Scott Kelly
Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly

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  • 23 Paces to Baker Street

    23 Paces to Baker Street

    ★★★

    Versatile director Henry Hathaway had no problem working the Hitchcockian vibe with his 20th Century Fox technicolor noir Niagara and he’s back at it here in this London set CinemaScope suspenser with a handicapped protagonist (here Van Johnson as a blind playwright) suspecting a possible crime, all of which is more than a little suggestive of the Master of Suspense’s Rear Window. The equivalent of the Grace Kelly role is even occupied by Hitchcock’s intended cool-blonde Kelly replacement Vera Miles.…

  • The Beast of the City

    The Beast of the City

    ★★★½

    MGM gives Warner Bros. gangster genre grit a run for its money with this pro-Cop crime flick which leverages the freedom of the “pre” (that is, pre-production code / pre-Miranda rights). The film succeeds more on attitude, provocation and performance than visual style. Some have equated Walter Huston’s not exactly by the book police commissioner in this film as a Dirty Harry precursor; but he’s not exactly a go-it-alone vigilante with a badge; here he’s got the backing of a…

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  • The Spoilers

    The Spoilers

    ★★★

    A conventional but rousing "B" oater with an "A" cast. The fourth of five movie versions of the Rex Beach novel, a Northern Western set during the Alaskan gold rush, with mud soaked streets, grizzled drunken prospectors, saloon chanteuses (Marlene Dietrich looking great in Destry Rides Again mode) and claim jumpers. Ray Enright seems to have been a competent journeyman without much of a rep but his solid direction here could have easily come from a higher profile Michael Curtiz

  • Those Who Came Back

    Those Who Came Back

    ★★★

    John Farrow's cracker jack of an RKO B-Movie Five Came Back was a box office hit back in the day, a 75 minute winner of a film (scripted by no less than Dalton Trumbo and Nathanael West) about a plane crash in the South American Andes stranding 12 passengers of disparate backgrounds and world views. As a local tribe of cannibalistic headhunters close in, the dozen must decide which five of them can get on the repaired plane with depleted…

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  • Baby Face

    Baby Face

    ★★★½

    Around the time a demented mustachioed Austrian embraced Nietzsche's will to power in the real world so did the fictional Lily Powers (will to power / Lily Powers, get it) in transforming herself from an East St. Louis speakeasy floozy groomed for whoredom by her degenerate father into a corporate climber that uses sex as the ultimate weapon. Lily's passionate declaration of her new world view as she leaves the slums behind is worthy of Scarlett O'Hara's famed survival pledge.…

  • The Last Wagon

    The Last Wagon

    If you watch enough Cinemascope films that were released by Fox during the mid-fifties you start to realize that the camera typically seemed imprisoned. While the pretty vistas became more awe inspiring as the result of the wide frame the filmmaking became more staid, with little but static shots and minimal cuts (an occasional pan, but few tracking shots). As the filmmakers technical tools became more cumbersome montage took a back seat, and even exotic location shot scenes could seem…