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  • The Woman of the Town

    The Woman of the Town

    ★★★★

    A first class western, based on historic events in Dodge City, Kansas, has a fairly original story line. Albert Dekker plays Bat Masterson, Marshall of Dodge, and Claire Trevor is saloon entertainer Dora Hand. Dekker makes a very strong westerner and Trevor, a handsome woman and a fine actress, looks very nice in the period clothes. Barry Sullivan has a good part as a likeable villain, although his costumes are rather cartoonish. Eddie Foy Jr adds a note of authenticity playing his father.

  • Park Row

    Park Row

    ★★★★

    Gene Evans, a heavy drinking newspaperman, swears off liquor when he finds a backer for his newspaper, The Globe. Evans is opposed by Mary Welch, the owner of The Star, the leading paper in New York. In her zeal to crush the Globe, Welch allows thugs to go so far as to smash The Globe’s presses. Evans perseveres and makes his paper a success and wins Welch too.

    Director Samuel Fuller created this film as a tribute to the birth…

  • Free and Easy

    Free and Easy

    ★★½

    Gentlemanly father a son, Nigel Bruce and Robert Cummings, are upper crust British in everything but their checkbooks. To improve their financial standing, the son is wooing a rich young woman, Judith Anderson, However, he is also falling in love for another, but poorer, woman, Ruth Hussey. His love for Hussey is interfering with their scheme to gain riches by marriage.

    Cummings is poorly cast as a sophisticated member of the British upper class; his English accent comes and goes.…

  • Me and My Gal

    Me and My Gal

    ★★★

    Policeman Spencer Tracy works in the waterfront neighborhood of New York. He knows everybody in the area, including the perenial drunkard who falls in the bay and has to be rescued. In a cafe Tracy is attracted to pretty waitress Joan Bennett. Bennett’s sister, Marion Burns is married to a sailor, George Chandler. Gangster George Walsh,Burn’s former boyfriend, breaks out of jail and hides in her apartment while Chandler is away. Tracy finds Walsh in the apartment and shoots him.…

  • Creature from the Black Lagoon

    Creature from the Black Lagoon

    ★★★★

    An expedition hunting fossils of an ancient amphibian sails into mysterious Black Lagoon in the upper reaches of the Amazon River. Unknown to the members of the expedition, a living descendent of the ancient, man-like amphibian lives in the lagoon. This creature has never seen a human, and he is entranced by the female member of the expedition, especially after she goes swimming in a very fetching white bathing suit. Trapping the expedition’s ship in the lagoon, the gill-man attempts…

  • Murder on the Orient Express

    Murder on the Orient Express

    ★★★★

    Hercule Poirot investigate the murder of an American tycoon on the famed train, The Orient Express. The murdered man was drugged and unconscious when he was stabbed, 12 times. Poirot questions the passengers and staff of the first class cars were the murder occurred and reaches a remarkable solution.

    Albert Finney plays Poirot, and an all-star cast, including Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, and Vanessa Redgrave portray the suspects. For her portrayal of an overwrought nursemaid, Ingred Bergman won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. Sidney Lumet directed. Agatha Cristi was pleased by this adaptation of her 1934 novel.

    Seen at the TCM Classic Film Festival, 2018.

  • Houdini

    Houdini

    ★★★½

    Harry Houdini (Tony Curtis) works in a side show as a wild man and also has a magic act. A schoolgirl, Bess (Janet Leigh), is so attracted to his act that she marries him. She becomes his assistant in the act, but not liking the circus, she encourages Harry to get a regular job. He takes a job in a lock factory but gets fired when he locks himself in a safe while trying to find a way to break…

  • This Ancient Law

    This Ancient Law

    ★★★★★

    The setting is mid-nineteenth century Austria.  The story begins in a
    rural Jewish settlement (shtetl) on the eastern frontier.  Baruch (Ernst Deutsch), the village rabbi’s son, wants to leave home and become an actor.  Baruch’s conservative, deeply religious father (Abraham Morewski) is shocked and scandalized by his son’s aspirations and does everything he can to prevent him from leaving.  Baruch escapes anyway and hits the road for Vienna.

    Baruch encounters a ramshackle group of wandering thespians and begs to be…

  • The Man and the Moment

    The Man and the Moment

    ★★★

    To free themselves of other entanglements, Billie Dove and Rod La Rocque agree to a marriage of convenience, purely platonic. On the wedding night, La Rocque seduces Dove. The next morning, La Rocque awakes alone in the bed; Dove, angry, has left him. Repentent, La Rocque, who sincerely loves Dove, attempts to persuade her to forgive him. She is very steadfast in her refusals.

    Amusing, late silent romantic comedy. La Rocque pursues the reluctant Dove on land, sea, and air.…

  • People on Sunday

    People on Sunday

    ★★★★

    Sunday, Summer 1929, Berlin –

    Berliners at the beach: picnicing, playing in the water, riding paddle boats. Four young people, two women and their two new male acquaintances, change into bathing suits, swim, flirt, play in the sand, eat, ride paddle boats. In the evening they take the bus home.
    Monday, everybody goes back to work.

    The cast of unknowns (Erwin Splettstosser, Wolfgang von Waltershausen, Christl Ehlers, Brigitte Borchert) were filmed and directed by a group of equally young and,…

  • The Hound of the Baskervilles

    The Hound of the Baskervilles

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I am still attempting to determine all of the versions of the Hound of the Baskervilles (TV and movie) that have been made since the start of film. This version, shown in its newly restored form at the 2018 Silent Film Festival in San Francisco, was admittedly one I bad not heard of before. Still, the blend of horror and mystery of the original story lends itself well to the German expressionism of 1929.

    Unfortunately, it's impossible to really determine…

  • Swept Away

    Swept Away

    ★★

    In 1902 Sir James M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, wrote a play
    entitled The Admirable Crichton.  The play deals with four members of an upper class English family and three of their servants, all of whom become marooned on an uninhabited island while on an ocean voyage. Despite the rigid class distinctions initially observed by all members of the group, it soon becomes obvious that the rich folk are helpless in such a situation and that Crichton, the butler,…