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Cruella (2021)
9/10
There's one thing this film gets right, it's the soundtrack.
24 June 2021
Cruella is brilliantly written, acted and portrayed. Emma Stone is a scene stealer ! She is brilliant . Do not let the premise of the film put you off, Cruella is a hidden gem of action , humor, fashion with dazzling costumes, a great soundtrack, and a pair of terrific performances from Emma Stone and Emma Thompson, this dazzling visual feast is extremely fun to watch whenever its leading ladies lock horns. Cruella is one groovy piece of summer block buster cinema. I would add , Disney production maybe headed for an Oscar nomination "Best Makeup" Academy Award nomination .

Academy Award ( winner Emma Stone ("La La Land") stars in Disney's "Cruella," an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious - and notoriously fashionable - villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. "Cruella," which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella's flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson ("Howards End," "Sense & Sensibility"). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.

Cruella has one of the best sound tracks in recent memory accompanying Emma Stone as the title character in Disney's Cruella. The official Cruella soundtrack is a great compilation of 1960s and '70s British rock'n'roll ! Throughout the movie, Emma Stone's powerful performance as Cruella is accompanied by an extensive playlist of rock, R&B, pop and punk music. If there's one thing this film gets right, it's the soundtrack. Cruella's soundtrack includes more than 30 songs from the 1960s and '70s, the soundtrack creates a strong sense of time and place, centering around the British beat music of the 1960s that The Beatles are known for. The soundtrack also includes some of the British Invasion's major hits from bands like The Animals, The Zombies and The Rolling Stones, female power ballads to classic funk.

Cruella opens with a classic anti-establishment hit plucked straight from 1970s London. I knew the film was going to entertain as soon as heard the opening bars of the first tune ......

"Bloody Well Right," by Supertramp (1974).

And the film just continued with musical awesomeness !

"Whisper Whisper," by the Bee Gees (1969).

"Inside-Looking Out," by The Animals (1966). What better to kick off the first action scene of the movie than a bluesy rock hit from the early days of The Animals?

"Watch the Dog That Bring the Bone," by Sandy Gaye (1969).

"She's A Rainbow," by The Rolling Stones (1967).

"I Gotcha," Joe Tex (1972).

"Time of the Season," by The Zombies (1968).

These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," by Nancy Sinatra (1965).

"Five to One," by The Doors (1968).

"Feeling Good," by Nina Simone (1965).

"Fire," by the Ohio Players (1974).

"Whole Lotta Love," by Ike & Tina Turner (1975). Cover of a 1969 Led Zeppelin song.

"The Wild One," by Suzi Quatro (1974).

"Hush," by Deep Purple (1968). Cover of a 1967 Billy Joe Royal song.

"Livin' Thing," by the Electric Light Orchestra (1976).

"Stone Cold Crazy," Queen (1974).

"Car Wash," by Rose Royce (1976). The famous disco tune :) "Boys Keep Swinging," by David Bowie (1979).

"One Way or Another," by Blondie (1978).

"I Get Ideas (When We Are Dancing)," by Tony Martin (1951).

"Should I Stay or Should I Go," by The Clash (1981).

"You're Such A Good Looking Woman," by Joe Dolan (1970). Original cover of The Stooges' 1969 proto-punk hit.

"Smile," by Judy Garland (1963).

"Nightmares," by The J. Geils Band (1974) "Gettin' Out," The J. Geils Band (1974).

"Eternelle," by Brigitte Fontaine (1968).

"Call Me Cruella," by Florence + the Machine (2021).

"I Wanna Be Your Dog," by John McCrea.

"Cruella de Vil," by Mel Leven (1961). In a post-credits scene, Disney pays tribute to the original 101 Dalmatians.

"The Wizard," by Black Sabbath (1970).

"Sympathy for the Devil," by The Rolling Stones (1968).
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San Andreas (2015)
8/10
San Andreas (2015)
20 June 2021
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

Director:Brad Peyton Writers:Carlton Cuse (screenplay), Andre Fabrizio (story) Stars:Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario

The visual effects are top-notch, the unrelenting obliteration of entire city blocks is overwhelmingly awesome, it's handled with such panache (the overhead shots of the tremors' wave-like effect is especially cool) that all you can do is sit back and gawk at the sheer scale of it. "San Andreas" doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is , VFX-driven disaster epic at its finest , and as long as you know that going into the film, you'll probably have a good time. 8/10.
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Gaia (2021)
8/10
Avant- Garde Cinema worth watching.
19 June 2021
This slow-burn horror-fantasy narrative prefers a different approach to eco-horror by creating a stunning assault on the senses. Gaia is most significant for its excellent practical make-up and select special effects. The use of body horror in the 1st act was very effective in building tension and provoking a visceral reaction.

Though thought provoking and perhaps not as "deep" as the filmmakers intended the message at least for me in some what convoluted . This is countered though and made up for and worth the price of admission by the solid acting by the leads characters.

The film has an extremely small cast of only four actors. In doing so creates a very interesting dynamic and characters study. Gaia centers on actress Monique Rockman(Gabi) who brilliant. She has an extremely exotic and an alluring Beauty. I found her very captivating . Her performance really draws one into the nightmarish story, Rockman is beautifully and hauntingly suburb in her role.

The art-house sensibilities with the cinematography , aspect ratio shift from wide screen to 4:3, also known as 1.33:1 was used in a clever, and effective fashion that added a Mystique to the frames where this technique was employed. Gaia uses its atmosphere to great effect.

