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7/10
Sweet, Oddly Charming Film!
14 November 2012
Having read all of the posts about "The Lady in Question", I can understand how disappointed some people would be, expecting either a Rita Hayworth-Glenn Ford vehicle, a la "Gilda" or a faithful replica of it's source: the French film, "Gibouille". This doesn't take away that "The Lady in Question" is an entertaining film with an odd, curious yet sweet charm that comes upon one quietly and lingers long after the film is over.

Two of the posters regarded "The Lady in Question" as a pallid remake of "Gibouille". Having seen some pre-WWII French films, they were not greatly more explicit than Hollywood was, at the time, in dealing with sex and crime. "The Lady in Question" is a mild comedy-drama made by a studio that was well-equipped to handle such material, Columbia Pictures. Director Charles Vidor, a Frenchman himself, nicely, subtly, and lingeringly establishes time and place. It greatly allows for the suspension of disbelief of hearing perfect English accents on French characters.

This film showcases Brian Aherne, who all too rarely was showcased at all, let alone in a comedy that he carried. He plays Morestan, the bicycle shopkeeper, admirably and almost succeeds in making one believe he was a middle-aged shopkeeper. He has just the right light tone to unify what is a mild plot and a minor-A film. Yes, studios didn't always make big-budget films with their stars. Many of their films, including "A" pictures, were "programmers", films that showcased stars and promising contract players. This, "The Lady in Question" did.

The players do shine, even though this film is an early entry for future stars Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, and Evelyn Keyes. In what could've been a merely decorative role, Hayworth truly has that "lady of mystery" quality that not only holds your attention but, momentarily, keeps one guessing as to whether or not she was guilty. Glenn Ford plays what would've been a callow juvenile with earnestness, a convincing portrait of young lust/love, and just enough vulnerability to make his love/suspicion relationship with Hayworth's character believable. Everyone acquits (pun intended)themselves very well in this film. Since the American film industry doesn't put out "programmers" anymore and we, as a public, are conditioned to see most star vehicles as big-budget affairs, it's a lost art but a beautiful one to sit, savor, and merely enjoy a well-crafted, entertaining film that isn't about anything special but delivers.
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Playhouse 90: Days of Wine and Roses (1958)
Season 3, Episode 2
9/10
One of The Finest Dramas Ever Filmed! Superior To the Film Version!
2 November 2008
I got the opportunity to see the "Playhouse 90" version of "The Days of Wine and Roses" when I was a teenager on my local PBS station in Los Angeles. I had no idea, then, that there'd been any other version than the 1962 film. Not taking anything away from the film but the "Playhouse 90" version stunned me with the honesty of the portrayals of alcoholism by Cliff Robertson and Piper Laurie. Unlike Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick, Robertson and Laurie seemed all too honest in their portrayals of the damage that alcoholism wreaks on themselves and loved ones. The vulnerability with which Cliff Robertson played the scene in the greenhouse leaves chills in me every time I see it. I was shocked (pleasantly) at how frank the script gets in revealing Kristen's resorting to prostitution to get her drinks. This frankness for a television drama, in 1958! Unbelievable! The production values beautifully fit the increasing economic and emotional limitations of the husband and wife as their disease progresses. Although the music used in the episode came from stock music in the CBS music library, it somehow feels as if it had been written for this episode, so right it seems. The photography is noir-like, very effective, as in film noir, to document the progress of alcoholism. Robertson and Laurie now seem ideal for their roles. Of course, they were not box-office names at the time the film was made.

