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  • The Big Heat

    The Big Heat

    ★★★★½

    A deeply satisfying noir, with a gritty cop (Glenn Ford), femme fatale (Gloria Grahame), and powerful crime bosses (Lee Marvin and Alexander Scourby). I love how hardboiled this one is, with Ford becoming suspicious after some discrepancies in a fellow cop’s suicide, and a woman getting viciously murdered. He’s soon fighting upstream against a wave of corruption, and then getting threatened himself, but I won’t say more about the plot. All of the performances are terrific. Ford is a sweet…

  • The Crowd

    The Crowd

    ★★★★

    ‘The Crowd’ is strong in its early scenes of the life of a young man, played by James Murray. He goes to New York to make it big, and is immediately swallowed up into the masses, a cog in the mighty machine of an office, and the shots director King Vidor uses to show this are fantastic. He then meets a young woman (Eleanor Boardman), and there are some lovely scenes of them courting at an amusement park, and then…

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  • Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Picnic at Hanging Rock

    ★★★

    Director Peter Weir creates a dreamy feeling to this mystery of the disappearance of three schoolgirls and a teacher during a picnic at Hanging Rock, Victoria in 1900, and that’s probably the key to really enjoying this film, soaking up its atmosphere. I liked the ambiguity of it all, as well as the little Victorian age touches, communing with nature and reading poetry. However, as a whole, it seemed a bit like a made-for-TV production, amateurish in places, and melodramatic…

  • Daughter of the Dragon

    Daughter of the Dragon

    ★★★½

    Warner Oland played the sinister Dr. Fu Manchu in a series of three pre-Code movies: The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929), The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu (1930), and finally this one, Daughter of the Dragon (1931). It has the disadvantage that it’s the sequel to the sequel, repeating the concept that Fu Manchu had actually not died in the previous film, but the advantage that it stars the lovely Anna May Wong. What a concept, an actual Asian actor…