Casablanca (1942, Directed by Michael Curtiz) English 9

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Conrad Veidt, S.Z Sakall, Dooley Wilson

Casablanca (1942)

(9-Great Film)

Classic. Immaculate. Beloved.

Rick: Here’s looking at you, kid.

Rick (Bogart), as I’m sure you know already, sticks his neck out for nobody. Heartbroken after a lost love affair in Paris, he’s become the enigmatic owner of a happening bar in Casablanca during World War II. While all around him people are scrambling and killing and stealing for a means of getting out of town and over to ally territory, Rick seems in his element. That changes when an old flame, Ilsa (Bergman), the one who broke his heart in Paris, shows up with her husband, Victor Laszlo (Henreid), a hero to the resistance movement. Casablanca is often proclaimed the best-loved or most cherished of Hollywood classics. It’s a strong testament to what the old studio system could do. Premier production values, invisible editing, great dialogue, and a terrific cast of characters matched with the right stars and character actors. Of course, Bogart and Bergman are immaculate but think about how invaluable the supporting cast is, right down to Sakall in his brief moments (The studio system had the best character actors). I resisted Casablanca for many years, perhaps partly due to my innate contrary nature, but also, I think, because its so famous and influential, so often imitated, that its components are almost cliche. It’s impossible for it to feel fresh at this point, but watching it again, I found myself admiring every aspect of its storytelling. It’s a great film, but you probably didn’t need to be told that.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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The Caine Mutiny (1954, Directed by Edward Dmytryk) English 9

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Robert Francis, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray, Lee Marvin, May Wynn, Tom Tully, Jose Ferrer, E.G Marshall

The Ace Black Movie Blog: Movie Review: The Caine Mutiny (1954)

(9-Great Film)

Tense. Stirring. Thoughtful.

Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg: Aboard my ship, excellent performance is standard, standard performance is sub-standard, and sub-standard performance is not permitted to exist – that, I warn you.

Captain Queeg, in the hands of Humphrey Bogart, is an unforgettable character. With maybe only thirty or so minutes of screen time, Bogart carves out a fascinating performance; petty, insecure, hypocritical, neurotic. If the question was simply is Queeg a bad leader, the answer would be obvious and the film would progress entertainingly but also superficially-much like the various versions of Mutiny on the Bounty. However, the battle in The Caine Mutiny is a legalistic one, and the question is whether or not Captain Queeg is psychotic. If sailors were able to overthrow any leader they deemed unworthy, I think very few ships would get anywhere and war is a bad time for mutiny. Everyone aboard the USS Caine hates Queeg’s guts, but it’s the executive officer, LT. Maryk (Johnson), and Ensign Keith (Francis), that make the fateful decision to relieve him of his duties. They’re court-martialed and stand trial for their lives, defended by LT. Greenwald (Ferrer), who isn’t even sure that he wants to win the case. This is an ultra-taut thriller with no action sequences, which is pretty amazing, and the perfect cast for each and every role. Ultimately though, the success of The Caine Mutiny depends on us despising Queeg as much as his crew does. Bogart was a short man with a massive screen presence. The Caine Mutiny is the first film I’ve seen him in that I thought of him as small. He’s such a perfect twerp, and when the film asks its big questions in the end, we’re forced to consider them through the flood of anger that the preceding hour and a half so adroitly stirred up in us.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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The Seven Year Itch (1955, Directed by Billy Wilder) English 5

Starring Tom Ewell, Marilyn Monroe, Evelyn Keyes, Sonny Tufts, Robert Strauss, Oscar Homolka, Victor Moore

AoM: Movies et al.: The Seven Year Itch (1955)

(5-Okay Film)

Toothless. Light. Shackled.

Dr. Brubaker: When something itches my dear sir, the natural tendency is to scratch.

The Seven Year Itch, as iconic as it is, or rather, as iconic as Marilyn Monroe is in it, doesn’t work. Based on a hit play, Tom Ewell reprises his stage role as Richard Sherman, a married man left alone for the summer to deal with the temptations of the girl upstairs. The Girl, as she’s called in the credits, though nameless, is said in the film to look a lot like Marilyn Monroe, and that’s because she’s played by the young star in one of her most memorable roles. She shimmies through Sherman’s apartment and the film in her bimbo with a heart of gold persona, all but stealing the entire show. Directed by the great Billy Wilder, I’d say this is his weakest effort made during his prime. The problem is that The Seven Year Itch was made during the 1950s, meaning, as I watch it, I know that the main character is not going to actually have an affair. He can’t. It wasn’t allowed back then. This takes all of the bite out of the satire and all of the sex out of this sex comedy. It’s not about being vulgar. A film like this needs to be free to go off in any direction and cross lines. As it stands, Wilder tries everything within decency, but being held back from going to some indecent places, The Seven Year Itch becomes just an hours long tease. Fortunately, he’d have the opportunity to handle affairs more interestingly with The Apartment and Avanti!

