Coleen Gray

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Nightmare Alley Review


Excellent
As noir goes, Nightmare Alley is long and meandering -- and just about as dark as it gets.

A pet project of Tyrone Power, this film gives us Power in probably his greatest role ever. He starts off as a standard-grade con man, then works his way into the carnival as an aide to the mentalist (Joan Blondell in a solid mid-career role). Power's Stanton woos the "electric girl" (the hauntingly beautiful Coleen Gray), and together they eventually launch a mentalist act of their own, playing in black-tie nightclubs and landing radio spots and more. But when a psychiatrist (Helen Walker, the "bad dame" of the film) tempts him into scamming wealthy tycoons with visions of loved ones from the beyond, Stanton winds up in deep shit. His eventual return to the carnival is one of cinema's most poetic, ironic, and heart-rending moments.

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Red River Review


Very Good
John Wayne stars in one of his most acclaimed films, Red River, opposite a young Montgomery Clift. Wayne is the tormenting rancher, driving his 9,000 head of cattle to Missouri to avoid bankruptcy; Clift is his adopted son, who grows increasingly antagonistic against dad's slave driving. Eventually, the cattle drive approaches a situation of mutiny, pitting father and son against one another.

Filled with beautiful black and white photography, especially for its era, Red River is an atmospheric ride a la Unforgiven, where it's hard to find a white-hat hero and a sense of dread surrounds the proceedings. Unfortunately, the film is hampered by a lame hoedown score, typical of 1940s Westerns, not to mention an atrocious "happy" ending that belies the emotion in the rest of the picture.

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The Killing Review


Excellent
Stellar Kubrick film noir. Underrated crime thriller -- one of his great, early works. Sterling Hayden shines (as he would years later in Dr. Strangelove) as a criminal mastermind who schemes to rob a horse track on race day. Intricately plotted and with nothing left to chance, he almost gets away with it.

Continue reading: The Killing Review

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