to whom Kelly is engaged, as played by Alec Guinness, is a decent sort, who voluntarily asks for the princess' hand

 instead of forcing the issue. Of course, the issue has been forced upon him when he realizes the depth of the love Kelly harbors for her

 tutor. It may well be that this version of The Swan will be the last; on the other hand, who'd a' thunk that someone would want to make

 Sabrina again in 1995 

Sweet and Lowdown****    1999

A beautifully crafted film with a powerful historical background. The jazz-musician, played by Sean Penn

is a tormented, confused, and not totally sympathetic character. Penn is perfect, as he moves from gig to gig,

 and relationship to relationship with a strangely intense indifference. We also learn that the evolution of jazz

seems to rely on characters like the protagonist Emmet Ray, who are resolute and resilient. 

If you are a student of jazz history, you are aware that Emmet Ray, the subject of Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown, really

didn’t exist. But he could have. He resembles many of the jazz musicians I knew in the 1940s, including the tenor who employed

Redi-Whip, soon after its appearance on the market, in a non-dessert application; or the cats in a college combo who camped

out on a Midwestern hill top for six hours until dawn just to jam on "The World Is Waiting For Sunrise." 

Emmet Ray is quirky, perhaps, yet true to jazz life. At one point in his career he is living off the money earned by a couple of

prostitutes, a practice not unheard of in jazz circles beginning with Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton. When I was in Chicago

in the later 1940s, I encountered several local musicians who were "managers," a term Emmet also prefers to the phrase pimp.

Like many jazz legends, Emmet is an anti-hero, but his guitar playing – beautifully ghosted by the highly artistic Howard Alden

 – makes up for his multitude of sins.

Emmet is also a traveler who not only tours America but has played extensively in Europe. The fictional guitarist lived at a time

when jazzmen were first traversing the country, spreading consciousness of jazz even to American audiences who were beyond

the modest reach of radio and recordings. This original American art form (notwithstanding historian Arthur Schlesinger’s

comment that the only original American art form was film) not only spread across the country but to Europe in the 20s and 30s.

The way was paved by such men as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington who were welcomed enthusiastically when they appeared

on the other side of the Atlantic – Armstrong in 1932 and Ellington in 1933.

The audience for these giant talents included foreign musicians who modeled themselves after the American originators. Many

Europeans played on a high level but only one became a major influence on American jazzmen – the gypsy guitarist, Django


Sweet Charity*** 1964


Charity Hope Valentine (Shirley MacLaine) works as a taxi dancer along with her friends, Nickie (Chita Rivera) and Helene (Paula Kelly). She

longs for love, but has bad luck with men, being robbed and pushed off a bridge in Central Park by one ex-boyfriend. She has another

 humiliating encounter with Vittorio Vitale (Ricardo Montalban), a movie star.

After failing to find a new job through an employment agency, Charity meets shy Oscar Lindquist (John McMartin) in a stuck elevator. They

strike up a relationship, but Charity does not reveal what she does for a living. When she finally does tell Oscar, he initially seems to accept

it, but finally tells Charity that he cannot marry her.

The optimistic Charity faces her future, alone for the time being, living hopefully ever after.

Certainly not a flawless film...but it's full of energy, vivid, over the top and most of all, Shirley MacLaine can't help being spell-binding.

And the courtship scene in the restaurant...almost as if  Chaplin directed it. Choreography...outrageous and sexy....playful delight.


Sweet Hereafter, The ****   1997

A terrific documentary style film, that leaves you with the impression that this must have been a true

story to exactness. It was a true story, but only based on a similar accident that took place in Alton Texas

in 1989.

 The characters are varied, but all seem mysterious, and suspicious. We are held in suspense, because we

sense there are some great secrets being withheld. It is brilliant the way the direction held back the true

details of the accident until near the end. The relationships seem to skim the surface of distrust, and we

come to realize that lies and greed will win over the truth. Great performance by Sara Polley.

Life is difficult in a small town in British Columbia, Canada in the wake of a terrible school bus accident in which numerous local

 children are killed. Hardly able to cope with the loss, their grieving parents are approached by a lawyer (Ian Holm) who wants

 them to sue for damages, and who also is haunted by his dysfunctional relationship with his adult daughter. At first the parents

 are reluctant to do so, but eventually they are persuaded by the lawyer that filing a class action lawsuit would ease their minds

 and also be the right thing to do.

As most of the children are dead, the case now depends on the few surviving witnesses to say the right things in court. In

 particular, it is 15 year-old Nicole Burnell (Sarah Polley), who was sitting at the front of the bus and is now paralyzed from the

 waist down, whose deposition is all-important. However, she unexpectedly accuses driver Dolores Driscoll (Gabrielle Rose) of

 speeding and thus causing the accident. When she does so, all hopes of ever receiving money are thwarted. All the people

 involved know that Nicole is lying but cannot do anything about it.

Sweet Smell of Success****    1957

This great film features crackling dialogue, which is at times poetic. Lancaster is as optimally sinister as J.

 J. Hunsecker, and Curtis is perfectly devious as Sidney Falco, the press agent. The jazz club scenes seem

 to create an effective setting that portrays a society moving along quickly almost unaware of what is

 going on right beside them.

Press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) has been unable to get his clients mentioned in J. J. Hunsecker's (Burt Lancaster)

 influential newspaper column because of Falco's failure to make good on his promise to break up the romance between

 Hunsecker's younger sister Susan (Susan Harrison) and Steve Dallas (Martin Milner), an up-and-coming jazz guitarist.[1] Falco

 decides to spread false rumors in a rival column that Dallas is a dope-smoking Communist, then to encourage Hunsecker to

 rescue Dallas's reputation and make Dallas choose between his integrity and owing something to Hunsecker, for whom he has

 no respect. The plan works, in a way - Dallas insults Hunsecker, and Susan breaks up with Dallas in order to protect him from

 her brother. Hunsecker, however, deciding to leave nothing to chance (and against Falco's advice), orders Falco to plant reefers

on the musician and have him arrested and roughed up by corrupt police officer Harry Kello (Emile Meyer).[1]

Falco is summoned to Hunsecker's penthouse apartment by a message apparently from Hunsecker, only to find Susan about to

 attempt suicide.[1] He saves her just as her brother walks in, but Hunsecker, encouraged by Susan's silence, accuses him of

 trying to rape Susan. In a climactic confrontation with Hunsecker, Falco reveals to Susan that her brother had ordered him to

 destroy Dallas's reputation. Hunsecker tells Kello to arrest Falco for planting the reefer on Dallas. Susan admits she attempted

 to commit suicide and walks out on her brother in order to join Steve. She tells Hunsecker that she does not hate him but just

 pities him. Falco is arrested by Kello and Hunsecker loses Susan.[1]

Press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) has been unable to get his clients mentioned in J. J. Hunsecker's (Burt Lancaster)

 influential newspaper column because of Falco's failure to make good on his promise to break up the romance between

 Hunsecker's younger sister Susan (Susan Harrison) and Steve Dallas (Martin Milner), an up-and-coming jazz guitarist.[1] Falco

 decides to spread false rumors in a rival column that Dallas is a dope-smoking Communist, then to encourage Hunsecker to

 rescue Dallas's reputation and make Dallas choose between his integrity and owing something to Hunsecker, for whom he has

 no respect. The plan works, in a way - Dallas insults Hunsecker, and Susan breaks up with Dallas in order to protect him from

 her brother. Hunsecker, however, deciding to leave nothing to chance (and against Falco's advice), orders Falco to plant reefers

on the musician and have him arrested and roughed up by corrupt police officer Harry Kello (Emile Meyer).[1]

Falco is summoned to Hunsecker's penthouse apartment by a message apparently from Hunsecker, only to find Susan about to

 attempt suicide.[1] He saves her just as her brother walks in, but Hunsecker, encouraged by Susan's silence, accuses him of

 trying to rape Susan. In a climactic confrontation with Hunsecker, Falco reveals to Susan that her brother had ordered him to

 destroy Dallas's reputation. Hunsecker tells Kello to arrest Falco for planting the reefer on Dallas. Susan admits she attempted

 to commit suicide and walks out on her brother in order to join Steve. She tells Hunsecker that she does not hate him but just

 pities him. Falco is arrested by Kello and Hunsecker loses Susan.[1]

Sweetest Thing, The**1/2   2002

Nothing special really, except for the fact that Christina Applegate and Cameron Diaz had a combined

sense of comic timing between them, that transformed the film into a comedy classic. Parker Posey and 

Jason Bateman are perfect in the supporting cast.


Christina Walters and Courtney Rockcliffe, all-around party girls, attempt to ease their roommate Jane Burns' 

relationship-induced depression by taking her on a girls' night out. During that evening Christina meets Peter Donahue

 (Thomas Jane) and falls for him. Peter is preparing to get married, though she and Courtney mistakenly believe it is Peter's

 brother (Jason Bateman) who is going to walk down the aisle. Courtney decides to help her friend re-connect with Peter, and

 the two embark on a hazard-prone trip in a Saab 9-5 from San Francisco to Somerset, where the wedding is scheduled.

 Christina's hopes are dashed, however, when the girls arrive at the church only to discover that Peter is the groom.

 Nevertheless, Peter's wedding soon falls apart when both he and his bride (Parker Posey) confess to each other at the altar

 that while they love each other, they're not "in love" and marriage just isn't the right step. A few months go by, and Christina

 still laments her missed opportunity with Peter, while both Courtney and Jane have each found new relationships of their own.

 After a night of clubbing, the girls come home to find Peter curled-up and asleep on the doorstep. He tells Christina that the

 marriage didn't go through, and after an awkward start, the two begin their own relationship that culminates in marriage.

Swing Time***1/2      1936


 The sixth of RKO's Fred Astaire -Ginger Rogers pairings of the 1930s, Swing Time starts off with bandleader Astaire getting cold feet on his wedding day. 

 Astaire's bride-to-be Betty Furness will give him a second chance, providing he proves himself responsible enough to earn $25,000. Astaire naturally tries to

 avoid earning that amount once he falls in love with dance instructor Ginger Rogers. Numerous complications ensue, leading to the "second time's the charm"

 climax, with Ginger escaping her own wedding to wealthy Georges Metaxa in order to be reunited with Astaire. The film's most indelible image is that of Fred

 Astaire, immaculately attired in top hat and tails, hopping a freight car--a perfect encapsulation of the film's Depression-era cheekiness. The Jerome Kern

 -Dorothy Fields score includes such standards-to-be as "Pick Yourself Up," "A Fine Romance," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Never Gonna Dance" and

 "Bojangles of Harlem." The peerless supporting cast of Swing Time includes Helen Broderick, Victor Moore, Eric Blore, and Landers Stevens, the actor-father

 of the film's director, George Stevens. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi



Tail Spin***1/2     1939



  The exploits of female pilots are followed in this high-flying drama. These women are extremely competitive and will stop at nothing to win their cross-country

 races. The story centers on one such determined pilot who is forced to leave the race circuit after her plane crashes. To become re-airborne she convinces

 several people to sponsor her. One wealthy socialite refuses because she is a pilot too. The two women end up competing in the air and on the ground for the 

 love of the same fellow. Because the heroine is so well liked by the other racers, they help her win.

Tale of Two Cities, A****    1935

 On the eve of the French Revolution, Lucie Manette (Elizabeth Allan) is informed that her father (Henry B. Walthall) is not dead,

 but has been a prisoner in the Bastillefor many long years before finally being released. She travels to Paris to take her father

 to her home in England. Dr. Manette has been taken care of by a friend, Ernest Defarge (Mitchell Lewis), and his wife (Blanche

 Yurka). The old man's mind has given way during his long ordeal, but Lucie's tender care begins to restore his sanity.

 On the trip across the English Channel, Lucie meets Charles Darnay (Donald Woods), a French aristocrat who, unlike his unfeeling

 uncle, the Marquis de St. Evremonde (Basil Rathbone), is sympathetic to the plight of the downtrodden French masses. Darnay

 is framed for treason, but is saved by the cleverness of the dissolute Sydney Carton (Ronald Colman). Carton goes drinking with

 Barsad (Walter Catlett), the main prosecution witness, and tricks him into admitting that he lied. When Barsad is called to

 testify, he is horrified to discover that Carton is one of the defense attorneys and grudgingly allows that he might have been

 mistaken. Darnay is released.

