daviddaphneredding

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Reviews

Onionhead
(1958)

Griffith both serious and funny
In this 1958 Warner Brothers production, Andy Griffith is both nutty and yet very dramatic; this movie indicates that fact very well. While I was watching this as a boy in 1958, I was expecting a comedy, but, unlike the side-splitting comedy "No Time for Sergeants" it was only humorous occasionally. I learned empirically that if anyone was looking for a comedy in this, don't get your hopes up along that line. But again, it was a well-done production of its kind. Tersely, the story is about a 1941 Oklahoma boy named Alvin "Al" Woods in maybe his twenties who becomes upset one night with his girlfriend because of a lack of commitment on her part, which spurns him to go join the Coast Guard where he is assigned to a ship in Boston and ends up being a cook. Because of his naivete he is sometimes taken advantage of by others on the ship, though many of them do end up respecting him. He becomes very serious and firm when, because of a conflict in the kitchen, he takes a very serious stand. Again, his dramatic powers come through when he not only takes his stand, but when he becomes frustrated as well. The 12/07/1941 attack on Pearl Harbor was well-dramatized. The acting was well-done. The very lovely Felicia Farr lends support as Stella Papparonis, a not-so-nice girl who likes to throw herself at men. Walter Matthau is comical as 'Red' Wildoe, the chief cook. Ray Danton must have wanted people to hate him, for here he plays a cold and very dishonest Ensign Dennis Higgins. Erin O'Brien is a sweet and pretty lady as Josephine "Jo" Hill, Woods' first love interest. James Gregory, though smile-less and a bit on the rough side, portrays well Lt. Cmdr. Fox, a man who becomes a very good-hearted and supportive friend of Woods. Claude Akins is nutty as a buddy of Woods. Everything taken into consideration, it is a well-done dramatic feat.

Oklahoma!
(1955)

good western, endearing musical
I saw this movie as a boy in 1957, although it was released in 1955, I own the VHS of it now, so I guess it can be said that it has never gotten away from me for all but slightly over ten years of my life. I do believe it is my favorite Rodgers & Hammerstein movie. And too, Magna Productions and the director Fred Zinnemann should have been proud, and no doubt were.

All the dance numbers were excellently done, thus great talent on the parts of the dancers was very clearly shown. This movie, the first for Shirley Jones (who played Laurey), even at this early stage launched her career. She was very appealing and heart-melting. It was also a signature movie for Gordon MacRae, who played the cowboy Curly. Eddie Albert was in the movie for decorative purposes, playing the Persian peddler Ali Hakam, and he did bring about a lot of laughs. It was also, undeniably, a change of pace for Gloria Graham: basically, she played the parts of very pretty ladies, but in this movie she was worse than ridiculous as Ado Annie Carnes, a ridiculous, naïve, and not-so-bright a girl. She was the love interest of Will Parker, a not-so-bright cowboy; Gene Nelson was adept as both an actor and a dancer. Charlotte Greenwood as the widowed elderly lady Aunt Eller who seemed to keep so many people together was perfect for her role. Rod Steiger was definitely not out of character, as Jud Fry, the mean ranch hand for Laurey, since he practically always played mean men. It was quite agreeably surprising to see Roy Barcroft in a straight role as the Marshal; it was definitely a change-of-pace for this man who so very often played a crook in so many B westerns.

Some of the musical numbers are practically classics, such as "The Surrey with the Fringe on the Top", "O What a Beautiful Morning", and of course the title song "Oklahoma!" (A few years later that became the official state song for the Sooner State.) The dream sequence was one of the best dance numbers I have seen in any movie; Bambi Lynn and James Mitchell were excellent in it.

In this western there was little violence: Curly and Jud Fry did get involved in an altercation toward the end.

This movie is just right for people like me who like westerns and mind-sticking musicals. Truly, it can never be forgotten.