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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Rope (1948, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock) English 9

Starring James Stewart, John Dall, Cedrick Hardwicke, Farley Granger, Joan Chandler, Constance Collier, Edith Evanson, Douglas Dick

rope 1948 이미지 검색결과

(9-Great Film)

Skilled. Clever. Suspenseful.

Brandon: I’ve always wished for more artistic talent. Well, murder can be an art, too. The power to kill can be just as satisfying as the power to create.

Two well-to-do, talented young men-Phillip (Granger) and Brandon (Dall)-believe that some people are fundamentally superior to others and have the moral right to commit murder. They start with a friend from college, David, hiding his body in a trunk in their apartment, and then inviting a small group over for a dinner party, as a game of sorts, but one of the people they invite is their old mentor, Rupert (Stewart), and he shrewdly catches onto them. The critical consensus on Rope seems to be that it’s good, not great Hitchcock, or, as some critic I can’t remember put it, “hardly top-shelf Hitchcock.” They all point to the technical expertise on display-one location, nine actors, and only a handful of shots done in long take. Rope is certainly a shining example of Hitchcock’s technical ability and creativity, but it’s more than just an experiment or a minor credit on the director’s long resume. I think Rope is top-shelf Hitchcock. It’s taut, expertly told, and fascinating, with one of James Stewart’s best performances. The whole ensemble of actors are perfectly matched, but I especially admire Stewart and Dall’s performances. Stewart, for once in his career, is essentially a supporting player whose charisma and presence quickly ratchet up the tension as soon as he walks on the stage. I’m only familiar with Dall from two films-this and Gun Crazy-but they’re great films and he’s tremendous in them both, here, all arrogance and psychotic smirks.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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The Adventures of Don Juan (1948, Directed by Vincent Sherman) English 7

Starring Errol Flynn, Viveca Lindfors, Robert Douglas, Alan Hale, Romney Brent, Ann Rutherford, Robert Warwick, Una O’Connor, Raymond Burr

the adventures of don juan 1948 이미지 검색결과

(7-Very Good Film)

Festive. Handsome. Fun.

Don Juan: My dear friend, there’s a little bit of Don Juan in every man, and since I am Don Juan, there must be more of it in me!

Don Juan. The man. The myth. The legendary lady-killer. Apparently, not far off from star, Errol Flynn’s own reputation. The perfect marriage between star and role. Flynn’s Don Juan passes from town to town, accompanied by his loyal servant, Leporello (played by Flynn’s loyal real-life friend, Hale), fleeing cuckolded husbands and alternating between trying to live down or live up to his reputation. Eventually, he meets the queen, Margaret of Austria (Lindfors). Falling for her, he fights to protect her from conspirators and enemies of Spain. Not as exciting or memorable as Flynn’s best (Captain Blood, Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk), The Adventures of Don Juan is, however, a fun, romantic romp made with an abundance of skill and money.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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Ninotchka (1939, Directed by Ernst Lubitsch) English 9

Starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Bela Lugosi, Alexander Granach

Ninotchka | Best Movies of All Time | TIME.com

(9-Great Film)

Romantic. Sly. Iconic.

Ninotchka: Must you flirt?

Leon: Well, I don’t have to, but I find it natural.

Ninotchka: Suppress it.

Three amiable, easily manipulated Soviet agents arrive in Paris during the days following the Russian Revolution. Sent to sell valuable jewelry confiscated from the ousted nobility, they’re quickly thwarted by a wily lawyer, Leon (Douglas). The trio are then sent help in the form of Nina Ivanovna Yakushova, or Ninotchka (Garbo), a tough-as-nails, Soviet patriot to help fight the case. Not nearly as impressed by Paris as her comrades, it’s meeting Leon and falling for him that slowly causes some of the ice to thaw. Ninotchka is my favorite Garbo picture. It’s one of those classic Hollywood films that bring me great joy to watch. Romantic and funny as romantic-comedies naturally should be but rarely are, it’s also a rather clever and early satire on the bleak state of Soviet Russia.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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All About Eve (1950, Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz) English 10

Starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders. Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe, Hugh Marlowe, George Merrill, Gregory Ratoff

ALL ABOUT EVE: Life Imitating Art

(10-Masterpiece)

Sardonic. Intelligent. Classic.

Margo: Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!