Director Bouwer's filmmaking lens centers on the abstract and avant-garde. Gaia is a weird horror film . The story thins out considerably upon reflection but the creepy aesthetic of cinematography and overview (nature on revenge and refusing to take it anymore) make Gaia into something more than routine horror. Gaia is a unique bio-horror film that should be viewed at least once for the horror film enthusiast. It is avant- garde cinema worth watching . I hope it gets a blu-ray release it worth adding to my collection. If its narrative ambitions aren't always equaled by its chilling visuals, Gaia remains an effective slice of ecological horror.
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Katla (2021– )
8/10
Cinematography is pretty incredible
18 June 2021
Katla is a chilling new eight-part Netflix series that has recently dropped on the streaming platform.

I'm on episode 3 and the Dolby Vision cinematography is pretty incredible highlighting the different shades and tones of gray in the in the Smoke and volcanic ash from the seismic disturbance . The visuals of the landscape is worth the price of admission. Katla is some really gorgeous TV Cinema.
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Shadow and Bone (2021– )
8/10
Shadow and Bone(2021-)
18 June 2021
The show uses a multiple Points -of -View narrative, with the primary storyline involving an orphaned girl Alina (A wonderful Jessie Mei Lie who especially shines) coming to terms with her newfound powers as a Grisha (witch). In a world where dark forces have taken over, a young mapmaker, Alina Starkov, accidentally discovers that she has the power to change the fate of the war. She is the only one who has the power to summon light and this will make her play a key role in this war.

I really enjoy a dose of STEAMPUNK and high fantasy . This Netflix series is chalked full of both with very high production value. Shadow and Bone has both a grand vision and, seemingly, the blockbuster budget needed to pull it off. In other words, if you like fantasy, then do check out Shadow and Bone. And if you're not really into fantasy, then I would still recommend that you give it a shot. It is a gorgeous production that has lots of very dark and sinister moments. The world-building is very grand and impressive. Soul-stirring music, and eye-catching CGI. The plot is riveting and the characters have been fleshed out as superbly as they have been acted.

Shadow and Bone is a very popular young adult fantasy series from author Leigh Bardugo. Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone, is the first book in the Grisha . Do Shadow and Bone and Tsarpunk belong anywhere along the Steampunk spectrum? I found this article talking with Shadow and Bone author Leigh Bardugo.

Today we welcome Leigh Barduo who's going to tell us all about Tsarpunk, because Tsarpunk is awesome.

You said Tsarpunk started out with tongue firmly in cheek. But what's the verdict now? Do you think of Shadow and Bone as High Fantasy, Steampunk, or something else?

Hell if I know. To be considered a real sub-sub-genre, I think Tsarpunk wouldn't just be about Russian influence as window-dressing but also about incorporating a distinctly different worldview and spirit. I hope the Grisha Trilogy does that, but I'm not going to be the one to claim it. If the series shares the revolutionary and DIY sensibilities of punk, then that makes me happy. If I get to rub up against the innovation and ingenuity of Steampunk, I'm honored by the association. If Shadow and Bone stays firmly grounded in High Fantasy, I'm good with that, too. As long as no one calls it smooth jazz, we'll be just fine.

~Leigh Bardugo.
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6/10
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It(2021)
17 June 2021
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It isn't as well crafted as the prior two Conjuring films. Director Michael Chaves is capable-enough at creating engaging-enough scenes, however he simply doesn't have the distinctive vision and know-how to build good suspense and creative visuals the way prior director James Wan did. Contains several eye-rolling nods to "The Exorcist and A Nightmare on Elm St.

Nevertheless, the Warren couple are still in top ghost-hunter power-couple form. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are still as charming as ever together which gives this muted Conjuring film just enough goodwill to keep our attention despite this being a scary movie that doesn't scare. Wilson and Farmiga do a seamless job at stepping into these characters, and their persistent dedication at providing an authentic portrayal makes the wonkier elements of this sequel tolerable.

There are a few standout inventive sequences of action that are relatively exciting. There is a good movie in here somewhere. The cast wants to do well. Wilson and Farmiga attempt to take charge of the material. You can feel it right under the surface.

The basic fundamental of love triumphing over evil is the crux for "The Devil Made Me Do It" and Wilson and Farmiga have the energy and presence to make audiences both care about their adventures and yearn for another case. They can't all be winners, but if another primo file from the Ed and Lorraine catalog of paranormal hits comes to fruition, I'll be happy to see these characters again.
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8/10
King Kong Escapes
14 June 2021
King Kong Escapes, released in Japan as King Kong's Counterattack, Kingu Kongu no Gyakushu), is a 1967 Japanese-American science-fiction kaiju film and is the second Toho-produced films featuring King Kong. The film was directed by Ishiro Honda with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and stars Rhodes Reason, Linda Jo Miller, Akira Takarada, Mie Hama, Eisei Amamoto, with Haruo Nakajima as King Kong and Yu Sekida as Mechani-Kong and Gorosaurus. The film is a loose adaptation of the Rankin/Bass Productions series, The King Kong Show and was the second and final Toho-produced film featuring King Kong. King Kong Escapes was released in Japan on July 22, 1967 and released in the United States on June 19, 1968.

It lacks the awe-inspiring effects of the original, King Kong Escapes still manages to be one of the more enjoyable films inspired by the '33 classic.

Great movie. The epitome of fun and cheesy. Also check out Dr Who's voice.... The Burgermeister Meisterburger from Santa Claus is coming to town. A one time marriage between Toho and Rankin/Bass of Rudolph the red nose reindeer fame . A unique entry in kaiju film history! The effects and costumes are enjoyably cheesy, and the monster action is pure Toho monster kaiju goodness. What more could you want?

Appearances: Monsters King Kong Gorosaurus Giant Sea Serpent Mechani-Kong.
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8/10
Walk a Crooked Mile(1948)
13 June 2021
During the Cold War, at a California atomic research plant, an FBI agent and a Scotland Yard inspector join forces to eliminate a foreign nuclear spy ring operating in the USA and the UK.

Director: Gordon Douglas Writers: George Bruce (screenplay), Bertram Millhauser (story) Stars: Louis Hayward, Dennis O'Keefe, Louise Allbritton.