The Wild One
(1953)

there is and isn't much to it.
Except for the fact that Marlon Brando (as Johnny Strabler) wore a black leather jacket and led a motorcycle gang, known as the Black Rebels that took over a small modern-day California town, there's not much to this piece. On the other hand, it does show clearly that there was and is too much hate and defiance toward the law-enforcers, and thus the establishment. Yet in this 1953 Stanley Kramer production from Columbia Pictures, there was little action to speak of: Lee Marvin, who played Chino, the leader of the motorcycle gang the Beetles in this movie, had an altercation with Brando, toward the end one night there was a shop window crashed and Brando was blamed and beaten mercilessly for it, but other than that there was, again, little action to speak of. The motorcycle gang rode into the town and rode around in circles in the small street. Mary Murphy was a good actress in this as a young lady who was concerned about the man who cared about nothing or no one. The calm and expressionless Robert Keith played the town sheriff who, in the movie, was also Mary's father; she referred to him as the town joke and she herself admitted that she was stuck with him. J.C. Flippen played the part of Sheriff Stew Singer, a firm and hard sheriff, a part which he performed well. It was really not among any par excellence movies for Brando, anymore than it was for,again, Kramer, though the story did have a good, sound message to it.

The Young Lions
(1958)

war and romance on both sides
This Twentieth-Century Fox film, based on Irwin Shaw's novel and produced by Edward Dmytryk, depicts the horrors and anxieties felt by soldiers and their mates during WWII. Marlon Brando, as the German lieutenant Christian Dietsl is definitely a lion, passionate about Hitler and what he believed that he Hitler could do for Germany, though he did not like to kill innocent civilians. The outstanding Montgomery Clift as the Jew Noah Ackerman was also willing to fight, not only the enemy but also the fellow soldiers who began to hate him. Dean Martin as Whitacre seemed to change his character as he transitioned from a night club entertainer to a more firm soldier himself. Who wouldn't have felt for Hope Lange, (who acted as Hope Plowman) the lady who became Ackerman's wife? Again, griefs and anxieties were felt by people both in Germany and in the US. The war scenes were realistic, and the scene depicting anemic captives in a German concentration camp was realistic and very graphic. The next-to-last scene in the movie was exciting and good, (depending on who you were for), and the very last scene was warm and endearing. Because of the war scenes, scenes depicting passionate feeling on the parts of the main characters, and occasional romantic scenes, the movie was another three-hour drama which captured and maintained viewers' attention well.

Live and Let Die
(1973)

weird, unethically unethnical, but good
This is one of three James Bond films I personally own, and I do like it, mainly because of the excitement and the tense story. This is the first Bond movie for Roger Moore, who plays Agent 007. Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman really do a fine job, so this is not an anomaly at all. M, still played by Bernard Lee, is his same unsmiling, not-so-friendly self. and Miss Moneypenny (played by Lois Maxwell) still vies for Bond's affection futilely; she does help him out of a close call is his apartment one night, but still, again, doesn't earn his affection. Yaphat Kotto is mean as mean can be as he plays, for all practical purposes, two roles, as the drug pin from Harlem named Mr. Big, and as Kananga, the man who controls the fictitious island of San Monique in the Caribbean. Julius Harris, who plays Tee Hee, the heavy with the mechanical arm, has not one good bone in him. In this movie which places emphasis on voodoo, Jane Seymour, (in this her first movie) plays the lady named Solitaire, and for her and Kananga it's "all in the cards," the tarot cards. The voodoo aspect of it is what renders it weird. Geoffrey Holder is his same bass-voiced self, and renders the movie comical. Brenda Arnau is an appealing addition who sings the title song at a nightclub in New Orleans. So, the weird movie does have positive aspects. The plot pattern is standard: here, three CIA agents are killed-one "technologically" at the UN Building in New York, one in front of a bar in New Orleans where a bogus funeral is held and the agent is fatally knifed by a black man, and then another agent is killed on the island San Monique by a python(?) while that agent is tied to two poles. So now, 007 must find out who the killer is, "and so the fun begins." Definitely, the blacks are not put in a good light, which is what happens when Blaxploitation is emphasized. But it is exciting, has a talented cast, and there's never a dull moment virtually. An exciting movie about Bond, James Bond.

