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I Walked with a Zombie (1943): Shadow and Psychology

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 21, 2019

The film commences brilliantly as Frances Dee can be heard in voiceover with almost fond recollection, matter-of-factly stating, “I Walked with a Zombie.” The way she expresses it immediately debunks anything we might think from an admittedly exploitative title. Producer Val Lewton does read more

Classic Movie Beginner’s Guide: Alfred Hitchcock

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 19, 2019

This series is meant to help fledgling classic movie fans grab hold of a few titles they should watch. Instead of trying to be comprehensive, I want to try and make the discovery manageable with only 4 films. Let’s begin with one of the most universally beloved directors of all time, “Th read more

4 Living Legends Part 5

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 18, 2019

Here is another entry in our ongoing series of Classic Hollywood Stars who are still with us. Marsha Hunt is one of Classic Hollywood’s amazing centenarians. Before having her career sabotaged by the Hollywood Blacklist in the age of McCarthyism she showed surprising utility in a range of pict read more

The Third Man At 70

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 16, 2019

Oh, how I love The Third Man (or The 3rd Man). Regardless of how you write it, Carol Reed‘s post-war noir is one of those special films that was a case of love at first sight.  I knew some of the reasons already, but watching the film with a friend (on his first viewing) teased them out even read more

Daughter of Shanghai (1937) Starring Anna May Wong and Philip Ahn

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 14, 2019

No, this isn’t an alternate universe. There really was a film from the 1930s starring both Anna May Wong and Phillip Ahn. They’re not just supporting players or bit parts to fill in a few stereotypical roles, either, but actual leads. More amazing still, they both speak English without read more

Classic Movie Beginner’s Guide: Gregory Peck

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 12, 2019

We want to try something a bit different at 4 Star Films. Most of what we put out are film reviews. As the years have gone by, they’ve gotten quite hefty. Frankly, they’re what I get the most joy out of writing. But I thought it would be a welcomed addition to help other nascent film fan read more

The Florida Project (2017): The Antithesis of Hollywood Escapism

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 11, 2019

When we run in different circles it’s easy to have a conveniently jaundiced view of our society. On a personal scale, I’m talking about our neighborhoods, our towns, our community institutions. We turn a blind eye to those things that do not concern us — maybe they’re below read more

Days of Wine and Roses (1962): Alcoholics Anonymous

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 9, 2019

I had always heard Days of Wine and Roses was shown to members of AA. It’s no small coincidence the co-founder Bill Wilson served as a technical advisor. But I never realized how integral it is to the very integrity of the plot. Jack Lemmon had the penchant for playing lovable losers — read more

Two Women (1961): Sophia Loren in Her Mother Tongue

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 7, 2019

Sophia Loren is an extraordinary treasure of the cinema. We know her from numerous Hollywood pictures but there’s something especially gratifying about hearing her in her mother tongue. It’s not that she is necessarily less herself in a picture like Houseboat, speaking English dialogue, read more

Do The Right Thing (1989): The Legacy of MLK & Malcolm X

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 5, 2019

The opening images are charged with the beats of Public Enemy matched by a provocative palette and a vibrant kineticism. One is reminded up a very particular point in time and a particular subculture — rap music is a part of it, certainly — but it’s indicative of so much more. Bec read more

Splendor in the Grass (1961): Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Oct 2, 2019

Like William Inge’s earlier piece, Picnic, or some of Tennessee Williams’ most substantial work, Splendor in the Grass seems to hinge on the fact its content is in some way pushing the envelope as far as social issues and subsequent taboos go. It’s no surprise Elia Kazan was often read more

Wild River (1960): Elia Kazan and Monty Clift at Their Most Subtle

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 30, 2019

“You’re getting awful human aren’t you Chuck?” ~ Lee Remick as Carol “I was always human, wasn’t I?” ~ Montgomery Clift as Chuck With the mention of the Tennessee Valley Authority and what feels like Depression newsreel footage suggesting the work they are read more

A Face in the Crowd (1957): Lonesome Rhodes is No Andy Taylor

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 26, 2019

It begins unobtrusively enough. In a backwater Arkansas jail, a drunkard plays his guitar on a radio segment of “A Face in the Crowd” being broadcast from his cell. They don’t know it quite yet but soon the host who found him, Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal), and Larry “Lone read more

Baby Doll (1956): Elia Kazan Does Southern Comedy

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 24, 2019

Elia Kazan had a fairly lucrative partnership with Tennessee Williams and the same could be said of his ongoing working relationship with Karl Malden. It’s fitting that all three are back for Baby Doll and yet it still manages to feel like a bit of an outlier in Kazan’s oeuvre thus far. read more

A Tree Grows in Brookyln (1945): The Precursor to I Remember Mama

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 22, 2019

The reveries of a Saturday afternoon in childhood are where A Tree Grows in Brooklyn chooses to begin and it proves a fine entry point, giving us an instant feel for the world the Irish neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Its contours are impoverished, even harsh, but also richly American. The read more

Ad Astra (2019): To The Stars and “The Seeing Eye”

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 21, 2019

Since the dawn of man, the vast reaches of the cosmos up above have enamored us to the nth degree. You need only watch something like 2001 to be reminded of that fact. (There’s no doubt James Gray is well-versed in its frames.) Herein lies a core theme throughout our very existence. We have th read more

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019): Tarantino By Way of Model Shop

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 20, 2019

To his credit, Quentin Tarantino will always and forever be a divisive creative force. There is no recourse but to either love or dislike his work. I fall closer to the latter category though I’m not as vehement as some. At the core of this fission are his own proclivities. Tarantino has alwa read more

To Each His Own (1946): Olivia de Havilland Does Melodrama Well

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 18, 2019

Ginger Rogers purportedly passed over the script for To Each His Own because, at first glance, it’s hardly a glamorous role; but for the right person, it could be something unquestionably special. That actor was Olivia de Havilland. Certainly, the production is bolstered by Mitchell Leisen, a read more

Gentleman Jim (1942): Biopic by Marquess of Queensberry Rules

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 16, 2019

Boxing movies and biopics are a mainstay of Hollywood. It’s an established fact so naming names is all but unnecessary. The affable brilliance of Gentleman Jim is its agile footwork allowing it to sidestep a myriad of tropes attached to biopics and the schmaltz that Old Hollywood was always ca read more

The Sea Hawk (1940): Errol Flynn Against The Spanish Armada

4 Star Films Posted by 4 Star Film Fan on Sep 12, 2019

Anyone who knows even a smidgeon about historical dates knows what the big to-do with 1588 is. If anything, 1588 automatically means the sinking of the Spanish Armada by Queen Elizabeth’s forces. So when a film opens in Spain in 1585 we already have a good idea of where we might be going. It& read more
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