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  • The Man Who Knew Too Much

    The Man Who Knew Too Much

    ★★★★

    Now, I have seen Hitch's own remake starring James Stewart and Doris Day. It's fine (too long for certain and the villain needs more menace).  But I had never seen the original starring Peter Lorre as the slippery puppetmaster Abbot.

    I really like the parents in this version, the gutsy, stiff-upper-lipped dad and the mom who has the brains and talent to best all the guys at the most crucial point in the plot. All veddy, veddy British upper crust…

  • Grand Illusion

    Grand Illusion

    ★★★★★

    I've been trying to watch this movie for a few years now - this was compounded by the problem that the only disc in the area is the Criterion edition (now out of print since the rights reverted to StudioCanal) in the University of Iowa Special Collections - "special" in that it is rare or fragile enough that you can't borrow it, you have to watch it on the premesis. During working hours. And you have to get in line…

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  • The Court Jester

    The Court Jester

    ★★★★

    My parents taped this off cable when I was a child and we watched it over and over simply to hear Danny Kaye completely talk himself into then out of the correct rhyme to remember the right cup to drink (They broke the flagon with the dragon!). And there was singing and dancing. And I'm pretty sure my brothers had the hots for Angela Lansbury and Glynnis Johns (who were probably around 19 or 20 when the movie was shot).

    And Basil Rathbone skulks about.

    Now that I'm a grownup I have it on DVD and can watch as much as I like!

  • Night Train to Munich

    Night Train to Munich

    ★★★★½

    Although watching historical footage of Nazis stomping their way across Europe isn't quite my cup of tea during this election season, the escape plot for Night Train to Munich is superb. The best spy thrillers are needlessly complicated and the escape-by-gondola is worthy of the Bond franchise (though with far fewer bodies and revolvers that inexplicably fire far more than six bullets).  

    I was absolutely tickled to see Charters and Caldicott from The Lady Vanishes pop up on the train…