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  • That Lady in Ermine

    That Lady in Ermine

    ★★★½

    Very peculiar ghost comedy/operetta/sex farce that represents an unlikely union between Otto Preminger and Ernst Lubitsch. The Technicolor is eye-popping, if not exactly tasteful or perhaps even good--this monotonously oversaturated retinal assault is, I suspect, exactly what Jack Cardiff and his peers were trying to avoid. Betty Grable hasn't yet become a favorite, admittedly in the few roles of hers I've seen, but Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., always impresses. The script isn't quite incoherent, but it's a bit scattered and top-heavy…

  • The Blade Master

    The Blade Master

    ½

    MST3K.

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  • Hold Back the Dawn

    Hold Back the Dawn

    ★★★★

    Excellent mix of comedy and melodrama from a Wilder/Brackett script and directed by Mitchell Leisen, one of the lesser-known masters of Golden Age Hollywood. More of an earnest social message than Wilder usually allowed himself, maybe because this was pre-Red Scare. There's also an ingenious framing device, not unlike DOUBLE INDEMNITY and SUNSET BOULEVARD, but especially intriguing here for how quasi-"meta" it is. DeHavilland and Boyer are also a little looser in their performances than you'd expect from what is ultimately, essentially, a traditional love story.

  • The Day of the Jackal

    The Day of the Jackal

    ★★★★½

    A childhood favorite--it's been in the back of my mind to rewatch this ever since I read of Steven Spielberg claiming its influence on MUNICH (so, obviously, for a while.) It clearly is that in the vintage and the locations, which are beautifully captured by Jewish European emigre Fred Zinnemann--I wonder how he felt about this extensive return tour of the Continent? Another possible influence--or at least point of comparison--is NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, in the procedural, show-the-scenes-other-movies-leave-out approach…