Reviews

40 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Pickford/Marion Collaboration Misses The Mark
12 August 2000
This film was a rare departure from little-girl roles for Mary Pickford, who almost succeeds in giving a perfectly moving performance. The script, by Frances Marion, throws Pickford's Angela so many curves that it becomes tiring watching her sometimes-hammy reactions. Marion was Pickford's best friend, and she hand a hand in as many as seventeen of America's Sweetheart's movies. One can hope these were more successful.

Marion, director as well as writer, crammed so many melodramatic topics into The Love Light that one feels as if she thought she'd never work on a film again. Spies, unrequited love, blindness, war, betrayal, death, theft, natural disasters, insanity, and a lynch mob on top of everything else. These are enough concepts to deal with comfortably in at least two movies, but they are all unhappily jammed into about 90 minutes.

Marion's husband Fred Thomson is easy on the eyes and natural on camera as the American that Italian Angela takes into her home. The other players are mostly standard overactors, with the possible exception of Edward Philips as Angela's charming younger brother Mario.

Another thing to beware: the all-too-modern score recently imposed upon it by Maria Newman. At times it seems as if she hadn't even seen the movie.

There are some good moments ("Stewed Chicken", for instance), but overall it's only for fans of the star and writer/director.
4 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Mary Sparkles!
12 August 2000
This sweet and funny silent stars Mary Pickford as an orphan who, after much kindhearted mischief, goes to college and finds true love, thanks to her anonymous personal trustee, whom she dubs "Daddy-Long-Legs" after the seeing his legs in a shadow. It's a familiar story, since it was remade in 1931 (with Janet Gaynor), 1938 (as the Netherlands film Vadertje Langbeen), and 1955, with Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire.

There are quite a few memorable images in this lovely version: the drunk dog, the one-armed doll, and the scene with the baby cupids.

