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An American Daughter (2000)
As fine a performance as I've ever seen
What an unexpected treat this movie was! Christine Lahti plays a prominent doctor nominated for the post of Surgeon General of the United States and a small incident in her past threatens to ruin her chances. Ms. Lahti is absolutely magnificent in her role as the beleaguered doctor. She is so attractive and so real. Her little nuances like blowing on the empty bottle are wonderful. She is captivating and I found I couldn't take my eyes off her the entire movie. I'm not even sure how good the movie is. But Christine gives one of the finest performances I have ever seen. She is just wonderful.
The Time of Your Life (1948)
Cagney is always worthwhile.
I have now seen every movie James Cagney has made. For some reason, until recently this film hasn't been on television for years. While Maltin found this film disappointing, I really enjoyed it. It is a cozy sort of movie with about 98% of the film taking place in a barroom. Cagney is terrific as the man who sits at the table observing life as it passes him by. Everyone who comes in talks to him. Cagney's real life sister Jeanne, gives a fine performance as the daydreaming girl from Chicago. William Bendix has to be one of the greatest character actors of all time. His performance as Nick, the owner of the bar, glues the film together. This movie was well worth the wait.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Great special effects and then there's Miss Beckinsale
You can call me a sentimental sap. I don't care. People complain about the slow buildup to the actual attack. My two favorite films of all time are the original 'King Kong' and 'Titanic'. Both films have long buildups to their thrilling second halves of the film. "Pearl Harbor' also builds up to its stunning semi conclusion. Again, I don't care. I fell in love with Kate Beckinsale the second I saw her. She is so beautiful. Kate does a wonderful job. I don't care too much about the 2 guys she falls for, but I certainly respect their taste in women. I was terribly moved when the attack took place. What a horrible sight it must have been to actually been there in person! I enjoyed 'Tora! Tora! Tora!' just as much as 'Pearl Harbor'. Both films are moving and entertaining. Did I tell you how lovely Kate Beckinsale was?
Shield for Murder (1954)
solid b film of not so solid cop
One of those B movies of the fifties, while not great, that is always enjoyable. O'Brien plays detective who is sick of struggling and wants some big dough quick and easy. He murders a stoolie who has $25,000 on him. His longtime partner and friend, Agar, doesn't want to believe his friend could commit such a heinous crime, but all evidence points in that direction. Agar is good as frustrated detective. The funniest scene in the film is Akins pursuing O'Brien through school corridors with his head all bandaged up from blows O'Brien inflicted earlier. Marla English is almost Elizabeth Taylorian in her looks as girlfriend of O'Brien, although I'm not sure what his appeal is.
Shorn of Connery, still a great film
I originally saw this as part of a James Bond double feature back in the spring of 1974 along with "You Only Live Twice" at a Jerry Lewis cinema. There were 3 of us in the audience. It is still probably the best double feature I have ever seen. "O.H.M.S.S." is one of the very best 007 films of all and George Lazenby is excellent as Bond. He is scoffed at as a forgotten James Bond, but the film loses no credibility with him in the starring role. John Barry considers his score for this film as one of his best and it is certainly memorable. His love theme "We Have All the Time in the World" is one of the loveliest songs ever written. Diana Rigg is plucky and lovely as the love interest. One weak point of the film is the editing of the fight sequences. They are very choppy. Otherwise this film is definitive James Bond.
My Name Is Bill W. (1989)
An A+ for this film about AA
James Woods gives a terrific performance as Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. JoBeth Williams matches Woods as his loving but beleaguered wife. It is one of the best performances of her career. James Garner has a rather small role but as always he is terrific. This is just an inspiring film, one of the better made for tv movies.
Accused of Murder (1956)
accused of mediocrity
Pretty mediocre murder mystery with Vera Ralston totally unappealing as nightclub singer. Her hand motions during her opening number are hilarious. David Brian makes a convincing cop if not a convincing lover. Sidney Blackmer's reactions to Ralston's singing are pretty funny too. Filmed in Naturama, whatever that is
Susan Slade (1961)
delightful piece of fluff and oh that music
Susan Slade is one of my top ten films of all-time. Connie Stevens is adorable in the starring role and Lloyd Nolan is everyone's idea of the perfect dad. The scene in which the lawyer reads his will is a real tear jerker. Lucien Ballard's photography is lush, but the real star of the film is Max Steiner's absolutely gorgeous score. He is Hollywood's premiere composer and this score is as pretty a piece of music you will ever hear. I have seen Susan Slade 16 times and I think it is an underrated film.