So you can imagine that during my formative years, my understanding of what the 1938 film Boys Town was about was pretty far from the mark.
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Of course, this is what we owe movies like Cannonball Run to. But the original will always reign as the only two-tape comedy on the rental rack. Enjoy.
Continue reading: It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Review
The three-hour film concerns the trial of four Nazi-era German judges accused of killing millions as part of the regime. The trial circumstances are tricky: The four accused didn't pull any triggers, nor were they in the upper echelons of power. They were middlemen, just signing off on the whims of Hitler. How guilty are they of murder? And so it is that American Judge Dan Hawood is flown in to lead a tribunal to determine their fate.
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And so, for the historically uninterested, we find ourselves in a small town in 1925 Tennessee, where a highschool teacher named John Scopes (Dick York) has done the unthinkable: He has brought Darwin's theory of evolution into the classroom, casting doubt upon the literal interpretation of the Bible in the process. The state arrests him, and his trial became one of the first "celebrity" lawsuits ever. The prosecution was led by Fundamentalist and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan (Fredric March). The defense (hired by the ACLU -- in the movie, by a Boston newspaper) was led by Clarence Darrow (Spencer Tracy), a wild agnostic and verteran lawyer, nearly 70 years old.
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As a matter of fact, Harlow is the least interesting part of Libeled Lady (she's neither the libeler nor the lady in question), but that doesn't make it a fun little movie. The story is a little tricky, so try to keep up: Socialite Connie Allenbury (Myrna Low) is the subject of Warren's (Spencer Tracy) gossipmongering in newsprint. He says she's a homewrecker, but she disagrees and sues. Warren's busted for making stuff up, but he devises a way out: He'll have friend Bill (William Powell) impersonate The Perfect Guy and get in good with her father, eventually proving that Connie is a homewrecker after all. Oh, but Bill's not married. Warren solves that by having his own girlfriend Gladys (Harlow) marry Bill for the sake of convenience.
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Continue reading: Guess Who's Coming To Dinner Review