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Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) Review


Weak
They don't make films like Mutiny on the Bounty anymore. The road show spectacular is a lost art that has disappeared along with 70mm cameras. But in 1962, MGM's remake of the Gable-Laughton Mutiny of the Bounty was the most breathtaking of all the big super-productions coming out of Hollywood. Exciting, colorful, no expense spared (the studio even constructed its own exact copy of the H.M.S. Bounty with craftsmen laboring at wooden hull construction), a cast of thousands (when that really meant a cast of thousands), the pageantry of real Tahitian locations, Mutiny on the Bounty was a massive, awesome extravaganza.

With veteran director Lewis Milestone at the helm (this was to be his final feature), Bounty shoves off in impressive form. As in the 1935 version, the film chronicles the repressive and sadistic Captain Bligh's (Trevor Howard) attempts to corner the market in breadfruit for England by traveling to the South Seas and First Lt. Fletcher Christian's (Marlon Brando) mutiny, casting Bligh to sea in a rickety boat with a handful of allies as the mutineers set sail back to Tahiti.

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Gandhi Review


Extraordinary
In a society rife with Robin Williams waterworks and Ben Affleck angst, it's nice to have an occasional jolt of truth. Gandhi, while a couple of decades old now, still has that bold-faced honesty which we find so often lacking in many contemporary films.

Gandhi stars Ben Kingsley in a retelling of the life and times of revered Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, renowned peace lover, sage, and all around worldly wise man. There is little told here that cannot be read in any history book, for Gandhi is not some sort of Hollywood trumped up, Pearl Harbored dramatization of history. Rather, it's just the facts, nothing but truth.

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Superman Review


Good
Yeah, it was 1978 when Superman first hit theaters in the version most of us remember -- with Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel and Marlon Brando as his disco-inspired pop. Superman is a lovable epic full of quaint nostalgia and incredible mysteries of logic (because if the earth spun the other way round, time would apparently reverse... riiiight). The story tells the bulk of the Superman legend -- his escape from Krypton, coming to terms with his powers as a youth in Smallville, moving to big old Metropolis and becoming Clark Kent (and falling for crusty Lois Lane), and dealing with a Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman, excellently over the top) plan to buy up real estate in Nevada and then destroy most of California, thus making his new coastline worth millions. Watch for Terence Stamp's Zod in the first scene -- he'll be back to rule as one of cinema's great villains in Superman II.

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Green for Danger Review


Excellent
You know those old-time British murder mysteries that take place in a manor on a dark and stormy night? One of the aristocrat guests at the manor gets murdered, or his wife does. Upstairs and downstairs, everyone's a suspect, prompting the appearance of an unflappable Scotland Yard inspector who proceeds to snoop out the manor's residents and their goings-on. With wry wit and efficient tact, the inspector nails the perpetrator, evincing much shock and relief from the manor's residents, after which he goes merrily on his way. Now, replace the manor with a rural hospital, its resident aristocrats and staff with a hospital's doctors and nurses, the stormy weather with skies darkened by Nazi bombers, and you've got Green for Danger.

Best known for his screenplay (co-written with Frank Launder) for The Lady Vanishes, one of Hitchcock's '30s era gems, writer Sidney Gilliat also enjoyed a 30-year directing career beginning in the early '40s. Green for Danger is probably Gilliat's best known and regarded effort, and, in its lightness of touch, it feels of a piece with the aforementioned Hitchcock thriller. But, while Hitchcock never cared for whodunits, Gilliat (along with co-writer Claude Guerney) fashioned a nifty and entertaining one in Green for Danger, based on Christianna Brand's novel and using the WWII-besieged English countryside as his backdrop. The physical and psychological toll of the war informs the jaded mood of Danger's hospital staff, the interrelationships among the doctors and nurses, and even their medical ethics.

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Conduct Unbecoming Review


OK
The movie looks hideous: What, was this made for the BBC? The weird lighting and bad camera work (not to mention the music and even the credits) screams Movie of the Week. Good thing the story is far better than its technical pedigree, a case of military justice about a women, ostensibly raped by a soldier in British colonial India. A number of solid performances can be found in the courtroom (especially Michael York's earnest defense attorney), though the machinations of the case border on the absurd. The ending -- the sole part of the film that is visually moving -- almost makes it all worthwhile.

Superman Review


Good
Yeah, it was 1978 when Superman first hit theaters in the version most of us remember -- with Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel and Marlon Brando as his disco-inspired pop. Superman is a lovable epic full of quaint nostalgia and incredible mysteries of logic (because if the earth spun the other way round, time would apparently reverse). The story tells the bulk of the Superman legend -- his escape from Krypton, coming to terms with his powers as a youth in Smallville, moving to big old Metropolis and becoming Clark Kent (and falling for crusty Lois Lane), and dealing with a Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman, excellently over the top) plan to buy up real estate in Nevada and then destroy most of California, thus making his new coastline worth millions. Watch for Terence Stamp's Zod in the first scene -- he'll be back to rule as one of cinema's great villains in Superman II.

Brief Encounter (1946) Review


Excellent
Fabulous classic directed by David Lean, with the unforgettable Celia Johnson as a prim and proper British housewife tempted to have an affair with a stranger (Trevor Howard) she met at the train station. Atmospheric and heartbreaking in its romanticism, it's a must-see for fans of love stories. But be warned: It was remade in 1974 as one of the worst films of its era. They just don't make 'em like they used to.

The Third Man Review


Excellent
Holly Martins' (Joseph Cotten) best friend got himself jun over and buried... so what's all the mystery about Harry Lime (Orson Welles)? Though he didn't make the film, Welles' thumbprint is all over The Third Man, which reteams Cotten and Welles (Citizen Kane) so very memorably. With its Dutch angles and intriguing score (hey, that's a zither!), The Third Man is memorable even though the twisty plot has become a bit on the tired side, as Martins parades around Vienna playing amateur gumshoe.

Gandhi Review


Extraordinary
In a society rife with Robin Williams waterworks and Ben Affleck angst, it's nice to have an occasional jolt of truth. Gandhi, while a couple of decades old now, still has that bold-faced honesty which we find so often lacking in many contemporary films.

Gandhi stars Ben Kingsley in a retelling of the life and times of revered Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, renowned peace lover, sage, and all around worldly wise man. There is little told here that cannot be read in any history book, for Gandhi is not some sort of Hollywood trumped up, Pearl Harbored dramatization of history. Rather, it's just the facts, nothing but truth.

Continue reading: Gandhi Review

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