Favorite films

  • Day the World Ended
  • The Land of Missing Men
  • Blessed Event
  • One-Horse Farmers

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  • The Naked Dawn

  • The Great Garrick

  • Jungle Moon Men

  • The Miracle Woman

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  • The Naked Dawn

    The Naked Dawn

    "We manage with very little." An unusually good and interesting low-budget twilight western, directed by the great Edgar G. Ulmer. Canvass five Ulmerphiles and at least one of them will tell you—with endearing counter-canonical enthusiasm—that this is one of the greatest movies ever made. That's probably an oversell, but it's unquestionably one of Ulmer's major works. Much of the film plays out like a Hawks hangout western that, for my taste, is markedly more interesting than Rio Bravo, because the…

  • The Great Garrick

    The Great Garrick

    "Ridicule kills." James Whale didn't want to be known as a horror director; his true longing was to make elegant European theatrical farce. This 1937 screwball duel between David Garrick and the Comédie-Française, based on a stage play by Hungarian émigré Ernest Vajda, is the best chance the Hollywood studio system—here Warner Bros., rescuing Whale's wishes from recalcitrant Universal—ever gave him. The result, graceful and charming as only 1930s comedies can be, is probably Whale's best movie. As bonus, it…

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  • What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City

    What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City

    A woman's skirt shoots up when she walks under the gushing air of a sidewalk grate, fifty-four years before Marilyn's iconic performance in The Seven Year Itch. Only today have I learned the historical significance of this film's title. Why does it happen on Twenty-Third Street? The answer can be found by pairing this film with the 1903 actuality At the Foot of the Flatiron, in which pedestrians clutch their hats and skirts on a windy day on the corner…

  • I Love Melvin

    I Love Melvin

    One of the 50 best films in the history of cinema. Starstruck gal Debbie Reynolds wants to be on the cover of Look magazine — paging Dr. Laura Mulvey? — and apprentice photographer Donald O'Connor promises he'll help. Perfectly trifling, then, but what's remarkable here isn't the what but the how. Its wide-eyed stars direct off Singin' in the Rain (which O'Connor knowingly references with a lamppost leap), the dance numbers here rank among the most creative ever made for…