I hope this version of "The Days of Wine and Roses" gets wider exposure and assumes its rightful place as one of the very best examples of American television programming ever.
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Black Tie Nights: Sexperience (2005)
Season 2, Episode 12
7/10
Tyler Finn And Avena Lee Shine and Smoke In This Episode
15 June 2008
I saw "Black Tie Nights" (known in it's second season as "Hollywood Sexcapades") and, generally, the sex scenes in the Cinemax soft-cores leave me laughing, smirking, or cold, however the scenes with Tyler Finn and Avena Lee blazed hotter than a 4-alarm fire. First off, as a gay man, I think Tyler Finn is sexy beyond belief. He should have a long and fruitful career as a babe in films. His body, hair, and face are unbelievable. Avena Lee is gorgeous, much prettier and more natural-seeming than most of the actresses in this series and in other series like it. Certainly, this is not "King Lear" but for a hot, pleasant thrill, "Sexperience" on "Black Tie Nights" fills the bill.
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9/10
One of the Sweetest, Most Charming Christmas Specials Ever!
23 February 2006
"Santa and the Three Bears" certainly lacks the flashier artwork, pace, and musical scores of other Christmas specials, before, during, and after its production. But, the tale told in "Santa and the Three Bears" is simply told, an almost-buried virtue in television programming which, wrongfully, believes it has to be flashy and quick in order to maintain a child's attention. In that, it remains a much more timeless and welcome work that only reveals its specialness as the years go by.

I saw "Santa and the Three Bears" when I was 10 years old. I loved it then and I love it now. The musical score is humble yet haunting, particularly the scenes in which the cubs prepare for Christmas and the hibernation of the bears just before Santa arrives. Again, a simple, simply-told, "bare bones" approach to storytelling that has the vastly-underrated Hal Smith playing a live-action and the animated Santa Claus (along with Mr. Ranger). I never tire of watching this because, unlike so many of its kind that hammer home the accepted notion of Christmas as a time of love, togetherness, and wishes fulfilled, "Santa and the Three Bears" stresses the importance of magic and wonder that come from belief in something unseen. Could it be God :-)? What a wonderful message to impart on people who cultivate cynicism as a badge of honor and do not see the impact that belief, magic, and wonder can play and produce in our lives. No other animated cartoon, in my memory, ever presented that message so gracefully, artfully, charmingly,and, for the third time (like the special itself), simply told.

I'm glad "Santa and the Three Bears" is out on DVD. Also, Nana is another example of the completely overlooked vocal proficiency of the fine character actress, Jean Van Der Pyl (also the voice of Wilma Flintstone).
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A Touch of Grace (1973– )
A Wonderful Comedy Never Equalled And Never Given A Chance!
30 September 2005
I saw "A Touch of Grace" when I was 13 years old. I didn't know the distinguished staff involved in creating and producing "A Touch of Grace" but I know that Shirley Booth and J. Pat O'Malley were sublime in their roles, old in years but never old in their acting nor in the plots the series played with. Actresses should end their careers in projects half as worthy as "A Touch of Grace". How sad that in today's youth-obsessed culture (even more so than in 1973 when this series premiered), networks don't believe that a "believable" situation comedy about being older in the United States wouldn't attract a wide following. I remember ABC, the network it ran on, didn't do well by the series, running it up against "All In The Family" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", among others. It was in a no-win situation.

Few situation comedies could be considered sublime. This was and the work of all four principal players was some of their best work ever (especially that of Marian Mercer and Warren Berlinger). Well, at least, one of the great stars was hand-tailored a show for her in her seventies and was a great hurrah for her to go out on. I hope it will be available for viewing soon.
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Make Room for Daddy (1953–1965)
A Neglected Milestone in Television Comedy!
11 January 2003
"Make Room For Daddy" aka "The Danny Thomas Show" was one of the cornerstones of situation comedy. It was the longest running situation comedy in American television history (11 years in prime time) until "Cheers" tied it for longevity.

"Make Room For Daddy" was a milestone in showing how families truly behaved: indulgent parents, manipulative children and relatives,the trials of balancing a career and home life, ethnic pride vs. assimilation into American society. No other situation comedy of the period came close to such honest depictions of American family life.

The show provided the perfect showcase for Danny Thomas. He never found anything else that effectively showcased his comedy. His supporting players were excellent actors, including and especially, the child actors playing his children (Sherry Jackson, Rusty Hamer, and Angela Cartwright). The scripts were generally excellent. The show ended its run only because Danny Thomas was tired of it, not due to falling ratings.