Walk a Crooked Mile is a anti-communist film noir crime film directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Louis Hayward and Dennis O'Keefe. Excellent political thriller. 1948 is the year Hollywood joined the anti-communist crusade, to the film credit Raymond Burr plays the "heavy" in a Lenin-like goatee, a sinister gathering of "comrades", and Hollywood's version of commie rhetoric about how the individual doesn't matter in the global scheme of things.

Director Gordon Douglas drew on mounting anti-Communist hysteria to create one of the first Cold War films. Producer Edward Small stood tall in a battle against FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to produce the film without interference, arguing the Bureau was fair game for fictionalization. The film was originally titled FBI vs Scotland Yard but this was changed at the request of J. Edgar Hoover.

This is an interesting film noir, I very much enjoyed the Documentary flavor , narrated by Reed Hadley's credible narration voice . On-the-site filming of locales adds authenticity. George Bruce has loaded his script with nifty twists that add air of reality to the melodramatic goings on in the story. "Walked a Crooked Mile" is a engaging 40's spy , espionage film and worth seeking out.

Offered on DVD TCM Vault Collection Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics IV DVD United States So Dark The Night / Johnny O'Clock / Walk A Crooked Mile / Between Midnight And Dawn / Walk East On Beacon! Turner Home Entertainment 1946-1952 5 Movies 443 min Not rated Nov 12, 2014.
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8/10
Viskningar och rop(1972)
12 June 2021
A woman lays dying of cancer in a remote country estate (Harriet Andersson) and receives no comfort from her emotionally cold, self-serving sisters (Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin), and gains her only solace from a saintly and mistreated servant (Kari Sylwan). Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers astonishingly and in a quietly moving manner finds hope and affirmation in a harsh, chastising, and utterly bleak story. Cries and Whispers may well be Swedish master Ingmar Bergman's bleakest film. It is full of the raw emotions that are frequently on display in many of his best melancholy films. As a friend so poignantly pointed out as we disused the film after the credits had rolled .

The film's visual style is quite extraordinary. For example, lush red colors frequently fill up the screen and during key transitions completely erase faces and objects. In various close-ups light and shadows are also carefully captured to reveal different feelings and emotions. Bergman shot the film with the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist, whose brilliant work won him an Oscar Award for Best Cinematography in 1974.

The four leads are outstanding acted by a band of Bergman familiars. As far as the subtitles are concerned these are palatable and easy to follow . There is little film score but there are segments with a haunting cello that absolutely brings out the dark, brooding and bleak tone Bergman is striving to achieve. This is a very depressing film but it's definitely worth seeking out has its extremely unique in its cinematography and structure of the story telling. Very good Art-house cinema .
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8/10
The Unfinished Dance(1947)
9 June 2021
Don't let the movie poster fool you... this film is full of great melodrama and not just all saccharine. It's definitely worth seeking out if you can find it on DVD. An opportunity to see one of the era's finest young actresses Margaret O'Brien giving one of her most emotional performances. 8/10

Director:Henry Koster Writers:Paul Morand (story "La Morte du Cygne"), Myles Connolly Stars: Margaret O'Brien, Cyd Charisse, Karin Booth

The Unfinished Dance's performance sequences may be less classical and more Hollywood, but the film has dramatic elements: passionate devotion, melodrama, guilt, great production values, Technicolor .-- this film has amazing tapestry of colors and The Unfinished Dance also has MGM's soon-to-be prima ballerina, Cyd Charisse, and one of the best child actors of all time, Margaret O'Brien.

According to O'Brien, her mother, a former dancer, had seen the French film "La Morte du Cygne"and brought the idea of remaking it to MGM. The 9-year old Margaret trained for six months with Russian ballet teachers, and did her own dancing in the film. Margaret's prep really pays off and I could tell she had natural elegance and grace in her body movements in particular her flowing arm gestures.

Comedian Danny Thomas made his film debut in The Unfinished Dance, playing O'Brien's guardian. It was a warm and appealing performance. But Thomas's film career never really took off. When he turned to television in the early 1950s he became a huge star.

The Unfinished Dance, which sets the action at the Ballet School of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Young Meg Merlin, ( Margaret O'Brain ) who hero-worships a dancer at her elite ballet school, is heartbroken when prima ballerina La Darina (the stunning Karin Booth) arrives to rival her idol. So Meg devises a plan. One little tug on a light switch while La Darina dances Swan Lake will ruin the performance. But Meg pulls the wrong switch - the one that opens a stage trapdoor - and sends the prima ballerina into a career-ending plunge to the floor below. Margaret O'Brien and Cyd Charisse play two generations of dancers in this lavish Technicolor film that combines a tragic story of guilt and broken dreams with the opulence of ballet (among the elegant visuals: the mirrored floor that emulates the swans' watery domain). It's a must-see for fans little Margaret O'Brian or Cyd Charisse.
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8/10
Atlantic Crossing(2020-2020)
7 June 2021
"Atlantic Crossing," a prestigious Norwegian period drama starring Sofia Helin ("The Bridge") as Crown Princess Märtha, and Kyle MacLachlan ("Twin Peaks") as U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Atlantic Crossing an interesting time in history revisited. PBS Masterpiece Theatre , always excellent programming worth watching!! The story is great, and there is certainly a lot of tension .Atlantic Crossing is not a documentary and should not be viewed as one. As a historical series, it is exciting and engaging. This is wonderful TV entertainment and a fantastic period piece that Masterpice Theatre is so good at. It was an engaging character study of Crown Princess Martha superbly acted by actress Sofia Helin .She portrayed the character very well as she matured throughout the series from a somewhat naive soul maturing into a determined leader . Tobias Santelmann, Kyle MacLachlan rounded out the superb cast excellent in their respective roles. I thoroughly enjoyed Atlantic Crossing well worth my time.

