Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Spiral Staircase, The (1946)

Principal Cast : Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith, Gordon Oliver, Rhonda Fleming, Elsa Lanchester, Sara Allgood, Rhys Williams, James Bell. Synopsis:  In 1906, a shadowy serial killer is targeting women with “afflictions”; one night during a thunderstorm, the mute Helen is terrorised by the killer lurking somewhere inside an enormous mansion. **** Warning: this review may contain spoilers for a 70+ year-old film.  There are probably a million hours worth of dissection and discussion to be had about the construction of Richard Siodmak’s gloriously gothic The Spiral Staircase, but sadly…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Razor’s Edge, The (1946)

Principal Cast : Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb, Herbert Marshall, Lucile Watson, Frank Latimore, Elsa Lanchester, Cecil Humphreys, Fritz Kortner, Eugene Borden. Synopsis:  An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married. **** For a film based on a story by acclaimed 30’s author W Somerset Maugham, of which not a word of the original text was…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Mr Deeds Goes To Town

Principal Cast : Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft, Lionel Stander, Douglass Dumbrille, Raymond Walburn, HB Warner, Ruth Donnelly, Walter Catlett, John Wray, Margaret Seddon, Margaret McWade, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Emma Dunn. Synopsis:  A simple, small town man inherits a massive fortune, making him the target for scammers and publicity-seekers. Overwhelmed by the turn his life has taken, and awoken to another use for his new-found fortune, he makes a momentous decision. ***** Gee-whizz homespun mythmaking and Capra’s continued pursuit of the great American Dream are personified in this classic Gary Cooper…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – It Happened In Hollywood

Principal Cast : Richard Dix, Fay Wray, Victor Kilian, Franklin Pangborn, Charles Arnt, Granville Bates, William B Davidson, Arthur Loft, Edgar Dearing, James Donian, Bill Burrud, Zeffie Tilbury, Harold Goodwin, Charles Brinley, Zeni Vatori, Wade Boteler, Helen Brown. Synopsis:  While hospitalised young Billy meets his silent movie idol Tim Bart, but then the talkies came, destroying Bart’s career. Now Bart must convince his young friend he is still a star. **** Brisk, fluffy Hollywood comedy delivers charm and cheese in equal measure: It Happened In Hollywood is the exact kind of film…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Morocco

Principal Cast : Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou, Ullrich Haupt, Francis McDonald, Eve Southern, Paul Porcase, Emil Chautard, Juliette Compton, Albert Conti. Synopsis:  A cabaret singer and a Legionnaire fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the results of his womanizing and due to the appearance of a rich man who wants her for himself. ***** Nominated for four Academy Awards (including Best Director and Best Actress), Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 romantic drama Morocco made actress Marlene Dietrich a breakout star and household name, and solidified the rising…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Dishonored (1931)

Principal Cast : Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLagen, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Warner Oland, Lew Cody, Barry Norton, Max Barwyn, F Blinn, Allan Cavan, Davison Clark. Synopsis: The Austrian Secret Service sends its most seductive agent to spy on the Russians. ****** Wartime espionage and female sexuality form the basis for this unwieldy and overly complicated pre-code romantic drama starring Hollywood icon Marlene Dietrich, who came this this project off the back of an Oscar nomination a year earlier, in 1930, for the controversial Morocco. The director, Josef von Sternberg, would work with Dietrich…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Bell Boy, The

Principal Cast : Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St John, Alice Lake, Joe Keaton, Charles Dudley. Synopsis:  At the Elk’s Head Hotel bellhops torment the lobby, each other and guests. The elevator is powered by a stubborn horse. A sham robbery turns into a real one. And there is a chase on a runaway trolley. **** Hilarious early short film from Fatty Arbuckle, co-starring long-time associate Buster Keaton, The Bell Boy is a spectacularly funny, inventive piece of artistic comedy. It’s a short film that defines the term “madcap”, filled…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Intolerance

Principal Cast : Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Robert Harron, Fred Turner, Miriam Cooper, Walter Long, Tom Wilson, Vera Lewis, Sam De Grasse, Lloyd Ingraham, Ralph Lewis, Margery Wilson, Eugene Pallette, Spottiswoode Aitken, Ruth Handforth, Allan Sears, Josephine Crowell, WE Lawrence, Constance Talmadge, Elmer Clifton, Alfred Paget, Seena Owen, Tully Marshall, George Siegmann, Carl Stockdale, Howard Gaye, Lillian Langdon, Bessie Love, George Walsh, Mary Alden, Todd Browning, Donald Crisp, Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lockwood, Erich von Stroheim, King Vidor, Francis McDonald. Synopsis: The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Broken Blossoms

Principal Cast : Richard Barthelmess, Lillian Gish, Donald Crisp, Arthur Howard, Edward Peil Sr, George Beranger, Norman Selby. Synopsis: A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London’s seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences. ***** Startling silent film from cinematic pioneer DW Griffith, Broken Blossoms is a thematic and technical powerhouse production and boasts early roles for industry icons Lillian Gish, Donald Crisp and Richard Barthelmess, the latter of whom appears in the lead role of a oriental figure living in downtrodden…

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Film Classic Movie Review 

Movie Review – Harakiri

Principal Cast : Tatsuya Nakadai, Rentaro Mikuni, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsuro Chamba, Masao Mishima, Kei Sato, Yoshio Inaba, Yoshiro Aoki. Synopsis: An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord’s home and requests an honourable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn. ***** Without question, Harakiri is a cinematic masterpiece. I know, it’s a bit weird to give away the rating of a film at the opening of a review, but there will be few film…

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