"Make Room For Daddy" gave showcase roles for many up-and-coming players:

Pat Harrington, Jr., Annette Funicello, Pat Carroll, Piccola Pupa, Bill Dana (as the memorable Jose Jimenez). Thomas was generous enough to provide the great Hans Conreid his most memorable character besides the classic work he did on the Jay Ward cartoons.

"Make Room for Daddy"'s success helped create Desilu Productions as the first major television company in America and allowed Danny Thomas to become the most prolific television comedy producer of all time. Such shows as "The Andy Griffith Show", "Mayberry RFD","The Dick Van Dyke Show", "That Girl", "I Spy" (an action series laced with comedy)were all products of Danny Thomas and his business partner, Sheldon Leonard (who had a recurring role in "Make Room for Daddy").

Lastly, "Make Room for Daddy" featured Jean Hagen and Marjorie Lord with their best-remembered television roles.

"Make Room for Daddy" deserves belated ranking with the great television shows of all time. Nothing less!
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Arresting, Biting, Cynical, Honest Portrayal of Power and Control!
18 August 2002
"The Private Affairs of Bel Ami" is one of the most unusual films to come out of Hollywood during the Golden Age of Hollywood (1920-1950). An adaptation of a Guy de Maupassant work, "Bel Ami" honestly and bitingly portrays an "homme fatale", a man who uses sex to gain social, economic, and political power. This is the only film, to my knowledge, that portrays such a phenomenon that in real life has been much more common than is commonly held.

George Sanders was never better than as Georges DuRoy. His playing displays the numbing of feelings, desperation of a life of poverty and low social rank, and misogyny that propel him to do what he does. No film character in the Golden Age of Hollywood was as blatantly hateful of women as Georges DuRoy. Witness the scenes with Sanders and Marie Wilson!

The female characters display a moderness in attitudes, relationships with men, and an awareness of their roles in their relationships with Georges DuRoy that is startling not just for 1880, but for 1947, when the film was released. Only French and some Italian films of the 1960's have equalled that frankness by female characters of what their place is in the lives of men.

Ann Dvorak carries much of the film gracefully and with a strong, frank portrayal of a woman much like Georges DuRoy and unapologetic about it. This is definitely Dvorak's finest and the showiest role of her career. Unfortunately, it did not propel her to major stardom and she retired from acting only three years after filming "The Private Affairs of Bel Ami".

Angela Lansbury proved here in this early film of her career what a fine character actress she is. Her portrayal of Clothilde could've been pathetic. Instead, Clothilde emerges as well-rounded character who is never tiresome to watch.

Marie Wilson never got a dramatic part like the one in this film as a Folies Bergere dancer. She only proves the point that behind every great comedienne lies a fine dramatic actress. She truly evokes a character, not the dumb blonde comedy relief that was her stock-in-trade.

A surprising number of top character actors in this film! The film's look and score are very noirish. That only highlights the modernity of the characters in the film, much like 2000's "Moulin Rouge".

The movie looks and plays like an RKO-Radio film noir of the mid-'40's.

Cool concept. The startling use of color for the one scene in which it is used only adds to the uniqueness of this film's acting and look.

The only drawback is the use of decidedly obvious painted backdrops. They only highlight the low budget that was obviously involved in making the film. Too bad, while the rest of the sets appear well-lighted and -appointed.

An arresting film! Definitely worthy of critical and popular reevaluation!
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Mabel Normand and Charlie Chaplin Together! A Joy!
18 August 2002
"Caught In A Cabaret" marks one of the first teamings of Mabel Normand and Charlie Chaplin, two of the titans of film comedy! Their playing is far subtler and wittier than that of their contemporaries at Keystone or at the other comedy studios.

Their chemistry is great together. Now that it is out that Mabel Normand directed several of her own and others' comedies at Keystone, what a treat to have been on the set and story conferences where she and Chaplin worked.

