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  • The Big Night

    The Big Night

    ★★★

    Teenage George La Main watches helplessly while his father is caned by newsman Al Judge. George takes his father’s gun and goes out to take revenge on Judge. During his night’s adventures, George meets a variety of people, learns some lessons about human nature, and goes full circle to confront his father about the reason for Judge’s actions.

    John Drew Barrymore, not yet twenty, has a hangdog look appropriate to the role of George. Preston Foster, the father, Howard St…

  • Murder!

    Murder!

    ★★★

    Diana Baring (Norah Baring), an actress, is convicted of the murder of a fellow actress and sentenced to death. Sir John Menier (Herbert Marshall), who was on the jury and regrets his vote, investigates the crime in order to establish Diana’s innocence and identify the actual murderer.

    Alfred Hitchcock’s third talkie, a murder mystery, adheres closely to the stage play from which it was adapted. Fairly well acted by Herbert Marshall and Edward Chapman, but slow moving with an overabundance of talk and a strong racist element.

  • Sunday Bloody Sunday

    Sunday Bloody Sunday

    ★★★★

    In London, divorcée Alex Greville (Glenda Jackson) and Dr. Daniel Hirsh (Peter Finch) love younger man Bob Elkins (Murray Head), an aspiring artist. Bob, attracted to both Alex and Daniel moves easily between them, but has not committed to either. Alex and Daniel, who are aware of each other’s presence in Bob’s life, each hope for Bob’s exclusive attention. Bob, however, believing that his art career will be furthered in New York, makes vague promises of an eventual return to…

  • Tokyo Chorus

    Tokyo Chorus

    ★★★★½

    In Tokyo, young businessman Okajima loses his job after an argument with his boss. Okajima will not be bringing home the bonus money his wife is expecting, and his son will not have a new bicycle. The depression has put many people out of work; Okajima joins the job seekers. His daughter gets dysentery, and he sells his wife’s kimonos to pay the hospital bill. A chance meeting with a former teacher results in a job offer, but the job…

  • Strangers in the Night

    Strangers in the Night

    ★★★

    Marine sergent William Terry, just returned from the war, visits the home of a woung woman who sent him heartening letters. The girl is away, but her mother, Helene Thimig, asks him to stay until she returns. A painting of the beautiful girl hangs over the fireplace. Despite the mother’s assurances, the girl does not return. The housekeeper creeps around nervously and avoids answering questions about the young woman. Terry begins to feel that something is amiss, although he cannot…

  • Prince Valiant

    Prince Valiant

    ★★★

    Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur, a comic strip created in 1937, is still produced for the Sunday comic pages. In this film, Valiant, played by Robert Wagner, fights the evil Black Knight (James Mason) to save the throne of King Arthur. Wagner, young and athletic, provides a nice visual version of Valiant but his speaking voice weakens him, especially against the suave, well phrased, tones of Mason. Brian Ahern sounds and looks good as King Arthur, but…

  • Monsieur Vincent

    Monsieur Vincent

    ★★★★½

    In 17th century France, a humble priest, Monsieur Vincent de Paul, devotes his life to the service of the poor.

    An inspiring biography of a saintly man, Pierre Fresnay gives a powerful performance.

  • Bitter Rice

    Bitter Rice

    ★★★★

    Every year, the rice farmers of the Po Valley in northern Italy hire female workers to plant, nurture, and harvest their crop. Among the current year’s rice workers are Doris Dowling, the girlfriend of thief Vittorio Gassman, and Silvana Mangano, courted by soldier Raf Vallone. After Gassman begins to hang around the camp, the hopes and plans of these four people begin to intersect dangerously.

    An example of Italian neo-realism, the story is set in the countryside rather than the…

  • A Woman's Vengeance

    A Woman's Vengeance

    ★★★★

    The death of his self-centered, invalid wife frees Charles Boyer to marry his young mistress (Ann Blyth). The sudden marriage astounds neighbor Jessica Tandy who thought that widower Boyer would marry her. Due to the suspicions of the wife’s nurse, Mildred Natwick, the police exhume the body. The wife was poisoned. Despite his protestations of innocence, Boyer is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. The family doctor, Sir Cedric Hardwick, knows who is actually guilty, but can he obtain a confession in time?

    The title reveals a central theme of the plot. Another theme is an old one, “murder will out”.

  • The Ring

    The Ring

    ★★★

    Carl Brisson, a rising newcomer to boxing, has to compete with heavyweight champion Ian Hunter in and out of the ring. Brisson will soon fight Hunter for the championship. Meanwhile, Brisson’s new wife, Lillian Hall-Davis, is responding favorably to Hunter’s advances.

    The fourth film directed by Alfred Hitchcock is an inexpensively made silent. The story develops slowly and reaches the expected climax of the wife choosing her husband who wins the big fight. Mainly interesting for fans of Hitchcock who want to study his development as a filmmaker.

  • Secrets of the French Police

    Secrets of the French Police

    ★★★

    A series of murders, including of an undercover policeman, has baffled the Sûreté (French Police). Gwili Andre, a flower seller, is kidnapped. Gregory Ratoff, who is impersonating a Russian nobelman, subjects Andre to extreme distress to force her to believe that she is
    Anastasia Romanoff. Ratoff plans to use the false Anastasia to claim the Romanoff fortune that is held by Russian fugitives around the world. Ratoff and his thugs have been killing anyone in Paris who has knowledge about…

  • Saturday Night

    Saturday Night

    ★★½

    Socialites Conrad Nagel and Leatrice Joy are engaged, mostly because everybody in their social set expects them to marry, and what else is there for them to do? Joy goes for a ride with her chauffeur, Jack Mower. He saves her from a train wreck, they declare their love and marry impulsively. Joy’s rich uncle disinherits her. At the same time, Nagle has been attracted by the pretty and lively daughter of his family’s laundress, Edith Roberts. Nagel and Roberts…