Raymond Massey

Raymond Massey

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The Prisoner Of Zenda Review


Good
This "classic" swashbuckling flick is really showing its age, though the story -- a kidnapped king needs a lookalike replacement -- is certainly timeless. Ronald Colman, as the titular prisoner, is no Errol Flynn, but he gives it the old college try. The romance, featuring Madeleine Carroll, is a real bust.

The Fountainhead Review


Excellent
Ayn Rand's own adaptation of her highly-regarded (and extremely thick) book. While I haven't read the novel (yet--it's in my stack), the film seems faithful to her work and is certainly faithful to her spirit. Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal (in her first film) do great work and have no trouble with the objectivist mentality. In the end, all questions are answered but one: What the heck is The Fountainhead? (Turns out it's a building. D'oh!)

49th Parallel Review


Good
A contingent of Nazi naval officers are stranded on the Canadian mainland after their U-boat, on the prowl in Hudson Bay, is destroyed. They resolve to trek across Canada, then either cross the border to still-neutral U.S.A. or find passage on a non-Allied boat back to the Fatherland. Director Michael Powell stages their odyssey as a series of politically charged set-pieces as the disdainful Nazis find their beliefs tested by a cross-section of Canadian clichés, from French-Canadian trappers (among whom is Laurence Olivier attempting a dead-on imitation of Pepe Le Pew), Native Americans, and Eskimos to a WASP-y outdoorsman (Leslie Howard), ordinary Joe's, and the members of a religious commune. Leading the goose-steppers is Lieutenant Hirth (Eric Portman), maniacally loyal to his Führer and whose sneer can't be anything but villainous.

The title of Michael Powell's WWII propaganda actioner refers to the boundary separating the United States and Canada. A suitably righteous narrator tells us it's the world's only undefended national border and, as such, befits the values of peace and democracy shared by the two countries. 49th Parallel isn't a strident call to arms meant to guilt-trip Americans into re-thinking their neutrality, but rather a tribute to the Canadian (and to all free-thinking) people who were already involved in the anti-Nazi effort. By praising democratic values and warning of the Nazi threat looming over the free world, 49th Parallel was director Michael Powell's roundabout exhortation to the American people to join the good fight.

Continue reading: 49th Parallel Review

The Prisoner Of Zenda Review


Good
This "classic" swashbuckling flick is really showing its age, though the story -- a kidnapped king needs a lookalike replacement -- is certainly timeless. Ronald Colman, as the titular prisoner, is no Errol Flynn, but he gives it the old college try. The romance, featuring Madeleine Carroll, is a real bust.

Impolite Review


OK
Robert Wisden's obituary writer is an amusing take on the "alcoholic reporter investigates a mysterious death," but even though the movie tries to acknowledge and have fun with its cliches, it never really adds anything new to what has become an increasingly tired genre now relegated to the post-midnight hours on Cinemax.

Impolite, made back in 1992, only now gets its home video and DVD release, and it's apparently Christopher Plummer's cameo that has earned it such a merit. No one else in the film has gone on to, well, anything, and Wisden has the generic look of any one of a hundred blonde male wannabes that have come and gone through the history of Hollywood.

Continue reading: Impolite Review

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

East Of Eden Review


Extraordinary
Elia Kazan's East of Eden packs as powerful a punch today as it must have 50 years ago when it introduced an exciting new star, James Dean, to a wide-eyed audience that had never seen anything quite him before... unless they were Brando fans. This is big moviemaking, with big themes, big performances, big CinemaScope shots, and big, bright "WarnerColor" images. It's the kind of movie that a million Ashton Kutchers and a million Brett Ratners couldn't make in a million years.

John Steinbeck's classic story draws on the Biblical tale of Cain and Abel, the two warring brothers from the Old Testament, and although Cain doesn't slay Abel in this version of the story, he comes close. Dean brings his emotive Method style to the role of Cal Trask, the "bad" son who must compete with his golden boy brother Aron (Richard Davalos) for the love of their cold, Bible-thumping father Adam (Raymond Massey). Together they work a lettuce farm in central California's fertile Salinas Valley. It's 1917, and World War I is raging overseas.

Continue reading: East Of Eden Review

Black Point Review


Weak
Whoa. Not only is schlock movie specialist Thomas Ian Griffith still alive and well... now he's writing.

And not just bad poetry. Movie screenplays!

Continue reading: Black Point Review

The Fountainhead Review


Excellent
Ayn Rand's own adaptation of her highly-regarded (and extremely thick) book. While I haven't read the novel (yet--it's in my stack), the film seems faithful to her work and is certainly faithful to her spirit. Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal (in her first film) do great work and have no trouble with the objectivist mentality. In the end, all questions are answered but one: What the heck is The Fountainhead?
Raymond Massey

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East Of Eden Movie Review

East Of Eden Movie Review

Elia Kazan's East of Eden packs as powerful a punch today as it must have...

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