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5 items from 2013

‘Johnny O’Clock,’ despite the talent involved, lacks bite

15 November 2013 7:00 AM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Johnny O’Clock

Written and directed by Robert Rossen

USA, 1947

Balancing plot and character must be a complex feat to pull off. It seems that, on a weekly basis, especially with the plethora of blogs and websites dedicated to film reviews, articles and podcasts discount various movies for their lack of character development, presenting overly convoluted plots and many similar faux pas. Carrying the precarious pressures of both screenwriting and directing can easily make the exercise of filmmaking all the more demanding, save perhaps for the few masters of both art forms (even then they would surely confess to experiencing some troubled waters).  Robert Rossen, who would go on to direct All The King’s Men to Oscar victory in 1949, worked on a much smaller scale for 1947′s Johnny O’Clock.

Johnny O’Clock (Dick Powell) is an upper-lever employee at a local and legal gambling establishment operating under the »

- Edgar Chaput

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Holden Has Two 'Wild' Movies Tonight

21 August 2013 6:56 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

William Holden movies: ‘The Bridge on the River KwaiWilliam Holden is Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" featured actor today, August 21, 2013. Throughout the day, TCM has been showing several William Holden movies made at Columbia, though his work at Paramount (e.g., I Wanted Wings, Dear Ruth, Streets of Laredo, Dear Wife) remains mostly off-limits. Right now, TCM is presenting David Lean’s 1957 Best Picture Academy Award winner and all-around blockbuster The Bridge on the River Kwai, the Anglo-American production that turned Lean into filmdom’s brainier Cecil B. DeMille. Until then a director of mostly small-scale dramas, Lean (quite literally) widened the scope of his movies with the widescreen-formatted Southeast Asian-set World War II drama, which clocks in at 161 minutes. Even though William Holden was The Bridge on the River Kwai‘s big box-office draw, the film actually belongs to Alec Guinness’ Pow British commander and to »

- Andre Soares

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From Swordfights in Paris to Dropping the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima: Parker Evening

17 June 2013 5:03 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Eleanor Parker today: Beautiful as ever in Scaramouche, Interrupted Melody Eleanor Parker, who turns 91 in ten days (June 26, 2013), can be seen at her most radiantly beautiful in several films Turner Classic Movies is showing this evening and tomorrow morning as part of their Star of the Month Eleanor Parker "tribute." Among them are the classic Scaramouche, the politically delicate Above and Beyond, and the biopic Interrupted Melody, which earned Parker her third and final Best Actress Academy Award nomination. (Photo: publicity shot of Eleanor Parker in Scaramouche.) The best of the lot is probably George Sidney’s balletic Scaramouche (1952), in which Eleanor Parker plays one of Stewart Granger’s love interests — the other one is Janet Leigh. A loose remake of Rex Ingram’s 1923 blockbuster, the George Sidney version features plenty of humor, romance, and adventure; vibrant colors (cinematography by Charles Rosher); an elaborately staged climactic swordfight; and tough dudes »

- Andre Soares

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Three Takes #3: Joseph H. Lewis' "My Name Is Julia Ross"

1 April 2013 7:38 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Three Takes is a column dedicated to the art of short-form criticism. Each week, three writers—Calum Marsh, Fernando F. Croce, and Joseph Jon Lanthier—offer stylized capsules which engage, in brief, with classic and contemporary films.

Joseph H. Lewis'

My Name Is Julia Ross (1945)

Correspondence is so often destroyed in Joseph L. Lewis' My Name is Julia Ross—by everything from smugly shredding fingers to curling flame—that the film starts to appear contemptuous toward text. The unlucky scrawlings belong to the title character (Nina Foch), an American expat in London who's kidnapped, dragged to the Cornwall coast, and installed as the faux-loony surrogate wife of a burly nobleman named Hughes (George Macready). (Hughes’ wealth is surpassed only by his barbarism; he reenacts his real spouse’s fate by jabbing a couch pillow, not insignificantly, with a letter opener.) Ever resourceful, the captive Julia scribbles Sos's on scraps »

- Joseph Jon Lanthier

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Top Ten 1950s

19 March 2013 5:14 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

This will be the last top ten off the top of my head whole decade thingies for a bit -- we need to get to real articles but I've been swamped off blog. But these discussions are fun, don't you agree? The 1950s were the first film decade I was obsessed with in that when I was first becoming interested in cinema in the mid 80s, the 50s somehow came to signify Mythic Classic Hollywood to me, though cinema obviously stretched much much further back. So I guess I'll always be kind of attached to this decade when the movies got literally bigger (I do so prefer rectangulars to squares) and the era's stars really defined (at least for me) the concept of "Movie Star". I mean it's hard to argue with Liz, Brando, Clift, Dean, Monroe in all caps.

Which is why Giant is such a perfect 1950s movie »


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