Barbara Bel Geddes

Barbara Bel Geddes

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Dallas: The Complete First Four Seasons Review


Weak
If you really have the time and inclination to go back and watch 77 episodes of Dallas, well God love ya, but is there really nothing better you could be doing with your time? True, in J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman created one of television's most durable and memorable bad guys, always keeping that sinister smile on his face as stuffed himself into his three-piece suit, donned his Stetson, and headed off for another lunch of drinks and scheming at the Oil Baron's Club. TV will probably never come up with another character who people loved to hate with such ardor.

And true, in Dallas's early seasons J.R. is in full flower, doing enough shady dealing and backstabbing to keep his large family in a constant case of chaos and to keep the entire oil industry unstable. His lovely wife, the former beauty queen Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), deals with him by drinking and by matching his affairs tit for tat.

Continue reading: Dallas: The Complete First Four Seasons Review

The Five Pennies Review


Good
Louis Armstrong's appearance here -- as himself -- is The Five Pennies' real draw, though Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes, and the rest of the cast turn in admirable performances in this biopic of relatively obscure jazz trumpeter Loring "Red" Nichols. Nichols has quite the turbulent life story -- starting his own popular jazz combo (the titular Five Pennies) after pissing off every band leader in New York, only to have it all crash down on him when his daughter develops polio. During WWII he works as a shipyard laborer before bouncing back again for a bittersweet finale. While Kaye is perfectly fine in the lead, the story of Nichols just isn't on par with the life of some of music's greats. The combination of career self-destruction and simple bad luck are just a little too spurious to make for a classic movie.

Panic In The Streets Review


Excellent
In swampy New Orleans, a harried government health officer (Richard Widmark) tracks down two thieves (the inimitable Jack Palance and Zero Mostel) who are carrying a form of bubonic plague. A series of encounters lead our hero closer to the duo while facing increasing resistance from every side -- as no one wants the titular panic in the streets. Noir has been grittier (Mostel lends an inevitable humor to everything he touches), but this comparably early Elia Kazan movie indicates just how prodigious his talents behind the camera could be.

Vertigo Review


Essential
Awesome and brilliant, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo was recently restored, and its power is immense. Jimmy Stewart never did finer work, and Hitchcock's masterpiece, though its meaning may be lost on many, reveals a man at his most obsessed -- an apt metaphor for Hitch himself. The restored Vertigo features vibrant colors and a crystal clear soundtrack, but it's the tale of Stewart's heights-fearing detective who gets caught up with the woman he's investigating that makes Vertigo such a treat. Old San Francisco has never looked more devious, and Hitchcock has never been better.

Continue reading: Vertigo Review

I Remember Mama Review


Excellent
A sentimental but well-intentioned portrait of an immigrant family, I Remember Mama is an oddity for Hollywood -- very slow, almost entirely lacking in dramatic punch, but surprisingly realistic. Martha Hanson (Irene Dunne) is the center of a Norwegian-American family in early 20th century San Francisco. (The row houses are still standing, but no one who lives in them has to count pennies.) The story is narrated by a daughter (Barbara Bel Geddes) who worshipfully portrays her mother through her own somewhat selfish lens, but allows us to see her mother as she is: uneducated, strong, simple, forthright, and content. Like so many immigrants, Mama unsentimentally embraces her new country and raises her children as acculturated Americans, without changing herself.

The role was a stretch for Irene Dunne, usually a comedienne who teamed with Cary Grant, among others, in screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s (The Awful Truth, etc.). Unfortunately, the film signaled her retirement rather than a new beginning.

Continue reading: I Remember Mama Review

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Barbara Bel Geddes Movies

Dallas: The Complete First Four Seasons Movie Review

Dallas: The Complete First Four Seasons Movie Review

If you really have the time and inclination to go back and watch 77 episodes...

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