The limited series, written by Eik and Linda May Kallestein ("Wisting"), sheds light on Martha's journey from Norway to the White House where she sought refuge and became close to U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Crown Princess tried to convince Roosevelt to save her country and Europe from Nazi Germany at a time when American voters were strongly opposed to being drawn into another world war.
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Honest Thief (2020)
7/10
Honest Thief(2020)
30 May 2021
In separating itself - or at least attempting to - from other "Liam Neeson punches people" movies, Honest Thief uses a snarky, even cynical tone. Neeson plays a former bank robber trying to turn himself in, but keeps being thwarted by uncaring, totally indifferent FBI agents. They assume it's a hoax.

Then things take a serious turn. Innocent victims end up dead. There's a varied morality play underneath a typical, played-to-type action thriller: A corrupt FBI goon on the bottom, Neeson somewhere in the middle, and the greater federal hierarchy turned to heroes. Honest Thief carefully balances itself, challenging acceptable behavior, and choosing to ignore the concept of a perfect hero. At each tier, there are flawed choices and personalities.

Neeson's ex-Marine justifies his past actions. While retired (and in love), he only broke into banks because his father's end came because of greedy CEOs. It's almost a modern Robin Hood, except Neeson never did anything with the money; he just kept it to make sure those undeserving didn't have access. Honest Thief finds empathy in those actions, this while Neeson chases down others willing to kill for a quick getaway.

The character complexity, insofar as such a movie is complex, gives Honest Thief momentum. In the back half, energy derives from shootouts and car chases, competently done, if unremarkable. What matters is whether Neeson can make right, determined to out those who wronged him because they choose crime to benefit only themselves. Neeson sees this as safe-cracking social justice for all. That gives the gunplay stakes beyond good/evil colliding.

While Honest Thief isn't inherently memorable, the 90-minute blitz entertains in the moment. Nicely contained, there's no sequel or franchise due in the future; Honest Thief completes these characters in full, their futures known, their decisions reasonable. Consider this movie-going comfort food without the caloric downside.
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9/10
Absolutely an underrated hidden gem .
29 May 2021
Those Who Wish Me Dead is an action/thriller/disaster movie starring Angelina Jolie as Hannah, a brave smokejumper who must protect a young boy from ruthless assassins in the Montana wilderness.

A boy watches his father murdered over a secret he knows, and he must escape the assassins himself after they discover he is missing. Angelina Jolie tasked with protecting him is a firefighter stationed in a fire tower and dealing with past trauma.

A Stellar cast and a great child actor (Finn Little) elevate this action thriller to more than the sum of its parts. Great moments that will have you cheering and on the edge of your seat. Great direction and some beautiful cinematography. I have not seen Angelina Jolie in a singular action role in over 10 years very refreshing to see her in action once again. Apparently Angelina Jolie did most of the stunts in the film and they were not easy to execute.

It would be an understatement to say that Angelina Jolie is put through the wringer in writer-director Taylor Sheridan's new film " Those Who Wish Me Dead."

She is beaten and bruised by nature, men and even some of her own choices -- like a crazy stunt involving a parachute and a pickup truck. Jolie has always thrown herself into physically demanding roles, but her Montana firefighter Hannah Farber may take the cake for most cuts and shiners sustained in 24 hours. This is a film in which she's running from hitmen, raging forest fires and past traumas. Apparently her face and body are the physical representation of that. Even so, it's always a pleasure to see her back on screen, which has become rarer and rarer lately. I am a huge Jolie fan and she does not disappoint here.

I went into this film blind and I was surprised by the amount of delicious violence and Gore. Expect some intense peril and violence: A boy and other children are in peril, and women are punched and treated roughly by men. Characters are burned in wildfires. There are guns and shooting, blood spatters, bloody wounds, and gory moments (including a dead body with a chunk of skull missing).

Monumental edge-of-your-seat action, first rate character building of the onscreen bond between Angelina Jolie and Finn Little that gets you emotionally invested in the events unfolding on screen. " Those Who Wish Me Dead"is absolutely an underrated hidden gem .
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9/10
A Quiet Place Part II (2020)
28 May 2021
Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.

Director:John Krasinski Writers:John Krasinski, Scott Beck Stars:Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy

The film was extremely entertaining. Thrilling and Suspenseful. It's bigger, faster, coarser ,louder, and still menages to create tense scenes filling the theater with silent observers at times where there is absolutely no sound from the film. I sat in a row with like 10 adolescent junior high schoolers who basically we're chatting and giddy with excitement ( its fun to be young ) ! I thought to myself "oh boy they're going to talk to the whole darn movie" . But here's the thing. Nope. John Krasinski was able to get the moviegoers to be absolutely silent with his writing , directing and the use of the film score and sound effects . It's a pretty brilliant film and the fact that you could hear a pin drop at certain intense points in the movie is an achievement. Krasinski proves once again his prowess in directing and writing .

The ideas behind the film are so strong that a gradual change up of more dialogue, more action and more monsters does not disappoint ! A nerve-wracking continuation of its predecessor, A Quiet Place Part II expands the terrifying world of the franchise without losing track of its heart. I will definitely be pre-ordering the Blu-ray when it's released .
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Fashion Star (2012– )
8/10
Fashion Star(2012-)
18 May 2021
Oh man, you mean to tell me you never got into Jessica Simpson's reality TV show Fashion Star ?

This show was great I watched all 21 episodes bummed when it was canceled :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

See it today wear tomorrow !!!
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Carrion (2020)
7/10
Carrion(2020)
13 May 2021
Screenwriter and director Michael Zaiko Hall is interested in aesthetics, coolness, beauty, and conveying strong emotions rather than shooting intelligible content. By the time terror kicked in, halfway in, I forgot I was watching a horror movie. Needless to say, the gore hit like a ton of bricks. The once soothing and contemplative experience got compromised, taking me out of my comfort zone.

