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4 Film Noirs for National Classic Movie Day

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on May 16, 2022

I would love to get more well-versed in international film noir, and I already have a handful of films on my watchlist once I can get a hold of them. However, being a lover of classic American noir, I wanted to try to dig a little deeper for some recommendations. Following are four films that I watc read more

Dishonored (1931): Marlena Dietrich, The Sultry Spy

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on May 15, 2022

The premise is established in broad strokes. It’s 1915 and the remnants of the Austrian empire are caught up in war. This can only have meaning if we see some of the chaos in front of us. In this case, a prostitute lies dead in the street — with a host of onlookers crowded around — read more

Angel (1937): A Mature Lubitsch Love Triangle

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on May 13, 2022

For those familiar with Trouble in Paradise, Angel has a  sublime outside-the-window tracking shot in its own right to bring us flush into the world of Parisian soirees. Thusly, we become acquainted with Russian Grand Duchess Anna (Laura Hope Crews), who facilitates meetings between men and women.  read more

One Hour With You (1931): Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on May 11, 2022

Ah, Spring in Paris! The local gendarmerie is intent on cleaning up the parks of couples canoodling. Among them are Andre Bertier (Maurice Chevalier) and his gal pal Colette (Jeanette MacDonald). But it’s perfectly decent. As they sing, later in bed together, “what a little thing like a read more

Broken Lullaby (1931) and The 5th Commandment

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on May 9, 2022

It intrigues me that this fascinating outlier in Ernst Lubitsch oveure, once upon a time was released as The Fifth Commandment. For those keeping count, it’s the one in the Catholic faith that says thou shall not kill or rather thou shall not murder. But already you might see the semantic amb read more

Our Daily Bread (1934) in The Age of FDR

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on May 5, 2022

The title, of course, comes from the Lord’s Prayer evoking images of contrite men and women thankful for the bounties they’re provided on God’s green earth. Director King Vidor took an immediate interest in the project because it was a timely piece in the age of FDR’s public read more

The Story of Temple Drake (1933) with Miriam Hopkins

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on May 3, 2022

The Story of Temple Drake was adapted from a contemporary William Faulkner novel called Sanctuary. It’s putting it lightly to say it was the subject of controversy — even in the Pre-Code film era — but part of what the film version gives us is this instant sense of Southern Gothic read more

The Stranger’s Return (1933): Lionel Barrymore and His Granddaughter

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 28, 2022

Establishing shots often get a bad name for their bland or token quality, but it’s true when done well, they can set the tone and create an instant impression on the audience. King Vidor’s The Stranger’s Return instantly accentuates this rural milieu. It feels like a stable and eq read more

Street Scene (1931): King Vidor and Sylvia Sidney

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 26, 2022

Film at its finest is able to use images to leave an indelible impression on an audience. King Vidor’s Street Scene opens with a telling montage. Kids being sprayed by a hose in a street. A slab of ice being carried off by a worker. A man swatting gnats away from his horse. A dog sprawled out read more

The Front Page (1931): His Boy Friday

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 22, 2022

With The Front Page, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s ode to the Mythical Kingdom, the world of newshounds was translated to the movies by Bartlett Cormack and Charles Lederer. Given their own experience hammering away at copy, they locked in on the newsroom parlance going so far as to base read more

Five Star Final (1931): Edward G. Robinson and Yellow Journalism

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 20, 2022

Five Star Final has its place among a bevy of real-world Journalism movies as perpetuated by Hollywood in the Pre-Code era. Probably equally important is director Mervyn Leroy, who at this point in his career was about to be tackling some of his most pointed material including I Am a Fugitive From read more

Blonde Crazy (1931) with Joan Blondell and James Cagney

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 18, 2022

From the outset, Blonde Crazy promises to be a midwestern hotel chamber piece. It’s a story of the help: including opportunistic bellboys (James Cagney) and plucky chambermaids (Joan Blondell). He does her a service by nabbing her a job, and in such a world, he probably expects some recompens read more

The Wrong Man (1956): Henry Fonda The Most Sympathetic of Victims

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 14, 2022

I never grew up watching reruns of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but there’s kind of a ubiquitous aura about them. The man himself — the entirety of his portly physique — comes out of the shadows into a family’s living room to narrate some ghastly or unseemly crime with a droll read more

I Confess (1953): What Would Hitch Do?

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 12, 2022

Religion doesn’t always play a prominent role in the films of Alfred Hitchock — he could possibly be considered a lapsed Catholic — but I Confess is his most overt exploration of moral and religious convictions. Although one could make the argument that he’s most interested read more

Family Plot (1976): Hitch’s Swan Song

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 7, 2022

You rarely hear mention of Alfred Hitchcock’s last cinematic foray, Family Plot, and you would assume that means a throwaway title — a fall from his illustrious heights. Not so! In fact, it’s rather a shame more folks haven’t turned the movie on because it proves the Master read more

Frenzy (1972): Cleaning Up The Streets

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 6, 2022

There we are gliding across the River Thames making our way toward the regal facade of Tower Bridge. Where’s one apt to find a more picturesque view of London? It’s definitely an auspicious return to his native land for the Master of Suspense. Frenzy is without question a singular Hitch read more

Frenzy (1972): Cleaning Up The Streets

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 5, 2022

There we are gliding across the River Thames making our way toward the regal facade of Tower Bridge. Where’s one apt to find a more picturesque view of London? It’s definitely an auspicious return to his native land for the Master of Suspense. Frenzy is without question a singular Hitch read more

The Passenger (1975): From Dust to Dust

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Mar 31, 2022

Jack Nicholson was awarded the distribution rights of The Passenger soon after the movie came out, and he purportedly kept it out of circulation until the 2000s. From my understanding, it wasn’t for the typical reasons. He wasn’t trying to kill it so no one would catch wind of what a de read more

Five Easy Pieces (1970): Ours Hearts Are Restless

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Mar 29, 2022

The world of blue-collar workers is immediately spelled out through a visual shorthand of hard hats, bulldozers, and oil rigs. At the center of Carole Eastman’s story is Bobby (Jack Nicholson) a young man who works alongside his buddy Elton and lives with his sometime girlfriend Rayette (Kare read more

Easy Rider (1969): An Emblem of The ’60s

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Mar 24, 2022

“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to Easy Rider. It remains a cultural landmark not only of the counterculture of the ’60s, but it also stands tall as one of the Great American Road movies, albeit fr read more
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