 Carton is thanked by Lucie, who has attended the trial of her new friend. He quickly falls in love with her, but realizes it is

 hopeless. Lucie eventually marries Darnay, and they have a daughter.

 By this time, the Reign of Terror has engulfed France. The long-suffering commoners vent their fury on the aristocrats,

 condemning scores daily to Madame Guillotine. Darnay is tricked into returning to Paris and arrested. Dr. Manette pleads

 for mercy for his son-in-law, but Madame Defarge, seeking revenge against all the Evremondes, regardless of guilt or innocence,

 convinces the tribunal to sentence him to death.

 Carton comes up with a desperate rescue plan. He first persuades Lucie and her friends to leave Paris by promising to save

 Darnay. Then he blackmails an old acquaintance, Barsad, now an influential man in the French government, to enable Carton

 to visit Darnay in jail. There, Carton drugs the prisoner unconscious, switches places with him, and has Darnay carried out to

 be reunited with his family.

 Madame Defarge, her thirst for vengeance still unsatisfied, goes to have Lucie and her daughter arrested, only to find that they

 have fled with Dr. Manette. As she goes to raise the alarm, she is confronted by Miss Pross (Edna May Oliver), Lucie's devoted

 servant. In the ensuing struggle, Madame Defarge is killed.

 Meanwhile, only a condemned seamstress (Isabel Jewell) notices Carton's substitution, but keeps quiet. She draws comfort in his

 heroism as they ride in the same cart to the execution place. As the camera rises just before the blade falls, Carton's voice is

 heard, saying, "It's a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done. It's a far, far greater rest I go to than I have ever known."

Temptress, The****   1926

The story opens in Paris at a masquerade party where the unhappy Elena (Garbo) meets Manuel Robledo (Antonio Moreno), an

 Argentine engineer. After removing their masks, they fall in love under the stars. Later when he comes to visit his friend,

 Marques De Torre Bianca (Armand Kaliz), Manuel is stunned to learn that his wife happens to be Elena. At the dinner party,

 Marquis Fontenoy (Marc MacDermott), a middle-aged banker permitted by Bianca to have Elena be his mistress in order for

 them to be financially secure, distracts the guests by making a startling speech on how Elena, the temptress, has ruined his life,

 and dropping dead at the table after taking his drink of poison. Disgusted by the ugly truth, Manuel decides to forget Elena by

 leaving for the Argentine where he accepts a water dam building project. Just as Manuel is slowly forgetting Elena, she arrive

 with her husband, and by doing so, causes frustration and destruction to both men, and others as well, with Manuel, who feels

 she to be responsible for the murder of his friend and husband, as well as the near destruction of his dam dynamited by his

 enemy, finds he still cannot resist her.

The supporting players include Lionel Barrymore as Canterac, one of the construction workers who falls victim to Elena; Robert

 Anderson as Pirovani, the friend Canterac kills because of Elena; and Virginia Browne-Faire as Celinda, the pretty young girl

 who silently loves Manuel. Adding to sin and destruction is Roy D'Arcy as Manos Duros, the bandit leader, in a menacing

 performance as Manuel's arch enemy who, after forcing his intentions on Elena, is challenged by Manuel to a duel, with the

 bandit's method being the use of whips. The bull whip duel is one of the high points in the story, resulting to whip scars on the

 bare torsos covered with blood, as well as Manos, who fights dirty, aiming for the eyes, being quite graphic for its time.

murder and sentenced to life in prison.[4]

Tender Trap, The***1/2   1955

This is not quite standard Frank Sinatra fare, although it's close. He persists in playing the same character,

 the playboy with little conscience, a lust for sex, a chronic player of the field with an unstable with

 career. Somehow he manages to attract empathy, despite getting into romantic jams that are his own

 doing. This part was played to the hilt in A Hole Inthe Head, but he managed to be a touch more subtle

 in this film. What really makes this film special is the magic created by Celeste Holm and David Wayne.

 Wayne (Joe), the loyal friend is not supportive of his casanova friend (Charlie) marrying Sylvia (played

 by Holm). She is a sweet, down-to-earth woman, feeling desperate to marry because she is reaching

 middle age. Joe and Sylvia meet in the kitchen, and the scene that follows is one of the great romantic

 dialogues on film. Joe confesses to her that he loves her, and she convinces him that he is too good a

 fellow to forsake his family. It is touching and tastefully moralistic. Kudos to Wayne and Holm!

Charlie Y. Reader (Frank Sinatra) is a 35-year-old theatrical agent in New York, living a seemingly idyllic life as a bachelor

Numerous females (among them Lola AlbrightCarolyn Jones and Jarma Lewis) come and go, cleaning and cooking for him.

Charlie's best friend since kindergarten, Joe McCall (David Wayne), who has a wife named Ethel and children in Indianapolis, 

comes to New York for a stay at Charlie's apartment, claiming that the excitement is gone from his 11-year marriage and that he 

wants to leave his wife. Joe envies and is amazed by Charlie's parade of girlfriends, whilst Charlie professes admiration for Joe's 

married life and family.

At an audition, Charlie meets singer-actress Julie Gillis (Debbie Reynolds). She has her life planned to a tight schedule, 

determined to marry and retire from performing to a life of child-rearing by 22. Although at first she wards off Charlie's 

advances, she comes to see him as the ideal man for her plans. Julie demands that Charlie stop seeing other women. Charlie 

balks, but he begins to fall in love with her.

Joe has begun dating Sylvia Crewes (Celeste Holm), a sophisticated classical musician and a typically neglected lover of Charlie's. 

Sylvia is approaching 33 and desires marriage as much as the younger Julie does.

One day, annoyed by Julie and possibly jealous of Joe's attentions, Charlie blurts out a proposal of marriage to Sylvia. She is 

thrilled, only to discover the morning after their engagement party that he has proposed to Julie as well.

Joe confesses his love to Sylvia and asks her to marry him. She turns him down, knowing that he loves his wife and children. 

Sylvia reminds Joe that girls turn into wives when they marry and she wants the same things Ethel does. On her way out, Sylvia 

runs into a charming stranger near the elevator who clearly wants to get to know her much better. Joe packs up and returns to 

Indiana to his wife. Charlie, his other girlfriends also having moved on with their lives, leaves for Europe for a year.

Charlie returns just in time to see Sylvia marrying the new man in her life. She flips him the bridal bouquet. Julie is also at the 

wedding. Charlie tosses the flowers to her, then asks her to marry him. She agrees and they kiss.

Ten North Frederick***1/2   1956

A classic soap. This was one of the few great performances by Gary Cooper, who I find generally wooden 

and expressionless. The not totally believable romance between Cooper's character (Joe Chapin) and the 

young and exceptionally beautiful Kate (Suzy Parker), maintained our interest because of the apparent 

blindness of the lovers, and the dark ambiguity of Chapin's wife, played perfectly by Geraldine Fitzgerald.

One of my favourite actresses, Diane Varsi, played Chapin's troubled but sweet and sincere daughter. She 

gave the story balance and allowed us to empathize with the Chapin family. The movie, based on John

O'Hara's novel, was typically a melodrama, held together by a series of scenes which used coincidence, 

and situational irony to maintain our interest. Pure storytelling...nothing brilliant, but in some way impelling.

In April 1945, outside the titular address in the fictional town of Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, a radio reporter is describing the 

funeral of distinguished attorney Joseph Chapin. While his shrewish wife Edith delivers his eulogy, daughter Ann thinks back to 

Joe's fiftieth birthday celebration five years earlier.

Via a flashback, we learn rebellious ne'er-do-well son Joby has been expelled from boarding school and wants to pursue a career 

as a jazz musician, a decision Edith feels will harm the family's reputation. The ambitious woman is determined to get Joe 

elected lieutenant governor, and she uses her wealth, political connections, and social influence to achieve her goal.

Threatening this ambition is Ann's secret marriage to trumpet player Charley Bongiorno, who seduced and impregnated the naive 

girl. Corrupt power broker Mike Slattery and district attorney Lloyd Williams intervene. They threaten to charge Charley with 

statutory rape if he refuses to accept their bribe and agree to an annulment. Shortly after, Ann suffers a miscarriage, and when 

she learns her father condoned the deal that drove her husband away, she leaves home and moves to New York City.

Fearing repercussions from Ann's situation, party leaders refuse to back Joe in the election. He withdraws from the race, much 

to Edith's dismay. Angry with her husband, she reveals she once had an affair with Lloyd and bitterly tells him she wasted her life 

ministering to a failure. Deeply depressed by the turn of events, Joe begins to drink heavily. On a business trip, he meets Ann's 

roommate, model Kate Drummond. The two fall into a relationship, and during a weekend getaway Joe presents her with a ruby

a Chapin family heirloom. When the young woman's friends mistake Joe for her father, he realizes that he's unable to handle 

their huge age difference and ends the affair. Joe's alcoholism takes its toll on his health but he refuses medical attention. 

Learning her father is dying, Ann returns home. Joe asks her about Kate. She tells him her roommate is about to wed, although 

she suspects Kate in love with another man. Just before he dies, Joe realizes the man is himself.

At the funeral, Joby angrily accuses Slattery of betrayal and Edith of being responsible for Joe's decline. Later, just prior to 

Kate's wedding, Ann is helping her friend pack when she finds the ruby. She realizes her father was Kate's true love and that he 

managed to experience a brief period of happiness during his final years.

Terms of Endearment****   1983

Aurora (Shirley MacLaine) and Emma Greenway Horton (Debra Winger) are mother and daughter searching for love. Beginning 

with Emma's early childhood, Aurora reveals how difficult and caring she can be by nearly climbing into Emma's crib in order to 

make sure her daughter is breathing—only to be reassured once Emma starts crying.

The film follows both women across several years as each find their reasons for going on living and finding joy. Emma's 

marriage to Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels) becomes loveless, thanks mostly to his philandering, and she finds a lover in Sam Burns 

(John Lithgow). Aurora cultivates the attention of several gentlemen in the area but is attracted to the ne'er-do-well retired 

astronaut Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson), developing a tenuous relationship.

Emma returns home after leaving her husband after overhearing a conversation suggesting he is having an affair with a grad 

student. There are consequences for Aurora, however: the brief appearance of Emma and her children spooks Garrett into 

reassessing his relationship with Aurora and breaking it off with her. Emma attempts reconciliation with Flap accepting that 

they both made mistakes. She ends the relationship with Sam, but discovers that her husband is still cheating on her.

On a scheduled checkup with the doctor, Emma is diagnosed with cancer. After taking a few tests, it is determined to be 

terminal and incurable. Flap and Aurora remain by her side in the hospital. After discussions with Flap (while not acknowledging 

her infidelity), Emma and Flap reconcile. Emma talks to her children, telling them both she loves them and even if they disagree,

she knows they love her as well.

Aurora maintains a vigil at Emma's side, and is the only person to watch her die—Emma looks at Aurora one last time and passes.

At film's end, Emma and Aurora's friends and family gather at Aurora's home for a wake. Tommy,[who?] remorseful, is 

approached by Garrett, who takes his mind off the wake by talking to him about swimming, baseball and being an astronaut. 

Flap consoles his younger son. The film closes on Aurora, holding her grandchild Melanie.

Terror on a Train****    1953


Media gallery only

In the English city of Birmingham, police constable Charles Baron (John Horsley) is involved in a confrontation with a man believed to be a local vagrant.

The man gets away, but he is soon found out to have been a saboteur, who has left a suitcase full of detonators and bomb-making components at the 

railway yard. Police realise that the man was attempting to sabotage a trainload of sea mines, destined for the Naval Yard atPortsmouth. The train is 

stopped as soon as possible in case an explosion is imminent, but a residential area is nearby and the police have to evacuate local residents.

The local authorities get in contact with former Royal Canadian Artillery bomb specialist Peter Lyncort (Glenn Ford), who is living in the city with his 

French-Canadian wife Janine (Anne Vernon) and working for Vickers-Armstrongs, Ltd. Lyncort agrees to help, when the city's security chief Jim 

Warrilow (Maurice Denham) calls. Lyncort's wife is not there, as she had walked out on him after their tenth fight in just one month. 