"Caught in A Cabaret" is also noteworthy for the teaming of Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle. Comedy heaven! As if that weren't enough, Arbuckle's then-wife, Minta Durfee (a formidable light comedienne in her own right) rounds out the cast. Her scenes with Arbuckle are light and playful while her chemistry with Mabel Normand would've warranted an all-female comedy team.

While the film's pictorial quality has obviously aged, it shows a Victorian-era Los Angeles.

A fun, enjoyable two-reeler with a cast unmatched since "Libeled Lady" (1936)!
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The Grandaddy of Sophisticated American Comedy! Bunny and Normand Are Awesome!
15 August 2002
"Troublesome Secretaries" teamed for the first and only time two of the first and greatest American film comedians: Mabel Normand and John Bunny. This "dream team" play daughter and father, respectively. For 1911 (and for years afterward), the playing of Bunny and Normand is playful, subtle, sophisticated, and always charming. Although they were certainly physical comedians, "Troublesome Secretaries" displays nuances in their acting and in the photography that presage the romantic comedies and Andy Hardy films of the 1930's and 1940's.

"Troublesome Secretaries" is a delight from start to finish!
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A sweet, blithe romantic comedy unlike any other!
5 August 2002
"My Love Came Back" is the inappropriate title for this sweet, blithe romantic comedy that was unlike anything Olivia de Havilland ever did. Olivia de Havilland winningly displays fine comedy talent and really makes the movie shine beyond what was apparently a programmer film, although she is ably assisted by Jeffrey Lynn and S. Z. Sakall (beginning his most famous period, as a Warner Brothers supporting player). Eddie Albert and Jane Wyman make for believable foils for de Havilland and make an ingratiating, warm comedy team. A film beautiful to watch for its shimmering black and white cinematography, breezy yet warm score, and, once again, the radiant comedic performance of Olivia de Havilland to carry the picture.
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One of Bob Hope's best comedies ever!
7 July 2002
I can't believe no one has reviewed this film until now. The teaming of Bob Hope and Madeleine Carroll in "My Favorite Blonde" is comic heaven. Madeleine Carroll shows a flair for comedy she was rarely allowed to display in her films.

"My Favorite Blonde" is funny, fast, and sharp in the banter between Hope and Carroll. Check out the scene where they get out of what appears to be certain capture: the most hilarious scene in the film. A fine supporting cast of Paramount contractees make this one of Bob Hope's best constructed comedies. It's plotting and editing make this even more of a road picture than the "Road" pictures, a precursor to "Romancing The Stone".

"My Favorite Blonde" seamlessly shows the mixing of '30's romantic comedy with World War II plots, something that would soon become obsolete as the war dragged on. Catch it whenever you can!
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Wistful, fragile, souffle of a fantasy comedy!
7 July 2002
"Topper Takes A Trip" is a charming, airy, lyrical fantasy comedy. No one ever made a fantasy comedy like this. The playing of all actors and the set design mix screwball comedy with fantasy elements, making an appealing, sexy, subtly witty comedy that was the best sophisticated comedy feature ever to come out of the Hal Roach Studios.

The cast is a dream. Although all three actors' characters do not appear to each other, the chemistry between Roland Young, Constance Bennett, and Billie Burke is a joy to watch. The musical score by Marvin Hatley not only complements the film beautifully, it features pieces that sound more from the 1960's than 1939. A remarkable score that deserves major recognition by film scholars, students, and buffs.

Roland Young and Billie Burke made several films together for different studios however it was in this film and in Selznick's "The Young In Heart" that showed them at their absolute best as a team. They also deserver greater critical recognition for their work.