The recent score by Maria Newman complements the movie, unlike the wretched one she wrote for another Pickford film, The Love Light (1921).
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Terrif!
29 March 1999
Three Little Words, the "story" of songwriters Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar, probably is only accurate where their names, songs, and a rough frame of truth is concerned, but who cares? The cast is great. Fred Astaire has some really good dances. Red Skelton's comic potential isn't really used in this, and he seems almost like Fred's sidekick, but he does all right. It's certainly not his best. I usually don't like Vera-Ellen, but even I like her in this. And once you see past the black wig, that is most definitely Debbie Reynolds as Helen Kane, the girl singing I Wanna Be Loved By You. The songs are absolutely sensational. Oh yeah, the song Lucky Star (not written by Ruby-Kalmar), which Debbie would later sing with Gene Kelly at the end of Singin' in the Rain, is briefly featured.
14 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Is It REALLY That Bad?
19 March 1999
Actually, yeah. Bad script, bad theory, GOOD stars, but the last one can't cancel out the first two, so it's a flop. Marilyn's My Heart Belongs to Daddy is good, but she's done better. If you're a fan of one of the leads, by all means, but otherwise...
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Les Girls (1957)
Gene, Kay, and Why Am I So Gone About That Gal
19 March 1999
Those are reasons to watch the movie. Gene is an obvious choice-- because he's Gene! Kay Kendall is screamingly funny. Her hitting the perfume bottle is the most hilarious thing in the movie. While opera singing, no less. And the number Why Am I So Gone About That Gal is one of my favourites. Sort of bizarre (bikers walk in to restaurant closed for night, big cheese of the group got a black eye from her last night...) but the dancing is so great that you forget about it.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
"On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe..."
19 March 1999
There's your plot right there. No, I'm just kidding. Sort of. See, this movie doesn't have much of a story, so the numbers kind of fill in. Judy's lovely and in great voice, Virginia O'Brien is dead-pan (as always) and Cyd, unfortunately has only one short number. Lame movie, but the poor girls can't do anything about it. Excellent songs though... See it if you're a fan of any of the cast (even scary Marjorie Main).
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Brigadoon (1954)
Come All To the Square!
17 March 1999
Brigadoon's plot is a little strange, but that doesn't matter. Good songs, quick lines, and great stars hold it together. Although it was later in his career, Gene Kelly is great in this. I believe that his best number in Brigadoon is Heather on the Hill, with the lovely Cyd Charisse. Her portrayal as a small-town girl is a bit hard to buy due to her worldly and sophisticated air, but her performance is not unwatchable by any long stretch. Her character Fiona is nicely set up with the wistful song Waitin' For M'Dearie. She's dubbed, but the voice fits. Van Johnson is very funny, with his lines and their perfectly-timed deliveries. I like the teaming of Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel, but I can't imagine them here. Another thing about the casting; they seem to be having fun. A great example of this is in the number I'll Go Home With Bonnie Jean. Johnson and Kelly hit an exceptionally high note for a good amount of time, and, impressed with each other, shake hands. Little things like this add to the charm. Yes, the sets are obviously just that, and the film would've been that much better if it had been filmed on location as Gene Kelly wanted it, but Brigadoon is still good and something to see.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
"Look at old fella what's-his-name in The African Queen..."
17 March 1999
This movie isn't good so much for the script and lines as it is for the three stars, Marilyn, Lauren, and Betty. They are so gorgeous (particularly in the modeling scene) that the plot is forgotten. And who cares! This is an entertaining, fun movie with EXCELLENT costumes and scenery. See it if you're a fan of Monroe, Bacall, Grable, big cities or great snow-covered countryside.
6 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Swing Time (1936)
Ginger Pursues Fred For a Change!
17 March 1999
You heard me. Yes, in the beginning he's chasing her, but when he gives her the cold shoulder in order to avoid falling for her so he won't have to tell her about his fiance, she snuggles up to him (amid the loveliest scenery ever; snow). The two actually kiss-- you don't see it due to some clever directing and an opened door, but the evidence is all over Fred's face. Another great moment earlier in the movie (when he's still wooing her) is when he's singing The Way You Look Tonight and she comes out and puts her hand on his shoulder; he looks absolutely delirious. This is, in my humble opinion, the very best of the excellent Astaire-Ginger movies. Every move danced, ever note sang, every expression expressed in this masterpiece is flawless. It doesn't get any better than this. I see a lot of musicals and Swing Time will remain in my top five for years.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
"You remind me of a man..."
16 March 1999
