Walter Abel

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Mr. Skeffington Review


Good
A rather silly domestic drama, Mr. Skeffington has Bette Davis romancing her way through the first two World Wars, falling in and out of love with the title character (Claude Rains). Full of hair tearing and high society parlor angst, Skeffington is overlong and a bit trite, but Davis's wild transformation into "old lady" in the film's third act is truly harrowing.

Island In The Sky Review


Very Good
For the longest time, I didn't think anything was going to happen in Island in the Sky. In fact, the very title implies that nothing is going to happen: I figured a big bomber would be flying around during WWII, drop a few bombs on Dresden or something, maybe hit some resistance, and finally return home after a successful run over Germany.

Was I wrong: Island in the Sky takes place mostly on the ground, after a transport plane (piloted by Captain Dooley, played by John Wayne in an exemplary role) crashes in the frozen wilds of Newfoundland. The film -- after a good 40 minutes of useless exposition -- spends the bulk of its time dealing with their attempts to be rescued.

Continue reading: Island In The Sky Review

Fury Review


Extraordinary
One of the greats of its era, Fritz Lang's Fury is a bitter indictment of mob politics, with the inimitable Spencer Tracy in the role of an innocent man swept up in by lynch mob for a crime he didn't commit. Horrifying and extremely well-made, Fury belies its age with insight into the human psyche that is more relevant today than ever. Lang, as a refugee to America from Naxi Germany, knew what he was talking about. This is one to savor for the ages.
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