Sins of the Children (1930)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Sins of the Children (1930) One has to wonder whether Frank Capra saw this above average sentimental drama and was influenced by it since scenes (& themes) from two of his films the Academy Award winning Best Picture You Can’t Take it With You (1938) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) are evident in this one which was produced & directed by Sam Wood. Elliott Nugent who with his father J. C. wrote the story Father’s Day on [...]

Painted Desert (1938)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Painted Desert (1938) Directed by David Howard with a screenplay by John Rathmell and Oliver Drake that was based on a story by Jack Cunningham this B movie George O’Brien Western features Laraine Day (as Laraine Johnson) in one of her first films as his love interest and his last pairing with (sidekick) Stanley Fields. Director Howard writer Drake star O’Brien and singer Ray Whitley made more than a handful of these B Westerns [...]

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) I didn’t know how talented Howard Keel (from TV’s Dallas) was until I saw this essential Musical a sleeper hit for MGM (the studio had thought their Gene Kelly-Van Johnson-Cyd Charisse production of Brigadoon (1954) would be their big hit that year causing the production qualities of this one to suffer). The story is about a family of mountain men the Pontipee’s whose eldest son Adam [...]

Born Yesterday (1950)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Born Yesterday (1950) Judy Holliday gives a knockout career performance as the initially dim-witted ex-showgirl Billie Dawn earning herself the Best Actress Oscar on her only nomination. Broderick Crawford plays her rough and tough self-made businessman boyfriend Harry Brock who hires newspaperman Paul Verrall played by William Holden to teach his "dumb broad" how to act in society so as not to embarrass him in public. Unfortunately [...]

The Searchers (1956)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

The Searchers (1956) This John Ford Western – one of the director’s best – inexplicably did not receive a single Academy Award nomination despite the fact that it features one of John Wayne’s best lead acting performances a compelling relevant story (Frank Nugent wrote the screenplay from Alan Le May’s novel) and beautiful Technicolor vistas of Monument Valley by 3-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Winston Hoch; it was however added [...]

Woman Rebels A (1936)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Woman Rebels A (1936) Directed by Mark Sandrich with a screenplay co-written by Anthony Veiller (Stage Door (1937)) this above average if dated drama is about a young woman in (merry olde?) 19th century England who refuses to accept her position in the World imposed on her by her father. Some years later Katharine Hepburn in the title role becomes an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. The plot includes a romantic angle or two or three [...]

Memorable Film Debuts

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Memorable Film Debuts What are some of the most memorable first acts in the movies? In this essay my goal is to compile a list of the best first film performances from classic actors and actresses. Many would go on to greater heights while some would never again meet or exceed the high standard they set for themselves in their movie debut. It’s interesting to see how some of the best actors & actresses of the Golden Age of Cinema began [...]

Mad Max (1979)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Mad Max (1979) Set in the not-so-distant future of Australia and its vast expanses of open spaces a gay biker gang claims the road as their own by terrorizing the towns and citizens found there. The MFP (police) pursue them in vain until the Interceptor (driven by Mel Gibson in the title role) can track them down; the result is usually a spectacularly fatal crash. Produced by Bill Miller and Byron Kennedy on a shoestring budget this cult classic [...]

Inherit the Wind (1960)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Inherit the Wind (1960) Produced and directed by Stanley Kramer (The Defiant Ones (1958)) this essential courtroom drama was based on the real events of (what’s come to be known as) the Scopes Monkey trial: John Scopes was a high school teacher in Tennessee that was arrested for teaching evolution in the classroom celebrated lawyer Clarence Darrow (and the ACLU) came to his defense whereas William Jennings Bryan a former Democratic [...]

Strawberry Blonde The (1941)

August 29, 2014 // 0 Comments

Strawberry Blonde The (1941) Directed by Raoul Walsh starring James Cagney Olivia de Havilland Rita Hayworth (in the title role) & Jack Carson and set in a simpler time (around the turn of the 20th Century) this slightly above average romantic comedy drama contains some unusual elements (Cagney’s character is a budding dentist!) but is basically a story about appreciating what you have. Carson as Hugo Barnstead marries Virginia Brush [...]
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