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  • The Ace of Hearts

    The Ace of Hearts

    ★★★

    John Bowers, a member of a secret society, is chosen to assassinate a powerful, dangerous, and avaricious man. Bowers, newly married to Leatrice Joy, changes his mind and denounces killing as a means of aiding mankind. Bowers and Joy leave the group knowing that the remaining members will attempt to kill Bowers for his disloyalty. Lon Chaney, who also loves Joy, saves Bowers by destroying the entire group, himself included.

    This silent film features Lon Chaney in a rare sympathetic role. The film maintains the viewer’s interest, despite its slow plot development and exaggerated acting by the principals, including Chaney.

  • The Accused

    The Accused

    ★★★½

    Psychology professor Loretta Young accepts a ride home from a student, Douglas Dick. Instead of driving her home, the student drives them to an isolated site near the ocean where he assaults her. Defending herself, Young seizes a metal bar and beats him to death. Fearful of the consequences of the killing, Young tries to make his death look like an accident.

    Afterwards, Young suffers from feelings of guilt and fear. She meets the guardian of the student, Robert Cummings,…

  • Long Pants

    Long Pants

    ★★★

    Shy youngster Harry Langdon longs for romance, but is too juvenile to pursue a woman. His parents’ birthday gift of a pair of grown-up trousers catapults him into adulthood. He gets his chance to pursue a desirable woman when the car of a beautiful, but criminal, woman (Alma Bennett) is briefly disabled before his door. He shows off for the woman and, after she playfully kisses him, decides that she loves him. Harry’s parents press him to marry his childhood…

  • School for Scoundrels

    School for Scoundrels

    ★★★★

    Ian Carmichael is a loser, he is taken advantage of and browbeaten by everyone he knows or encounters, including the employees of his office, especially the head clerk, car salesmen, and people on a bus. He meets a beautiful young woman (Janette Scott) and tries to impress her, but his efforts are overshadowed by the aggressive approach of his rival Terry-Thomas.

    Carmichael enrolls in Alastair Sim’s school for success. Sim’s curriculum teaches methods of winning against every person a man…

  • Crimes at the Dark House

    Crimes at the Dark House

    ★★½

    A cheaply made version of The Woman in White (Willkie Collins, 1859) stars Tod Slaughter, whose career consisted of a string of highly melodramatic performances as dastardly villains. In this film Slaughter murders the xxxxx of xxxx in the first scene, travels to England to impersonate his victim, impregnates and murders his chamber maid, murders the woman in white and her mother, marries the innocent heroine and has her locked up in a madhouse, murders the head of the asylum, and finally dies in the fire he has started to destroy incriminating documents. All this in 69 min.

  • The Second Woman

    The Second Woman

    ★★★½

    Architect Robert Young has suffered a series of suspicious “accidents”. A favorite statue has broken, a picture is losing its colors, his horse breaks its leg, his dog dies. However, the burning of his house is definitely arson. Is Young mentally ill and forgetting his self-destructive actions, or is a malevolent enemy attacking him?

    A nice little suspense film costars Betsy Drake, John Sutton, and Henry O’Neill.

  • The Siege of Sidney Street

    The Siege of Sidney Street

    ★★★½

    In turn of the century London, a group of immigrants is determined to provide financial support to the revolution in their homeland. The method of obtaining the money is unimportant, and they rob and kill for the cause. The London police find the hideout of the group, and a gun battle results. Three heavily armed gunmen hold off dozens of police for hours.

    The plot is based on an actual incident, known as the siege of Sidney Street, that occurred…

  • Intent to Kill

    Intent to Kill

    ★★★★

    Herbert Lom, the president of a South American country, has come to Canada incognito for a delicate brain operation. Lom’s political enemies have hired Warren Stevens and his associates to kill him in the hospital. Richard Todd, Lom’s doctor, realizes that his patient is in danger, and cooperates with the Royal Mounted Police to protect him.

    Suspenseful with good acting from the principals, especially by Herbert Lom. Director Jack Cardiff made his name as a cinematographer, but he does a creditable directing job on this film.

  • The Idol Dancer

    The Idol Dancer

    ½

    Every director, no matter how talented, can make some poor films. D.W. Griffith was the first great director of American films, but this movie gives no evidence of any ability what-so-ever. The film is crudely made, confusing, over-long, boring, and racist.

    Griffith directed this unpleasant mess only a few months after he made the sensitive and tragic <a href="http://obscurehollywood.net/broken-blossoms-1919.html>Broken Blossoms. It is difficult to believe that the same man was responsible for both of them.

  • Adam's Rib

    Adam's Rib

    ★★★★½

    Married lawyers Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn are on the opposite sides of a criminal case. Judy Holliday has shot and wounded her husband, Tom Ewell, who she found in the arms of his mistress, Jean Hagen. Tracy, an assistant District Attorney, argues that the law is clear, attempted murder is a crime. Hepburn argues that the “unwritten law”, a defense for men who attack their unfaithful wives, should apply equally to women. In the evening, the contentious proceedings in…

  • 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.