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A Lesson In Natural Acting.
This Kay Francis film is a textbook on how to act in a natural manner, even for the minor characters. The dialogue, expressions of the actors, direction and camera work make this little film a true gem. Note that there is no obscene language, nudity or violence for its own sake, and yet the message is very powerful and memorable. Perhaps someday a farsighted film company will come along and make films like this once again so that serious subjects can be viewed and absorbed by the whole family.
Rear Window (1954)
A textbook film for students of cinema.
This film is one of the greatest ever made. It has no faults and is a classic of perfect plot, dialogue, setting, production values, cinematography, costuming, sound and suspense. This is one of my 10 best movies and will be appreciated for years to come thanks to the dedicated folks at the UCLA Film Preservation laboratories.
Sergeant York (1941)
Millions saw this movie just two months before Pearl Harbor.
I was 9 when I saw Sergeant York on the big screen and was so filled with patriotic pride when I saw that huge line of German prisoners coming over the hill, incredibly, captured by one man, Alvin York. His reluctance to go to war and his commitment once he had to is perfectly portrayed by Gary Cooper. His desire to just go home and not cash in on his wartime exploits is heartwarmingly so American. And when he sees the home built for him by the state with his 16-year-old sweetheart (Joan Leslie was actually 16 too) the handkerchiefs came out. What a lump-in-the-throat ending. Tragic that two months after the film was premiered war started all over again.
Employees' Entrance (1933)
Fast-paced and entertaining.
This is one of those wonderful 1930's films where the plot, dialogue and emotions could be transplanted into the year 2000. Everything changes, yet nothing changes. We've all met arrogant and cruel bosses like Kurt Anderson, played perfectly by Warren William. Loretta Young, Wallace Ford and Alice White are just right. And what a blessing that such a hard-hitting movie was written without a single swear word.
Born to Dance (1936)
Must see this if you want to laugh, dance, sing or shed a tear.
Even though they look like brother and sister, Jimmy Stewart and Eleanor Powell ease into one of the most endearing and uplifting love affairs in musical film. If you've ever tap danced, even a little bit, you'll want to put on those old taps and chew up the kitchen linoleum when Eleanor effortlessly goes at it. And who cares if long after a song keeps humming in your head, as long as it's "Easy To Love" or "I've Got You Under My Skin". Wouldn't this film have been so much less in color?
Louis Prima: The Wildest! (1999)
Prima and Smith: One of the best stage duos ever.
I loved this wonderful documentary. Having seen Louis Prima and Keely Smith at the State Theater in Hartford, Ct, it was a pleasure to see their chemistry captured on film. When Keely sang "That Old Black Magic", standing at the microphone without moving a muscle, it took your breath away. I'm happy that she's still entertaining in Las Vegas.
Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)
A must-see when it's Powell, Astaire, Murphy & Cole Porter!
Whenever you see Eleanor Powell tap dance, you're watching the very best there was. She is in complete, effortless-seeming control. She's one of filmdom's better ballroom dancers too. And what more can you say about Fred Astaire, the task master who makes his dancing look so natural. George Murphy, who would become a U.S. Senator, hangs in there with the best of them too. Then, to cap it off, you have Cole Porter's music. And don't forget the speciality acts--a little bit of vaudeville thrown in. And another thing about Eleanor Powell. If everyone smiled like she does, the world would be a happy place indeed.
One of the better con job plots.
This movie has one of the best reasons why you shouldn't just sit down for a game of poker. Joanne Woodward, Ray Middleton, Henry Fonda and the whole cast seem like they're having a great time with this one. The ending had me fooled.
The Sky's the Limit (1943)
Fred Astaire and Joan Leslie=Touching Chemistry.
As an 11-year-old boy with a brother in the Army Air Corps, this movie implanted itself in my heart. It's a wonderful combination of great songs, fine dancing and good old American patriotism. Joan Leslie was a natural in this World War II film;the girl next door whom everyone falls in love with keeping pace with the great Fred Astaire. Everyone should see this movie and shed a tear as Joan mouths a wordless prayer to heaven at the end.
What Price Hollywood? (1932)
Not all is peaches and cream in the movie business.
A great actress was Constance Bennett, a first class star in the eyes of 1930's movie goers. Every actor in this gem does a believable portrayal, even Constances' movie son. It's easy to see that George Cukor and Pandro Berman were involved.