Dead Ringer is a classic good twin/bad twin murder mystery and identity swap that will keep you on your toes. Davis, directed her by her Now, Voyager co-star Paul Henreid, plays the twins: Edie Phillips, the down-on-her-luck twin who runs a seedy bar in downtown L.A., and Margaret Phillips DeLorca, the just-widowed wife of an outrageously rich Spanish nobleman who lives in an enormous mansion decorated to look like a 17th-century Andalusian monastery. It's ookey and it's spooky.
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So why watch Sinatra and his 10 (not 11) ex-military buddies romp through their kinda town? Ocean's Eleven is the kind of movie you turn on and just hang out to, just like the Rat Pack would have done, as you enjoy a scotch and soda on a Saturday afternoon while Dean Martin croons "Ain't that a kick in the head..." in the background. Then you'd go bowling in an orange sweater to talk about the job. When it's over, you won't feel like you've bettered yourself in any way, but you might feel just an inch of kinship with a bygone era when Vegas was black tie-only and when a woman's place was in a distant, supporting role. (Just kidding, dames.)
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That's Entertainment! -- which would spawn two sequels and another DVD of extras (available on the box set, see right) -- is more accurately a celebration of MGM and its legacy of movie musicals. Shot in 1974, the film takes us on a tour of MGM's then-sprawling backlot (which was torn down shortly thereafter), radically contrasting the dilapidated sets with the films that were originally shot on them. Stars like Sinatra, Astaire, Crosby, Kelly, Minnelli, and Reynolds (Debbie, not Burt) are our tour guides, hosting us on our walkthrough the back lot and introducing the clips of past films starring themselves and their friends.
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Otto Preminger turned his eyes from the legal system (Anatomy of a Murder) to American politics in the underseen and tragically underappreciated Advise and Consent.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.