The women in the lead are gorgeous, which should be mentioned considering it sums up the whole film. Carrion has tremendous depth and what I perceive as layers, though I must admit I didn't understand half the story. I hope it makes sense to the creator so I can investigate further, assuming that answers can be found. It's effective surrealism, nonetheless, and it makes us feel alive.

Carrion has the kind of editing that takes getting used to and adds complexities to the narrative. The editing may not rub everyone the right way, but it certainly wasn't neglected. Every aspect of this movie feels experimental, but the quality makes it all worthwhile. The danger, with Carrion, is to have trust in its polish and be led to believe it is a better film than it is. Steve Hutchenson.
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6/10
Plan 9 from Outer Space(1957)
8 May 2021
Well, here it is. One of, if not THE, worst movies ever made so they claim . What can one really say that hasn't already been said about this movie? The acting is corny, there was little to no budget, and the plot (if there was one) made no sense. Poor Bela Lugosi, this was his last film role before he died, in fact he died before the movie was even finished. This movie is terrible...and I like it! Raising an army of zombies to take over the world is a brilliant idea. Those aliens had a good plan, even if they were condescending, slightly flamboyant jerks. Also Tor Johnson makes a very creepy zombie. I'll give the film this much Vampira was a sight to behold! This movie is un-apologetically bad, that it is actually entertaining !
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Mean Streets (1973)
8/10
Mean Streets(1973)
7 May 2021
A slice of street life in Little Italy among lower echelon Mafiosos, unbalanced punks, and petty criminals. A small-time hood gets in over his head with a vicious loan shark. In an attempt to free himself from the dangers of his debt, he gets help from a friend who is also involved in criminal activities.

Scorsese's arrival as an important cinematic voice and features electrifying performances from Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro. Gritty, violent Scorsese classic.

If you enjoy the music of the 60s and early 70s, extremely cool cars, wild clothing and serious attitudes from Guidos ( a man, especially an Italian American, regarded as vain, aggressively masculine, and socially unsophisticated.) you will find nothing better then what Scorsese has to offer in this time capsule of the 70s on the streets of Little Italy, Manhattan. A classic in realism.
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9/10
Wuthering Heights(1939)
2 May 2021
A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveler the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.

Director: William Wyler Writers: Charles MacArthur (screen play), Ben Hecht (screen play) Stars: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven.

A dark and sullen adaptation of Emily Bronte's novel about the doomed love affair of brooding gypsy Heathcliff (Olivier) and the passionate, self-absorbed Cathy (Oberon). The story is overly melodramatic to be sure, but the film is no doubt artistically successful. The film score by Alfred Newman is impeccable. The music sets up the atmosphere through the entire film splendidly. The film score is one of the highlights of the film. The monochrome cinematography was incredible. Wuthering Heights was nominated for 8 Oscars winning for best black and white cinematography. Its ranking of #73 on the AFI top 100 films of all time seems appropriate.

Tragic and haunting storytelling acted by classic movie stars. The dialogue is more formal, enunciation is more pronounced, actors from this era came from theater. Acting for the stage had been tweaked and perfected for centuries at the advent of film, whereas, obviously, acting for film was a new concept. Films from the 1930s just have such a unique style of days gone by that I just absolutely relish .

Trivia :

Goldwyn sent a film crew to northern England for images of the Yorkshire moors to help the designers recreate the story's setting.

About 500 acres of the hills were stripped of their natural vegetation, and 15,000 pieces of tumbleweed were brought in and topped with purple-painted sawdust to resemble heather.

About 1,000 genuine heather plants were brought in for close-ups. In the southern California sunshine, the plants grew much taller than they ever would on the moors.

More than once, Oberon was reduced to tears by Wyler's methods. When Cathy had to run out onto the moors in a fierce storm to stop Heathcliff from leaving, Wyler ordered the actress over and over into propeller-driven winds and rain. After many takes, she began to choke and vomit. She ran a fever and had to be confined to a hospital bed, costing the production thousands of dollars. She refused to do the scene again until Goldwyn rigged heaters to warm the driving rain.

In one scene, Wyler insisted Niven break down. When Niven told him his contract said he would never have to cry on camera, Wyler didn't believe him. Niven got the contract the "no crying" clause was in there.
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Union Pacific (1939)
8/10
Union Pacific (1939)
1 May 2021
There's plenty here to like. Barbara Stanwyck's excellent acting is the number one reason to seek this film out . Stanwyck especially appealing as a plucky Irish lass willing to face reality squarely in the eyes.

The director originally wanted Jean Arthur, who had starred in The Plainsman, for the female lead. Studio publicity also named Irene Dunne as a potential star (alongside Joel McCrea and Fredric March). Instead, Barbara Stanwyck took on the role. She quickly proved herself to DeMille by insisting on doing her own stunts, always arriving on set early and fully prepared and never complaining about difficult location conditions. In his memoirs, he would answer the question most Hollywood directors dread, "Who is your favorite actress?" by writing, "...I have never worked with an actress who was more co-operative, less temperamental, and a better workman, to use my term of highest compliment, than Barbara Stanwyck.... Barbara's name is the first that comes to mind, as one whom a director can always count on to do her work with all her heart".

Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck (born Ruby Catherine Stevens; July 16, 1907 - January 20, 1990) was an American actress, model, and dancer. A stage, film, and television star, she was known during her 60-year career as a consummate and versatile professional for her strong, realistic screen presence. A favorite of directors including Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang, and Frank Capra, she made 85 films in 38 years before turning to television.

Stanwyck was well praised during her 6 decades in Hollywood. She received four Best Actress nominations. It is widely thought that Stanwyck should have won an Academy Award for Best Actress rather than being just nominated.

