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  • Code Two

    Code Two

    "Our story tells of the men of the Los Angeles police department, whose job it is to keep us from killing ourselves." From the director of the better part of the Lassie series, Fred M. Wilcox, comes a gritty police procedural noir about a group of white men trained to kill us and then make us believe it was our fault and/or for our own good. I'd rather a Rough Collie was patrolling my neighbourhood than a rough Ralph Meeker,…

  • Hands of the Ripper

    Hands of the Ripper

    "Oh, come now, surely you don't think a respectable Member of Parliament like myself goes about the streets murdering people!" Edwardian period piece Hammer horror, full of melodramatics and colours, about a disciple of Freud trying to cure the teenage daughter of Jack the Ripper, a sweet normal girl whose only hindrance to marriageability, however minor, is that she's occasionally possessed by the murderous spirit of her infamous papa. Hey, everyone has baggage! My beloved Leonard Maltin's po-faced review is…

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  • Something Good - Negro Kiss

    Something Good - Negro Kiss

    A 2018 addition to the National Film Registry, the earliest known moving picture depicting African-American sexual intimacy, in which a Black man and Black woman joyously kiss. Any Victorian-era film will be notable if it represents Blackness without racist caricature, but this 1898 document is far greater than just something not-bad. Although the Selig company catalogue describes this as a "burlesque" on 1896's popular The Kiss, any potential comic intentions on the part of the white camera-cranker are gloriously disallowed by the sincere affection of the performers. It is beautiful, so beautiful, and their love is contagious.

    [cf. Lencho]

  • The Crowd Roars

    The Crowd Roars

    Only Angels Have Wheels. Howard Hawks's standard story and its thematic contours, emerging fully formed in 1932: James Cagney plays a race car driver with a death-drive commitment to his exhilarating, life-threatening job, and Ann Dvorak is the woman who wants him to quit driving (and thus quit making her fear for his life) and marry her. Unlucky for Dvorak, the Warner Bros. stock company — loyal assistant Frank McHugh, dad Guy Kibbee, brother Eric Linden, etc. — put their…