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  • To Have and Have Not

    To Have and Have Not

    ★★★★★

    The moment where a middle-aged drunk with a toupée becomes the sexiest man alive (and the insolent voice of democracy not putting up with petty tyrannies and becoming politically committed), and Betty Joan Perske, barely out of her teens, becomes Lauren Bacall, the epitome of sultry insouciance and elegance coupled with fierce independence which refuses to be sidelined in a man’s world. And what is extraordinary is that it didn’t end here: Bogie and Bacall became those characters, lived those…

  • Unearthly Stranger

    Unearthly Stranger

    ★★

    The British taxpayer probably would not have been hugely supportive of a government project focused on developing a formula which would allow space travel via the mind, given what a ridiculous idea it is. As the basis for a low budget sci-fi horror, though, it has possibilities. Rex Carlton’s script posits aliens broke the code twenty years previously and are now among us to make sure we don’t. The aliens appear to constitute themselves exclusively as women, which provides a…

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  • Foreign Correspondent

    Foreign Correspondent

    ★★★★

    With David O Selznick off his back, Hitchcock revels in the Hollywood playground and produces his first blockbuster. It's also, arguably, his most typical adventure thriller until North by Northwest (which is, in some ways, a rehash of this film). It lacks the psychological complexities of Hitchcock's best films (including Rebecca), and even though WWII is on the doorstep, it's less pressing a propaganda piece than The Lady Vanishes, for example, apart from the earnest (and pretty terrific) tacked on…

  • Man's Favorite Sport?

    Man's Favorite Sport?

    ★★★★½

    Paula Prentiss's Abigail is so consumed by Rock Hudson's Roger Willoughby — a fraud but also a sweet, gentle soul — she goes a little nuts. She can't leave him alone, which causes Roger no amount of grief, but it also leads him to become the best version of himself. In other words, she makes an honest man out of him. This is Howard Hawks's most extreme statement concerning the battle of the sexes. At one point, Easy (Maria Perschy),…