She received an Honorary Oscar in 1982, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1986 and was the recipient of several other honorary lifetime awards. She was ranked as the 11th greatest female star of classic American cinema by the American Film Institute.

Veteran Dick Allen (Robert Preston) and gambler Sid Campeau (Brian Donlevy) plot to derail the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad at the behest of crooked banker Asa M. Barrows, a major investor in a competing railroad line who will profit from any delay. Meanwhile, Allen and his old friend, railroad boss Jeff Butler (Joel McCrea), compete for the attention of Mollie Monahan (Barbara Stanwyck), beautiful postmistress and daughter of the railroad engineer.

Cecil B. DeMille's sprawling, adventurous film takes on the building of the first trans-continental rail road. The actual building of the track takes second stage to the fates of three employees; Joel McCrea as the Union Pacific hired gun, Robert Preston as his war buddy working with a crooked bank man to stall the proceedings, and Barbara Stanwyck as the mail woman caught in between them for their loyalty and love. The love triangle may be contrived, but the three stars are believable. Preston conveying a surprising amount of sympathy in a colorful good/bad guy, a murderer melodramatically delivered by the love of a good woman. DeMille keeps the 140 minutes moving with exciting action, some wonderful set pieces, two or three exciting finales -- robberies, a train wreck and an enthralling Indian attack. The tale is well-directed, and the cinematography is splendid. The special effects are impressive. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Special Effects.

In reading about its premier I learned some fascinating trivia !

Apr 1939 Hollywood Reporter news items reported that Union Pacific's world premiere in Omaha, Nebraska was a gala "three-day celebration" that drew crowds of over 250,000, instantly doubling the city's population and requiring the deployment of eight national guard troops to help local authorities maintain order. Large crowds were also said to have gathered at many stops along the train route from Hollywood to Omaha, as it was publicized that a special train carrying, among others, producer and director Cecil B. De Mille, and stars Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea, was making its way to Nebraska for the event. The film's premiere took place at three Omaha theaters simultaneously. A 22 Apr 1939 HR news item noted that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was to officially start the premiere proceedings by pressing a button in Washington, D. C. that would open Omaha's civic auditorium. An advertisement in HR claimed that Union Pacific's premiere, which was accompanied by parades, special radio broadcasts and a banquet, was the "biggest world premiere in motion picture history." The ad also notes that following the premiere, De Mille was joined by many of the film's stars aboard an antique train for the continuation of the fifteen-day, coast-to-coast promotional tour, which was scheduled to stop at thirty cities around the country. Now how awesome this adventure would have been to be apart of !

Kino Lorber will bring to Blu-ray Cecil B. DeMille's Union Pacific (1939), starring Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff, Robert Preston, and Lynne Overman. The release is expected to arrive on the market during the summer 2021.
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Pygmalion (1938)
9/10
Pygmalion(1938)
30 April 2021
Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw, based on his play, inspired by the ancient Greek myth.

Who is Pygmalion ?

Pygmalion is based on the ancient Greek myth, about the sculptor named Pygmalion who creates a statue that is so beautiful that he falls in love with it and then asks the gods to give it life and they do, therefore Galatea becomes a human being. Bernard Shaw in his famous play gives a modern interpretation of this theme. This was the first filming of a George Bernard Shaw play in which the playwright fully authorized and participated in the production. The film also was selected by the National Board of Review as one of the best films of 1938, with Wendy Hiller receiving special notice in the "Best Acting" category.

If you don't know the story, when linguistics cranky professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) boasts that he can pass off Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) as a princess with only six months' training, Colonel George Pickering (Scott Sunderland) takes him up on the bet. Eliza moves into Higgins's home and begins her rigorous training after the professor comes to a financial agreement with her dustman father, Alfred (Wilfrid Lawson). But the plucky young woman is not the only one undergoing a transformation.

The movie is surprisingly cinematic, engaging and charming. Both Leslie Howard (as Professor Higgins) and Wendy Hiller (as Eliza Doolittle) present memorable and charismatic characters and the plot twists (such that they are) are funny and well-played. In film it is all here; wonderful wardrobe, a taut script, romance. Snappy and witty dialog. Excellent British humor ! Pygmalion is a wonderful classic romantic comedy with a slice drama .very entertaining film. It's a shame that this film isn't more well known since it is a superb film that deserves to be more widely acknowledged as the classic it really is.

The film proved a hit in both Great Britain and the U. S. (where Henry Higgins' "damns" had to be replaced with "hangs"). At year's end, it was nominated for four Academy Awards -- including Best Picture, Best Actor (Howard) and Best Actress (Hiller) -- years before foreign films were regularly honored at the Oscars. It won the 1938 Academy Award for for Shaw's writing (Adapted Screenplay). In 1956, the material was adapted into a Broadway muscial titled My Fair Lady, which in 1964 was made into a Warner Bros. Film of the same title, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, and directed by George Cukor

Pygmalion has been included on The New York Times' Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list.
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Pygmalion (1938)
9/10
Pygmalion (1938)
30 April 2021
Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw, based on his play, inspired by the ancient Greek myth.

Who is Pygmalion ?

Pygmalion is based on the ancient Greek myth, about the sculptor named Pygmalion who creates a statue that is so beautiful that he falls in love with it and then asks the gods to give it life and they do, therefore Galatea becomes a human being. Bernard Shaw in his famous play gives a modern interpretation of this theme. This was the first filming of a George Bernard Shaw play in which the playwright fully authorized and participated in the production. The film also was selected by the National Board of Review as one of the best films of 1938, with Wendy Hiller receiving special notice in the "Best Acting" category.

If you don't know the story, when linguistics cranky professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) boasts that he can pass off Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) as a princess with only six months' training, Colonel George Pickering (Scott Sunderland) takes him up on the bet. Eliza moves into Higgins's home and begins her rigorous training after the professor comes to a financial agreement with her dustman father, Alfred (Wilfrid Lawson). But the plucky young woman is not the only one undergoing a transformation.