The camerawork and set design evoke a polish and sheen common to '30's romantic comedies. A handsome look that stimulates suspending disbelief for a fantasy film. "Topper Takes A Trip" is, undeniably, the best of the three Topper films produced by Hal Roach.
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A Quiet Gem! A rare, adult comedy-drama!
29 June 2002
"The Impatient Years" deserves to be rediscovered. The script and the playing by Jean Arthur and Lee Bowman (as Janie and Andy) showed great daring by going against the grain of WW2 romances in showing the reality behind the media-driven fantasy that marrying soldiers during wartime was a patriotic duty and the epitome of romantic love. Arthur and Bowman honestly (and sometimes, painfully) show tentative getting to know someone after a whirlwind courtship followed by service overseas. Jean Arthur's character openly questions the idea of war marriages and advocates her personal fulfillment over being married because society expected a 1940's woman to be married. This was daring for the 1940's as was the character of the boarder, who didn't go off to war; didn't feel stigmatized for not fighting in battle; and who cared for Andy and Janie's baby as if it were his own son.

The chemistry between Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn (atlast, playing daughter and father) is as strong and as fun to watch as in their other films together.

The pace, music, and editing was lyrical and leisurely. This adds immeasurably to the gentle comedy and strong dramatic moments when Andy and Janie replay their courtship (under court order).

Lee Bowman should have become a star from his work in "The Impatient Years". He showed great chemistry with Jean Arthur and could've developed into a Melvyn Douglas-type leading man.

A film that deserves a second, even third viewing to appreciate and savor!
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A warm, adult comedy-drama! A rare look into mid-life crisis and living one's dreams!
26 June 2002
"The Judge Steps Out" is superb in all aspects. The script is intelligent, wise, and (for 1949)an avant-garde take on personal fulfillment vs. responsibility to society.

The acting is outstanding and believable throughout. Alexander Knox never had a role this showy nor as demanding. Ann Sothern's acting demonstrates what a fine and underutilized dramatic actress she was. The unlikely yet thoroughly convincing romance between Knox's and Sothern's characters is heartbreaking in it's beauty. Frieda Inescort scored in her characterization as Knox's wife, in which she displays far more maturity and insight than movie "wronged wives" usually displayed.

The use of staged sets and location shooting, plus the lyrical, sometimes stirring score fit seamlessly together and are so right for the film.

"The Judge Steps Out" may have been released in 1949 and films today may display grittier content in portraying drama but "The Judge Steps Out" is an adult drama in every sense of the term that few other films since have been able to match for honesty of subject matter and honesty in how the characters act and react to the situations in the film. A gem and a classic waiting to given its rightful place in American film!
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9/10
A witty, one-of-a-kind, sophisticated comedy! A polished comedy gem!
10 June 2002
"Poker at Eight" exhibits the situation comedy at the height of its form! The camerawork, set design, and, particulary, the acting of Charley Chase and Constance Bergen sparkles with wit, truth, and immense charm. The songs in "Poker at Eight" are witty and well-integrated into the plot. Charley Chase at the height of his art as a writer, singer, composer, and director of comedy. A definite precursor to screwball comedy!
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A dazzling, inventive, sophisticated, witty short subject!
7 June 2002
"Life Hesitates at 40" showcases the sophisticated, dazzling comic writing, timing, and direction that characterized most of Charley Chase's work. The use of sound and stop-motion photography is arresting in its use and far ahead of its time. A delightful romp in which Charley Chase's character can hear what people are thinking is inventive and fun in the playing of the actors and editing. The chemistry between Charley Chase and Joyce Compton is beautiful to watch, a quiet but sexy verbal sparring much like what one could hear in screwball comedies that were just coming out in 1936, when this short was released. Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer (recently joining Our Gang) nearly steals the scenes he plays with Chase.

The photography shows great polish and attention to set design. Charley Chase's work in "Life Hesitates at 40" and other shorts going back to the mid-1920's illustrates a sophistication in scripting and playing that prefigures screwball comedy!
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The funniest of the "Road" pictures! A comedy classic!
5 June 2002
"The Road to Zanzibar" scores in all departments! The interplay between Hope, Crosby, and Lamour is outstanding. A wonderful addition to this trio comes in the form of Una Merkel, playing Lamour's friend. She and Bob Hope made an inspired dream comedy team. Their scenes together are hilarious. Dorothy Lamour displayed a biting comic edge to her lines not usually displayed in her comedies.

