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10/10
One of James Stewart's Very Best
14 February 2019
Glyn (James Stewart), an ex Missouri Raider joins up with some settlers led by Jay C Flippen trying to start a new life in Oregon. In Portland, the settlers buy cattle, horses, food, and supplies to be delivered in September to carry them through the Winter. In October, no supplies have been sent, so Stewart and Jay C. Flippen return to Portland to find that their supplies have not been sent because they are FAR more valuable now because of the inflation caused by a new gold rush. Glyn, Flippen, Arthur Kennedy, and Rock Hudson grab the supplies and try to outrun the crooked merchant and his thugs to the settlement. Along the way the teamsters, led by Kennedy decide to deliver the supplies to the gold camp for a large amount of money. Kennedy assures Stewart that the people will never forget or forgive him for being a border raider. A long chase ending in a wild fight at the "Bend of the River" near the settlement is the heart-lifting answer to the question whether a man can change or if one bad apple spoils the barrel.
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10/10
What a great movie. Lots of great acting and very able direction by Anthony Mann.
18 November 2018
James Stewart (Jeff) and Walter Brennan (Ben) are partners. They want to 'get rich' so they can buy a ranch in Utah. Stewart drives a heard of cattle to Seattle, taking them by ship to Skagway, intending on selling them in the gold fields across the border. However, they encounter John McIntyre (Gannon), a crooked judge/lawman in Skagway., where McIntyre quickly confiscates their cattle.

Ruth Roman (Rhonda) hires Stewart to guide her pack train north to Dawson, located in the Yukon Territory, where she plans to open a saloon. Stewart promptly "steals" their cattle back from McIntyre who promises to hang him when they come back from Dawson as winter comes.

They reach Dawson and find that the people need a hero to clean up the town and become a champion for the people. Stewart quickly declines because he doesn't want to be bothered with the problems of others.

I won't "spoil" the story. It is well worth your time to watch and see for yourself.
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Passengers (I) (2016)
10/10
What a SURPRISE! VERY good movie
19 October 2018
I am stuck in the past. I love movies from the 'Golden Age' - ~1940-1960. Most 'modern' movies are blood, gore, sex, and wild swings in the sound, requiring fast fingers on the volume button. I have gotten to the point I seldom watch recently filmed movies. HOWEVER, this was an outstanding movie. The plot was plausible, the acting the best I have seen in many years. Difficult scenes were handled with ease and skill, and I was absolutely absorbed in the story. Couldn't wait to show it to my wife, who was equally impressed!
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Irreverent, silly, and unlikely story which is nonetheless VERY entertaining.
20 February 2017
A bevy of stars highlight this silly film about a bootlegger Dave the Dude (Glen Ford) who is convinced that the apples he buys from Apple Annie (Bette Davis)-a street peddler- bring him luck. His right hand man, Joy Boy (Peter Falk), gives an Academy Award Nominated performance, which, according to Frank Capra, was "a bright spot in this 'miserable film'"

Annie's daughter Louise (Ann-Margaret), believing the lie that her mother is a well-to-do socialite, sends a letter that she is engaged to marry into royalty and is on her way to New York to introduce her intended and his father, a Count to her.
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10/10
If you love a torch song, do NOT miss this movie!
15 February 2017
Doris Day, star of many light musical comedies, proves that she can REALLY act, as well as SING in this movie.

