Mervyn Leroy

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The Bad Seed (1956) Review


Excellent
Every mother believes her child is an angel, no matter how badly behaved they are.

Such is the simple reality behind The Bad Seed, a classic pseudo-camp horror classic that, with its companion film Village of the Damned, pretty much convinced the world that little blonde kids are evil.

Continue reading: The Bad Seed (1956) Review

The Bad Seed (1956) Review


Excellent
Every mother believes her child is an angel, no matter how badly behaved they are.

Such is the simple reality behind The Bad Seed, a classic pseudo-camp horror classic that, with its companion film Village of the Damned, pretty much convinced the world that little blonde kids are evil.

Continue reading: The Bad Seed (1956) Review

Gypsy Review


Very Good
Rosalind Russell is most-mentioned when Gypsy, the life story of famed Burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee, but Natalie Wood is really the show-stealer as the titular character. Her nuanced performance as a Vaudevillian, thrust into stripping after its death, puts Russell's shrieking Mama Rose to shame. Not that she isn't good, but hey, how do you compete on screen with Ms. Wood? While the story is solid, mainly tracing Gypsy's time as a child being carted around the country by mom and Karl Malden's candy salesman in an attempt to Make It Big, the music is weak overall, with but two numbers ("Let Me Entertain You" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses") being even remotely memorable.

The Wizard Of Oz Review


Essential
The Wizard of Oz is a classic film from an era when American studios were confident and breaking ground (within the discipline imposed by the Hays Office). Stuffed with now-amiliar tropes -- the yellow brick road, the wicked witch, the emerald city -- and a supply of often-quoted lines, famous songs, and gags, the film is probably as entertaining now as it was in 1939.

Oz was groundbreaking in a number of ways, most obviously in its visual impact. Movies in color had been made for a while, but most films in 1939 were still in black and white, so the gimmick of beginning in B&W and shifting to Technicolor was very effective. Some of the special effects were advanced at the time (and are still one of the movie's strengths). One of the most famous sequences, the tornado which sweeps across the farm fields, was created by filming a windsock being blown around by electric fans. It's more realistic and believable than the computer-generated tornadoes in the movie Twister, made 57 years later. That's progress.

Continue reading: The Wizard Of Oz Review

Mervyn Leroy

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