The naive Evelyn Warren, elected shool-teacher of the year by Time Magazine, goes to Las Vegas, where she loses a lot of money. In order to pay her debts, casino-manager Matt Braddock asks ... See full summary »
Jenny Marsh, still dangerously attractive after 5 years in prison for killing a man in defense of her shady lover Harry, clashes at first with parole officer Griff Marat, who's determined ... See full summary »
Convicted murderess Valerie Carns (Ann Blyth) is being transported to Norwich to be executed when a flood strands her and her guards at a convent hospital. Nurse Sister Mary (Claudette ... See full summary »
Single parents Jean Bowen and Brad Stubbs meet at the train station when they send their kids (his 2 girls, her 2 boys) off to camp. Love inevitably blooms. But there are complications: ... See full summary »
A serial killer in London is murdering young women he meets through the personal columns of newspapers. He announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. After ... See full summary »
After making a number of unremarkable movies in the 1940's, director Douglas Sirk a German immigrant in America, decided to return to his homeland. However it was not long before the disillusioned Sirk found himself back in Hollywood where he signed a contract with Universal for whom he made a number of movies, some of which proved their largest commercial successes of the decade. The irony of Sirk's career is that at the very pinnacle of his success he once again returned to Germany, this time for good.
Universal assigned him with scripts and actors which were often decidedly second league. With time, Sirk garnered a reputation for creating memorable movies despite these disadvantageous circumstances. This he achieved with an acute eye for imagery and an incisively critical eye as to American society.
Before signing with Universal, he managed to make one independent film, "The First Legion" and as such it's a work of much importance to anyone interested in Sirk's work. Here he clearly had far greater choice as to subject matter without the constraints of the studio. "The First Legion" is an essay on the nature of belief and perception of reality in the framework of a Jesuit monastry in small town America.
As with most of Sirk's work the camera is utilized with a beguiling subtlety. His sharp visual sense and his cunningly unobtrusive camera become the tools for the telling of the real story he chose to tell, even when lumbered with inferior scripts and performers. Thankfully, the script and the actors are far above the level that Universal afforded him. Charles Boyer, Leo G. Carroll, William Demarest and Lyle Bettger acquit themselves extremely well as does Barbara Rush, who worked with Sirk on four movies.
"The First Legion" has been called Sirk's first masterpiece. While not quite in the class of the movies he made in his prime, it's a fine piece of work by an intriguing and intelligent film maker.
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