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  • The Half-Breed

    The Half-Breed

    ★★★½

    An early Doug Fairbanks drama, Doug plays a social outcast rather than his usual all-American boy.

  • Vigil in the Night

    Vigil in the Night

    ★★★½

    The trials and tribulations of dedicated nurse Carole Lombard. A high-class melodrama co-stars Brian Ahern and Ann Shirley, directed by George Stevens.

    Seen at the TCM Film Festival, 2017

  • Golden Salamander

    Golden Salamander

    ★★★½

    Trevor Howard, an archeologist, visits Tunisia to retrieve a shipment of valuable ancient artifacts. He encounters a gun smuggling ring and becomes involved with a pretty girl whose brother is one of the smugglers.

    This well made thriller has a strong cast. Trevor Howard is a solid hero, Herbert Lom made a very threatening villain, and Walter Rilla is a suave head of the smugglers. Anouk Aimee is a pretty and sympathetic heroine.

  • The Circle

    The Circle

    ★★★

    IN 1895, Kitty Cheney (joan Crawford) ran away with her husband’s best friend, Hugh. Thirty years later, the aged Kitty (Eugenia Besserer) and Hugh (George Fawcett)have come to visit Kitty’s husband (Alec B. Francis), her son Arnold (Creighton Hale) and Arnold’s wife, Elizabeth (Eleanor Boardman). The events of the past are about to repeat. Elizabeth is bored with Arnold and life at Cheney Castle. She is contemplating running away with handsome Edward Luten (Malcolm McGregor). Elizabeth studies the relationship of…

  • The Strong Man

    The Strong Man

    ★★★★

    During the war (WWI), Harry Langdon, a soldier of Belgium, receives letters from American Mary Brown. Near the end of the war, Harry is captured by German Arthur Thalasso. After the war, Harry and Thalasso immigrate to America. Thalasso has a Strong Man act, and Harry is his assistant. In every city where they perform, Harry searches for Mary Brown. He meets various women named Mary Brown, but none of them are his Mary.

    The once peaceful town of Cloverdale…

  • The Mind Benders

    The Mind Benders

    ★★½

    The British Intelligence Service suspects that a scientist has sold secret information to foreign agents. The elderly scientist has subsequently killed himself by jumping off a train. The scientist’s colleagues emphatically deny that he was a traitor; the deceased was studying the psychological effects of isolation, and his research was turned against him.

    Dirk Bogarde, the principle scientist on the team, has already been adversely affected by the isolation research, but he agrees to undergo the experiment again to demonstrate…

  • The Man Who Knew Too Much

    The Man Who Knew Too Much

    ★★★½

    Leslie Banks has obtained information that a group of anarchists, led by Peter Lorre, do not want him to disclose. To stop Banks from talking, the anarchists kidnap his daughter, Nova Pilbean. Banks sets out to save his child and thwart the conspirators plans to assassinate a visiting diplomat.

    This early film from Alfred Hitchcock, although slow and overly talkie in parts, is very enjoyable. Lorre and Banks exchange some amusing dialogue before the situation becomes too tense for levity.…

  • La Chienne

    La Chienne

    ★★★★

    La Chienne (The Bitch) (France; 1931; Jean Renoir) is the story of Maurice Legrand (Michel Simon), a mousy middle-aged man, who, walking home late one night, encounters the prostitute Lulu (Janie Marese) being beaten up by her pimp Dede (Georges Flamant). Maurice intervenes, knocking down the already drunken Dede. Maurice escorts Lulu home. He becomes infatuated with the prostitute and she, along with Dede, whom she loves despite his abusiveness, decides to bilk the older man, thinking mistakenly that he…

  • Hell Is for Heroes

    Hell Is for Heroes

    ★★★★

    This film is based on an actual incident during WWII. Due to troop movements, a small group of American soldiers are left isolated, charged with defending a portion of the Siegfried line against overwhelming numbers of German soldiers. Although most of them are killed, the Americans manage to hold on until reinforcements arrive.

    Directed by Don Siegel, starring Steve McQueen and Bobby Darren, featuring TV stars Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, James Coburn and Nick Adams, and, in a small role, comedian Bob Newhart, this is a superior, but little known, war movie.

    Seen at the TCM Film Festival, Hollywood 2017

  • Guest in the House

    Guest in the House

    ★★★½

    Scott McKay brings his fiancee, Anne Baxter, to the home of his brother Ralph Bellamy. Bellamy, a commercial artist, and his family are happy to have the pretty young woman as a house guest. During McKay’s absence, however, Baxter reveals her true nature; she is an unbalanced young woman whose lies and intrigue soon disrupt the entire household.

    Based on a stage play of the same name, the plot is mostly confined to the living room of the Bellamy home.…

  • Hold Back the Dawn

    Hold Back the Dawn

    ★★★★

    Charles Boyer, a European immigrant, is waiting in Mexico for his chance to enter the United States. Due to the quota system, he may have to wait at least 5 years before he can legally enter. Former paramour Paulette Goddard explains to him her method of gaining immediate entry; she married an American and entered the country as his wife. Boyer decides to follow Goddard’s example. He will marry an American and gain immediate entry as her husband. Once in…

  • Fraulein

    Fraulein

    ★★★

    As Germany collapses and the allies capture Berlin, young, beautiful Dana Wynter becomes an internal refugee whose safety is continually threatened due to the chaotic conditions within the city. American Army Major Mel Ferrer helps Wynter find tranquility and the happiness of a secure future.

    The grim aftermath of Germany’s fall is depicted. The script tries to bring out the events, and the acting is acceptable, but the make-up, costumes, and sets are too clean and bland to convey the gritty atmosphere of immediate postwar Berlin. Only the documentary shots of the broken streets of the city clearly show the devastating results of war.