As Ruth Etting, songstress from the 1920's, she meets small-time Chicago hood Marty Snyder (James Cagney) who meets Ruth at a "ten cents a dance" emporium. In his efforts to bed Ruth, Marty agrees to use his influence to manage her singing career. He even hires Johnny Alderman (Cameron Mitchell) to be her coach at Ruth's request. Remarkably, Marty learns the business quickly. With Ruth's talent and Marty's arm twisting she soon becomes a star, first in Chicago, then New York, on to Zigfield, then Hollywood. Along the way she agrees to marry Cagney. The film was nominated for 6 Oscars, winning for best writing. In my opinion, Cagney and Day both deserved Oscars for acting, and the musical score is wonderful. I will always remember this film for the fantastic talent displayed by Day, who sings as I never knew she could.
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3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Very good old western ripe with tension
25 January 2017
A small time rancher with wife and 2 young sons is failing because of the drought. Dan Evans (Van Heflin) and Alex Potter, the town drunk, agree to deliver Ben Wade (Glen Ford), to the State Penitentiary in Yuma. They use a fake breakdown of the stage near the Evans ranch, and slip Wade out of the coach. Later, they move Evans into the hotel in Bisbee to wait for the 3:10 train to transport him to Yuma. Richard Jaekel is the second in command for Wade's outlaw band and looses him in the above exchange. However, Jaekel accidentally realizes that Ben Wadeis in the hotel with Evans when the deceased's brother tries to gun himdown in the hotel room. Robert Ernhardt as Butterfield, the Stage LineOwner who was held up and his man killed in the robbery is paying Evansand Potter to make sure that Wade gets on the plane. Ben Wade spendshis time waiting for the train to arrive by trying to strike an agreement with Evans to let Wade go for a large sum of money and by not attempting to enforce a a veiled threat to his family. It it pretty hard to figure whether Dan Evans will stand true or fail to complete his mission. Though Butterfield has gotten the cooperation of 7 or 8 townsmen to guard Wade, they all walk out when Jones is murdered by the Wade gang, leaving only Butterfield and Evans. killed. When the train arrives, Evans, keeping a sawed-off double barrel 12 gauge shotgun held on Wade keeps him in check. Evans manages to maneuver Wade to the train, but for some reason, Wade cooperates by jumping on the train. He has apparently figured out he has a chance to escape from Yuma Prison and not get Evans killed in the process.