This movie's sort of bizarre. If you can get over the idea of Cary Grant standing on a school stage dressed in shining armor, you'll be fine. (The playboy angle just doesn't seem like much of a stretch.) Anyway, there are some pretty clever lines (especially the hoodoo one), and an imaginative storyline, and Shirley Temple was downright pretty when she grew up, but overall The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer isn't anything unforgettable.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
"Boys, don't be like me, live clean, use Klenzrite."
14 March 1999
It's Always Fair Weather has a somewhat ironic title, because it's not like most every other M-G-M musical in that things don't always turn out perfectly. I believe that its darker-than-average humour (for that time at least) contributed to its being ahead of its time. For instance, the plot has to do with a friendship not being the same after ten years, a boxing match being fixed, a jaded woman (Charisse), a corporation sell-out (Dailey), and a "small-time operator" (Kelly). The numbers, though, are typically excellent, particularly the dance in the beginning where the trio is drunk, Cyd's Baby You Knock Me Out, and Kelly's famous I Like Myself, in which he tap dances on rollerskates! Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's choreography is nothing short of dazzling. And yes, Gene's smile could still melt stone. Cyd Charisse is great and beautiful as always, too bad she had only one number. So go see It's Always Fair Weather, just don't expect anything real fluffy.
24 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Gay Purr-ee (1962)
"Roses red, violets blue, let me make this clear to you..."
13 March 1999
There are a few excellent points about this movie. Garland's voice sounds great here. The animation is quite unique, in that most of the backgrounds and such look like something out of an Impressionist painting, and are very beautiful. Red Buttons is very cute as Jaune-Tom's (Robert Goulet) small sidekick. The Harburg/Arlen songs are excellent, and they work nearly as well with Judy here as they did in The Wizard of Oz (1939), that marvel that truly started her entire career. The story is a little low on magic, but is pretty charming, and small children will like it. All in all, a treat for fans of Garland, Goulet, Harburg and Arlen, and original animation style.
18 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
"It shakes me! It quakes me! It makes me feel goose-pimply all over!"
13 March 1999
This is a really great movie. I like Some Like it Hot (1959) better, as far as Marilyn goes, but this definitely comes in second for me. Monroe is just adorable, and Ewell's imagination is, well, "crazy!" Also, there's nothing like Marilyn and Tom punching out Chopsticks on the piano. A legendary comedy, and greatly recommended.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
What a Tearjerker!
13 March 1999
If this movie was simply Gene Kelly and Judy Garland exchanging quips (the "Hello Springtime!" bit is especially good) and singing and dancing in a coffee shop, then it would still be entertaining. But that's really not all it is. This movie is more like a drama/romance than a musical, in the way that there are some songs, very good ones, but there is more story than numbers. Yes, the idea is an old one, but there are a few twists that distinguish it from any other wartime romance. (Don't go expecting The Maltese Falcon though.) The little plot weaknesses are forgotten as the actors (particularly Garland) hold it all together. I cried twice, and I almost never cry at movies. I fully recommend For Me and My Gal, unless you're dead-set on a tear-free day.
17 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
M-G-M's Snail-Like Achievement!
13 March 1999
This movie just drags on and on, for 2 hours and 12 minutes. Judy, Hedy, and Lana are gorgeous, but even their legendary beauty can't save this. Most of the numbers are pretty good, especially Always Chasing Rainbows, sung marvelously by Garland, and You Stepped Out of a Dream, in which Lamarr looks particularly ethereal. The story is just plain bad, worse than most Metro fluff. It tries to be dramatic, but winds up silly. (One movie that succeeds the drama angle while still having good numbers is 1942's For Me and My Gal, also starring Garland.) Maybe I'm being a little too hard on this, maybe not, but in my humble opinion this movie is strictly for fans of Judy, Lana, Hedy, Jimmy and M-G-M.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Liar Liar (1997)
Taking It A Little Too Seriously?
6 March 1999
This is a comedy. Not an intellectual film, but a comedy. This fact, along with Jim Carrey being the star, ought to clue you into this; Liar Liar is no Citizen Kane, and has no intention of trying to be so. Once you leave your pretentious, stuffy side at the door, give this COMEDY a try. You might even {shock} laugh. That is, unless you're convinced not to...
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Midnight Lace (1960)
Frightening In the Best Way
6 March 1999
Don't laugh, this movie scared me. Especially since I was expecting something else, considering that its star is none other than Doris Day. Perhaps the high, eerie voice in this film inspired the creepy one in The Exorcist? (I've never seen that movie, but it's difficult to escape imitations of that sound.) Maybe not. Nonetheless, many of the scenes give me chills, especially the early one in the thick fog, and the elevator bit as well. Not as chilling as most Hitchcocks, but terribly affecting. Don't bother with Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer, Midnight Lace is far superior.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Desk Set (1957)
Take the Very Next Mexican Avenue Bus to See This!
6 March 1999
