Jan Sterling

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Ace In The Hole Review


Extraordinary
Ace in the Hole is simultaneously regarded as a classic noir and considered one of the hardest major films to find on the market. How could a film nominated for a major Oscar be so tricky to obtain? Chalk it up to biting the hand that feeds you.

Billy Wilder made Ace in the Hole as a follow-up to the acclaimed Sunset Boulevard, essentially writing his own ticket in Hollywood. The story he opted to make was a cruel indictment of the American media, one which has only become more accurate and biting over the years. The film opens with reporter Chuck Tatum, a refugee from big city newspapers who's now stuck in a desolate New Mexico town. Desperate to get back on top (and earn enough money to feed his drinking habit), he stumbles upon the perfect story after toiling away for a miserable year in the sticks: A treasure hunter (a looter, if you will) has gotten stuck in a cave-in in some old Indian caves. Guy in a well: That'll sell papers, right?

Continue reading: Ace In The Hole Review

Johnny Belinda Review


Very Good
What'll happen to poor Johnny Belinda, the son of a deaf-mute woman named Belinda (Jane Wyman), who was raped and impregnated by the local hoodlum?

Well, it will involve tears and a lot of courtroom hair-tearing, and given that this is a feel-good movie from 1948, it's all going to come up aces.

Continue reading: Johnny Belinda Review

The High And The Mighty Review


Good
In 1954, zipping off to Hawaii by plane must have been a far different experience than any of us can imagine today. The experience was so terrifying -- at least according to The High and the Mighty, a best-selling book in its era -- that the captain had to come out and talk to each passenger personally to explain that they weren't going to crash and die. And that's just after takeoff, before the plane has any problems!

Newcomers to this story may see John Wayne in a military uniform and an airplane on the cover of this DVD (with a title that evokes the air force) and assume, understandably, that they're going to be watching another military drama. Not so: Wayne's Dan Roman is a commercial pilot, and he's working the Honolulu-San Francisco route years after surviving a crash that killed everyone in his family except himself. (Also in the cockpit is Robert Stack, playing the role he would ape years later in Airplane!)

Continue reading: The High And The Mighty Review

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