William Jacobs

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Christmas In Connecticut (1945) Review


Very Good
If you're only familiar with the Christmas in Connecticut through the awful Arnold Schwarzenegger-directed remake, you owe it to yourself to check out the original, a funny and witty film featuring Barbara Stanwyck in one of her lightest roles on film.

The story is remarkably complex and underhanded for a) a comedy and b) something dreamed up in 1945. Stanwyck is Elizabeth Lane, a newspaper columnist who writes "Smart Housekeeping" full of recipes, homemaking, and parenting tips. Turns out, alas, she's a total fraud: She can't cook, she doesn't have a famous farm in Connecticut, and she isn't even married.

Continue reading: Christmas In Connecticut (1945) Review

Calamity Jane Review


Weak
If you were a woman in the Old West, you didn't have to have a musical made about your life (Belle Starr), but it certainly didn't hurt if you did (Annie Oakley). Calamity Jane was one of the big trinity of Wild West Women, and though she was arguably the roughest of the bunch, the musical -- starring Doris Day, for chrissake -- about her is undoubtedly the cheeriest.

Here we have Day -- blonde and with perfect teeth and a spotless "rustic" outfit -- galavanting through showtunes as she tells her patented tall tales of fighting off the "Injuns" and drinkin' with the boys. A silly bit of happenstance leads her to head off to "Chicagee" in search of an actress which the residents of Deadwood are itchin' to see. Romance (with Wild Bill Hickok) and further singing ensues.

Continue reading: Calamity Jane Review

The Story Of Seabiscuit Review


Weak
While the 2003 Seabiscuit has its share of factual license, it can't hold a candle to the utterly contrived The Story of Seabiscuit, a mere Shirley Temple love story set against the backdrop of the (at the time) recent success of Seabiscuit in the thoroughbred horse racing world. The only actual reason to watch this film -- which has Temple and her dad coming over from Ireland in order to train the horse and lead him to victory -- is the black and white footage of Seabiscuit's actual races, incorporated into the film. It's the only genuine part of the movie, and the only part worth watching.
William Jacobs

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