What made this film unique was the acting. Instead of pushing for an all out gunfight, Ben Wade allows Dan Evans to complete the transfer and deliver him on the train, where he will be taken to the prison. Of course, this does leave the question of whether Ben Wade will actually serve his punishment or yet be able to escape. Well written, acted, cast, and told. A good old Western.
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Amber Waves (1980 TV Movie)
9/10
Wonderful tale of moral growth and awareness
7 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A spoiled rotten 'male model' (Kurt Russell) is forced to work off a debt by helping a man (Dennis Weaver) who has a threshing crew. The Foreman has a young daughter (Mare Winningham) and does not trust the young model as far as he can throw him. The Threshing crew is traveling the Midwest from town to town threshing the ripe wheat. As they travel, Dennis Weaver, the foreman, finds he has a medical problem that needs immediate treatment, but he does not have time to leave the threshing to try to take care of it. Meanwhile, Russell is belligerent about working for the crew, but really likes Winningham.. As the summer progresses, Kurt starts behaving like a man, and Weaver allows him more freedom and responsibility on the crew. I won't tell you the final outcome, but it is a warm and powerful change in both men that made this a move I would remember for many many years. I believe that I saw this movie early in the 1980's, and have been watching for it ever since. I would love to see it again!
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10/10
Wonderful story, great songs, fantastic dancing!
27 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Fred Astaire (Bert Kalmar) and Red Skelton (Harry Ruby) forge a strange relationship as songwriters, turning out many wonderful hits. This light, interesting story highlights their careers. Bert is a song writer, and he and the Vivacious and Lovely Vera Ellen (Jessee Brown) have a very successful song and dance act. However, he really wants to be a professional magician and would also like to be a playwright. Harry is a wannabee song writer, a song plugger, and a hopeless baseball fan. Harry walks out on Jessee to pursue his magic act, not wanting to be tied down to marriage. He meets Harry when Harry is the emergency substitute as Bert's helper in his magic act. The results are funny, but tragic for Bert's act. A runaway goose cooks Bert's act, and Harry becomes his new worst enemy. After resuming his career with Jessee, Bert injures his knee, forcing postponement of his dancing career. He falls back on his songwriting to make a living. Meeting Harry in a publisher's office, he writes lyrics to one of Harry's tunes before remembering just who Harry is. Fur flies, and Bert leaves in anger. However, the song becomes number one,and they are forced to call a truce and write another song. Soon they are writing a series of hit tunes. Harry, though knowing it will split up the songwriting team, encourages Bert and Jessee to resume their vaudeville act when Bert's knee improves, and they marry. However, Bert and Jessee decide to forgo the stage for songwriting and the songwriting team is reborn. During the ensuing years, as caring friends, Bert saves Harry from some gold-diggers and Harry acts behind the scenes and derails a plan to have Bert produce a very bad play which would have cost him both his fortune and his pride. Unfortunately the play was written by Bert, who thought it was great. Through the years the hits continue to roll, including Broadway Shows and Movies. Eventually, at a cast party after another successful Movie, their manager Keenan Wynn starts reminiscing about the time that Harry sabotaged his play. Bert thinks Harry did it because of jealousy, and the friendship and partnership end abruptly, with very hard feelings. After Harry marries Arlene Dahl (Eileen Percy) the wives quietly arrange for them to appear on a nostalgic musical composers radio show together. They both resist until their wives do that thing that wives do. Harry and Eileen go to Bert and Jessee's to rehearse the radio show. After an uncomfortable start, They decide to do a medley of old songs. Harry brings up an old tune he had been pushing since they first met, but they could never add words. They decide to give the tune another chance, then start to argue, then to fight. They both have something more important to do. Bert tells Harry "You Are A Dope" Harry plays and sings the opening notes "You are a Dope" and walks out. The next night, on the radio show, while doing a medley of some of their hit songs, Bert unveils the words to the tune they wrote yesterday "Three Little Words", which he had completed the previous night. Sappy, Happy ending. Among the highlights of the movie, Gloria DeHaven siings "Who's Sorry Now" wonderfully, but the absolute Pinnicle of the movie is when Vera Ellen sings, then she and Fred dance to the fabulous, haunting melody "Thinking of You" Personally, I put this dance on par with "Dancing in the Dark" from "The Band Wagon", which many feel is the best number Fred ever did. If you read any of my reviews, you know that movies like this I watch anywhere from 1 to 3 times a year. This one is no exception!
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10/10
Wonderful story, great songs, fantastic dancing!
27 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Fred Astaire (Bert Kalmar) and Red Skelton (Harry Ruby) forge a strange relationship as songwriters, turning out some wonderful hits. This light, interesting story highlights their careers. Bert is a song writer, and he and Vera Ellen (Jessee Brown) have a very successful song and dance act. However, he really wants to be a professional magician. Harry is a wannabee song writer, and a hopeless baseball fan. Harry walks out on Jessee to pursue his magic act. He meets Harry when Harry substitutes as Bert's helper in his magic act. The results are funny, but tragic for Bert's act. Harry becomes his new worst enemy. After resuming his career with Jessee, Bert injures his knee, forcing postponement of his dancing career. He falls back on his songwriting to make a living. Meeting Harry in the publisher's office, he writes lyrics to one of Harry's songs before realizing just who Harry is. Fur flies, and Bert leaves in anger. However, the song becomes number one, and he is forced to call a truce with Harry. Soon they are writing a series of hit tunes. Harry, knowing that it will split up the songwriting team, helps Bert and Jessee reunite, and they marry. However, Bert and Jessee decide to forgo vaudeville for songwriting. During the ensuing years, Bert saves Harry from gold-diggers and Harry keeps Bert from producing a very bad play which would have cost him his fortune and his pride. Unfortunately the play was written by Bert. Through the years the hits continue to roll, including Broadway Shows and Movies. Eventually Bert finds out that Harry sabotaged his play, and the friendship and partnership ends. After Harry marries Arlene Dahl (Eileen Percy) their wives quietly arrange for them to appear on a radio show together. They both refuse until their wives insist. The Harry and Eileen go to Bert and Jessee's to plan the radio show. After an uncomfortable start, Harry brings up a tune he has been pushing since they first met. They decide to work on the tune, then argue, then fight. The next night, on the radio show, after doing a medley of some of their hit songs, Bert unveils the words to "Three Little Words". Sappy, Happy ending.

