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  • The Treasure Seekers

    The Treasure Seekers

    ★★★½

    If you can sort of block out Oswald's hair, this is quite a cute family film. It basically takes a few incidents from Nesbit's humorous episodic book and weaves a slightly more compelling plot around them. The villains can dip into being a bit cartoonishly menacing at times, but the kids are cute—Noel and Dora (who's given a much more developed character here) were my favorites—and there are some nice comedic performances by several of the adult cast too. "Albert's uncle" pretty much steals all of his scenes.

  • Pollyanna

    Pollyanna

    ★★★★

    An adaptation that’s really very faithful to the book, with the exception of moving the setting from New England to…old England! The change actually works with surprising ease, perhaps because the setting wasn’t really very developed in the book, making it a story that could be set almost anywhere. It’s a very cute, sweet little family film, with quite good casting for several of the principle roles and a quaint English village for a backdrop; and it makes a nice counterpoint to the more lavish Disney adaptation that basically wrote a new story for Porter’s characters.

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  • Red Canyon

    Red Canyon

    ★★★

    The story and dialogue are nothing too special, and the characters not very well developed - but boy, does it have tons of gorgeous Technicolor footage of galloping wild horses and beautiful Utah scenery, and a nice thrilling race sequence near the end. John McIntire gives the best performance in the film as a growly-voiced, gleefully villainous old outlaw.

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel

    The Scarlet Pimpernel

    ★★★

    The thing that holds this film together is Leslie Howard's excellent performance. He switches at the drop of a hat from Sir Percy's (very funny) "fool" persona to the noble, determined hero. The scenes between he and Merle Oberon as Marguerite are very well done, though the pacing of the rest of the film is a bit confused and lagging. On the whole it's very accurate to the book, though supporting characters aren't terribly developed, and the whole finale confrontation scene has been made over.