Archive for September, 2017

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Lasting Impression

What’s better than a chilling ghost story? How about four ghost stories rolled into one? Kwaidan (1965) is based on a collection of Japanese ghost stories published in 1904. The author was Lafcadio Hearn, a folklorist of Greek-Irish ancestry, who based his stories on translations of old Japanese texts. Sixty years later, Japanese director Masaki […]

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Thursday, September 28th, 2017

A Great and Simple Theme

If you haven’t heard of the director Frank Lloyd, you’re not alone. Even though he directed, produced, and/or appeared as an actor in more than 180 films from 1912 through 1955, he isn’t well known. He is best remembered for his masterful direction of Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). Lloyd was the ideal choice to […]

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Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Greatest Hollywood Musical

Is there anyone into classic films who doesn’t like Singin’ in the Rain (1952)? Given that 19-year-old Debbie Reynolds had never danced before, and the script had to be written around a group of songs with little in common, it’s a wonder (and a tribute to those involved) that this would turn out to be […]

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Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

A Bit Cold Around the Heart

It’s interesting to note that my two favorite film noirs of the 1940s — Double Indemnity (1944) and Out of the Past (1947) — also have the two best femme fatales (Barbara Stanwyck and Jane Greer). Which one is the deadliest? If both were in the room, I would say keep your eye out for […]

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Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

The Sound of Silence

In one of the finest books ever written about comedic film, The Silent Clowns, Walter Kerr refers to Buster Keaton as the most silent of the silent film comedians: The silence was related to another deeply rooted quality — that immobility, the sense of alert repose we have so often seen in him. Keaton could […]

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Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

She’s Alive!

A rare instance where the sequel is even better than the original, Bride of Frankenstein picks up where Frankenstein left off. It’s one of the best classic horror movies ever made. There were two problems for director James Whale in filming the sequel. The angry peasants had killed the monster in the previous film, and […]

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Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Sparkle and Shine

Eighty-one years after its release, how do we sort out the merits of a movie like Camille (1936)? Strictly in terms of Garbo’s performance, it may be her finest sound film. Yet with all her films (with the exception of Lubitsch’s atypical Ninotchka), there was always something that kept the whole from being better than […]

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Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

Golden Treasure

Greed and human nature — it’s a common theme in both movies and literature, but rarely has it been handled as expertly as in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). Following his service in World War II, director John Huston found the ideal project for his next film. It would be based on the […]

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