Highlight of the movie is when Vera Ellen sings, then she and Fred dance to the fabulous, haunting melody "Thinking of You" Personally, I put this dance on par with "Dancing in the Dark" from "The Band Wagon".
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3/10
What happened to the story?
22 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I have enjoyed watching the 1971 Move "The Andromeda Strain" Starting Arthur Hill, James Olsen, Kate Reid, Mark Jenkins. many times. I read the book years ago, and I have watched the movie every few years and, though I know the plot and a lot of the dialog, it is an interesting and engaging story which had been nominated for 2 Oscars. It was an interesting, thought provoking film with some fairly tense moments in it. I found the 'new' version yesterday, recorded it, and my wife and I watched it today. As the plot of the film is being developed, somewhat differently than in the original, it becomes clear that something is likely to happen to greatly influence the progress and outcome of this version. Just when the excitement and interest start to ramp up, the story switches gears, A related incident in a town near the affected area of the virus/bug/whatever we are fighting escalates the problem. An unwise decision to proceed with an nuclear weapon meant to 'wipe out the bug' is prematurely instigated. Then the attack appears to be stopped just in the nick of time and in a few seconds, the movie is over. It was just as if there were to be one or more sequels to finish or redirect the story to conclusion, but it just quits, leaving the viewer asking 'Did I fall asleep and miss the ending? I cannot think of a single movie ever that I saw where the movie quit rather than ended. I don't think this was an ending that was supposed to send you home discussing the outcome for days.....Perhaps there is/are sequels I do not know about. If there is no sequel or followups, there are a number of side issues developed that have no meaning at all now.
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The Virginian (1962–1971)
10/10
If you like Westerns, do NOT miss this series!
12 October 2013
This series (The Virginian) is truly amazing. It ran for 9 long seasons, a total of 249 episodes. The Virginian (James Drury) and Trampas (Doug MaClure) stayed through the entire series. There were a number of Owners of the 'Shiloh Ranch' located near Medicine Bow, Wyoming in the late 1800's. The daughters and/or nieces of the owner were a series of lovely actresses. Owners included Lee J. Cobb, Charles Bickford, and John McIntyre (and his real-life wife, Jeanette Nolan). John Dehner was also the owner for a (mercifully) short period.

Although there were many, many writers and a very long list of directors, the series was very fluid. Top name actors were guest stars week after week, and somehow the episodes were always very enjoyable. When you stop to think that they basically produced a 90 minute movie every week, 30 weeks a year, it is remarkable that each week was unique and entertaining. Various sensitive topics were handled in a real-to-life manner.

This series remains, in my opinion, one of if not the greatest series ever presented on TV. I would watch every episode again, and with great enjoyment!
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Winchester 73 (1967 TV Movie)
6/10
Remake of a Classic Western
5 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First, let me say that I am a big fan of the 1950 Winchester 73 movie starring Jimmy Stewart, Shelly Winters, Steven McNally, Millard Mitchell (High Spade, Stewart's sidekick), and Dan Duryea (Waco Johnny Dean, (McNally's sidekick). McNally and Stewart are brothers. I have enjoyed it many, many times. One of the gems in this movie is the short performance by John McIntyre as an Indian gun runner at the Tascosa trading post. Finding this version on TV, I decided to give it a try.

