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2 items from 2015


See This or Die: 'They Shoot Horses, Don't They?'

23 March 2015 1:35 PM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Like the best horror and opera, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is always stylish and always grim. In the pantheon of essential movies you only need to see once because their impact is so specific and traumatizing, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is my ultimate recommendation. It's a movie that promises cynicism from the get-go, accumulates snideness and rancor with each step of its harrowing Depression-era dance marathon, and -- without ever straying from its blatant nihilism -- offers up something beautiful: a story as carnivalesque as a Hitchcock thriller but as prescient as "Network." I refuse to tell you much more about it. I guarantee you will not regret watching it, and I promise you will wonder why its message, power, and performances aren't more vaunted. If you're not gasping at Susannah York's Oscar-nominated unraveling, you're shrieking at Gig Young's Oscar-winning lunacy. If Michael Sarrazin's plummy-eyed innocence isn't breaking your heart, »

- Louis Virtel

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The Stars at Night: Desk Set

14 January 2015 9:30 AM, PST | Slackerwood | See recent Slackerwood news »

By the 1950s, Texas-raised actress Joan Blondell (see earlier column) must have resigned herself to filling supporting roles in film. In 1952, the former Miss Dallas received her lone Oscar nomination for her work as supporting actress in The Blue Veil. Five years later, she appears as Katherine Hepburn's wisecracking best friend, Peg Costello, in Desk Set. Her character may not be the focus of the comedy, but Blondell helps make the movie memorable.

I chose Desk Set for this month's column as a sort of counterbalance to the hoopla surrounding the 2014 film The Imitation Game (Marcie's review). This movie is a more humorous take on the early days of computing machines, and actually includes more than one woman in its plot -- whereas the British biopic ignores the many women who worked at Bletchley Park.

In the 1957 film, four reference librarians work for the fictional Federal Broadcasting Company, answering »

- Elizabeth Stoddard

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2 items from 2015


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