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The Train (1)

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 26, 2011

The Train (1965)      Actors today cannot really get away with playing foreign characters and not using the appropriate accent. That was not so in the past when performers were hired for other qualities –perhaps box office draw or other ability to fill the role– besides their vocal skil read more

Dinner at Eight

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 22, 2011

Dinner at Eight (1934)      I did not know going into Dinner at Eight just how depressing it was going to be. The presence of Jean Harlow and Billie Burke in particular among the all-star cast had me expecting a comedy, as it seems dinner-centered movies are apt to be. But the meal in this flick read more

Sex and the Single Girl

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 21, 2011

Sex and the Single Girl (1964)      Both Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis have been actors of only moderate interest to me, but after viewing Sex and the Single Girl, I’m changing my tune. This wonderful joke on married and single life and male and female standards plays both leads to their best read more

Tit for Tat

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 20, 2011

Tit for Tat (1935)      Poor Oliver Hardy. Just when I’ve been lulled into thinking Stan Laurel is the greatest thorn in his side, he opens up shop next to an even greater problem. In the 1935 short Tit for Tat, the men establish an electronics sales store next to a grocery. Looking to be read more

Piccadilly Jim

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 19, 2011

Piccadilly Jim (1936)      I was nearly jumping for joy last week upon discovering the movie Piccadilly Jim because not only does it star love-of-my-life Robert Montgomery but it is based on a P.G. Wodehouse story, an author I greatly admire and one capable of cute romance with an abundance of witt read more

Don’t Bother to Knock

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 16, 2011

     I have very recently changed my tune about Marilyn Monroe after reading a post on Backlots about how she was horribly typecast into all those roles I hate. Although my better understanding of the star does make me more accepting of her work, I still do not expect to pursue her dumb blonde, read more

A Day at the Races

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 15, 2011

A Day at the Races (1937)      Why is it that Marx Brothers movies are crafted in a way that they could nearly be classified as musicals? Although the men themselves offer no notable vocal talents, their movies often had supporting actors who might go off on a song or two. In A Day at the Races, read more

Torch Song

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 13, 2011

Torch Song (1953)      Oh, Torch Song, how can I describe thine flaws; let me count the ways. Your star is dreadful, your plot full or sorry similarities to All About Eve, and your racist musical number far outdated.      One would have thought that Joan Crawford’s return to MGM for a read more

The Blue Angel (Musical Countdown #53)

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 11, 2011

The Blue Angel (1930) The Marlene Dietrich of the German-made Der Blaue Engel is almost unrecognizable as the Dietrich that would reign supreme in Hollywood in the decades to come, and yet it was through this film that the prominent image of later years would begin to take shape. The deep speaking read more

They Made Me a Fugitive

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 9, 2011

They Made Me a Fugitive (1948)      I do not watch enough film noir, but that is not to say I do not love it. I am not sure how I wound up recording the British They Made Me a Fugitive but I am glad I did. I found it a visually striking black and white flick full of truly evil characters and read more

Shanghai Express (1)

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 8, 2011

Shanghai Express (1932) When Joseph Von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich came together to make a movie, it in nearly all cases would place the heroine in an exotic setting. Von Sternberg, who was responsible for bringing Dietrich to Hollywood through the German production The Blue Angel, nearly recre read more


MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Sep 7, 2011

Virtue (1932)      How do you make Carole Lombard look like a prostitute/ex-prostitute? Give her some dark eyeliner. One would not suspect from viewing most of the contents of Virtue that Lombard’s Mae is meant to be a reformed hooker as her style of dress and manner suggest anything but. read more

The Saint Strikes Back

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Aug 29, 2011

     Moviegoers had no lack of detective/murder mystery movie plots to entertain them in the 1930s and 1940s and perhaps the story lines of The Saint movies offered nothing particularly unique, but George Sanders in embodying Simon Templar surely did. The Saint Strikes Back was the first of a handf read more

Romeo and Juliet (1936) (1)

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Aug 27, 2011

Romeo and Juliet (1936) Romeo and Juliet (1936)      I have been avoiding the various incarnations of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” for a number of years based on the conclusion that the story is far too compelling and therefore horribly depressing. My aversion, to put it simpl read more

Above Suspicion

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Aug 24, 2011

Above Suspicion (1943)      At first blush, Above Suspicion seems to be a spy comedy of sorts, given its star of Fred MacMurray and original casting of William Powell and Myrna Loy. As the plot progresses, however, the audience finds itself steeped in the treacherous landscape of Nazi espionage.  read more

The Misfits

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Aug 22, 2011

The Misfits (1961)      I have never been sold on Marilyn Monroe as anything but a ditz with an outrageous body. In the handful of pictures I have seen, she always comes off as ignorant and naive so that I feel no option but to assume this is how she was off-screen. In her last work, however, read more

Picture Snatcher

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Aug 19, 2011

Picture Snatcher (1933)      In an era of tough guy, gangster James Cagney characters, the actor took a reprieve from his criminal work that became a signature for Warner Bros. during the 1930s and played a legitimate working man in Picture Snatcher, at least partially.      Cagney manages to read more

Mr. Arkadin

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Aug 10, 2011

Mr. Arkadin (1955/1962)      Citizen Kane was the only film over which Orson Welles had absolute control. It was his first screen endeavor, but because it caused so much controversy and upset numerous parties, studios refused to give such outright power to the man again. Although Mr. Arkadin feels read more


MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Aug 9, 2011

Saratoga (1937)      I had mentioned when reviewing Jean Harlow’s Platinum Blonde that it was odd to see the sexy, sassy gal playing a high-society dame, but in Saratoga that same sort of part fits a bit more comfortably on the star. She is like usual paired opposite Clark Gable in what would read more

Keeper of the Flame

MacGuffin Movies Posted by RBuccicone on Aug 8, 2011

Keeper of the Flame (1942)      In 1942, audiences going to see a Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn movie surely expected to encounter some on-screen romance, but although Keeper of the Flame denied movie-goers of those light-hearted dramatics, it did pack a wallop otherwise. The movie had traces read more