The photography is moody, diffuse, reminiscent of von Sternberg's films. A real treat for comedy and cinema fans!
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Nothing Compares to It! Quirky, Sophisticated Short!
5 June 2002
"Life Hesitates at 40" showcases the brilliant comic timing and writing of Charley Chase. The photography and sound are ingeniously integrated into the plot(in an avant-garde manner)way beyond the standard for two-reel comedies of any period. The chemistry between Charley Chase and Joyce Compton makes for an enjoyable, quiet verbal parrying that is reminiscent of the banter found in screwball comedies that were just beginning when "Life Hesitates at 40" was filmed. Charley Chase (in this and other shorts) displays such a mastery of comic situation, dialogue, and slapstick that no one else in short subjects equalled. He could truly be called the "father of screwball comedy". Joyce Compton showed in "Life Hesitates at 40" that she could play a smart, charming, knowing comic heroine, a role she rarely got to play.
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A delightful, charming, effervescent romantic comedy!
15 May 2002
What a way to go! "For The Love of Mary" was Deanna Durbin's swansong. She proves what a charming, sparkling entertainer she was in her role as Mary Peppertree, a White House operator. This film (in it's acting, casting of veteran character actors, such as Harry Davenport and Louise Beavers, and it's lyrical though swift pacing) really marks the end of romantic comedy as practiced by the practitioners of screwball comedy. Romantic comedies would never again be this light, unpretentious, and wholesome, in my opinion.

Deanna Durbin shines as a comedic actress in this film as she never did as an adult performer because she never had a comedy script as bright and as fresh as this one. The chemistry between her and Edmond O'Brien is strong and sexy. This is one of the few romantic comedies to believably transport one to an idyllic world in which everyone can be lighthearted and in love with life if one were only in the right place and with the right kind of people.