Roman Holiday
(1953)

a lot of comedy, a lot of love, a lot of warmth
This 1853 movie, filmed on location in Rome, was Audrey Hepburn's first, and she did so very well for a lady in her early twenties, especially when you consider the fact that she was paired with the veteran actor Gregory Peck, and Eddie Albert.It starts off with a fictitious country's young princess (Hepburn)resting in a palace in Rome after a tour of Europe, and in Rome she is very frustrated one night and has a temperamental fit, and thus is given a shot of very strong medicine, so much so that she appears to be inebriated, and just as well be. After sneaking out of the palace she hops a small paddy wagon and rides down a street in Rome, stops in front of a building where she sits on a bench when the American newspaper reporter Tom Bradley (played by Peck)sees her on the bench and later takes her to his apartment. (To indicate how ancient the movie is, nothing lewd takes place there.) He is late for work the next day, but quite by accident in his boss' office he sees a picture of the princess on the cover of a Rome newspaper. He then bets his boss that he will do a story on that "dame", and he in his own mind knows he will win. Naturally, the princess' entourage, a cold group, has no idea where she is, and is worried about her and the fact that she will hold a press conference the next day. In the meantime the princess does not know that Bradley is a newspaper reporter, nor does she know that at the same time he knows that she is the princess. He is, again, going to do a story on her, replete with pictures taken by his friend Irvin Radovich(Albert)who owns his own photo service. Bradley later tells her to take the whole day off and have a holiday, and so they do and it's filled with much fun; the fun ends at a pier where there is a big shindig where, in turn, she tells him that he has been so kind to her and so unselfish. At this point, though there is a fight at the pier which is comical in its own right, the story becomes serious and romantic.

Though it is very amusing in so many places, it is, again, also serious in places as well. Whether or not the ending is amusing or serious is something the viewer(s)will have to personally decide.

Though the movie is filmed in B&W, the sights around the Eternal City-such as the Victor Emannuel Memorial, the Spanish Steps, the Fountain of Trevi, the Wall of Truth, and the Roman Forum-are still very captivating. And William Wyler does manifest the fact that he is a prolific producer. It is another movie I have watched so very many times, yet do not get jaded despite that.

Vertigo
(1958)

an excellent weaving by Hitchcock
This is one of my favorite Hitchcock films, the other two being North by Northwest and the comical The Trouble with Harry. The setting of San Francisco was, in my personal opinion, a big drawing card. To be sure, Hitchcock knew well how to weave together suspense, romance, and mystery. James Stewart and Kim Novak clicked well together in this masterpiece by the master of suspense. And, Kim Novak was quite talented at playing two roles in this movie. Stewart was also adept at playing two types of people, a kind, good natured man, but also a hostile, temperamental man in places. You wanted to hate Tom Elmore. It was structured so very well also; it was almost like two dramas in one. Bernard Herrmann, an excellent musician, definitely and effectively provided the needed eeriness for the film. And, the color was beautiful. Because of the eeriness of the film, the excellent acting, the, again, very beautiful setting of San Francisco, as well as the suspenseful story, again, this ranks among one of my favorite all-time movies.

The Vikings
(1958)

Norway never looked so beautiful nor as exciting.
This United Artists movie, directed by Richard Fleischer, has breathtaking beauty since it was produced around the fjords and mountains of Norway; in fact, the fjords were very refreshing-looking. It is, essentially, a "Scandanavian western" with a lot of exciting action all the way through. The movie depicted so well the bitterness and bitter fighting between England and Norway during the Middle Ages. The cast was well-picked. Kirk Douglas was a mean Viking barbarian named Einar, and the blond-haired, blue-eyed prided himself on being so handsome. Ernest Borgnine was a mean man himself named Ragnar, the father of Einar. (In real life,their ages were very close to each other.) Tony Curtis, who was adept at playing either dramatic roles or comedic roles, did a serious turn as Eric, a slave, mistreated but very brave. Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis' wife, was very beautiful as Morgana. The excitement of the movie maintained almost perfectly my attention and thus alleviated any boredom. The love scene in which Einar spoke to Morgana (which was Curtis speaking to his wife) was touching. For many reasons it should be considered a superb classic, since it was that to be sure.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
(1947)

romantic comedy or comical romance?
This 1947 movie from 20th Century Fox, directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz, is certainly a heart-warming movie. In some ways it is comical, thanks to Rex Harrison's irascibility; he, in this movie once a sea captain, is the ghost of the house into which Lucy Muir (played so well by the very beautiful and appealing Gene Tierney) moves with her little daughter (performed by the precious Natalie Wood at about age nine.) Yes, you had to laugh at Harrison when he does become so unbearable toward Gene Tierney. But also, you had to feel for him when he does feel rejected by Mrs. Muir in the movie. For that reason it is difficult to say whether it should be placed under the rubric of comedy or romance. Definitely, I could feel no sympathy for the character George Sanders portrayed, a man who was disgusting and two-faced. Bernard Herrmann's music, beautiful but haunting, contributed well to the eeriness sometimes found in this production. The turn-of-the-century London was depicted fairly well. Truly, Tierney and Harrison clicked so well, and for that and other reasons it is a movie with magnetic appeal.