Lyncort begins opening the trainload of mines one by one. They are hollow and a small explosive charge hidden inside any one could explode the 

whole train. The work is slow as well as dangerous, and Warilow joins in as Lyncort's assistant. They find an explosive charge and Lyncort disarms it.

Meanwhile the police plan to catch the saboteur in Portsmouth, in case he goes there to see the fruits of his labours, like an arsonist who stays at the 

scene of his crime. Constable Baron is flown by helicopter to the railway station in Portsmouth. He recognizes the suspect, who is apprehended, flown 

back to Birmingham, and taken to the stopped train. Lyncort tells him the bomb has been disarmed, but the saboteur becomes agitated. There is a 

second bomb and it is due to go off at any moment, killing them all and devastating the neighbourhood. However, it has a chemical fuse, whose timing 

may be somewhat inaccurate.

Janine, meanwhile, remains unaware of all this. Coming home at 3 am to make up with Lyncort, she finds their room empty and starts making phone 

calls to all the local hospitals, fearing Lyncort has been involved in an accident. Eventually, Janine finds out where her husband is and arrives just in 

time to see him find the second bomb. He throws it away from the train and it explodes harmlessly in mid-air.


Thank Your Lucky Stars***1/2     1943


Most of the "cavalcade of stars" films are pretty unbearable, but this one is the exception. The endless 

series on Eddie Cantor one-liners was almost overdone, but the director managed to fit in enough talent 

and quality musical numbers to keep him funny. The musical numbers were well above the average 

Hollywood fare, possibly because they were not over-produced. the highlight was clearly the tongue-in-

cheek number called "The Dreamer" performed surprisingly well by Olivia de Havilland and Ida Lupino. 

Hattie McDaniel performed "Ice Cold Katie", and Bette Davis used her limited talent to perfection in

singing "You're Either Too Young or Too Old". The appearance of Humphrey Bogart in a self parody was 

quite amusing. Nothiong but entertaining. 

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) is a film made by Warner Brothers as a World War II fundraiser. It was directed by David Butler 

and starred Eddie CantorDennis MorganJoan LeslieEdward Everett Horton and S. Z. Sakall.[1][2]

The film was a musical with a slim plot, involving theater producers (Horton and Sakall) staging a wartime charity program, only 

to have the production taken over by their egotistical star (Eddie Cantor, playing himself). Meanwhile, an aspiring singer 

(Morgan) and his songwriter girlfriend (Leslie) conspire to get into the charity program by replacing Cantor with their look-alike 

friend, tour bus driver Joe Simpson (also played by Cantor, in a dual role).

Many of Warner Brothers stars performed in musical numbers, including several who were not known as singers. The film 

features the only screen musical numbers ever done by Bette DavisErrol FlynnOlivia de Havilland, and Ida Lupino. Each of the 

cast members was paid a $50,000 fee for their appearance which was then donated to the Hollywood Canteen[3]

The film was popular with audiences, and the critic James Agee called it "the loudest and most vulgar of the current musicals. 

It is also the most fun." [4] Ticket sales combined with the donated salaries of the performers raised more than two million 

dollars for the Hollywood Canteen. [5]

That Hamilton Woman****     1941


The film tells the story of the rise and fall of Emma Hamilton (Vivien Leigh), dance-hall girl andcourtesan, who became mistress to 

Admiral Horatio Nelson (Laurence Olivier). The story begins with a decrepit, now-alcoholic Lady Hamilton thrown into debtor's prison 

in the slums ofCalais, and shows her past life by means of a flashback, as she narrates the story to her skeptical fellow inmates. In 

one of the early scenes that launches the flashback, Emma, well past her prime, looks into a mirror and remembers "the face I 

knew before," the face of the young, lovely girl who captured the imagination of artists - most notably George Romney andJoshua 


Her early life as the mistress of the charming but unreliable Charles Francis Greville leads to her meeting with Sir William Hamilton 

(Alan Mowbray), British ambassador to Naples. Greville gives Emma to Sir William in exchange for relief on his debts. Despite her 

shock at his betrayal, Emma comes to respect Sir William, who marries her and explains the reasons for Britain's war against 

Napoleon. When Horatio Nelson arrives in Naples, Emma is soon deeply attracted to him and is impressed by his passionate

insistence on resisting Napoleon's dictatorial rule. She leaves Sir William to live with Nelson. Their idyllic life together is threatened 

by the continuing war. Nelson leaves to confront Napoleon's navy in the decisive Battle of Trafalgar. After his death in the battle, she 

says that nothing remained in her life.


That Thing You Do!***     2003

Just a super fun film. It was a beautifully paced, nostalgic film, with a great performance by Tom Everett 

Scott as Guy Patterson, as well as some great drumming. The Theme song of the film and the fictional 

group, The Wonders, captured the spirit of the film. The moment at the Patterson's Appliance store, 

when the groups hit record, "That Thing You Do", is first heard on the radio, is contagiously delightfull. A 

feel good experience!!

Tom Hanks made his directorial debut in this bright comedy set in the mid-1960's about a rock group and their brief fling with 

fame. Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) works as a salesman at his father's appliance store and plays the drums in his spare 

time, fancying himself a jazz musician. One day, a buddy of Guy's tells him a local rock band, The One-Ders (it's pronounced 

"wonders"), are in need of a drummer -- they have Battle of the Bands coming up and their usual timekeeper has broken his arm. 

Guy agrees to sit in, but when it's time to play their best original, a love ballad called "That Thing You Do," Guy lays in a sharp, 

driving beat that turns the tune into an uptempo pop-rocker. Lead singer Jimmy (Johnathon Schaech) isn't happy at first, but 

guitarist Lenny (Steve Zahn) and the nameless Bass Player (Ethan Embry) think the song sounds better that way -- and they 

notice the girls like it just fine. Soon people are actually requesting the song at their shows, and the One-Ders scrape together 

some money to press a single of "That Thing You Do" to sell between sets. A DJ puts the song on the radio, and opportunity 

knocks in the form of Mr. White (Tom Hanks), who works for the very major Play-Tone Records label. Play-Tone buys the rights 

to "That Thing You Do" and puts the band on the road as their song makes it way to the top of the national charts. But what can 

The Wonders (as Play-Tone have re-named them) do for an encore? And what should Guy do about his infatuation with Jimmy's 

girlfriend, Faye (Liv Tyler)? Real-life 60's obsessed rocker Chris Isaak has a small part as a recording engineer, and fans of real 

60's garage bands will appreciate the wealth of small, accurately observed details (for example, halfway through the film, when a 

few "That Thing You Do" royalty checks have presumably kicked in, the band's inexpensive Danelectro guitars disappear and the 

Wonders are suddenly playing on brand new Fender gear -- the height of rock style in 1965). 

Theodora Goes Wild****   1936 


 Theodora Lynn (Irene Dunne) is a Sunday school teacher and former church organist raised by two spinster aunts, Mary (Elisabeth Risdon) and Elsie

 Lynn (Margaret McWade). She also happens to be, under the pen name Caroline Adams, the secret author of a bestselling book that has the

 straitlaced Lynnfield Literary Circle in an uproar. When it is serialized in the local newspaper, the Circle, led by outraged busybody Rebecca Perry

 (Spring Byington), forces Jed Waterbury (Thomas Mitchell) to stop printing the salacious installments.

 Theodora travels to New York City on the pretext of visiting her uncle John (Robert Greig), but actually to see her publisher, Arthur Stevenson (Thurston

 Hall). Though Stevenson reassures an anxious Theodora that only he and his secretary know her identity, his wife Ethel (Nana Bryant) pressures him

 into an introduction, which the book's illustrator, Michael Grant (Melvyn Douglas), overhears.

 Intrigued, Michael invites himself to dinner with the Stevensons and Theodora. Theodora becomes annoyed when Michael smugly assumes that she

 is a teetotaler, so she orders a whiskey. As the night goes on, she becomes drunk. So does Ethel, forcing Arthur to take his wife home and leaving

 Theodora alone with Michael. When he makes a pass at her, she panics and flees, much to his amusement.

 He tracks her down to her hometown and blackmails her into hiring him as a gardener, scandalizing her aunts and providing Rebecca Perry plenty to

 gossip about. Michael declares that he is going to break Theodora out of her confining routine, ignoring her protests that she likes her life just the way

 it is. Despite herself, she enjoys herself very much when Michael makes her go berrypicking and fishing with him. Finally, she gets up the nerve to tell

 the disapproving women of the Literary Circle that she loves him. When she tells Michael what she has done, he is less than thrilled. The next day,

 Theodora finds that he has gone away.

 She tracks him down to his Park Avenue apartment. He admits he loves her, but then his father (Henry Kolker), the Lieutenant Governor, shows up,

 followed by Michael's wife, Agnes (Leona Maricle). The estranged couple are only remaining married to avoid causing a political scandal for Michael's


 Theodora determines to free Michael just as he had done for her. He wants her to hold off until his father's term ends, but she is unwilling to wait that

 long. To that end, she courts publicity. She finally crashes the Governor's ball and arranges for reporters to photograph her embracing Michael. Agnes

 seeks a divorce to avoid looking like a fool.

 Theodora returns to Lynnfield and is warmly welcomed as a celebrity, even by her now-supportive aunts. She causes further talk when she brings a

 newborn baby with her. When Michael, now divorced, sees the child, he tries to flee, but then Theodora reveals that the baby belongs to Rebecca

 Perry's own secretly-married daughter.


There's No Business Like Show Business***1/2     1954's_No_Business_Like_Show_Business_(film) 


Like Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938), 20th Century-Fox's There's No Business Like Show Business is a "catalogue" film, its thinnish plot 

held together by an itinerary of Irving Berlin tunes. The story chronicles some twenty years in the lives of a showbiz family, headed by Dan

Dailey and Ethel Merman. Two of the couple's three grown children -- Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor -- carry on the family tradition,

while the third, Johnny Ray, decides to become a priest. There are a few tense moments when O'Connor falls in love with ambitious

chorine Marilyn Monroe and loses all sense of perspective, but the family reunites during a splashy production-number finale. Highlights

include Dailey and Merman's Play a Simple Melody duet, O'Connor's A Man Chases a Girl solo, and Monroe's tempestuous rendition of

Heat Wave (her delivery and stage presence both compensate for her unflattering bare-midriff costume). Of historical interest, There's No

Business Like Show Business was Fox's first CinemaScope musical; as such, it is best viewed on TV in "letterbox" format. ~ Hal Erickson, 


They Drive By Night****   1940

They just don't make 'em like They Drive By Night anymore. This slam-bang Warner Bros. attraction stars George Raft and 

Humphrey Bogart as Joe and Paul Fabrini, owners of a small but scrappy trucking firm. The film deftly combines comedy with 

thrills for the first half-hour or so, as the Fabrini boys battle crooked distributors and unscrupulous rivals while establishing their 

transport company. Things take a potentially tragic turn when the overworked Paul Fabrini falls asleep at the wheel and cracks 

up, losing an arm in the accident. He's pretty bitter for a while, but, with the help of his loving wife, Pearl (Gale Page), Paul 

eventually snaps out of his self-pity and goes to work as a dispatcher for the Fabrinis' company. Meanwhile, Joe's on-and-off 

romance with wisecracking waitress Cassie Hartley (Ann Sheridan) is threatened by the presence of seductive Lana Carlsen 

(Ida Lupino), the wife of glad-handing trucking executive Ed Carlsen (Alan Hale). At this point, the film metamorphoses into a 

remake of the 1935 Paul Muni-Bette Davis vehicle Bordertown. Desperately in love with Joe, Lana murders her husband, making 

it look like an accident, then offers Joe half-interest in Carlsen's organization. Joe accepts the offer, but spurns Lana's romantic 

overtures, whereupon the scheming vixen accuses Joe of plotting Carlsen's murder. Thus, the stage is set for a spectacular 

courtroom finale, completely dominated by a demented Lana, whose "mad scene" rivals those of Ophelia and Lucia di 

Lammermoor. In addition to the full-blooded performances by the stars and the virile direction by Raoul WalshThey Drive By 

Night benefits immeasurably from the nonstop brilliant dialogue by Jerry Wald and Richard Macaulay -- especially in an early 

lunch-counter scene between Ann Sheridan and George Raft, generously seasoned with hilarious double- and single-entendres. ~ 

Hal Erickson, Rovi 

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?****    1969



During the Depression, while awaiting execution for the murder of an acquaintance, Robert Syverton recalls the circumstances of 

the crime.Wandering on an amusement pier beside the Pacific Ocean, he recalls when, as a child, he witnessed the destruction of a

favourite horse. Robert is then attracted to a dance marathon about to begin in the dilapidated Aragon Ballroom. As he watches, a

contestant is disqualified because of an ominous cough. Pressed by the man's aggressive partner, cynical Gloria Beatty, host Rocky

recruits Robert as a substitute. Among the throngs competing for the prize are a middle-aged sailor suffering from heart trouble; as

pirant actress Alice and her partner, Joel; an impoverished farm worker, James, and his pregnant wife, Ruby; and other destitute 

couples. As the marathon continues the weaker pairs are quickly eliminated, while the vulnerabilities of the stronger contestants 

are observed and exploited by the master of ceremonies. The theft of Alice's alternate gown stimulates mutual suspicion. After 

observing Alice and Robert together, Gloria takes Joel as her partner. Joel, however, receives a job offer and quits the role. 