Margo Channing, played by Bette Davis, is a bonafide star of the theater- perhaps its biggest star-but Margo is getting older (past forty), and life for an actress after forty looks pretty bleak to her. Eve Harrington, played by Anne Baxter, is an ambitious, young nothing hoping to have center stage for herself. She works her way into Margo’s inner circle, affecting modesty and innocence, but she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, longing all the time to take Margo’s place. The crisscrossing stories of Margo and Eve’s careers make for a classic satire, one that seems like it could be as much about Hollywood as it is about theater. All About Eve’s also a stirring melodrama, beautifully written, beautifully performed, with a handful of classic characters. Bette Davis is a force of nature, Baxter’s breathy manner of speaking serves her pretentious, insincere character well, and George Sanders’ voice and demeanor almost single-handedly give the film it’s indelible, sardonic tone.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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Vera Cruz (1954, Directed by Robert Aldrich) English 8

Starring Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Denise Darcel, Cesar Romero, Sara Montiel, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, George Macready, Morris Ankrum, Jack Elam

The Ace Black Movie Blog: Movie Review: Vera Cruz (1954)

(8-Exceptional Film)

Violent. Exciting. Compelling.

Benjamin Trane: You just can’t do enough for me, can yuh, Joe?

Joe Erin: Why not? You’re the first friend I ever had.

Friends, indeed. Much of the underlying drama in Vera Cruz centers around this so-called friendship. Ben Trane’s (Cooper) older, seems wiser and less violent, but that doesn’t stop him from being mercenary when he can. He’s an ex-confederate soldier trying to start again below the border, during the Franco-Mexican War. His new partner, Joe Erin (Lancaster), has been there longer and built up a reputation as the most lethal crook around. They’re hired by Emperor Maximilian (Macready) himself to escort the beautiful-and treacherous-Countess Marie (Darcel) to Vera Cruz. There’s a good deal of plot in this film for a western and a number of relationships. The two male stars’ is the most interesting. The relationships between the stars and their love interests aren’t hard to figure out and their outcomes are more or less predictable. Trane and Erin’s relationship is more tenuous and I, for one, wasn’t sure how it would shake out. Vera Cruz, though slight in running time, feels like a great big western. Expansive setting, a large cast of characters, an abundance of plot, as mentioned. Despite finding Cooper unimpressive and rather stiff in westerns, he gets the job done here, and Lancaster wasn’t afraid to put his star power on the line to play crazed characters.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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In a Lonely Place (1950, Directed by Nicholas Ray) English 9

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Jeff Donnell, Martha Stewart, Steven Geray

Gloria Grahame, Humphrey Bogart - In a Lonely Place (1950) | Gloria  grahame, Film noir, Film

(9-Great Film)

Brusque. Neurotic. Fierce.

Dixon Steele: I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.

Film director, Nicholas Ray, had his own style of Hollywood melodrama. His best known movies- Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger Than Life, and In a Lonely Place-feature characters whose struggles are psychological more than anything else. The conflict is inside, which gives the films weight and drama worthy of Greek tragedy. Wasn’t it the tragic hero that is ultimately doomed by his own weaknesses? If so, Dixon Steele (Bogart) is such a character. An intelligent man with wealth, charisma, and some influence in the Hollywood film industry where he works as a scriptwriter, Steele is attractive to any number of women. He falls for his neighbor, Laurel Gray (Grahame), who reciprocates. When he becomes the lead suspect in a grisly murder of a young secretary, she believes his sardonic assurance that he had nothing to do with it. Eventually, and all-too-frequently, his violent temper pops up, leading her to question her faith in him. In a Lonely Place is a classic noir, efficiently told and paced, beautifully acted and directed from an eloquent, razor-sharp script.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947, Directed by Roy Del Ruth) English 8

Starring Victor Moore, Charlie Ruggles, Don Defore, Ann Harding, Gale Storm, Edward Brophy, Alan Hale Jr.

Top Holiday Picks: It Happened on 5th Avenue

(8-Exceptional Film)

Wonderful. Charming. Classic.

Aloysius T. McKeever: And I would like to feel that you’re all my friends. For to be without friends is a serious form of poverty.

Wise words from Mr. McKeever (Moore), a wanton leech and scoundrel. He wanders through life, sneaking in and out of mansions while their owners are away on vacation. This Christmas season, he’s staying in the home of Michael J. O’Conner (Ruggles), the second richest man on Earth. Gradually, other people join Mr. McKeever in the house: principled Jim Bullock (Defore), O’Connor’s daughter, Trudy (Storm), who’s fallen for Jim, Mr. O’Connor himself, as a favor to his daughter, and Mary (Harding), O’Connor’s estranged wife. This is a really wonderful movie that takes its zany, promising setup in a number of surprising directions. Victor Moore is called on to be both comedic scoundrel and Christmas angel all at once. He achieves this effortlessly. Though light on actual Christmas content, It Happened on 5th Avenue is still regularly described as a Christmas classic. Really, it’s a comedy for all seasons.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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