3:10 to Yuma
(1957)

very exciting and tense
This movie, filmed on the Old Tucson movie site, is definitely like High Noon. The outlaw in this piece, played well by Glenn Ford, is as mean as mean can be. Van Heflin, who must get him on the train, is a big, dauntless man who is determined to do his job. Felicia Farr here, as always, is able to catch a man's eye, the beautiful lady she is. Yes, is so much like the classic "High Noon", and the viewer is wondering if Heflin will be successful in his job. It would have looked better in color, as was the 2007 version of the movie, but I still enjoyed watching it. You can't get jaded by this western, despite the slow pace of it, and I have always liked it. Very exciting in its own way.

3:10 to Yuma
(2007)

crowe and bale superb
In this 2007 Lionsgate production, directed by James Mangold, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale showed forth excellent acting abilities in this tense "High Noon"-type western. Russell Crowe plays the outlaw Ben Wade, a man so heartless that he does not care if even one of his own gang members is killed in front of him. Christian Bale plays the poor, mistreated farmer Dan Evans who must go after Wade and put him on the train the 3:10 to Yuma, since he needs the money so very much. Gretchen Mol is very appealing as she plays Dan Evans' wife. Ben Foster plays the mean, ugly cohort of Wade, and is was hard not to hate him. Although Dan Evans is a Christian man, he doesn't think twice about asking for the money that's coming to him, nor does he think twice about being brutal toward Wade. While, in the movie, it is a long distance to where Evans must put Wade on the train, the movie is not a bit boring, but is tense and exciting. Again, both Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are very convincing. The action is exciting all the way, and the color is beautiful in its own way. In these days when many westerns are hard to find and/or see, this one is excellent as westerns go. A well-done production.

Gentleman's Agreement
(1947)

A much-needed hit at bigotry which was very effective
In this outstanding production from 20th Century Fox, prejudice is blatantly exposed, and the matter of apathy toward it is clearly shown as well-i.e., hardly anyone takes a strong stand. Gregory Peck is quite a fine actor is this piece as a widowed reporter who pretends to be a Jew to learn empirically the anti-Semitism attitudes which prevail in New York. (The setting is a moot point, since this attitude has world-wide application.) In the story the reporter becomes very passionate about the attitude of bigotry, so much so that he even becomes bitter toward the lady with whom he falls in love. Dorothy McGuire is such a sweet lady in this dramatic production that you would be unable to see how the reporter could be so terribly hostile toward her. John Garfield,(who himself plays the role of a Jew in this movie) Jane Wyatt, and Celeste Holm lend great support. Anne Revere adopts well the role of Peck's sympathetic and supportive mother. Dean Stockwell, here is his pre-teen years, plays well the role of Peck's son. Again, the matter of prejudice is blatantly exposed in this film, and because of the story and the professional acting, it is no wonder that this movie won the Best Picture Award for 1947.

Middle of the Night
(1959)

a warm, inspiring, and encouraging story
Though this movie is comical in places, it does deal with what some people think is a bit strange. Fredric March delivers a good performance as a widower who falls in love with one of his female employees who is divorced and, what some consider the strange part of the story, a woman much too young for the older man; she is more than thirty years his junior.(The beautiful Kim Novak delivers a good performance as the love interest of March.)The acting on the parts of all the actors is well-done as well. Both Novak and March become emotional when they feel uncomfortable in places, thanks to some of the extended family members' attitudes. New York would look better if it were not in B&W, but the movie is not always colorful as well. More than anything else, I like the way the story deals with the matter of whether a man should be conducting an affair with, again, a woman many years younger than he. I do like this Columbia Pictures piece, mainly because of the story line.