Dan Duryea, who played Waco Johnny Dean, in the original movie is introduced as Bart McAdam, the father of an angry and bitter Dakin McAdam (John Saxon) early in this version. Bart has convinced his brother, Ben McAdam (Paul Fix) to offer the prized Winchester as the reward for the shooting match in hopes of attracting Dakin, recently released from prison, to the contest. Sheriff Lin McCadam, (Tom Tyron), Ben's son and Dakin's cousin is rebuffed when he tries to make nice with Dakin when the meet just before the contest.

After the initial stage of the contest, only Dakin and Lin are left in the contest. They take turns driving nails into a board (With the fabled rifle). Lin wins when he hits a dime thrown in the air. Dakin sulks away. He confronts his uncle, Ben McAdam (Lin's dad) who is just starting to engrave the rifle, kills him and leaves to follow his gang to Tascosa. Bart tries to convince Lin that the shooting was self defense.

Lin tries to convinces Dan McAdam, son of Ben, (David Pritchart) to accept a deputy badge instead of just hunting down Dakin, but Dan rides out for Starett's the night before his father's funeral. At the burial, Bart tries to convince Lin that the shooting was self defense.

When Dakin arrives at Starett's he meets John Dehner (High Spade Johnny Dean)- (The John McIntyre gun runner role in the original, not Stewarts sidekick Hi Spade). Dehner and Gavin play poker, finally for THE gun. Dehner wins. Dehner angers An Indian, who kills him, taking the Winchester. Dakin is trailing behind and attempts to regain the rifle. The Indian shoots his horse, but Dakin gets Dehner's handgun. David arrives at Starett's just before Dakin returns. Starett runs them off, giving Dakin a 30 minute head start. Dakin takes David's horse, leaving him on foot. When Lin shows up later, he leaves David on foot at Starett's.

The Indian attacks a small group of Mexicans and Lin comes along. He engages the Indian one on one, killing him. Not realizing the Indian had his rifle, he rides off. Thinking the rifle to cursed, the Mexicans decide to take it to the padre for blessing.

Soon Dakin has caught up with his gang in Tascosa, where they plan to commit a robbery. Lin walks in to Joan Blondell's Catina and confronts his cousin Dakin. Meanwhile, Bart & Ben have caught the stage and have arrived in Tascosa. Bart convinces Lin that Dakin will surrender in the church at midnight. David smells an ambush. Leaving David behind, Bart and Lin meet Dakin in the church, and up pop Dakin's gang. Now we learn that the robbery is to be the church's holy treasures. As the robbery is completed, the Mexican family bring the Winchester into the church to be blessed. Dakin urges the young girl to bring him the gun and Bart knocks him aside to grab the gun. Dakin recovers and wounds Bart (his father). In the ensuing fight, as Dakin tries to kill Lin, David finishes off the 2 members of the gang, recovering the treasures. Dakin and Lin, fighting on the church grounds outside end up with Lin shooting his cousin. This was a better than average made-for-TV western, but did not measure up to the original Winchester 73. The original was better written, better acted, better directed, and had a more realistic storyline.