The movie is surprisingly cinematic, engaging and charming. Both Leslie Howard (as Professor Higgins) and Wendy Hiller (as Eliza Doolittle) present memorable and charismatic characters and the plot twists (such that they are) are funny and well-played. In film it is all here; wonderful wardrobe, a taut script, romance. Snappy and witty dialog. Excellent British humor ! Pygmalion is a wonderful classic romantic comedy with a slice drama .very entertaining film. It's a shame that this film isn't more well known since it is a superb film that deserves to be more widely acknowledged as the classic it really is.

The film proved a hit in both Great Britain and the U. S. (where Henry Higgins' "damns" had to be replaced with "hangs"). At year's end, it was nominated for four Academy Awards -- including Best Picture, Best Actor (Howard) and Best Actress (Hiller) -- years before foreign films were regularly honored at the Oscars. It won the 1938 Academy Award for for Shaw's writing (Adapted Screenplay). In 1956, the material was adapted into a Broadway muscial titled My Fair Lady, which in 1964 was made into a Warner Bros. Film of the same title, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, and directed by George Cukor

Pygmalion has been included on The New York Times' Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list. available here: https://www.listchallenges.com/new-york-times-best-1000-movies-ever-made/list/18.
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Stagecoach (1939)
8/10
Stagecoach (1939)
29 April 2021
From the moment we are introduced to John Wayne as the Ringo Kid, with the camera tracking in to an imposing close-up, we know we are in the presence of a major star. Although he had shown some early promise as an actor, Wayne's potential was being squandered in a series of forgettable B-Westerns for Republic Studios. Ford invited Wayne, who was already a good friend, on a weekend boat trip to read the screenplay. "I'm having a hell of a time deciding whom to cast as the Ringo Kid," he said. "You know a lot of young actors, Duke. See what you think." Wayne suggested Lloyd Nolan. "Nolan?" Ford asked incredulously. "J e s u s C h r i s t, I just wish to h e l l I could find some young actor in this town who can ride a horse and act." The next day, as the boat pulled into the harbor, Ford declared, "I have made up my mind. I want you to play the Ringo Kid." It was likely that Ford had Wayne in mind for the role from the beginning. However, he had to work hard to convince Wanger to cast the star of mediocre B-Westerns in the part; and Republic Studios, to which Wayne was still under contract, proved to be a difficult negotiator.

Ford liked to bully actors on the set, and Stagecoach was no exception. At one point he said to Andy Devine, the husky-voiced character actor who plays the coach driver: "You big tub of lard. I don't know why the h e l l I'm using you in this picture." Undaunted, Devine replied, "Because Ward Bond can't drive six horses." Likewise he attacked Thomas Mitchell, who eventually retorted, "Just remember: I saw Mary of Scotland," effectively humbling the director. Worst of all was Ford's treatment of the Duke. He called him a "big oaf" and a "dumb b a s t a r d" and continually criticized his line delivery and manner of walking, even how he washed his face on camera. However, at least part of this was to provoke the actor into giving a stronger performance; Claire Trevor recalls how Ford grabbed Duke by the chin and shook him. "Why are you moving your mouth so much?" he said. "Don't you know you don't act with your mouth in pictures? You act with your eyes." Wayne tolerated the rough treatment and rose to the challenge, reaching a new plateau as an actor. Ford helped cement the impression that Wayne makes in the film by giving him plenty of expressive reaction shots throughout the picture.

Although it was not the first film to use Monument Valley as a location, Stagecoach did much to popularize it. Part of the vast Navajo reservation near the Utah/Arizona border, the desolate landscape with its striking sandstone buttes and mesas, lends a mythic quality to the film, dwarfing the vulnerable stagecoach party in the presence of eternal and impersonal Nature. It came to embody the very idea of the West for John Ford, who used Monument Valley in many of his later films. At the time the film was made, the region was still sparsely populated and not readily accessible, making work difficult for the film crew. Yet as prominent as it appears in the film, the location was in fact used surprisingly little. The Apache raid was shot on the Muroc dry lake bed near Victorville, California, and the river crossing took place on the Kern River near Kernville, California, to name only a couple of other locations that were used. The interior scenes of the coach were all shot in a studio, and the town sequences were shot on Hollywood backlots. Moreover, to focus solely on the admittedly stunning outdoor landscapes is to lose sight of the film's stylistic richness as a whole: the beautifully lit nighttime scene in Lordsburg, with graceful tracking shots following Dallas and the Ringo Kid on their stroll through the town; and the taut editing of the conversations inside the stagecoach, with their perfectly timed reaction shots. Orson Welles later claimed to have watched the film dozens of times before directing his own masterpiece, Citizen Kane (1941).

Stagecoach received seven Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Art Direction and Best Supporting Actor (Thomas Mitchell). Even in the face of the Gone With the Wind juggernaut at that year's Academy Awards ceremony, it won two awards - for Thomas Mitchell's performance as Dr. Josiah Boone and for the score, a deft combination of folk tunes, including the hymn "Shall We Gather at the River," which seems to have been used in every subsequent Ford Western and is darkly parodied in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969).
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9/10
ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE - BEST STORY (Original Screenplay)
28 April 2021
Widely regarded as one of the most influential and enjoyable films of the American independent cinema, Little Fugitive is an utterly charming fable that poetically captures the joys and wonders of childhood.

In the summer 1952 Brooklyn photographer Morris Engel collaborated with his wife Ruth Orkin and child hood friend Ray Ashley to film this delightful independent film shot using a 35mm camera.