Cowboy
(1958)

exciting yet mostly a "non-shoot-'em-up".
There wasn't the good-guy-bad-guy conflict in this outstanding Columbia Movies western, but it was one of those movies which held my attention and interest well. Glenn Ford, (who portrayed the real-life cowboy Tom Reese) though slightly built, was the same tough guy he always was in any movie in which he acted. Jack Lemmon (who played the real-life cowboy Frank Harris) actually played two distinct roles; he was a dude in a Chicago hotel, but later a different type person as a cowboy on the range, though in the latter role it was a challenge for him to assimilate himself to the totally different life style to which he had been accustomed. Anne Kashfi, who played a young lady from Mexico, was someone who made it hard to keep your eyes off of her. (Can Jack Lemmon be blamed for strongly wanting to marry her?)Bryan Donlevy, an experienced actor who played tough guys and cowboys, was right for the role he played as a retired sheriff who wanted to go on the round-up. Dick York was accomplished as a young, almost-mean, tough cowboy. And though his role was minor, Buzz Henry, who had played in westerns in his pre-teenage years, was also a good actor in this movie. Again, there was little conflict: there was, along this line, only a brief Indian attack. More than anything else there was character study. While not allowed to include any spoilers, there was a change in each of the major character, but the viewer will have to decide whether it was for better or worse. Because of all the major elements already mentioned, I have added this movie to my repertoire.

Boeing, Boeing
(1965)

too silly to laugh at, yet totally unavoidable
In this 1965 Paramount Pictures comedy, Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis are nutty and, for all practical purposes, perpetual kids. The setting is Paris where Bernard Lewis (played by Curtis) is definitely a philanderer who never wants to marry but have only fiancees, and he has three who are all airline stewardesses; there is the beautiful actress Christiane Schmitdner who plays a stewardess for Lufthansa, Davy Saval plays a stewardess for Air France, and Suzanna Leigh plays a stewardess for British Airways. Robert Reed, played by Lewis, is a newspaper man assigned to Paris where he stays with his friend of many years Bernard. During his time there, against his wishes Bernard's fiancees end up arriving at his apartment at the same time due to sudden changes in flight schedules, but one doesn't know the others are there. It does become silly and comical when the two men are hiding each girl in a separate bedroom, sometimes moving them around fast, and coming up with weak last-minute excuses as to why each one of them cannot stay where she has been resting. Thelma Ritter is quite comical as the maid who gets caught in the middle of the entire zany situation. The Paris sights are beautiful and, again, despite the bizarre story line, it is hard not to laugh at the nutty piece

Cinderella
(2015)

extremely heart-warming
This Disney movie, based on Charles Perrault's 1600's "Cinderella" story has magnetic appeal; yes, it is one of the most heart-warming movies I have ever seen. And while it is "fun for the whole family"(which is good) this movie is not necessarily "Kids' stuff". It is a wonderful love story for people of all ages. The young, very pretty Lily James portrayed well the young mistreated girl who was, in her own way, very sweet and very strong, when circumstances would have discouraged her along those lines. Definitely too, though calmly so, Cinderella was very brave. You wanted to choke Cate Blanchett who was Lady Tremaine the mean, horrible, and horrible-looking stepmother; she was convincing. As for Helena Bonham Carter, though she was a pretty and sweet fairy godmother, she was also a nut.(!) Robert Madden not only had the looks of a young prince, but also acted well in this cinematic piece that part. The countryside is beautiful, the music is warm and endearing, so for all those reasons it ought to be acclaimed as an outstanding production.

The Sound of Music Live!
(2013)

very, very heart-warming
After I saw twice the live version of this outstanding Rodgers and Hammerstein musical classic, based on the true story of the Von Trapp family of Austria about 1938, which became a singing family, I felt impelled to order the DVD of it, and did. Carrie Underwood, who has always screamed out singing "Are you ready for some football?!" was as adorable as adorable can be as Maria. Carrie Underwood in this showed that she is a versatile actress. Audra McDonald, who has always been so sweet in any production in which she has acted, was so excellent as the Reverend Mother, so very caring; and it goes without saying that she has a strong, beautiful, singing voice. Steve Moyer, as Captain Gaylord Von Trapp, did so well in virtually two roles, that of a firm, staunch retired widowed navy captain and then someone who, thanks to Maria, became a bit mellowed and loving. The children were adorable as well. The artificial snow-capped mountains in the background were very beautiful and picturesque. Again, Carrie Underwood was wonderful as the lady who was a source of comfort and strength to the proud Austrian Von Trapp, which he needed during the time of the late 1930's when Hitler was coming to power and Austria was threatened by the Gestapo. It has all the basic elements I want in a drama-beautiful color, excellent acting, and a warm story. This musical is tops.

