Casey Robinson

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Now, Voyager Review


OK
It's saying something that despite having Bette Davis in the leading role, three Oscar nominations, and one win, Now, Voyager is nonetheless best known for a single scene in which Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes and hands one to Davis.

Just don't blink or you'll miss it. This 1948 meditation on spinsterism is a kind of precursor to Good Will Hunting, giving us an antisocial shut-in (Davis) who suddenly blossoms after a quick spin on the therapist's (Claude Rains) couch. Off come the glasses, up goes the hair (way up -- that coif gives me nightmares now!), and away goes our Charlotte on a pleasure cruise. So comfortable with her new self, Charlotte promptly woos a married man (Paul Henreid) on the boat, falling in love with him.

Continue reading: Now, Voyager Review

Dark Victory Review


Weak
You know you're in trouble when such a classically tooled and sculpted weepie as 1939's Dark Victory - one that should require boxes of Kleenex and a couple hours of recuperation - doesn't even begin to wring out a tear until near the final act. What happens when a three-hankie picture just isn't that sad? You get Dark Victory.

The story is the sort of thing that could fuel a whole season or two of one of your better primetime soap operas: Idly wealthy Judith Traherne (Davis) is 23, single, and bereft of any cares besides what trainer to hire for her thoroughbred horses and exactly how many martinis to drink. Having complained of sight problems and headaches, Judith gets browbeaten into seeing Dr. Frederick Steele (George Brent), a renowned brain surgeon about two hours away from chucking his whole practice to go do medical research on his isolated Vermont farm. Steele takes about five minutes to figure out that Judith has a rare and extremely serious condition that needs to be operated on right away. After the operation, Steele tells Judith's friend Ann King (Geraldine Fitzgerald) that Judith will feel fine for a while, but in about ten months, her vision will start to go again and then she'll die, quite suddenly and painlessly. The two then do what any sensible people would: agree to keep the truth from Judith while arranging for her to marry Steele, whom she's fallen in love with.

Continue reading: Dark Victory Review

Captain Blood Review


Good
One of Errol Flynn's first big roles, Captain Blood gives us Flynn at his classic best, as a dashing nobleman turned slave turned pirate turned nobleman -- heck, Blood's got everything!

The story is born from the classic Sabatini novel. In the opening scenes, set in the 17th century, Dr. Blood (Flynn) is pronounced guilty of treason -- for healing an enemy of the king of England. He's shipped off to an island colony as a slave, where the lovely Arabella Bishop (Olivia de Havilland, in her first of many collaborations with Flynn) purchases him. Ultimately he escapes the island, becomes a pirate captain, and turns the tables on everyone by rescuing the kidnapped Bishop and saving his former enemy by routing the French, who are now at war with the Brits.

Continue reading: Captain Blood Review

The Corn is Green Review


Weak
Bette Davis stars as an uptight schoolmarm in 1895 Wales, where she decides to spend her own money to get the boys out of the coalmines and into her classroom. When a surprisingly gifted young man (John Dall, Rope) emerges, Davis urges him to apply for full scholarship at Oxford. Think an illegitimate baby will stop this kid!? No chance!

Continue reading: The Corn is Green Review

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