Hepburn and Tracy are given access to a quick script, good supporting cast, and their chemistry and charm in this movie. A real must-see for fans of classic movies, romantic comedies, or just the magnificent duo. Highlights are the Christmas party, the personality test, and when Richard is "rained in"...
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Ginger, Cary, Marilyn, a Goldfish, Some Rubber Bands and a Bunch of Monkeys
6 March 1999
That spells hilarious, in case you've been on another planet. Cary is a chemist who's trying to come up with a formula to make people younger. Ginger is his wife, and Marilyn is his boss' secretary. Well, someone comes up wih the final ingredients, and the whole building practically goes drunk with the stuff. This was filmed just months before Marilyn's career took off, and fans of hers will probably want to see this. This isn't Ginger's best, or Marilyn's, or Cary's, but it's very good, very funny, and something to see.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Easter Parade (1948)
"Oh look, it's the Easter Parade!"
6 March 1999
Yes, this movie, arguably one of Garland's best at M-G-M, is certainly something to look at. Cute story, excellent cast, gorgeous costumes (Ann's breathtaking white and red gown from the Magazine Cover number and Judy's marvelous emerald-coloured dress at the Ziegfeld Follies after opening night), and have I mentiond the SWELL songs? Drum Crazy is awfully entertaining, Shakin' the Blues Away is classic Miller (in other words fast and superb), Better Luck Next Time is heartbreaking, and so many others are just plain GOOD. A must see for any fans of Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Peter Lawford, Jules Munshin (in a funny bit as a waiter), or just great fun.
27 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
It's not a word I like to use, but this movie is SUPER.
6 March 1999
At first, the only reason I watched this movie was because Ginger Rogers is in it. Then, as I got further and further into the plot I discovered that-- SURPRISE! This is a really good movie. I know, it sounds cheesy, that's what I thought too, but after seeing The Major and the Minor I had a new favourite comedy classic. Susan Applegate is sick and tired of being "stared at, glanced over, passed by, slapped around, brushed off" and generally humiliated. She decides to leave New York and go back to Stevenson, Iowa. She gets to the train station, but since she came to The Big Apple they've cranked up the rates about five bucks, which was more back then than it is today. She notices a little girl boarding with half-fare and gets an idea. A bunch of nutty stuff goes on around the train, then she winds up at a military base. Everyone (except Lucy) thinks she's twelve years old, so she has to go on a bunch of dates. She's even pretty as 12 year old "Sue-Sue", so she has a full schedule in the blink of an eye, leaving no time to escape. After that point a lot of things go on, but sooner or later she gets home and lays on a hammock, looking wistfully at a porch light surrounded by moths for days on end. You'll understand once you watch it, so HURRY!
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Fluff, Flavoured With One Serious Dose of Sugar
6 March 1999
This movie has a few REALLY GREAT numbers, including How About You and Hoe-Down, but this sequel lacks the spark (no bonfire scene in sight ; )) of Babes in Arms (1939). It muddles through alright until they choose a minstrel routine for a finale. Overall, pretty disappointing.
0 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Babes in Arms (1939)
Babes in Arms- Mad as Heck and Not Gonna Take it Anymore!
6 March 1999
I'm not kidding. Mickey Moran (Rooney) and Patsy Barton (Garland) have parents who were in vaudeville before talkie pictures wiped the business out. Now, the kids want to put on a show, but their folks won't let them. Well, Mickey incites a riot, and the kids run around Town Square throwing fire-prone things into a massive pile and chanting stuff like "a-tisket, a-tasket, 200 yellow baskets..." Honestly. It's really bizarre. Then, when the whole pile is burning, they join hands, and, singing like mad, proceed to skip around the fire in a circle. WHOA! It's definitely something to see. Moving on, the plot is pretty typical, highlighted by the aforementioned bonfire scene and some excellent numbers. I wish they hadn't used a minstrel act though... All in all, fairly standard.

P.S. Judy has a really cool dress in the finale.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Casablanca (1942)
"Everybody comes to Rick's..."
5 March 1999
With good reason. This movie truly does have it all. Romance, drama, wit, class, and even a slight (or not-so-slight) dash of murder. If you like either Bogart, Bergman, or any of the excellent supporting cast, you've simply got to see Casablanca. It really is too bad about the lines, because most people under 20 are just bound to think they "ripped it off" of other films. Patience, patience... ; )
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Sabrina (1995)
Whoa.
4 March 1999
"Sabrina Fair..." what happened to you? You used to be the radiant Audrey Hepburn, lovely and sweet. Alas, Hollywood has this crazy idea that remakes are a good thing, and you have been transformed beyond belief. And whatever happened to the others? Linus is supposed to be gruff. Ford is too cute to be gruff. That's a problem. Lucky David wasn't twisted unrecognizably, though. Greg Kinnear was good, but, again, he's no William Powell. Bottom Line- an average romantc comedy, but the original is FAR better. No, not because it's old, because it is.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed