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  • Black Widow

    Black Widow

    ★★★

    It’s interesting because the 1950s could easily be perceived as the decade of the woman. As people fled the cities and moved into the suburbs, ushering in the era of Donna Reed and Ozzie and Harriet, cinema took note and simultaneously brought in a bevy of “woman’s pictures.” And because television was firmly aimed at housewives many of these movies, in response, were just as soapy and melodramatic. Black Widow borrows liberally from the likes of All About Eve (1950) and A Letter to Three Wives (1949) with its story of privileged Hollywood types as they navigate intrigues in a New York high-rise.

    Full review: journeysinclassicfilm.com/2020/02/21/black-widow-1954/

  • Miss Americana

    Miss Americana

    ★★★

    Being a pop star in this era is far different than it was in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Not only was the sexualization of young stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera high, but the concept of anonymity when it came to their personal life and their public persona was nil. Sure, the 24/7 news cycle wasn’t as prevalent, but there was an unspoken awareness that these female superstars had to be what audiences wanted, whether that conflicted…

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  • Annie Hall

    Annie Hall

    ★★

    In my defense, I'm watching many of these movies out of chronological order and after years of learning about Allen as a person. Compound that with the 1970s release - an era where the backlash against second-wave feminism saw a lot of critically touted films that don't present ladies in the best light - and I had a lot working against me with this movie. On its own merits Annie Hall is fine. It sets up the Allen persona as…

  • North by Northwest

    North by Northwest

    ★★★★½

    Hitchcock's spy films are an acquired personal taste. The myriad twists and turns, complicated further by his McGuffins, always leave me scrambling to deconstruct the plot and lose connection with the characters. In short, I'm often left too confused by these. Now, that's probably a simplistic summation of the Master of Suspense's oeuvre, but I think I cracked the code after watching North by Northwest. Hitchcock's masterful story of a flashy ad-man in a gray flannel suit isn't just peppered…