James Craig

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Kitty Foyle Review


Good
Ginger Rogers stepped out of her tap shoes for this non-singing, non-dancing performance, a wartime drama that must have had America abuzz with hope. Kitty Foyle is about to be married to a poor doctor when an old, wealthy flame returns to her life, offering to whisk her away to South America. What will she do? Leave it to her conscience -- as seen in the mirror -- and lengthy flashbacks to help her along with the decision. Overly melodramatic, the film has aged rather poorly (despite Rogers' Oscar-winning performance) and seems rather un-feminist today. Still, it's an odd and unique testament to 1940s' zeitgeist, a period of hope and despair, both of which are reflected in Ms. Foyle.

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The Devil And Daniel Webster Review


Extraordinary
It's the 1840s, and times are tough for New Hampshire farmer Jabez Stone, just as they are for other New Englanders. He's a hard-working, God-fearing man, but he's prone to cursing ("consarn it" is his favorite), and he doesn't always find time to attend church on Sundays. He has a good wife (named Mary, of course) and a Bible-reading Ma, but when he can't make his mortgage payments, that just doesn't seem like enough. In Washington, a heroic Massachusetts senator named Daniel Webster is introducing legislation that will ease his plight. But in the meantime, what's a working man to do?

In this folklore New England, the devil is a real thing, like a fox that steals hens or a dog that barks at nights, and if you want to make a deal with him, it's not too hard to do. One rainy day Jabez curses in the barn, and a little man named Scratch (Walter Huston) appears out of nowhere with a bargain to make: Jabez will have seven years' worth of prosperity and everything that goes with it, and at the end of the seven years, Scratch will get his soul. Jabez signs the contract, and Scratch kicks at the floor of the barn, where a pile of gold rises up from a loose plank. The devil is in the details though, and anyone who's ever seen a movie knows there's going to be Hell to pay.

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