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11 reviews in total 
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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A pathetic adaptation of a boring book, 14 February 2004

The Susan Orleans book "The Orchid Thief" that gave rise to this film was boring and plotless. To make a decent movie out of it was well nigh impossible, a labor of Hercules at the very least. The film is built around a character played by Cage and not in the book, a screenwriter who is a boring nerd looking for a peg upon which to hang a screenplay. The ensuing action is totally absurd and unworthy of the talents of Streep and Cooper. Pass on this one.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Imaginative and moving, 24 January 2004

I was only able to see this WW1 film once on TV and hope to be able to see it again before it and I pass into the great beyond. I found it to be one of the most moving films I've ever seen, particularly the ending where the dead melt into the ground to the haunting Jerome Kern song "They Didn't Believe Me." The idea of WW1 as a sort of amusement park a la Coney Island allows for some stirring & funny scenes such as the gung-ho arrival of the untried American forces to the tune of "Over There." Everybody, demand that this great film be released on VHS or DVD!

5 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
A preachy relic of the 1940s, 15 January 2004

This film has an outstanding cast but can't decide if it's a comedy or a drama. A principled businessman, Spencer Tracy, is lured into running for the Republican primary by a scheming newspaper heiress played by a very cool & beautiful Angela Lansbury. Along the way he loses his principles, who wouldn't, in spite of the best efforts of his estranged wife, Kate Hepburn. Van Johnson & Adolph Menjou are wonderful supporting players. But I was put off by the preachiness of Tracy's dialog -- talk is cheap -- and the feel-good, true-blue happy ending. We had to wait until the 1950s for some realism to work it's way into American films.

4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Stagy & dated, but worth-while for Kate's debut, 29 December 2003

This stagy & dated drama is note-worthy only for Katherine Hepburn's film debut. She brings some brightness to an otherwise drab film which is full of hand-wringing and over-acting by all hands -- Barrymore, Burke & Kate, herself. The focus of the film is on mental illness and the possibility of its passing down thru a family is almost prescient in view of subsequent events in the Hepburn & Barrymore families. Sydney (played by Kate) forgoes love & marriage for fear of passing mental illness to her children. Kate, herself, despite some brief marriages never had nor seemed to want children. Curious.

1 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Chaney mugs away in this daft silent film, 15 December 2003

In this silent drama Chaney (as HE) hams it up as a circus clown with a sad & bitter past. His unrequited love for bareback rider Consuelo (Shearer) leads to his death at the hands of her dastardly father who, along with HE's long-time nemesis, are savaged by a circus lion loosed by HE. Lots of hokey philosophy, leaden surrealism & mugging for the camera, particularly & typically by Chaney. Shearer is gorgeous. Gilbert simply adds to the set decor.

Many years ago I saw Alfred Drake as HE in a summer stock production of the original Andreyev play. I liked the movie better even though the philosophy & symbolism are leaden. Maybe the decorative presence of Shearer makes the difference.

A brilliant piece of work, 4 December 2003

I'd neither remembered nor cared about Hollywood's Robert Evans. I wondered why anyone would bother to make a documentary film about him. Well Morgen & Burstein have done all moviegoers a big favor by digging up and putting together this film. It's amazing what talented film-makers can do with a simple rags-to-riches and (again) rags-to-riches story. The narration by Evans himself fits beautifully into the whole marvelous mosaic. I loved it.

Holiday (1938)
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A romp in the playroom for Cary & Kate, 4 December 2003

This is a moderately enjoyable movie which features Cary & Kate showing off their modest acting skills & superior acrobatic skills. The supporting cast is outstanding & plays it cool while Kate, as usual, over-emotes. The key scenes are played in Kate's "playroom" where the good guys assemble for heart-to-heart talks. In the end Cary is forced to dump his money-grubbing fiancee for her fun-loving sister played by Kate. These kind of 30s plots with clear black-and-white choices (and film) seem simplistic by today's more nuanced treatment of similar themes. Kate & Cary seem to be at home in these sort of comedies, where they each seem to play their notions of themselves. Later in life they grew to play scripted roles. All of that being said, I still liked Holiday.

17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A Julie Harris tour-de-force, 27 November 2003

In this film Julie Harris reprises her Tony award-winning performance as Sally Bowles bumming in 1920s Berlin. I loved Julie and envied Sally and her carefree ways, but I was young then. While the film may not be "important," it does tell us something about life and culture based upon Christopher Isherwood's evocation of fun-loving pre-Hitler Berlin. It's about a world and time long vanished & highly lamented by aging romantics such as I. So temper your critical faculties and just enjoy a stunning performance by Julie Harris who has won more Tony Awards (5) than any other actress.

8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Sin during Mardi Gras leads to heartache, 27 November 2003

I found this a very touching film, perhaps because I too spent leave in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. However, in my case my loneliness was not assuaged by a tryst with a lovely young woman who gave me access to all the best New Orleans had to offer during wartime. In keeping with conventions of the day the woman is punished for her sin when, not having heard from her lover who has returned to duty, she gives up her baby to her married sister. Although somewhat dated & melodramatic the film works on many levels. I particularly liked the evocation of the New Orleans social scene during Mardi Gras, something I missed when I was there.

3 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
One of the worst movies I've ever seen, 6 November 2003

Having heard so much about the work of John Ford and his film of The Informer I looked forward to seeing it. Boy was I disappointed. It came across as a play filmed by amateurs. You could almost see the stagehands shift the scenery and the director cuing Victor McLaglen to adopt a suitable pose for each shot. I could only watch for about 10 minutes, it was so bad; just about the worst movie I've ever seen.

Since I've seen some other early so-called John Ford "classics" and been disappointed for many of the same reasons. He is not my favorite film-maker.

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