Bells of Rosarita
(1945)

a good vehicle to join some of the top cowboys together
This Republic Pictures production has been a favorite of mine since I've seen it on a DVD for the less few years. Not only did I like seeing Roy Rogers and the appealing Dale Evans together, but I did like seeing Gabby Hayes, who was likable and garrulous as always. Too, it was good seeing Bob Livingston, Don "Red" Barry, Sunset Carson, and two of my favorites-Allan Lane and Bill Elliott. What brought about a lot of joy as well was hearing Bob Nolan and the Sons of The Pioneers. Roy Barcroft must have been born as mean as mean could be, since he played very aptly a scheming crook, as he did in many westerns. It was comical in places, even though it was not actually a comedy, per se.(Naturally, Gabby Hayes contributed to that comic relief.) I did like the excitement in it as well. The story is simple: Sue Farnum (played by Evans) comes from the East to Hollywood after she learns that her late father's circus, and the orphanage he had once had built, might go under because a necessary document cannot be found. Will a show with, again, some of the top cowboys in Hollywood save the circus? That is basically the storyline. Again, it's very exciting and entertaining, and one of my favorite B-rated westerns. Yes, it made for a wonderful cowboy reunion.

You Only Live Twice
(1967)

Was Japan ever as exciting?
Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli did, I personally feel, outdo themselves in this, in my personal opinion, their best James Bond (007) cinematic extravaganza ever. The opening had all the standard characteristics of a James Bond film: Miss Moneypenny (played very well by Lois Maxwell in her very brief cameo appearances) futilely flirts with him, M played by Bernard Lee briefs him on his next assignment, and this is after he is "killed" in Hong Kong, then committed to the sea at his burial service.(One night several years ago my wife and I were watching this movie by means of the video tape, and after watching the scene of Bond being committed to the sea, I told her that the rest of the movie was a flashback about his career, but she did not believe me.) The color was beautiful, particularly in one of the early scenes where in a busy section of Tokyo the neon lights were causing to shine brightly some letters of the Japanese alphabet. The storyline too is basic and standard: in this particular case, American space ships are being captured/swallowed up by Japanese space ships, but no one believes this, but do believe that the Russians are responsible for the swallow-up, and therefore, a full-scale war twixt Russia and the U S is eminent while, concurrently, Japan will be a world power, conquering space for military purposes. The mean Blofeld is played so well by Donald Pleasence, and to say he is ugly is, in his isolated case, bordering on a compliment. As always, time is of the essence. Will the possible full-scale war be avoided? I'll let the reader(s)/ viewer(s) discover this. Again, the color is beautiful, the main star Sean Connery performs excellently, as do all the other main actors in the movie. This United Artists movie, filmed at Pinewood Studios in London and on location in Japan, is worth the time and money.

The Guns of Fort Petticoat
(1957)

comical, yet good, serious story
When I first saw the movie title as a boy, I thought it might be something almost ridiculous, but now that I've seen it my thoughts have been somewhat amended. The storyline is brief: during the Civil War an army officer (played well by the veteran western actor Audie Murphy) leads a group of women from Texas against hostile, attacking Indians who want to destroy the old fort where the women are found. Again, I was ready to laugh when I saw the title, but I do not think that in real life I would have wanted to tangle with any of these women who, led by Murphy, became practically sharpshooters. They held off Indians and outlaws well. This cinematic piece was exciting and the action good, which is shown through the fact that the women were very emotional. In one point the matter of killing is addressed, so in one place the movie is controversial. Because of the beautiful scenery, exciting western action, and good story, this has become a favorite western of mine.