Gloria's next partner is the sailor. To rekindle the spectators' enthusiasm Rocky stages a series of derbies in which the exhausted 

contestants, clad in track suits, must circle the floor. In these races the last three couples are eliminated. As Gloria and the sailor 

participate, her partner has a heart attack. Undeterred, she lifts the man to her back and crosses the finish line. Horrified, Alice 

sequesters herself in the shower, where she suffers a mental breakdown. Robert and Gloria are again partners. Inspired, Rocky 

suggests that they marry during the marathon. When Gloria refuses, the host reveals the contest's fraudulent nature. From the 

prize will be deducted numerous expenses, leaving the winner with nothing. Rocky boasts that he stole Alice's dress to excite 

spectator interest and to stimulate the rivalrous instincts of the contestants. Disgusted with this duplicity, the couple departs. 

Outside Gloria attempts to shoot herself, but she cannot pull the trigger. When she requests his help Robert obliges. Questioned 

by the police as to the motive for the murder, Robert can only say, "They shoot horses, don't they?"Meanwhile, the marathon


They Were Expendable**** 1945


John Brickley (Robert Montgomery) believes in PT boats, and as a lowly U.S. Navy lieutenant stationed in the Philippines, that makes him a radical

 thinker. "Your boats maneuver beautifully," an admiral (Charles Trowbridge) tells him, "but if I'm going into combat, I prefer something a little more

 substantial." The gently delivered but stinging dismissal stirs the resentment of Lt. "Rusty" Ryan (John Wayne), who tartly tells Brickley that he

 wants to be transferred to destroyers. The Pearl Harbor bombing makes transfer impossible, especially with the Japanese preparing to invade the

 islands. So Brickley and Ryan go to work, first as message carriers between the Philippines and Corregidor, then, finally, as ship hunters. They

 record some successes, but it's a doomed effort: The Americans are hopelessly outnumbered by the Japanese, and with almost all of the Pacific Fleet

 destroyed at Pearl Harbor, they know help won't arrive to save them. As the Japanese push the U.S. forces back, Brickley and Ryan and their crews

 hop from island to island, scrounging supplies and taking casualties but keeping up the fight. Just as it appears that they will be forced to fight on

 Corregidor against the Japanese, they get rescued; they're ordered home to promote their PT-boat successes, and they take the last plane out, hoping

 to return and avenge their defeats. ~ Nick Sambides, Jr., Rovi


They Won't Forget****1/2   1934 

 On Memorial Day, in a small Southern town, Mary Clay and her friend, Imogene Mayfield, go for a soda after they are dismissed for

 the holiday from class at the local business school. Mary discovers she has left her vanity case in her desk, and when she returns to

 the empty building, she is brutally murdered. Andy Griffin, the ambitious district attorney who has his eye on a Senate seat, seizes

 the opportunity to create a sensational case against Robert Hale, the mild-mannered Northerner who was Mary's teacher. The trial

 attracts Michael Gleason, a famous Northern attorney, to defend Hale, but he is unable to convince the jury of Hale's innocence

 despite the uncertain testimonies of the president of the business school, Carlisle P. Buxton, the school janitor, Tump Redwine,

 Mary's boyfriend, Joe Turner, and the barber, Jim Timberlake. Although the media accuses Griffin of fighting the Civil War in the

 courtroom, his tactics are successful, and Hale is sentenced to death. Gleason appeals to the governor, who knows his professional 

 future hinges on his decision to commute Hale's sentence. The governor sacrifices his career and changes the penalty to life

 imprisonment, but before Hale can be safely taken out of town, he is lynched by Mary's vengeful brothers. As Griffin embarks on

 his race for Senator, Hale's wife Sybil demands that he accept responsiblity for her innocent husband's death, but he denies her

 accusations, and only briefly wonders if justice was served.


                                                                                                    A very young Lana Turner                                                                

Thin Man Series, The

     After the Thin Man****   1936

On New Year's Eve, Nick and Nora Charles arrive back home in San Francisco after Nick successfully solved the "Thin Man" 

murder case in New York. Exhausted from their trip, Nick and Nora want a quiet evening at home, but discover that their house 

has been taken over by a group of revelers they don't even know. When Nora's Great Aunt Katherine Forrest invites them to 

dinner, Nick doesn't want to go, but agrees when Nora's cousin, Selma Landis, pleads with Nora. At Katherine's house, they 

discover that Selma's husband Robert has been missing for three days. Katherine asks Nick to quietly find Robert, and, although 

he is reluctant, he takes Nora to the Lichee, a Chinese nightclub that Robert frequents. Robert has been at the Lichee, drinking 

and waiting for the club's entertainer, Polly Byrnes. Polly and "Dancer," one of the club's owners, are expecting to get money 

from Robert and Dancer tells Polly to take Robert home. A few days previously, Robert had approached David Graham, Selma's 

former fiancée, for $25,000 to leave for good. David meets Robert a short time later to  give him negotiable bonds, then, after 

cruelly bidding Selma goodbye, Robert walks out into the fog and is shot. When David's car drives up to Robert's body, Selma is 

standing over it with a gun. Dazed, Selma gives David the weapon and he tells her not to say anything. Despite their efforts to 

protect Selma, Nick and Nora are unable to prevent her arrest by Lieutenant Abrams. Though Selma says that she had not fired 

her gun, David reveals that he threw it into the bay, thinking that Selma actually had killed her husband. The next day, Nick 

goes to the hotel room of Phil Byrnes, a man posing as Polly's brother, but actually her husband. Upon his arrival, Nick discovers 

Phil's dead body. Later, he also discovers that someone had been listening to Polly's apartment through a device in the 

apartment above. Suspicious when he hears Dancer enter Polly's apartment, Nick follows him to the basement and finds the body 

of the janitor. When Nora arrives at the apartment building and hears the janitor's name, Pedro, she reveals that Pedro used to 

be her father's gardener. Nick then asks Abrams to have all of the suspects congregate at Polly's. Though Dancer and Polly admit 

their plan to use a check forged with Robert's name, each claims to be innocent of the murders. During questioning, David says 

that he remembers Pedro, a man with a long white moustache, but hasn't seen him recently. When Nick looks at a picture of 

Pedro taken years before and sees that Pedro then had a small black moustache, he knows that David must be lying. Nick then 

says that the murderer has finally made a slip and reconstructs the evidence to reveal that David killed Robert out of revenge, 

then killed Phil when Phil tried to blackmail him. Finally, when Pedro recognized him, David was forced to kill him as well. Now 

cornered, David reveals that he had been planning to frame Selma for her husbands murder. He draws a gun and threatens to 

shoot Selma and then himself, but Lum Kee, Dancer's partner in the club, knocks the gun out of David's hand and David is 

overpowered. A short time later, Nick and Nora leave San Francisco on the train, accompanied by Selma, who plans to start a 

new life. Finally, when he is alone with Nora, Nick sees that she is crocheting a baby's sock and is shocked when she says 

"And you call yourself a detective." 

     Thin Man, The****   1934

Soon after Dorothy Wynant announces to her inventor father that she plans to marry, he goes on a mysterious business trip, 

promising to return in time for Dorothy's wedding. As the day approaches and Wynant fails to return, Dorothy worries, while her 

mother, Mimi, is frantic that her ex-husband is unavailable to give her and her new husband, Chris Jorgenson, more money. 

When Mimi goes to see Julia Wolf, Wynant's mistress, to ask for money, she finds her dead body clutching Wynant's watch chain. 

Meanwhile, sophisticated former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora have come to New York for the Christmas 

holidays and become enmeshed in the case, despite Nick's protests that he is no longer a detective. Nora enthusiastically 

encourages Nick, and one evening he and Asta, their terrier, discover the skeletal remains of a body in Wynant's laboratory. The 

police suspect that Wynant has committed another murder, but Nick realizes that the body must be Wynant's because of a trace 

of shrapnel found in the leg. Nick and Nora give a dinner party, to which they invite all of the suspects as guests. There it is 

revealed that Mimi had been aiding MacCaulay, Wynant's lawyer, in exchange for cash. When Nick exposes Chris as a bigamist, 

thus making Mimi realize that she will now be free to inherit Wynant's money, she incriminates MacCaulay, who had been 

embezzling from Wynant with Julia's compliance. Finally, Nick and Nora and Dorothy and her new husband Tommy are on a train, 

happily bound for California.

39 Steps, The ***1/2   1935

On vacation in London, Canadian Richard Hannay becomes embroiled in a spy hunt when a German double-agent, Miss Smith, is 

murdered in his apartment. He is suspected of the murder, and in his search for the real murderer, he abducts an attractive 

blonde named Pamela. As the two travel through Britain, Pamela comes to trust Richard, and they slowly fall in love. In the end, 

Richard uncovers the spy ring and finally proves his innocence. 

This Happy Breed***1/2    1944

With This Happy Breed, playwright Noel Coward hoped to glorify the British working class in the same manner that he'd 

celebrated the "higher orders" in Cavalcade. The film begins just after World War I. Middle-class Londoner Robert Newton 

hopes to improve his family's lot by moving them into a comparatively posh house in the suburbs. The house is large enough for 

each family member to claim a corner or room as his or her own, allowing Coward to spotlight the characters' highly individual 

strengths, shortcomings and emotions. Twenty years go by, filled with the sorts of triumphs and tragedies with which British 

audiences of the 1940s could readily identify. Finally, left alone after their children and relatives have moved on, Newton and his 

wife (Celia Johnson) leave the house behind for a smaller, more practical apartment. This was the second of four collaborations 

between author Noel Coward and director David Lean. While Coward can't completely disguise his patronizing attitude towards 

"regular folks," Lean is successful in conveying the essential warmth, humanity and value of the film's characters. ~ 

Hal Erickson, Rovi

Three Smart Girls

     Three Smart Girls***1/2   1938

Deanna Durbin, the teenaged soprano who literally saved Universal Pictures from bankruptcy, made her feature-film debut in 

Three Smart Girls. Durbin, Nan Grey and Barbara Read play three wealthy young sisters, living with their divorced mother 

(Nella Walker) in Europe. The girls learn that their father (Charles Winninger) has made plans to remarry. Correctly sensing that 

the bride-to-be (Binnie Barnes) is a fortune hunter, the sisters head to Manhattan to save Daddy from himself. Durbin is the 

primary architect in reuniting her parents, but not before satisfying her fans with several arias. Three Smart Girls not only 

spawned a sequel (Three Smart Girls Grow Up), but even a 2-reel Three Stooges parody titled Three Dumb Clucks!

