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Polly Bergen, US Actress Known For 'Cape Fear', Has Died Aged 84

Polly Bergen Chris Colfer Dana Delany Michael McKean Gregory Peck Jerry Lewis Dean Martin Doris Day John Stamos Glee Robert Mitchum

Polly Bergen, the US actress best known for her roles in such classic films as Cape Fear and for her television appearances on The Sopranos and Desperate Housewives, has died at the age of 84.

Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen has died at the age of 84.

Bergen was born in 1930 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her career began in the late 1940s and she became a household name when she starred in The Helen Morgan Story, for which she won an Emmy award in 1958. 

Continue reading: Polly Bergen, US Actress Known For 'Cape Fear', Has Died Aged 84

Dean Martin Expo And Comic Convention

Larry Storch and Marilyn Michaels - Dean Martin Expo and Comic Convention held at the Holiday Inn. - New York, New York, United States - Saturday 28th June 2014

Dean Martin, Larry Storch and Marilyn Michaels
Dean Martin and Elizabeth Shepherd
Dean Martin, Marilyn Michaels and Mark Wilk
Dean Martin and Caroll Spinney
Dean Martin, Larry Storch and Marilyn Michaels
Dean Martin and Deana Martin

Some Came Running Review

You can dress Frank Sinatra up as a mysterious ex-G.I. with a wad of money and a flair with a pen, but that doesn't mean the movie in question will evolve beyond a cut-rate Peyton Place. Some Came Running starts with promise, as Ol' Blue Eyes drifts into town and dredges up all sort of troubling history with his family, but ends up being a kind of tepid love triange involving Frank, a luscious blonde, and Shirley Maclaine. In the end, some do come running in a memorable yet odd finale, but they just don't get there fast enough to elevate the story into the classic some think it is. Based on a James Jones novel.

Robin And The 7 Hoods Review

The legend of Robin Hood gets a curious and not entirely successful updating with Frank Sinatra's Robin and the 7 Hoods, with Sinatra taking the role of a 1930s gangster in Chicago -- at least an alternate-universe version sans Al Capone.

Sinatra plays a low-level gangster named Robbo, and his band of merry men (with usuals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., plus a cryptically cast Bing Crosby) battles the malicious big-time hood Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk, quite funny here). Things aren't going so well until Robbo comes across $50 grand he refuses to accept. He ends up donating the money to charity -- and suddenly, the legend of Robin Hood, who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, is born.

Continue reading: Robin And The 7 Hoods Review

Rio Bravo Review

Dean Martin as "Dude the Drunk," eh? Why not -- it works in Rio Bravo a favorite among Western enthusiasts that nonetheless is far too long, spending too long setting up the story before getting to the powerful finale. Wayne is good, but Dean-o steals the show along with Walter Brennan's crusty jailkeeper, who owns every scene he's in. A definitive piece of Americana by way of Howard Hawks, Rio Bravo is what the late 1950s studio system was all about.

Ocean's Eleven (1960) Review

Implausible yet wholly unforgettable, Ocean's Eleven is as much fun as it is a misogynistic relic of a bygone era. Essentially, the Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford are playing themselves as ex-military playboy buddies who decide to pull off a daring heist on New Year's Eve, robbing five Las Vegas casinos in one fell swoop. As it turns out, the heist itself is kind of a forgettable letdown, as is the aftermath involving an investigation into the matter by Lawford's character's future stepfather (Cesar Romero). Even the setup takes close to an hour, as Billy Ocean (Sinatra) woos his lady and slowly gathers his crew -- all while Martin and Davis provide musical accompaniment. The end result is more than two hours of heist work that would make David Mamet cringe.

So why watch Sinatra and his 10 (not 11) ex-military buddies romp through their kinda town? Ocean's Eleven is the kind of movie you turn on and just hang out to, just like the Rat Pack would have done, as you enjoy a scotch and soda on a Saturday afternoon while Dean Martin croons "Ain't that a kick in the head..." in the background. Then you'd go bowling in an orange sweater to talk about the job. When it's over, you won't feel like you've bettered yourself in any way, but you might feel just an inch of kinship with a bygone era when Vegas was black tie-only and when a woman's place was in a distant, supporting role. (Just kidding, dames.)

Continue reading: Ocean's Eleven (1960) Review

4 For Texas Review

One horrible idea from start to finish -- perhaps the Ishtar of its era. In fact, 4 for Texas has a lot in common with that film -- big stars (Frank and Dino), a desert setting, and a series of failed attempts at comedy. They even brought in The Three Stooges but nothing can help this train wreck, as our two Rat Packers and two of their favorite gals (Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress) spar over the poker table in 1870s Galveston.

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Airport Review

With one grandiose entrance, Airport ushered in a genre of moviemaking that is still going strong -- the disaster movie. Filled with high-profile stars and backed by an enormous budget, Airport takes us through one harrowing night at Chicago's "Lincoln" airport, where a stowaway granny, a pregnant stewardess, a freak blizzard, duelling pilot-administrator brothers, various annoying wives... and one distraught passenger with a homemade bomb combine to create one wild ride. Too bad the "disaster" doesn't happen until 2 hours into the 2:15 movie. No matter -- Airport's unending sequels and spoofs are a testament that this film is a true piece of Americana, for good or for bad.

The Cannonball Run Review

One weekday morning in 1982, several boys in my fourth grade class, including yours truly, suddenly fell ill and needed to go home from school. Teachers feared an epidemic, and they were right. We had The Cannonball Run fever, and the only cure was not missing its debut on pay cable.

The next day in recess, freshly recovered from our afflictions, we traded reviews, and they were unanimous raves. We all thought the movie was hilarious and kick-ass, and for tween-to-teen boys, it really hit on all cylinders - fast cars racing, dick jokes, fast cars jumping, PG-level sex, fast cars exploding, xenophobic humor, and a big fistfight. This movie had it all.

Continue reading: The Cannonball Run Review

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