Jerry Wald

Jerry Wald

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An Affair To Remember Review


OK
The good thing about being an international playboy who looks and sounds like Cary Grant (well, one of the good things) is that there isn't much you have to do to pay for your fabulous jet-set lifestyle, except marry the occasional filthy-rich heiress (who's hardly bad-looking herself, so that doesn't hurt). So we shouldn't feel too bad for scandal-sheet regular Nickie Ferrante (Grant) when we're introduced to him at the start of the glossy, late-studio-period romance An Affair to Remember, at which point he's leaving behind his French lover, and presumably many years of others like her, in the interest of future security. Nickie's on an ocean liner steaming back to the U.S. to marry the heiress whose financial largesse will keep him in tuxedos and pink champagne for a good many years to come, when he runs into the woman he's fated to fall in love with, Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr), also no slouch in the looks department. But even after the fateful meet cute -- a nicely-framed bit with a cigarette case and some snappy quips -- and all the emotional and moral confusion it causes, there's little reason to feel bad for the guy.

Whether or not one should feel concern for Nickie's state of mind is important here, because director and co-writer Leo McCarey seems to have much more on his mind here than a simple romantic soufflé. The first half of the film takes place almost entirely on the ocean liner, and it's here that the film is at its best. Although both Nickie and Terry have significant others waiting for them on the pier in New York, they can't stop from engaging in some sharp romantic badinage, setting the tongues wagging among their entertainment-starved shipmates. The first sign that the film is moving into different territory, though, is when Nickie goes ashore in France to visit his grandmother and brings Terry along. It's a lengthy and overplayed sequence at a sleepy villa in which Terry, who had previously felt impervious to Nickie's attempts at pitching woo, gets a window into his soul via the grandmother and so falls for him. McCarey also introduces an overtly religious theme here (having Terry and Nickie pray briefly in the chapel) that will come back later in an even more heavy-handed fashion.

Continue reading: An Affair To Remember Review

Dark Passage Review


Very Good
A minor classic in the noir genre, Dark Passage is nonetheless too simplistic and too unbelievable to make much of an impression. Bogart is typically great as a falsely-accused prison escapee searching for his wife's real killer, while Bacall is also good as the woman who inexplicably helps him out. The gimmick? Bogie gets plastic surgery to become Bogie -- and he doesn't appear on camera for nearly an hour until the bandages are off. Also of note: Stephen King appears to have borrowed large chunks of Dark Passage for his novella The Shawshank Redemption.

The Man Who Came To Dinner Review


OK
The Man Who Came to Dinner has traveled a long way: from stage (1939) to screen (1942) and then down through the decades to DVD, where we find it today. While this classic of erudite yet zany comedy still sparkles at times, the long trip has dulled some of its shine. What may have cracked people up way back then (references to ZaSu Pitts, calf's foot jelly, Katherine Cornell, long-distance operators, and Noel Coward) will leave today's audiences scratching their heads. Best to wait for the slapstick moments while imbibing on martinis.

George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart were master comic playwrights, and like You Can't Take It With You, The Man Who Came to Dinner is basically a drawing-room farce that spins more and more out of control as 20 or so main characters bounce off each other, hurl insults ("You flea-bitten Cleopatra!") and make wisecracks. At the center of the action is crusty old Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley), a curmudgeonly New York critic (based on Alexander Woollcott, who starred in the show on Broadway) who breaks his leg while on tour in a provincial Ohio town. Taking up residence with the well-to-do and very flustered Mr. and Mrs. Stanley (Grant Mitchell and Billie Burke), he quickly makes their house his own, commandeering their telephone and their butler while his secretary Maggie (a blousy Bette Davis) and his nurse (Mary Wickes) scurry around catering to his every obnoxious whim.

Continue reading: The Man Who Came To Dinner Review

Key Largo Review


Very Good
Bogart is always a pleasure to watch, and Key Largo is no exception, despite its rather overly dramatic -- yet simplistic -- plot structure involving a gangster (Robinson) who takes over a Florida hotel during a deadly hurricane. It ultimately pales next to other Bogart and Bacall work, though it's still a reasonably good watch that has stood up well over the last 50 years.

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 Man Who Came To Dinner Review


OK
The Man Who Came to Dinner has traveled a long way: from stage (1939) to screen (1942) and then down through the decades to DVD, where we find it today. While this classic of erudite yet zany comedy still sparkles at times, the long trip has dulled some of its shine. What may have cracked people up way back then (references to ZaSu Pitts, calf's foot jelly, Katherine Cornell, long-distance operators, and Noel Coward) will leave today's audiences scratching their heads. Best to wait for the slapstick moments while imbibing on martinis.

George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart were master comic playwrights, and like You Can't Take It With You, The Man Who Came to Dinner is basically a drawing-room farce that spins more and more out of control as 20 or so main characters bounce off each other, hurl insults ("You flea-bitten Cleopatra!") and make wisecracks. At the center of the action is crusty old Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley), a curmudgeonly New York critic (based on Alexander Woollcott, who starred in the show on Broadway) who breaks his leg while on tour in a provincial Ohio town. Taking up residence with the well-to-do and very flustered Mr. and Mrs. Stanley (Grant Mitchell and Billie Burke), he quickly makes their house his own, commandeering their telephone and their butler while his secretary Maggie (a blousy Bette Davis) and his nurse (Mary Wickes) scurry around catering to his every obnoxious whim.

Continue reading: The Man Who Came To Dinner Review

The Roaring Twenties Review


Very Good
A gangster flick of the bootlegging/Prohibition ilk, this complicated tale starts in the trenches of World War I with stars Cagney and Bogart fighting the good fight, then finding nothing waiting for them when they return home. They turn to crime, with mixed success. A love story feels a bit tacked on, but ultimately the film is most notable for being the last film of the 1930s gangster era, a genre which wouldn't be revived again for close to a decade.

Dark Passage Review


Very Good
A minor classic in the noir genre, Dark Passage is nonetheless too simplistic and too unbelievable to make much of an impression. Bogart is typically great as a falsely-accused prison escapee searching for his wife's real killer, while Bacall is also good as the woman who inexplicably helps him out. The gimmick? Bogie gets plastic surgery to become Bogie -- and he doesn't appear on camera for nearly an hour until the bandages are off. Also of note: Stephen King appears to have borrowed large chunks of Dark Passage for his novella The Shawshank Redemption.

Possessed Review


Good
Joan Crawford channels Joan Crawford in Possessed, a prototypical part for the stark actress.

Crawford plays Louise, who is introduced to us as she dazedly walks into a diner, asking for a man named David. After she collapses, she's hauled off to the mental hospital, where the doctors shake their heads and shrug. Flashbacks reveal why Louise is in such a state: She's kinda nuts, and the last thread snapped after she killed the mysterious David (Van Heflin).

Continue reading: Possessed Review

Key Largo Review


Very Good
Bogart is always a pleasure to watch, and Key Largo is no exception, despite its rather overly dramatic -- yet simplistic -- plot structure involving a gangster (Robinson) who takes over a Florida hotel during a deadly hurricane. It ultimately pales next to other Bogart and Bacall work, though it's still a reasonably good watch that has stood up well over the last 50 years.
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Jerry Wald Movies

The Man Who Came to Dinner Movie Review

The Man Who Came to Dinner Movie Review

The Man Who Came to Dinner has traveled a long way: from stage (1939) to...

The Man Who Came to Dinner Movie Review

The Man Who Came to Dinner Movie Review

The Man Who Came to Dinner has traveled a long way: from stage (1939) to...

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