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The Star Review


Good
Poor Margaret Elliot: A broke actress, past her prime, desperately holding on to her former glory. Were it not for Sunset Boulevard's appearance only two years earlier, people might actually have remembered The Star, a role for which Bette Davis earned an Oscar nomination but which now stands as a barely memorable and largely cliched performance.

The Star is a straight-up shot at a washed-up has-been. Her star years behind her, Davis's Elliot tries to fight her way back to the screen, failing to realize she's no longer a sexy vamp (Davis was 44 at the time) and nobody cares about her Oscar (here Davis is seen clutching one of her real statuettes) any more. It ultimately falls to old flame Barry Lester (Sterling Hayden in a remarkably soft and surprisingly quiet performance) to coax her back into reality, though his big idea -- that she should become a salesperson at Saks Fifth Avenue -- comes off as a little bit insulting.

Continue reading: The Star Review

Blackboard Jungle Review


Good
Idealism in the public school system got its start here in 1955's Blackboard Jungle, based on the book that convinced America that our kids were not all angels and schools were not built from picket fence perfection. Today, Blackboard Jungle is surprisingly dated and ineffective, as its picture of high school violence and perversity seems quaint in comparison to Columbine-style massacres and Mary Kay Letourneau. Even the firey Sidney Poitier an Vic Morrow, playing the school's punks, seem set to a lower level than we've seen from them in later, mor compelling works.
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