Jersey Boys
(2014)

wonderful music, excellent acting, not-so-endearing a story
Having been one of those baby-boomers who was in high school and college during the 60's, the songs of the Four Seasons which I always liked very much, were revived for me. (This, of course was true with the Broadway production which I saw three days after Christmas of 2013.) There was outstanding acting in each form of entertainment. You could not prevent yourself from hating Tommy DeVito who ran the group and who himself said that he didn't believe in democracy. It was definitely a stigma also that the group had Mafia connections, but the actors who portrayed the mob members acted their parts to a tea. In the movie and play all viewers, I dare say, were reminded of the fact that "nobody knows what goes on behind the scenes." It brought out not only, again, the Mafia connections, but also the familial difficulties of the group, and some of the domestic problems of some of the individuals. And yet, despite the rather unhappy story, it was a great production. It did have a rather touching ending. It was a great work for Warner Brothers, and a stellar accomplishment for producer Clint Eastwood.

Shock
(1946)

tension mesmerizing and acting convincing
This 1946 movie from 20th Century Fox was one of those suspense thrillers which continued to keep you wondering until almost to the very last second what would the ending be. Was the crime going to be another "perfect crime"? Truthfully, I did begin to wonder. I was "locked" to the screen while watching it. Vincent Price, with his tall, imposing physique and his deep, cold voice performed excellently the part of the cold doctor. And who could feel sympathy for the cold, evil, sinister nurse played to perfection by Lynn Bari? Though Isabel Shaw virtually never acted, even if the story was partly centered around her, I felt for her all the way. Frank Latimore, though his role too was minor, did a fair acting job as the soldier husband. It was a well-produced movie and was definitely a noir classic.

Summer of '42
(1971)

beautiful scenery, affecting nostalgia, so-so story
In this 1971 Warner Brothers movie, set against the Nantucket Island backdrop of WWII, the nostalgia was great, strongly taking people back to the era of the early 40's. Nantucket was very appealing in this story, the coastal waters being very refreshing as well. As for the acting, Jennifer O'Neill portrayed so well the part of the lady with whom the young teenage boy became so taken. (Gary Grimes acted so well the part of the immature boy taken with her so strongly.) Jerry Houser was definitely an immature boy. But the storyline is not original. In their adolescent years, only a small number of boys do not find themselves fantasizing about some female they come upon and, as in this case, sometimes the women are too "old" for them; Grimes was a high school boy and O'Neill was somewhere in her middle 20's. In short, an adolescent boy meets an attractive older woman, he becomes strongly infatuated with her, and neither knows nor cares how the situation will resolve itself. The ending did and did not surprise me. To recapitulate, I was impressed with the nostalgia, the color and scenery were drawing, but the storyline was mediocre.

Knights of the Round Table
(1953)

Camelot comes to life with a well-chosen cast
In this story about King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and the Lady Guenevere, the acting is superb and the English countryside is beautiful. Mel Ferrer shows forth great dramatic ability as the calm-yet-firm King Arthur, Robert Taylor (in one of finest roles, I feel) is the consummate actor as the arrogant Sir Lancelot, and Ava Gardner as the very beautiful Lady Guenevere would make anyone want to fight over and for her. Stanley Baker truly wants anyone want to kill the mean and heartless Mordred. And too, Miklos Rozsa provided a very fitting and well-done music score. You never tire from watching the movie, thanks to the romance, sword-fighting, and even the aesthetics of it; it is exciting from beginning to end. The movie is unique in another sense: it is the first Cinemascope movie of MGM. Because of the acting, excitement, intrigue, and aesthetics, this movie is a favorite of mine.

Noah
(2014)

disappointing and in bad taste
I usually like stories that "bring to life" the Bible, such as "The Ten Commandments" and "The Passion of the Christ", but I cannot honestly say I liked this movie. Were there the Transformer-like Guardians in Noah's day? I never found that in my Bible. To state in another way, it was about as Biblical as "Transformers" itself. To deviate from the Scripture as far as they did was, to say the least, in terribly bad taste. I was anxious to see it, but now that I have, to some extent I wish I hadn't. In all fairness, however, I will have to say that the flood was authentic enough, the ark was authentic, the adept Russell Crowe was good in the title role, Jennifer Connolly was good as his wife (just as they were in "A Beautiful Mind"), but there was no place, nor justification for, the science fiction elements in this movie. I could not recommend this movie, nor its director Darren Aronofsky, since it was a terrible misrepresentation of the Biblical account. Disgusting!

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