William Conrad

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East Side, West Side Review


Weak
In the early 1930s, director Mervyn Leroy was one of the men responsible for the gritty, careening Warner Brothers house style, but by 1949, Leroy was one of main hack directors for MGM and a prime example of the staid MGM routine is on display in Leroy's prosaic staging of the cad-for-all-seasons East Side, West Side.

Barbara Stanwyck is mistreated high society wife Jessie Bourne, married to Brandon (James Mason), a well-heeled corporate lawyer who is also a regular heel, cheating on Jessie every chance he gets. As Brandon explains his philosophy to a hopeful conquest, "Just because a man has one perfect rose in his garden at home, it doesn't mean that he can't appreciate the flowers of the field." Even so, Brandon tries to "think with his head" but then Ava Gardner breezes in and all bets are off.

Continue reading: East Side, West Side Review

The Return Of The King (1980) Review


Good
So the story goes that, despite being generally bad, fans were clamoring for more Lord of the Rings, as Ralph Bakshi refused to do any more movies. Warner Brothers came to the "rescue" with this TV special, which recaps the beginning of the books, then finishes off the story of Return of the King, the last book in the trilogy.

The animation is typical of the early 1980s, round faces and bulbous noses, wide expressions, and oversized eyes. And lots of singing: "Where there's a whip, there's a way" is a guilty pleasure classic.

Continue reading: The Return Of The King (1980) Review

Sorry, Wrong Number Review


Good
Barbara Stanwyck stars in this classic noir of a bedridden woman with a heart condition who discovers a murder plot during an errant phone call. Imagine her surprise when she turns out to be the potential victim! Rather straigtforward for a "mystery," but notable in that virtually every scene involves a phone call (Sorry, Wrong Number was originally a radio play). A precursor to the far better Rear Window, but noir has seen better days.
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