Jules Furthman

Jules Furthman

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Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Review


Good
An especially grandiose production for its era, the first production of Mutiny on the Bounty sailed into history with Charles Laughton as the evil Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian, the officer who joined the crew against him. While Mutiny takes an unfortunate 90 minutes to get exciting, its gripping third act makes the movie totally worthwhile. And while Gable is memorable in his role, it's Laughton that owns the show as the despicable captain you can't help but hate.

The film follows the classic book's story faithfully, as Bligh and his men sail for Tahiti (around Africa) in search of breadfruit trees. Eventually they get there, mingle with natives, go primal, and load up the old HMS Bounty. But first officer Fletcher Christian doesn't stand idly by for Bligh's abuse and improprieties. On the way home, Christian rallies the troops against the old boss, plopping him and his loyals on a dinghy and setting them adrift. Torn between the two leaders is midshipman Byam (Franchot Tone), the remainder of the film concerns Bligh's noble fight to survive without rations and with the slightest level of hope, while Christian takes the boat back to Tahiti (where the island women are to die for) and eventually faces court martial back in England. It's an epic adventure that's still imitated today.

Continue reading: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Review

To Have And Have Not Review


Excellent
Lauren Bacall made her nerve-wracked screen debut in the memorable Howard Hawks film To Have and Have Not, put opposite the hugely famous Humphrey Bogart in a Casablanca-esque tale of intrigue in France during WWII. Bogart's crusty fisherman and Bacall's swindling lounge singer get roped into aiding the French resistance, but the plot is ultimately a throwaway -- having none of the depth of Casablanca. Instead, To Have and Have Not owes its success to some fiery chemistry between its leads as well as amazing supporting turns by Walter Brennan and Hoagy Carmichael. The jazzy tunes played in Bacall's bar are unforgettable, too. You know how to whistle, don't you?

The Big Sleep Review


Extraordinary
There's little else I can add to what's been written about this proto-noir, one of the archetypes of the genre and a showstopper for Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, who spar through a catty romance while dancing through a taut mystery that has dead bodies turning up at every turn. (Bogie is assigned to look after Bacall's kid sister, who's prone to trouble. Martha Vickers, as young Carmen, almost steals the show; pay attention to her underrated performance.) With Howard Hawks and William Faulkner in charge here, there's simply not much to complain about.

The Big Sleep Review


Extraordinary
There's little else I can add about this proto-noir, one of the archetypes of the genre and a showstopper for Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, who spar through a catty romance while dancing through a taut mystery that has dead bodies turning up at every turn. (Bogie is assigned to look after Bacall's kid sister, who's prone to trouble. Martha Vickers, as young Carmen, almost steals the show; pay attention to her underrated performance.) With Howard Hawks and William Faulkner in charge here, there's simply not much to complain about.

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.

Continue reading: Nightmare Alley Review

To Have And Have Not Review


Excellent
Lauren Bacall made her nerve-wracked screen debut in the memorable Howard Hawks film To Have and Have Not, put opposite the hugely famous Humphrey Bogart in a Casablanca-esque tale of intrigue in France during WWII. Bogart's crusty fisherman and Bacall's swindling lounge singer get roped into aiding the French resistance, but the plot is ultimately a throwaway -- having none of the depth of Casablanca. Instead, To Have and Have Not owes its success to some fiery chemistry between its leads as well as amazing supporting turns by Walter Brennan and Hoagy Carmichael. The jazzy tunes played in Bacall's bar are unforgettable, too. You know how to whistle, don't you?

Rio Bravo Review


Good
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.

The Outlaw Review


OK
Never mind the story about Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, and Pat Garrett -- this western (the second and final film Howard Hughes directed) is about one thing: Jane Russell. Hughes' five-year battle with the censors to get The Outlaw released is well documented in The Aviator, thanks to Hughes's envelope-pushing when it came to Russell's impressive cleavage, on display in nearly every scene she's in. The film would be G-rated today, but at the time, that hint of skin was enough to send people scampering for a little water to put on their brow. Russell hadn't really come into her own as an actress, either -- here she sneers through the entire film -- but as a physical presence, wow, Russell certainly makes an impression. If you catch my drift.

Mutiny on the Bounty Review


Good
An especially grandiose production for its era, the first production of Mutiny on the Bounty sailed into history with Charles Laughton as the evil Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian, the officer who joined the crew against him. While Mutiny takes an unfortunate 90 minutes to get exciting, its gripping third act makes the movie totally worthwhile. And while Gable is memorable in his role, it's Laughton that owns the show as the despicable captain you can't help but hate.

The film follows the classic book's story faithfully, as Bligh and his men sail for Tahiti (around Africa) in search of breadfruit trees. Eventually they get there, mingle with natives, go primal, and load up the old HMS Bounty. But first officer Fletcher Christian doesn't stand idly by for Bligh's abuse and improprieties. On the way home, Christian rallies the troops against the old boss, plopping him and his loyals on a dinghy and setting them adrift. Torn between the two leaders is midshipman Byam (Franchot Tone), the remainder of the film concerns Bligh's noble fight to survive without rations and with the slightest level of hope, while Christian takes the boat back to Tahiti (where the island women are to die for) and eventually faces court martial back in England. It's an epic adventure that's still imitated today.

Continue reading: Mutiny on the Bounty Review

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