"For The Love of Mary" deserves far more widespread viewing and critical praise than it currently has. It is great that it is now on video for all to appreciate.
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Possessed (1947)
An excellent, absorbing drama containing Joan Crawford's best performance!
14 April 2002
"Possessed" is a landmark film in its presentation of a realistic (for 1947)mental breakdown and the causes for it. The film combines film noir with surrealism (watch the scene where Crawford's character waits for her stepdaughter!) and the quasi-documentary feel of the socially conscious films being made in the late 1940's about societal issues. Joan Crawford was never more beautiful in her late career nor as accomplished an actress as she is in "Possessed". The supporting players (Van Heflin, Raymond Massey, Geraldine Brooks, et al) are excellent. "Possessed" establishes Joan Crawford as one of the premier actresses in film. This is truly a film classic and deserves the critical attention that ranks it alongside the other great films of American cinema!
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Lady in the Dark (1954 TV Movie)
A groundbreaking, one-of-a kind work! The grandaddy of American musical drama!
31 March 2002
"Lady in the Dark" is an absorbing, audacious, one-of-a kind journey into musical theater. The use of dream sequences and music in an otherwise serious drama about the self-sabotage of an emotionally-scarred woman is a wonder to behold, conveying more clearly the connections between the mind and a person's actions than more straightforward serious dramas. The music by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin beautifully integrate and propel Liza Elliott's (the main character) inner life to her outer life, showing the different facets of Liza Elliott's character that she is too afraid to show outwardly. The range of musical genres (jazz, ballads, Broadway showstoppers, semi-classical) are arrestingly illustrated in such songs as "This is New", "Beautiful Girl", "My Ship", and the incomparable "Saga of Jenny". Ann Sothern plays Liza Elliott brilliantly. This may well be her finest dramatic performance. Certainly, she conveys the quick wit, savoir faire, glamour,emotional brittleness, vulnerability, and emotional pain that inform the character of Liza Elliott. Hers is an emotionally wrenching and arresting performance. The rest of the cast is uniformly good. James Daly reveals complexity in what could have been a stereotypical role of a womanizer. Sheppard Strudwick conveys gravity and creepiness in his role as Liza Elliott's psychologist. The dances choreographed by Rod Alexander are beautiful to see, though not always well-integrated into the plot. A brilliant gem of American theater and American television! "Lady in the Dark" deserves to occupy a far more visible, important place in the history of American entertainment. It's content and performances were far ahead of their time. It's theme is just as relevant now as it was in the 1940's (when it was on Broadway) and in 1954 (when this television version was broadcast. A must see!
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A Sweet, Sharp, Sophisticated Comedy!
25 March 2002
I saw "The Devil and Miss Jones" two nights ago. What a joy Jean Arthur was to watch. Truly, the teaming of Charles Coburn and Jean Arthur needs to be celebrated. It has been ignored for too long! They play off each other as Powell and Loy, Laurel and Hardy, and Tracy and Hepburn did. Jean Arthur was never lovelier (as a brunette!). Robert Cummings never had a showier role nor one in which he displayed bite and a strong, leading-man presence. The script accurately conveys the times in which it was written. The scenes of how it was for people in large cities to work and entertain themselves during the Depression is priceless in its accuracy, a time capsule showing future Americans the Great Depression and its legacy. The playing of Arthur, Coburn, Cummings, and Spring Byington as well as the editing give "The Devil and Miss Jones" a playful, lyrical, yet sassy tone. A true rarity for a film with this type of plot to pull off yet it did, brilliantly. This film deserves greater critical and public reevaluation.
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Our Miss Brooks (1952–1956)
One of the sharpest, wittiest comedies ever to appear on television! A classic! Eve Arden and the rest of the cast formed one of the finest comic ensembles ever!
21 March 2002
"Our Miss Brooks" was one of the first television programs to feature an independent, sharp, strong, beautiful woman who planned on a career and loved her career as a teacher. Eve Arden was a consummate comedienne who took the romantic comedy heroine from 1930's romantic comedy and combined her with a career woman in her portrayal of Connie Brooks. Eve Arden's portrayal pioneered shows starring actresses in roles as bright, career-minded women who were not defined by husbands nor boyfriends.

"Our Miss Brooks" featured one of the most brilliant casts of any television comedy. They played character who were only slight exaggerations of real people found in any American high school of the 1950's. Gale Gordon as pompous, arrogant Principal Osgood Conklin displayed Gordon's talents that made him a star character actor on television. The nerdy characters portrayed by Richard Crenna and Leonard Smith are as hilarious and believable today as they were in the 1950's. Jane Morgan as the befuddled Mrs. Davis was a great foil for Eve Arden. It is singular that so many characters serve as comic foils for the star of a show. "Our Miss Brooks" led the way. The combination of character writing, slapstick, and witty, sophisticated lines has never been equalled. Eve Arden's artistry was never so artfully displayed as it was in "Our Miss Brooks". When one realizes that, for several years, original scripts of "Our Miss Brooks" were written for concurrent radio and television versions of the show, it is astounding the consistent excellent level of script quality that the show's writers were able to produce.

One of the highlights of American television!
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A rare gem! One of the first, brilliant screwball/black comedies! One of Carole Lombard's daffiest portrayals!
21 March 2002
A witty, original black comedy made at the height of the screwball comedy era of the 1930's. Carole Lombard's role originates the wacky wife that became a staple in films and television. Her efforts to make her husband (Fred MacMurray)a successful lawyer offer a still-relevant critique of what Americans tolerates of people "making it" and "getting ahead" in American society, in addition to sharp, witty comments on the meaning of celebrity in American society. The playing of MacMurray and Lombard as husband and wife is vibrant, sexy, wholly believable. They radiate a sense of joy playing off each other. The teaming of MacMurray, Lombard, and John Barrymore makes for one of the most memorable screen teamings ever. Una Merkel is sharp as Lombard's best friend. Beautiful, sunny, often noirish photography enhances the beauty of the stars and the black aspects of the plot.
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