     Three Smart Girls Grow Up***1/2   1939


When Penelope "Penny" Craig sees that her sister Kay is in love with Richard Watkins, to whom their sister Joan has become 
engaged, she devises a plan to find another man for Kay. Penny, who is studying to be an opera singer, asks pianist Harry Loren 
to dinner, but when he shows more interest in Joan than Kay, Penny insults him and throws him out, much to the horror of her 
mother and sisters. Convinced that Penny was displaying jealousy and therefore, is in love with an older man, Mrs. Craig 
decides that the best solution is to keep her from seeing Harry at the music school, and asks her husband Judson, who is 
completely distracted by his work as a stockbroker, to tell Penny that her voice is going bad and she must discontinue her 
singing lessons. Penny is devastated by this news, but then realizes that the best way to solve the situation is for Harry and 
Joan to fall in love, thereby leaving Kay and Richard to get together. When Richard takes the sisters out for a diversion, Penny 
asks him to take them to Club 33, where Harry plays piano. Harry dances with Joan and tells her of his plans to move to 
Australia, where he has been offered a job. Meanwhile, Penny embarrasses Kay by telling Richard about her affection for him, 
and Kay slaps Penny. Back home, both sisters believe that all of Penny's actions have been selfish, and Penny is so offended she 
refuses to talk to Kay. The day before Joan's wedding, Penny goes to her father's office, and after interrupting an important 
meeting, bursts into tears. Finally realizing that his daughter is desperately unhappy, Judson takes time out of his day to 
console Penny, who reveals to him the source of all her recent behavior. Judson promises to set everything right. True to his 
word, the next day, Judson leads Joan out of the ceremony and into the arms of Harry, and then leads Kay to the altar with 
Richard, while Penny beams with happiness.

Through the Back Door*****   1921

The movie starts in Belgium in the early 1900s. Jeanne (Mary Pickford) is the 10-year-old daughter of Louise (Gertrude Astor). 

Troubles start when Louise remarries a selfish but rich man named Elton Reeves (Wilfred Lucas). He convinces her to move to 

America and leave Jeanne behind in Belgium to live with the maid Marie (Helen Raymond). At first Louise refuses to, but 

eventually gives in and leaves Jeanne in the care of Marie.

Five years pass and Jeanne and Marie bonded. Meanwhile, Louise hated living in America and feels guilty having left her kid 

behind. She returns to Belgium to reunite with Jeanne, but Marie doesn't want to give her up. When Louise finally arrives, Marie 

lies to her Jeanne drowned in a river nearby. Louise is devastated and collapses, before returning to America. This results in 

estranging from Elton.

World War I broke out. Marie fears for Jeanne's safety and brings her to America to live with her mother. After an emotional 

goodbye, Jeanne sets out for America to find her mother. Along the way she meets two orphan boys and decides to take care of 

them. When she finally arrives in America, she travels to Louise's big mansion.

Too afraid to tell her she is her daughter, Jeanne applies to serve as her maid. While pretending to be someone else, she gets 

to know her mother. However, she has trouble keeping up the lie and wants nothing more but have a reconciliation. Waiting for 

the right time to tell the truth, Jeanne hopes everything will come to a right end. When guests of the mansion plot to fleece 

Elton, Jeanne is forced to reveal her true identity to save the day. A happy reunion follows.

Time to Kill, A***1/2     1996


Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) takes the law into his own hands after the legal system fails to adequately punish the men who

 brutally raped and beat his daughter, leaving her for dead. Normally, a distraught father could count on some judicial sympathy in those

 circumstances. Unfortunately, Carl and his daughter are black, and the assailants are white, and all the events take place in the South.

 Indeed, so inflammatory is the situation, that the local KKK (led by Kiefer Sutherland) becomes popular again. When Hailey chooses novice

 lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) to handle his defense, it begins to look like a certainty that Carl will hang, and Jake's career

 (and perhaps his life) will come to a premature end. Despite the efforts of the NAACP and local black leaders to persuade Carl to choose

 some of their high-powered legal help, he remains loyal to Jake, who had helped his brother with a legal problem before the story begins.

 Jake eventually takes this case seriously enough to seek help from his old law-school professor (Donald Sutherland). When death threats

 force his family to leave town, Jake even accepts the help of pushy young know-it-all lawyer Ellen Roark (Sandra Bullock).

 ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi 

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday****   1996


David Lewis (Peter Gallagher) is so affected by the death of his beautiful wife Gillian (Michelle Pfeiffer), who fell from the mast 

pole of their boat on a sailing trip, that he turns their summer cottage in Nantucket, Massachusetts into a permanent home and 

spends most of his time on the beach there, communicating with his dead wife's spirit and unwittingly neglecting his teenage 

daughter Rachel (Claire Danes).

On the second anniversary of Gillian's death, David invites Gillian's sister Esther Wheeler (Kathy Baker) and her husband Paul 

(Bruce Altman) to stay for the weekend. Esther insists on bringing a female friend named Kevin Dollof (Wendy Crewson) whom 

she hopes David will become romantically interested in. David, however, ignores her in proceeding with a ritualistic celebration 

of Gillian's birthday.

The events of the weekend cause the adults to re-examine their relationships; Esther and Paul have to deal with the problem 

posed to their marriage by Rachel's provocative young teenage friend, while, most importantly, David comes to realize that he 

can be a loving and attentive father to Rachel without betraying the memory of Gillian.

Tootsie****   1982

Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a respected but perfectionist actor on the verge of turning forty. Nobody in New York wants 

to hire him anymore because he is so difficult to work with. According to his long-suffering agent George Fields (Sydney Pollack), 

his attention to detail and difficult reputation got him fired from playing a tomato in a television commercial, because the idea 

of a tomato sitting down was "illogical" to him. After four months without a job, he hears of an opening on the soap opera 

Southwest General from his friend Sandy Lester (Teri Garr), who tries out for a role but doesn't get it. In desperation, he cross-

dresses, auditions as "Dorothy Michaels" and wins the part.

Michael thinks it is just a temporary job to pay the bills, but he proves to be so popular as a feisty hospital administrator that, 

to his dismay, the producers sign him to a long-term contract. Dorothy is such a hit that she is even featured on the covers of a 

number of magazines with such celebrities as Andy Warhol.

When Sandy catches Michael in her bedroom half undressed to try on her clothes in order to get more ideas for Dorothy's outfits, 

he covers up by professing desire and they sleep together despite his better judgment about her self-esteem issues. Michael 

believes Sandy is too emotionally fragile to handle the truth about him winning the part of Dorothy. Their romantic relationship 

combined with his deception complicates his now busy schedule.

Exacerbating matters further, he is strongly attracted to one of his co-stars, Julie Nichols (Jessica Lange), a single mother in an 

unhealthy relationship with the show's amoral, sexist director, Ron Carlisle (Dabney Coleman). At a party, when Michael (as 

himself) approaches Julie with a line that she had previously told Dorothy she would be receptive to, she instead throws a drink 

in his face. Yet when he makes tentative advances (as Dorothy), Julie is shocked and later tells "her" that she likes her, but not 

in a romantic way.

Meanwhile, Dorothy has her own admirers to contend with: older cast member John Van Horn (George Gaynes) and Julie's 

widowed father Les (Charles Durning). Les even proposes marriage. Michael's roommate, writer Jeff Slater (Bill Murray), and 

George Fields are in on the masquerade and watch in amazement as the situation escalates out of control.

Michael finds a clever way to extricate himself. When the cast is forced to perform the show live, he improvises and reveals 

that he is actually the character's twin brother who took her place to avenge her. The revelation allows everybody a more-or-less 

graceful way out. Julie is so outraged she slugs him in the stomach off-camera. Some weeks later, Michael waits for Julie 

outside the studio and touchingly confesses that "I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a 

man," and she forgives him.

Top Hat***1/2   1935


An American dancer, Jerry Travers comes to London to star in a show produced by the bumbling Horace Hardwick. While 

practicing a tap dance routine in his hotel bedroom, he awakens Dale Tremont on the floor below. She storms upstairs to 

complain, whereupon Jerry falls hopelessly in love with her and proceeds to pursue her all over London.

Dale mistakes Jerry for Horace, who is married to her friend Madge. Following the success of Jerry's opening night in London, 

Jerry follows Dale to Venice, where she is visiting Madge and modelling/promoting the gowns created by Alberto Beddini, a 

dandified Italian fashion designer with a penchant for malapropisms.

Jerry proposes to Dale, who is disgusted that her friend's husband could behave in such a manner and agrees instead to marry 

Alberto. Fortunately, Bates, Horace's meddling English valet, disguises himself as a priest and conducts the ceremony; 

apparently, Horace had sent Bates to keep tabs on Dale.

On a trip in a gondola, Jerry manages to convince Dale and they return to the hotel where the previous confusion is rapidly 

cleared up. The reconciled couple dance off into the Venetian sunset, to the tune of "The Piccolino".[5]

Torchy Blane Series

     Smart Blonde***1/2     1937


      This 1937 "Torchy Blane" film, "Smart Blonde" has Torchy Blane (Glenda Farrell) trying to find out who killed

 an entrepreneur who just purchased a night club and some gambling establishments. Torchy is a witness to the

 murder. Later on, one of the suspects, the dead man's bodyguard, is also found dead. Torchy and her some time

 boyfriend, Lt. McBride (Barton MacLane), as usual, are at odds as far as who the killer is.

     Fly-Away Baby***1/2   1937


     Torchy and Steve are investigating a murder/jewel theft with roots in Germany. She lobbies her publisher to underwrite her

 participation in an around-the-world airplane race because arrogant businessman 'Sonny' Croy will be a participant. He is a

 prime suspect in the case and the international itinerary includes Frankfort, Germany. 

     Torchy Gets Her Man***1/2     1938


      Reporter Torchy Blane is in the police station when Gilbert, a secret service agent, asks the police for help in catching a counterfeiter

 known as $100 Bailey, who is passing hundred dollar bills. He tells police detective Steve McBride that the man he suspects will pass the

 money at the racetrack and convinces Steve to let him watch the $100 betting window. Captain McTavish dispatches Sergeant Gahagan

 with a letter to confirm Gilbert's identity, but, unknown to the police, Gilbert is actually Bailey and he intends to use his position at the

 racetrack to pass counterfeit money under the eyes of the police. Gilbert switches McTavish's letter with one written by a member of his

 gang, and his cover is maintained. McTavish forbids Steve to tell Torchy about the investigation, but determined to get her story, Torchy

 follows Gilbert from the racetrack. Gilbert notices her on his tail, however, and loses her. By questioning Gahagan, Torchy figures out

 what the investigation is about, but when she writes the story, her editor explains that they have been asked not to publish anything on the

 subject in order to keep the operation secret. Torchy is still suspicious, so she marks Gilbert's automobile tire with creosote and borrows a

 dog to track the scent. With Gahagan's help, Torchy discovers Gilbert's hideout, but they are spotted by Gilbert's men and kidnapped. Torchy

 sends the dog to get help. Meanwhile, Steve has begun to worry about Torchy. Gilbert's response makes him suspicious and when the dog

 shows up without Torchy, Steve sets off in search of her. They arrive just before a bomb is set to go off, and Bailey panics, revealing Torchy's

 hiding place.

 Touch of Evil****1/2   1958

A stunning portrait of corruption and abuse of power, Touch of Evil gives Orson Welles a broad remit to flourish his directorial 

genius. Opening with an unseen man setting the timer on an explosive device, the clock starts ticking down as soon as he 

stashes it in the boot of a fancy-looking car. Immediately afterwards, a well-heeled businessman motors off with his 

cheap-looking girlfriend. Through the tawdry streets they roll, until the camera smoothly picks up their passing by Mexican 

lawman Ramon "Mike" Vargas (Charlton Heston) and his new wife Susan (Janet Leigh). As the newly-weds cross over the border, 

into the US, they catch up and overtake the automobile. Just a few steps more and the car explodes in a ball of flame, casting 

harsh shadows. Unfortunately this is an international incident since the bomb was set in Mexico and detonated in America.

Forced to deviate from his honeymoon plans, Vargas decides to hang around for the local cops and send Susan back to their 

hotel (now that their romantic stroll is ruined). In the flickering light the DA and a few officers turn up, but they're all waiting 

for the renowned detective Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles). When he finally arrives from his ranch, with his side-kick Pete 

Menzies (Joseph Calleia), he rolls heavily from his seat and lumbers towards the wreck. Casting a jaundiced eye over the 

wreckage, Quinlan he knows, by intuition, that this is the result of dynamite. Marcia Linnekar (Joanna Moore) arrives to 

identify the remains of her father but Quinlan seems disinterested, dismissing her (with a tail). Finally turning to his fellow 

officers, after appraising and disregarding Vargas, Quinlan's twitching nose takes them onto the Mexican side.

Meanwhile, Susan has been waylaid on the way to the hotel by smooth-looking Pancho (Valentin De Vargas), one of the Grandi 

boys. Allowing herself to be led to greasy crime-boss "Uncle Joe" Grandi (Akim Tamiroff), puts on a brave face. Since his 

brother is being investigated by Vargas, he wants him to lay off - a request which cuts no ice with Susan. Her husband hasn't 

got much time to think about this development though because Quinlan is hot on the trail of a suspect and Vargas wants to be 

present. The hunch concerns Manelo Sanchez (Victor Millan), a poor Mexican worker who became involved with Marcia, severely 

upsetting her father. Thus Sanchez had the motive, which is enough for Quinlan. However the discovery of some damning 

evidence by Pete seals the case, but disturbs Vargas. He is certain that Quinlan is framing Sanchez, though he'll have to gather 

some solid proof if he is to prove this (which means leaving Susan alone).

The aspect of Touch of Evil which immediately grabs the attention is the virtuoso and deservedly famous opening tracking shot. 

This unbroken sequence, stretching for several breath-taking minutes, both sets the scene and introduces the main characters. 

The tension is finally eased by cutting away just after the explosion, establishing a fluidity of motion which remains for the 

entire film. This technical brilliance, flaunted so early, is a driving force, opening the door to extensive range of camera angles 

and superb editing. Links between separate scenes are established with connecting motifs, such as doors opening or a shared 

musical theme. When combined with the advanced level of spatial choreography (so that every position and movement latches 

together into a cogent whole), the result is an extraordinary piece of film-making.

Since the underlying story is also strong, dealing with a number of double-edged themes, it never feels as though Welles is 

showing off. The idea of conflict between good and evil is central but this is expanded to cover the US-Mexico divide, the 

moralist-pragmatist conundrum and more. Quinlan exudes the stench of corruption from every pore of his distended, heaving 

carcass, yet his fellow officers are in awe of him and his reputation. He drags evil-doers to justice and, frankly, they don't care 

how he does it; the ends justify the means. The twist is that his outlook has been poisoned since the brutal murder of his wife, 

decades ago. The constant pain fuels a personal vendetta. This is, of course, no excuse, but it does partly explain the prejudice 

of Quinlan. Besides, both Vargas and Quinlan have reputations to protect and when it comes down to a one-on-one duel, both 

are willing to get their hands dirty.

Lastly, the bizarre casting choices made for Touch of Evil show, in retrospect, a certain genius. Welles is perfect, dominating 

and beyond reproach, sometimes looming over the screen and sometimes shrunken like a doll. In opposition, Heston and Leigh 

are excellent as the disturbed newly-weds. However, special mentions must be made of Marlene Dietrich, the slewed gypsy 

fortune-teller Tanya, Dennis Weaver, the loopy motel clerk, Mercedes McCambridge, a butch gang member, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. 

This eclectic group of performers form the broad-sweep of this frontier town, a setting where the weird is commonplace and 

disparate cultures clash. All of this gives Touch of Evil a deliciously tangy flavour, a movie which is as much about cinema as it 

is a film noir. Given the unexpected opportunity to direct, Welles grabbed the opportunity and created a masterpiece (foxing 

the studio executives). As usual he messed up during the editing stage, by letting the film out of his hands, but now we have 

the chance to see his vision in all of its electrifying glory. Take it.

Trader Horn****     1931


Plot: Alfred Aloysius "Trader" Horn searches for a missionary's daughter amid the dangers of the African veldt.

 Thoughts: My feelings on this film are a bit mixed. As an adventure, many parts of this film are quite exciting and have you
 glued to what's happening. However, there are many parts in this film that are overly long, such as several safari scenes that
 essentially function as a travelogue as Horn explains the assorted species of animals encountered. Several scenes are also
 rather uncomfortable to watch, for example, Horn casually throws out racial epithets and calls the local peoples "savages"
 repeatedly. It wouldn't surprise me if the memoirs the film was based on were replete with this sort of language, but regardless
 of the possible historical accuracy, it's still damn uncomfortable.

 Based on the ivory trader's 1927 memoirs, Trader Horn's production was rather sordid. The sound recorded in Africa was of
 rather poor quality so MGM had additional footage shot (with two of the African nationals brought to the US - more on that in a
 moment) on their backlot, which gave rise to rumors of the location shooting being fake. Mutia Omoolu and Riano Tindama
 were denied entry to the Hollywood Hotel because they were black. Many of the animal scenes were later learned to have
 actually been filmed in Mexico where animal rights laws could be skirted to film under controlled, and sometimes brutal,
 situations. Many of the cast and crew contracted malaria and Edwina Booth managed to come down with a near-fatal
 neurological disorder. Despite all of this, Trader Horn went over huge with audiences. Many of the animal shots saw subsequent
 use in many of MGM's Tarzan movies.

 The film is not available on DVD. It was released on VHS on 1994, but not on laserdisc. Possibly due to the objectionable
 content, Trader Horn isn't seen very often on Turner Classic Movies. While I'm no fan of censorship, I can certainly see why
 TCM might be reluctant to show it. Trader Horn was remade under less harrowing circumstances in 1973 and starred Rod
 Taylor. However, the remake is difficult to find.

 Trader Horn was only nominated for Best Motion Picture, but it, and the rest of the nominees, lost to the epic western

Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The*****   1944

This is the context in which the three gringos band together in a small Mexican town and set out to strike it rich in the remote 

Sierra Madre mountains. They ride a train into the hinterlands, surviving a bandit attack en route. Once out in the desert, 

Howard, the old-timer of the group, quickly proves to be by far the toughest and most knowledgeable; he is the one to discover 

the gold they are seeking. A mine is dug, and much gold is extracted. Greed soon sets in and Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) begins 

to lose both his trust and his sanity, lusting to possess the entire treasure. Dobbs is also paranoid that he will be killed by his 

partners. At this time a fourth American shows up, which sets up a moral debate about what to do with the new stranger. The 

bandits then reappear, pretending, very crudely, to be Federales, which leads to the now-iconic line about not needing to show 

any "stinking badges." After a gunfight in which the fourth American is killed, a real troop of Federales appears and drives the 

bandits away.

But when Howard is called away to assist some local villagers, Dobbs and third partner Curtin have a final confrontation, which 

Dobbs wins, leaving Curtin lying shot and presumed dead. However, Curtin crawls to safety. Later, Dobbs is murdered (via 

decapitation) by some surviving bandits, who, in their ignorance, believe the bags of unrefined gold to be just bags of sand 

and scatter them to the winds. Curtin is discovered and taken to Howard's village, where he recovers. He and Howard miss 

witnessing the bandits' execution by Federales by only a few minutes as they arrive back in town, and learn that the gold is 

gone. While checking the areas that the bandits dropped the gold, Howard realizes that the winds must have carried the gold 

away. They accept the loss with equanimity, and then part ways, Howard returning to his village, and Curtin returning home to 


Tree Grows in Brooklyn****     1945


 One-time movie song-and-dance man James Dunn won an Academy Award for his "comeback" performance in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Based on the
 best-selling novel by Betty Smith, the film relates the trials and tribulations of a turn-of-the-century Brooklyn tenement family. The father, Dunn, is a likable
 but irresponsible alcoholic whose dreams of improving his family's lot are invariably doomed to disappointment. The mother, Dorothy McGuire, is the
 true head of the household, steadfastly holding the family together no matter what crisis arises. The story is told from the point of view of daughter Peggy 
 Ann Garner, a clear-eyed realist who nonetheless would like to believe in her pie-in-the-sky father, whom she dearly loves. Joan Blondell co-stars as the
 family's brash, freewheeling aunt, whose means of financial support is a never-ending source of neighborhood gossip. This first film directorial effort of
 Elia Kazan earned a special Oscar for "Most Promising Juvenile Performer" Peggy Ann Garner. A Tree Grows From Brooklyn was remade for TV in 1974,
 and also served as the basis of a Broadway musical. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi 


Triumph of Love****    2001

A beautiful princess (Mira Sorvino) whose throne is threatened falls in love at first sight with the rightful heir to the throne, a lonely young 
man named Agis (Jay Rodan), in Clare Peploe's romantic comedy Triumph of Love. The film was adapted from an 18th century play by 
Marivaux. Peploe's husband, Bernardo Bertolucci, co-wrote the script and produced the film, which was shot, mostly handheld,
on 16 mm. Sorvino plays a princess whose father murdered the father of Agis and took his power. Her enemies are preparing to correct 
that historical wrong, but when the princess boldly investigates, she finds herself smitten with the handsome Agis. Agis has been raised 
by a vainglorious philosopher, Hermocrates (Ben Kingsley), who kept Agis secluded on his estate for his own safety. Hermocrates
has furthermore sternly taught Agis that romance and love are the downfall of the intellectual, and that women in general are not to be 
trusted. Hermocrates also has a retiring spinster sister, Leontine (Fiona Shaw of Harry Potter), who conducts science experiments in her 
spare time. The princess, accompanied by her faithful handmaiden, Hermidas (Rachael Stirling, the daughter of actress Diana Rigg),
disguises herself as a male philosophy student, Phocion, in order to infiltrate Hermocrates' household. She plans to both revenge herself 
on her enemies, and win the hand of Agis, uniting her kingdom.
In this guise, she befriends the nave Agis and seduces the fragile Leontine. Hermocrates, however, immediately recognizes her true 
gender. Still, she manages to appeal to his gigantic ego, explaining that she's madly in love with him, and believes that only his genius 
can show her the wrongfulness of that state. As the threads of her plan chaotically and comically come together, the princess finds 
herself haunted by her own conscience. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

Triumph of the Will***1/2     1937


A legendary propaganda/documentary of the Third Reich's 1934 Nuremberg Party Rally. Featuring a cast of thousands as well as,

 of course, Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Hess, Goering and other top party officials. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Triumph of the Will was commissioned by Hitler in 1934 and directed by Leni Riefenstahl, and covers the events of the Sixth

 Nuremberg Party Congress. The original intention was to document the early days of the NSDAP, so future generations could

 look back and see how the Third Reich began. In reality, Triumph of the Will shows historians how the Nazi state drew in the

 masses through propaganda and also how Adolf Hitler had a unique and terrifying ability to entice crowds to his beliefs by the

 very power of his words. Written byAnthony Hughes <>

Troubled Water*****   2008

As a teenager Jan Thomas (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen) runs off with young boy Isak in a stroller left outside a cafe by the 

mother. The boy runs away, slips, and falls on a rock, suffering an apparently fatal head injury. Jan Thomas, afraid of the 

consequences, carries him into a nearby river with a strong current, where he sets him adrift. Jan Thomas testifies that the 

boy was killed by the fall, but he is convicted of murder.

As a young adult he is released from prison and befriends single mother Anna (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) (the pastor of the church 

where he plays the organ) and her young son Jens. Agnes (Trine Dyrholm), Isak's mother, sees that Jan Thomas has been 

released and is concerned for the safety or her two adopted daughters. Her panicking reaction causes strain in her relationship 

with the two girls.

Agnes sees Jan Thomas together with Jens, and is also concerned that Jens may not be safe. When Jan Thomas lets Jens wait 

a few minutes outside Jens' school while Jan Thomas picks something up in the school, he returns to find Jens missing. Jan 

Thomas is very concerned when Jens is missing. Scared by ensuing events, Jens flees into the river and almost drowns. With 

great danger for himself Jan Thomas catches him, and holds on to a branch, after which another person, in a surprise twist of 

plot, helps them reach the shore. Jan Thomas confesses to Agnes what really happened earlier to her son Isak.

The movie was released in the USA by

True Confession***1/2     1937 


Helen Bartlett, fiction writer and chronic teller of fibs, is happily married to honest lawyer Ken, but they are broke. Helen secretly

 gets a job as a secretary, but quits her first morning when her boss, Otto Krayler, proves to be a lecherous wolf. When she returns

 later for her hat and coat, Helen is charged with murder. The apparent motive for the crime is $12,000, which strangely was left in

 Krayler's desk. When Helen is cross-examined, she paints a vivid scenario of her guilt, then says she is innocent. Ken visits Helen

 in her jail cell and, fearing there is no way to prove her innocence, decides to plead self-defense, hoping to win the jury's sympathy

 for a woman protecting her honor. Throughout the trial, all assume Helen is guilty except a mysterious man named Charley Jasper,

 who calls himself a criminologist and "student of life." The Bartletts win the case after much publicity, and Helen publishes her life

 story, becoming a wealthy novelist. At their new home on Martha's Lake, Ken feels guilty that crime catapulted them to success,

 and Helen is ready to confess her innocence when Ken states categorically perjury is a travesty of justice worse than murder.

 Charley visits the Bartletts carrying Krayler's wallet, and hopes to blackmail them with knowledge of Helen's perjury by confessing

 to the murder himself. Helen finally tells Ken the truth, and he threatens to turn Charley in until he confesses the real murderer

 was his brother-in-law, who panicked after killing Krayler and abandoned the money, then was himself killed during an attempted

 bank robbery. Ken, disillusioned by Helen's constant lying, leaves, but she runs after him, lying that she's pregnant, then insisting

 it could be true. Ken then carries Helen into the house in order to make one last attempt to teach her not to lie, and she assures

 him she has uttered her last fib. 

Twelve Angry Men****   1957

Less is more. We’ve all heard this bit of banality at one point or another, but these days it might be hard to actually experience

it. There are camp sights with Internet access and most people find their way there using a GPS, probably built into their car. 

We just don’t take the road to minimalism often enough. That’s especially true in today’s film industry. We’re now transported 

in 3D to entire planets created by computers with a twelve dollar ticket stub and extra buttered popcorn. But in 12 Angry Men, 

all we have is a dozen men in a small room trying to come to a verdict.

On trial is an eighteen year old Hispanic boy, raised in the slums with a criminal record already. He’s accused of murdering his 

father. Now the jury must decide whether or not to send the boy to the electric chair. As they assemble in the cramped 16 by 

24 foot room, it sounds like they’ll be out soon. Most men have made up their minds, one even has tickets for a ball game that 

evening. But Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) looks out the window thoughtfully before they assemble to vote. He becomes the only man 

to vote not guilty.

Fonda proceeds to lead the men back through the evidence and one step at a time they find inconsistencies. This quickly 

becomes one of those films where you are just glued to the screen. As the men discuss the evidence, certain men bring their 

own experiences and prejudices into both helping and hindering the progress. An older man is able to help us understand how 

an elderly witness may have unknowingly mislead the trial. Another is able to offer knowledge from his own experiences from 

the slums. But it seems that some men just want to watch the young man suffer.

Director Sidney Lu
met had an ingenious camera trick to give the film a more claustrophobic feel as it progressed. In the 

beginning of the film, he positioned the cameras higher than usual and used wide-angled lenses to make the space within the 

room feel more spread out and distant. As the film goes on, the cameras move lower, there are more close-up shots and 

telephoto lenses are used to make the space feel more cramped. The trick is so subtle and blended with the heated plot line 

that you’re not likely to notice unless you are looking for it. Nonetheless, I do believe this technique does an effective job of 

pulling the viewer closer and engaging them within the film.

There needed to be an award for best acting ensemble. The twelve men here move the film all on their own. Together they 

drive the plot along at perfect pace and toss the dialogue back and forth, not just to shed more light on the trial, but to reveal 

hidden characteristics and motives within each other. Fonda does control a lot as the leader, but it is the eleven men around 

him that make this film such a compelling uphill battle depicting the importance and power of a jury.

I don’t know if much of our younger minded generation would enjoy 12 Angry Men. The biggest special effect, is when we see 

it start to rain out the window. The greatest action is held in the most compelling of arguments. The characters don’t even 

have names, just faces and opinions that form and mold around their own sense of duty or vengence. But I’d applaud any 

youngster who would try this simply powerful film over today’s typical sensory overload blockbusters.

“It’s always difficult to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And wherever you run into it, prejudice always 

obscures the truth.”


Twentieth Century****   1934

Larger-than-life Broadway impresario Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) takes an unknown lingerie model named Mildred Plotka 

(Carole Lombard) and makes her the star of his latest play, despite the grave misgivings of everyone else, including his two 

long-suffering assistants, accountant Oliver Webb (Walter Connolly) and the consistently tipsy Owen O'Malley (Roscoe Karns). 

Through intensive training, Oscar transforms his protegée into the actress "Lily Garland", and both she and the play are 

resounding successes. Over the next three years, their partnership spawns three more smash hits, and Lily is recognized as a 

transcendent talent.

Then Lily tries to break off their professional and personal relationship, fed up with Oscar's overpossesiveness and control of 

every aspect of her life. Oscar talks her out of it, promising to be more trusting and less controlling in future. Instead, he 

secretly hires a private detective agency run by McGonigle (Edgar Kennedy) to watch her every move, even to the point of 

tapping her telephone. When she finds out, it is the last straw; she leaves for Hollywood and becomes a great movie star.

Without Lily, Oscar produces flop after flop. After the latest one, he is forced to disguise himself to board the luxurious 

Twentieth Century Limited train travelling from Chicago to New York City's Grand Central Terminal without being thrown in jail 

by his creditors. By chance, Lily Garland boards the train at a later stop with her boyfriend George Smith (Ralph Forbes). Oscar 

sees a chance to restore his fortunes and salvage his relationship with Lily. He schemes to get her to sign a contract with him. 

However, Lily wants nothing more to do with him. She is on her way to see Oscar's rival (and former employee), Max Jacobs 

(Charles Lane), to star in his play. However, Oscar manages to get George to break up with her. Knowing that Lily offers him 

one last chance at professional success he tells her of his wish for her to play Mary Magdalene in his new play; " sensual, 

heartless, but beautiful - running the gamut from the gutter, to glory - can you see it Lily? - the little wanton ending up in tears 

at the foot of the cross. I'm going to have Judas strangle himself with her hair." Then Oliver thinks he has found somebody to 

finance Oscar's project, fellow passenger Mathew J. Clark (Etienne Girardot), not realizing that Clark is a harmless escapee 

from a mental asylum. When Oscar is slightly wounded in a scuffle with Clark, he pretends to be dying and gets a distraught 

Lily to sign his contract. The film ends with their first rehearsal, where Oscar reverts to his usual domineering self.

20,000 Years In Sing Sing***1/2   1932

Sent to Sing Sing prison, influential crook Spencer Tracy is unregenerate and refuses to adhere to the rules. While in solitary 

confinement, Tracy reconsiders his attitude. Thanks to the correctional facility's compassionate warden (Arthur Byron), Tracy 

becomes a model prisoner, even refusing to participate in a jailbreak. The warden sets up a special program permitting

selected prisoners a degree of freedom and even suggests allowing an occasional furlough. When Tracy's girl friend (Bette 

Davis) is hurt in an auto accident, he is given a 24 hour pass to visit her. It's a test case--if Tracy doesn't return, the warden 

will be discredited and replaced. While on the "outside," Tracy learns that his old rival (Louis Calhern) was responsible for

his girl's injuries. Davis shoots the rival, who in turn fingers Tracy as the one responsible; the convict thus risks execution 

upon returning to the arms of the law. Based on the book by real-life Sing Sing warden Lewis E. Lawes, 20,000 Years in Sing 

Sing was remade in 1940 as Castle on the Hudson. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide 

23 Paces to Baker Street***1/2     1956


 Phillip Hannon, a successful playwright whose recent blindness has driven him to move from New York to London, is paid a surprise visit one day by

 Jean Lennox, the woman to whom he was once engaged. Phil, bitter and self-pitying since losing his sight, abruptly dismisses Jean and then leaves

 the apartment. In Phil's absence, Jean tells his secretary, the devoted Bob Matthews, that Phil broke their engagement after becoming blind. Phil walks

 to the Eagles Bar, and while slumped in a booth there, overhears a muffled conversation between a man named Evans and a whimpering woman, in

 which Evans browbeats the woman to agree to do a disagreeable task on the 10th of the month. Obsessed by the encounter, Phil returns home,

 dictates the couple's dialogue into his tape recorder, and then summons the police. With the 10th just a week away, Phil speculates that kidnap or

 robbery may be involved, to which Inspector Grovening responds that Phil is suffering from an overactive imagination. Afterward, Phil recalls the scent

 of perfume worn by the woman and ascertains its name. To humor Phil, Bob and Jean join his search for the reluctant woman. When Phil recalls her

 stating that she took the #73 bus and that she worked for nobility, they spend the night pouring over the peerage books for names of Lords with small

 children who live in the Knightsbridge area. The next morning, Bob narrows the list to Lady Syrett. Upon discovering that Lady Syrett's nurse is named

 Janet Murch and that she works for the Unity Domestic Bureau, Phil sends Jean to the bureau posing as a prospective employer. When Jean asks about

 Janet, the bureau's head, Mr. Pilling, becomes suspicious and asks for Jean's address. Rattled, Jean provides him with Phil's address, and soon after, a

 woman identifying herself as Miss MacDonald comes to apply for a job. After a brief interview, the woman leaves, and Phil, recognizing the scent of her

 perfume, sends Bob after her to take her picture. Trailing the woman to a department store, Bob buys a camera, and then returns home hours later,

 tired and wet, with the news that although he snapped her picture, he lost her once she entered a deserted house. When Lady Syrett states that the

 woman in Bob's photo is not Janet, Phil, frustrated, lashes out at Bob and Jean and then decides to place a classified ad in the paper asking Janet to

 call his phone number. Soon after, a shadowy figure at a bar pays a drunken woman to impersonate Janet and ascertain Phil's name. Meanwhile, the

 real Janet, in a quandary, decides to call Phil from a phone booth near the river. As Phil answers the phone, Evans appears at the booth and forces

 Janet to arrange a meeting with "her father" in one hour at the Eagles Bar. After Janet hangs up, Evans stabs her and tosses her body into the river.

 One hour later, a man enters the Eagles Bar and introduces himself to Phil as Murch. Although Phil pretends that he can see, the man realizes that he

 is blind and offers to take him to Janet. After Murch escorts Phil out of the bar, Bob arrives and tries to follow them. Leading Phil into a partially

 demolished building, the man locks him in a room that has no back walls. When a portion of the floor collapses, Phil senses that he is in danger and

 calls for help. Hearing his cries, Bob locates Phil and comes to his rescue. Back in the safety of his apartment, Phil tells Jean that his brush with death

 made him recognize that he still cares about living. After Janet's body is found in the river, Inspector Grovening begins to seriously consider Phil's

 story. As the morning of the 10th arrives, Phil, feeling responsible for Janet's death, becomes consumed with preventing the planned crime. While

 replaying the tape once more, Phil realizes that the name Mary really refers to the ocean liner the Queen Mary , which docked that morning in London.

 With the help of the police, Phil checks the passenger list for wealthy couples traveling with children. When the De Mesters, a wealthy Argentine couple

 with a seventeen-year-old daughter, appear to be the only candidate, the police hurry to their hotel and learn that their retarded daughter has

 disappeared with her nursemaid. After a search of the area turns up the girl's wheelchair and her doll, Phil smells perfume on the doll and, associating

 it with MacDonald, insists that the police search the empty house to which she led Bob. Later, the police phone Phil with the news that they have found

 the child and two of her kidnappers, but that MacDonald was not among them. When the phone line goes dead, Phil senses that danger is near and

 deliberately insults Jean to drive her from his apartment. Hearing noises outside his doorway, Phil hurriedly records several greetings to Evans and

 then smashes all the light bulbs, throwing the apartment into darkness. When Evans slips in through the back door, Phil plays the recordings, thus

 disorienting his attacker. Catching Evans off guard, Phil wrestles him onto the stairway, where he loses his balance and falls to his death. The police

 and Bob arrive soon after, and when they turn over the body, they find that it is MacDonald, dressed in men's clothes. The next day, Phil tenderly

 caresses Jean's face and then kisses her.

Two Against the World****     1932


A meeting of the Hamilton family is called in response to a lawsuit brought by Mrs. Polansky, the widow of a man killed while working for the family.