Waco Johnny Dean was the sidekick of Dutch Henry Brown, the estranged brother of Lin McAdam in the original movie. Tom Tyron is his cousin, Lin McAdam.
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What's not to like?
4 October 2013
This true story of Loretta Lynn is a heart warmer. She came from the humblest of beginnings and rose far above her hillbilly roots. Married while still a child, she overcame abuse by her husband and developed a talent that shone brightly from Nashville. Many of her chart-busting songs were written about her personal experiences. Sissy Spacek earns a well-deserved Oscar for her brilliant portrayal of this Country Music Hall of Fame legend. Loretta hand-picked her for the role, and she looks, acts, and sings remarkably like Loretta Lynn. The two became very close friends as a result of this movie. They even performed on the Grand Ole Opry together! Her story has been an inspiration for millions of women whose husbands were philanderers. Tommy Lee Jones is extremely convincing as Dolittle Lynn, her complex, overbearing, and domineering husband. This was possibly his finest acting performance ever. Beverly D'Angelo is delightful as Patsy Cline, who was Loretta's best friend and mentor, helping Loretta learn to cope with the perils of country music. Her confidence and charisma exudes from the screen. Beverly also did her own singing, and probably should have been given the role in "Sweet Dreams" instead of Jessica Lange. Michael Aphed captured lightning in a bottle with his insightful direction of this wonderful movie. This film is an wonderful portrayal of the honest, hard working, loving families from the coal mines. If you haven't seen this one do it as soon as possible. If you have seen it, enjoy it again!
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Night and Day (1946)
6/10
Some great music makes this one worth watching.
1 October 2013
I am a pushover for musicals. I am an even greater pushover for musicals with great songs and lyrics. Throw in some top notch dancing, and I am hooked. Nearly all the Hollywood movies about composers are myths that even the family and friends of the composers would not recognize. Cole Porter said that there wasn't a word of truth in this whole story! Though the telling of Night and Day bears almost no semblance to the real Cole Porter story, and lacks the strong singers, dancers, and actors that might have been available if this movie were produced by MGM, the unique and fabulous musical talent that was Cole Porter provides enough musical enjoyment to make this film well worth watching. Cole simply wrote music totally unique in his time. The title song is noteworthy, and some of the productions, like Begin the Beguine, have that haunting, recurring rhythm and grace that just sweeps you away. "In The Still of the Night" and "I've Got You Under My Skin" are other songs that bury themselves in your mind only to manifest themselves when you least expect it. Don't forget the beautiful "What is This Think Called Love", one of my all time favorites. I don't approve of his lifestyle, but love his music.
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9/10
Blueprint for alcoholism and the tragedy it fosters.
3 December 2011
Jack Lemmon, an up and coming Public Relations man and a budding alcoholic, meets Lee Remick, who doesn't drink, but likes chocolate. Jack introduces her to Brandy Alexanders and they soon embark on the downward spiral into alcoholism. Several years and several jobs later, Lee nearly burns down their apartment with their young daughter in it. Jack looses another job. Realizing they have lost control, they move in with Lee's father (Charles Bickford) and work in his greenhouse growing and delivering flowers and trees. Soon Jack gains Charles' trust and sneaks 2 pints of liquor into their room. After making short work of the 2 bottles, Jack nearly destroys the greenhouse drunkenly looking for the third bottle. Waking up in the mental ward with the DT's, Jack meets Jack Klugman, who introduces him to AA. After becoming sober and returning to work, Lemmon tries to woo Remick to join him in sobriety. At the close of the film, we know that Lemmon will remain sober, and can only hope that Remick will eventually join him in sobriety. As a Recovering Alcoholic (sober over 19 years) I can tell you this is a VERY plausible portrayal of the heartbreak that is alcoholism. I try to watch this film at least once a year just so I don't forget what I am. In addition to the wonderful writing and tremendous acting by both Jack and Lee, the theme 'The Days of Wine and Roses' by Henry Mancini weaves and haunts the entire film. Don't miss it!
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Chisum (1970)
Lincoln Texas, the town founded and protected by Chisum is being threatened by LG Murphy, who seems unbound by right or wrong or laws.
30 October 2011
Typical John Wayne Western Adventure. If you enjoyed movies like El Dorado, Rio Bravo, Rio Lobo, Big Jake, McClintock! and others you should recognize most of the players and enjoy this one too! Chisum, who owns the Pecos Valley keeps an honest peace through strength and Tunstill, the honest English neighbor hire McSween to run their businesses and be their Lawyer after Forrest Tucker (Murphy) decides to take over by any means, legal or not. Billy the Kid admires Tunstill and has decided to settle down. He falls for Chisum's niece Sally. However, when Tucker has Tunstill murdered Billy vows revenge and starts his own fight. Pat Garett joins Pepper (Ben Johnson) and Murphy escalates the fight by bringing in Brady to help Jess Evans to get Billy. The result is a war in town. Good Flick!
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