When a seven-year-old boy is tricked into believing he killed his older brother, he gathers his meager possessions and flees to New York's nether wonderland: Coney Island. Upon and beneath the crowded boardwalk, Joey experiences a day and a night filled with adventures and mysteries, resulting in a film that's spontaneous and delightful.

The film definitely stirs up sentimental memories of when I was a young boy visiting my relatives in Newport Beach California for all those Summers vacations hanging out on the carnival boardwalk; exploring the Newport pier . Rummaging through the sand on the beach hoping to find a quarter to go buy candy at the little candy store on the corner. I'm sure this Little Gem of the film would have the same effect of nostalgia on many people who would have take the time to explore this innovative independent classic movie. And reminisce through the "Rosy Hue of Retrospect" of the adventures they had as youths on those summers days long gone by .

"The Little Fugitive" is less a movie than it is an immaculately pristine and delightful time-capsule of the '50's. This is a must watch and can by found on Youtube to watch for free or purchased on Blu-ray from Kino. 9/10

Mastered from a 35mm print preserved by the Museum of Modern Art-with assistance from The Film Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation-Little Fugitive's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer looks wonderful, providing you don't expect an absolutely pristine image. Like a lot of Kino-Lorber titles, the film is essentially presented "as-is," so you will notice some age-related damage, including black and white specks, occasional hairs stuck at the edge of the frame, and brief vertical scratches. None of this is particularly distracting, but you can imagine how breathtaking the film would look if it had been given the sort of frame-by-frame restoration usually seen on Criterion or big studio releases. Otherwise, Little Fugitive is a real pleasure to watch here. On the flip-side of Kino's hands-off approach, no obvious edge enhancement or grain-erasing DNR has been applied, so the image looks natural and clearly filmic, preserving Morris Engel's striking photojournalistic cinematography. Clarity-wise, the picture looks to be as resolved as is possible given the source materials, and the black and white contrast balance is excellent, with deep blacks and highlights that are crisp but never overblown.

Like the picture quality, the uncompressed Linear PCM 2.0 mono track Kino offers us here has its age/budget-related quirks-some light crackling, a low- level tape hiss-but the mix is never abrasive, and always listenable. Although Little Fugitive was shot silently-Engel wouldn't develop the tech to shoot portable sync-sound until his 1960 feature Weddings and Babies-the after-the-fact dubbing of the effects, ambience, and voices is actually quite good, with only a few moments of he's clearly not saying that there disjointedness. Everything sounds realistic-the carnival clamor, the pouring rain, even footsteps-and the aw-shucks Brooklyn dialogue is always easy to understand. (Which is good, because Kino has once again neglected to include any subtitle options.) The film's aural highlight, though, is the lonesome harmonica score that accompanies little Joey's big journey.
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Mogambo (1953)
8/10
Mogambo(1953)
28 April 2021
Who wouldn't be envious of Clark Gable ? The man had to choose between the affections of the stunning Grace Kelly or the delectable Ava Gardner !!!

Victor Marswell (Clark Gable) is a big-game hunter in Kenya. After Eloise Kelly (Ava Gardner) is stood up by a friend there, she falls in with Marswell. Shortly thereafter, the Nordleys (Grace Kelly, Donald Sinden) arrive for a gorilla safari. Mrs. Nordley, disillusioned with her husband, takes a liking to Marswell, and the two have a brief affair. Kelly grows jealous, and the two women engage in a battle of wills over the hunter, while Mr. Nordley remains oblivious to it all.

In 1952, with the encroachment of middle age and his status as "King of Hollywood" no longer undisputed, Clark Gable was in sore need of a box-office smash to reaffirm his position. He received one when he signed on for the sprawling African jungle opus Mogambo (1953).

Gable and Ford had never worked together before but seemed like a good match with their similar macho temperaments. Ford had a reputation as a taskmaster and he grew increasingly impatient with the retakes necessitated by Gable's bouts with palsy. After Gable requested a retake of a complex scene with Gardner, Ford stormed off the set. In Warren G. Harris' Clark Gable (Harmony Books), producer Sam Zimbalist's advice to his furious star was recounted: "Ford's a tyrant. Do what John Wayne always does with him. When you get in there, you just say, 'Yes, coach,' and everything will be okay." Egos were sufficiently salved to get through the production civilly, but Gable and Ford would never collaborate again.

Ava Gardner turned out to be a much greater beneficiary of Ford's instruction on Mogambo. Gardner's skill as an actress was best revealed in films she made for such top directors."I have only one rule in acting," she once said, "trust the director and give him heart and soul." Gardner's gutsy, hard-boiled characterization opposite Clark Gable in Ford's Mogambo-highlighted by a memorable and hilarious scene in which she tries to feed a baby elephant and a baby rhinoceros-earned for the actress her only Academy Award nomination. Many feel Mankiewicz's The Barefoot Contessa, in which she costarred with Humphrey Bogart, to be the definitive Gardner film, in that the rags-to-riches story roughly parallels Gardner's own life.

Mogambo also marked a career boost for Grace Kelly. The MGM brass, who were unimpressed with her work in High Noon (1952), wanted Deborah Kerr for the role; Ford remained insistent and declared, as quoted in Tag Gallagher's John Ford: The Man and His Films (University of California Press): This dame has breeding, quality, class. I want to make a test of her -- in color -- I'll bet she'll knock us on our a. S. s ." Kelly delivered, of course, demonstrating for the first time the sexuality brimming beneath the cool surface that Hitchcock would bring out in films such as To Catch a Thief (1955). For her performance, Kelly received her first Academy Award nomination.

Mogambo was one of the first Hollywood features released without a musical soundtrack. Instead, director John Ford ordered the soundtrack filled with animal and bird sounds and native shouts that punctuated the action and set the mood.

Mogambo's $5 million domestic gross was the best first-year return that any of Ford's films ever enjoyed and Gable's career enjoyed a resurgence that would sustain the actor until his death.
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