 Although the family refuses to pay, Adell Hamilton, the youngest daughter, is attracted to the opposing lawyer, David Norton. When Adell hits David's

 car, they decide to have lunch together. Even though both are from good families, Adell is a pleasure loving, spoiled woman, while David is a man of

 principle. Adell is capable of generosity, however, and she impulsively offers to send Mrs. Polansky money every month until her case is settled. One

 evening, after Adell, her married sister, Corinne Walton, her brother Bob and family friend, Victor Linley, return from the opera, Bob and Victor argue

 about Bob's gambling debts. Bob finds a vanity case on Victor's bed that he assumes belongs to Adell. She is just about to deny ownership when

 Corinne signals her to say nothing. Bob thinks Victor is forcing Adell to have an affair with him in return for canceling his gambling debts. Drunkenly,

 he runs off to shoot Victor. Adell runs after him, but she is too late to prevent the murder. The doorman identifies Adell as the mysterious woman seen

 the night of the murder, and Bob confesses to murder but neither Bob nor Adell will involve Corinne. David is assigned as prosecutor of the case and

 when Adell is caught in a lie, she says that her brother was defending her honor. After Bob's acquittal, Adell is about to leave town, when David finds

 her and tells her that he knew she was lying on the stand because he overheard Victor tell Corinne their affair was over.


Two Alone****1/2     1934


After her only friend, farm hand George Marshall, quits his job because Slag, her foster father, is a brutal, stingy employer, Mazie aides Adam Larson, 

an escapee from a reform school. When Slag catches Mazie with Adam, he threatens to turn the teenager over to the sheriff, but then decides to make 

him work on the farm for no pay. A few months later, Adam, who was convicted for the attempted murder of his abusive father, has fallen in love with 

Mazie and asks Slag for her hand in marriage. Because he desires the pretty Mazie for himself, Slag angrily refuses Adam's request, stating that he is 

too young to marry, and forbids him from further involvement with his foster daughter. Terrified by Slag's sexual interest in her, however, Mazie 

agrees to run away with Adam that night. On their way to find refuge with George, the couple stops at a carnival, unaware that George, who has found 

out that he is Mazie's real father, is headed for the Slag farm. After Mazie and Adam learn that George has left, they camp out in an open field and 

pledge their undying love. The next morning, Slag finds them on the road and forces them back to hard labor on the farm. A few months later, Mazie 

sneaks into Adam's room to tell him that she is pregnant, and is caught by Slag, who then fights with Adam. During the melee, Adam throws Slag 

down a set of stairs, and Slag telephones the sheriff. When Mazie begs for Adam's freedom, he deduces her condition and, furious with jealousy, tells 

her that a baby will only condemn Adam to greater punishment. Filled with guilt, Mazie throws herself into a well, just as George, who had received a 

letter from Adam, arrives at the farm. George rescues Mazie from drowning, then tells the sheriff and Slag that Mazie is his daughter. Sympathetic to 

Adam's situation, the sheriff allows him to marry Mazie before arresting him and assures the bride that her groom will be returning soon.

Two Seconds***   1932


Or… not. In Two Seconds, the hardship of the Depression doesn't bring out the nobility of the characters. It brings out fear,

 greed, lust, despair, and ultimately madness. Two Seconds also features a hero who’s on his way to the Chair — John Allen.

 A crowd of reporters and jail officials has gathered to watch the execution, and one of them comments that after they flip

 the switch, Allen will have two seconds of consciousness left. Gosh, says one, in those two seconds he’ll remember everything

 about what brought him to this moment. They flip the switch. And the rest of the movie is those two seconds.

The hum of the electric chair blends into the noise of a riveter. Two men are standing on the girders of an unfinished skyscraper.

 It’s John and his best friend Bud, played by Edward G. Robinson and Preston Foster. They’re a couple of young guys who are

 making good money in the Depression, but only because they’re doing this frightening and dangerous work. Bud is a hedonist

 who blows the money on gambling and women, but John is an idealist. He has big dreams for himself, and he’s picky about

 women. The truth is he’s the runt who gets stuck with his studly friend’s castoffs, and as the movie proceeds like dirty water

 swirling down a drain, his aspirations and airs of superiority get thrown back in his face in breathtakingly and increasingly cruel


At first, Preston Foster is slightly hard to take as Bud. He had recently played the role on stage, and he’s still a bit “big” for

 the movie. I always thought Foster was a lousy actor until I found out that he was also a guitarist and composer; he wrote the

 Muddy Waters classic “Got My Mojo Working,” which makes him a hero in my book. Essentially he was a proto-beatnik, and maybe too hip to take seriously the cardboard roles that usually came his way. Despite his overemphasis, he’s intensely likeable as Bud. His love for John is the motor of the movie and one of its few grace notes.

The other grace note is Edward G. Robinson. You wouldn’t think he could play John Allen, who is a muscular, working class,

 somewhat stupid young guy who gets in way over his head. But Robinson was one of the most skillful of all performers, and

 he does much more than play the character. He takes you on a journey. I can’t improve on Mick LaSalle’s description, in his

 book Dangerous Men, of Robinson’s final speech as he’s being sentenced to die. “This is Robinson, great American actor, in

 the most intense minutes of his film career. He endows the speech with the shape and size of melodrama but maintains the

 precision of a ballet dancer. Remaining true to his core and so in control, he goes to a deep place, without fear, hesitation,

 or bluffing, using himself unflinchingly. No movie star ever looked like Robinson, and he’s beautiful.”

I don’t want to say any more about the plot. We know from the beginning that Robinson is going to fry. The drama is seeing

 the steps by which his ordinary life, and ultimately his mind, comes completely unraveled. As with One Way Passage, the

 sense of fate closing like a trap is clearly a metaphor for the Depression, and the feeling that ordinary hard times were

 deepening into something more existentially threatening and terrifying. The movie itself changes from stark realism to

 near-abstract expressionism. And the ending hits you with the force of a brick hurled in your face. This nightmare offers no

 salvation, except the sweetness and humanity of Robinson’s art. That’s more than enough.

Robinson pulls out all the stops as a half crazed, frustrated, angry man, whose pride and self-respect has been orn from him.

And his final statement, from a man who has shown self awareness and rehabilitation, defies the premise of capital punishment 

under the cirmstances. Profound and empathy provoking.



Under Capricorn***1/2     1947


In 1831, a new governor is sent to the prison colony in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, Australia. Irishman Charles Adare accompanies the 

governor, who is his second cousin, and plans to make his fortune there. Soon after Charles' arrival, banker Cedric Potter introduces him to Sam 

Flusky, an emancipated prisoner who has become a wealthy landowner. Although Flusky's name is familiar to Charles, he cannot place it and questions 

Potter, who reminds him that in Australia, no one talks about the past. Flusky, who does recognize Charles, offers him a business deal. After explaining 

that he has bought all the land he is allowed, Flusky asks Charles to purchase a plot of land, which he will then buy from him at a profit. Charles 

accepts Flusky's dinner invitation, even though Potter has warned him against it. Later, the governor also asks Charles to turn down the invitation, as 

it could cause an awkward situation. Flusky has invited several other couples to dinner to meet Charles, but as the appointed hour approaches, only 

the men arrive. After all make excuses for their wives, Flusky states that his wife, Lady Henrietta, is also ill, but as the dinner begins, the beautiful, 

but drunken Hattie joins the men unexpectedly. When Charles sees her, he realizes that she is an old childhood friend from Ireland. Hattie is too ill to 

stay at the table, but when she returns to her room, she screams hysterically, claiming to see a rat. The other men believe that she is suffering from 

hallucinations, but Charles takes her seriously and shoots into the fireplace, after which, Hattie is calmer. Later, Flusky reminds Charles that he was 

the groom on Hattie's family estate, but after they were married, her family had him transported. She sold her things and followed him. Flusky admits 

that he invited Charles in the hope that his presence would entice society women to the house. Later, learning of Charles's involvement with Flusky, 

the governor insists that he renege on their deal and reveals that Flusky murdered Hattie's brother. Charles refuses to follow the governor's orders 

and moves into the Flusky house. He then tries to help Hattie recover. Milly, the housekeeper, watches him suspiciously and attempts to undermine 

his efforts. Later, Milly complains to Flusky, who tells her to leave if she is unhappy. At first Hattie is devastated by Milly's departure, but with Charles's 

encouragement, she stops drinking and begins to take charge of the house. One evening, while Charles and Hattie are at a ball, Milly returns to the 

house and plants jealous suspicions in Flusky's mind. Flusky appears at the ball and creates a disturbance. Later, when Charles suggests that Hattie 

return to Ireland, she responds by recalling her early love for Flusky. Her story makes it clear that she killed her brother and allowed Flusky to take 

the blame. Later, Flusky accuses Hattie of having an affair and orders Charles to leave. Charles, who is not a horseman, causes an injury to Flusky's 

favorite horse. Flusky is forced to shoot the horse and then accidentally shoots Charles. While Charles hovers between life and death, the governor 

threatens to send Flusky back to prison. To save him, Hattie confesses that she shot her brother, and the governor replies that if this is true, he will 

have to send her to Ireland to stand trial. Flusky misunderstands her motivation and believes that she wants to return to Ireland with Charles, and 

when Charles recovers from his injuries, he is astounded to learn of Hattie's confession. Later, Milly, who is in love with Flusky, tries to drive Hattie 

insane and then slips a fatal dose of sleeping potion in her wine. Hattie sees her do it and calls for Flusky, who finally realizes Milly's true nature. When

the governor's men arrive at the Flusky house and ask Flusky to corroborate Hattie's statement, he refuses, having finally realized that Hattie loves 

him. In the morning, Flusky is brought to Sydney to be returned to prison, and Hattie begs Charles to explain that the shooting was an accident. After 

he does so, Flusky is released. Together, Flusky and Hattie bid farewell to Charles, who, because he loves Hattie, is returning to Ireland.

Untouchables, The****   1987

A gangster film that is not a gangster film. This film has a handful of standout scenes, but these great

moments do not upset the rhythm  of a motion picture that hovers over various themes. One is the 

theme of brotherhood between Ness and his four hand-picked lawmen; each one unique but not 

outrageous. We are often led to believe that gangsters only kill themselves off, so there is no need to 

worry about "wacking". This film warns us about very much the opposite, brilliantly and suspensefully 

portrayed by the great staircase scene, which uses repetition to create tension and symbolism. 

The riveting scene in which Jim Malone (Sean Connery) is brutally ambushed at his home, is also one of 

the most dramatic and strangely touching murder scenes put on film.

Ness is also humanly portrayed (Kevin Costner), as he moves his family about, under the constant threat 

of being murdered by Capone's henchmen. 

Crossing genres and boundaries, Brian De Palma's classic Eighties film has all the style and quality that audiences have come to 

expect from films about gangsters. This time, however, the focus is on the men who brought them down, not the bad guys, as 

was the case in The Godfather and GoodFellas.

Based on a poor Fifties TV show that had all the grace of Dude, Where's My Car?, The Untouchables comes from a subtle script 

by David Mamet. De Palma's previous two films had deflated quickly at the box office and he needed a hit, which doesn't mean 

he was willing to remove the harsh reality. He deals with death, that of children and heroes, as comfortably as he does

with Eliot Ness's (Kevin Costner) brush with lawlessness. Throughout the moral trials of our central characters, he handles his 

camera like a master, combining zooms and split focus amongst other techniques to communicate his message as attractively 

as possible, yet never trigger-happy with special effects. 

Copy picture

De Palma's skill in drifting in and out of Western and gangster movie styles is commendable, especially with Costner 

(previously of Silverado) in the lead. The casting is perfect and when viewed in context, a brave move, as Costner was far 

from the star then that he became in the Nineties. Sean Connery is also an interesting choice, playing the beat cop Malone, 

who remains a mythical figure throughout. Andy Garcia, as the hot shot George Stone, is a joy to behold and Charles Martin 

Smith, although the least successful of the four, brings the weight of the film's comedy to his role as Oscar Wallace.

The visuals are textually dense to a Spielbergian extreme, the appearance of the glamorous and nameless young woman before 

each of the film's deaths juxtaposing the ugly reality of upholding the law. Contrast is also used to underline this same truth in 

the scenes with Robert De Niro, as Al Capone, where his Champagne-quaffing glamour offsets Ness's rigorous simplicity .