William Lebaron

William Lebaron

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Baby Face Review


Very Good
Recent DVD releases have given movie buffs the wonderful opportunity to see what Hollywood was up to in the short period between the advent of the talkies and the imposition of the Hays Code, which banned most of the sex, violence, and fun in movies for three decades. The "pre-Code" movies made between about 1930 and 1934 can be quite shocking... and delightful.

Case in point: Baby Face, in which our man-eating heroine Lily (the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck), sleeps her way to wealth while leaving an impressive swath of wreckage in her wake. The Turner Classic Movies DVD actually comes with two cuts of the film: naughty and naughtier. Guess which one you should watch?

Continue reading: Baby Face Review

It's A Gift Review


Excellent
W.C. Fields at his best -- this time as a henpecked general store owner who dreams only of having his own orange grove. Alas, he gets his wish, and there are no oranges to be found. While the lack of any background music makes the pacing of the longer comedy vignettes strangely pregnant, Fields's sense of humor and his physical committment to the role make It's a Gift one of his finest comedies. No, it doesn't all hold together from one scene to the next, but watching Fields and the inimitable Baby LeRoy strut their stuff is comic gold.

She Done Him Wrong Review


Good
Mae West's most famous line appears in She Done Him Wrong, where you can finally discover that she's been being misquoted now for 73 years. Poor gal. Did you know she wrote the bulk of the films she appeared in? Who knew under the sneer and the sass there was an author? As for the story here, adapted from her play Diamond Lil, it's pretty much a bust: Nightclub owner Lady Lou (West) is semi-stalked by an old boyfriend who's been in the pokey for a spell. It's all over in about an hour, which serves mainly as a platform for West to crack wise at every boy in the room, including Cary Grant, the recipient of her signature line.

Cimarron Review


Good
In 1931 you didn't just go out to the desert, line up 500 horses and covered wagons, and recreate the Oklahoma land rush. This is early sound filmmaking. How would you record such a thing with the primitive microphones of the day?

Well, in 1931, that's exactly what Wesley Ruggles did, creating the most impressive opening scene in the history of film up to that point. (It's probably why his film won Best Picture that year, though it's frequently regarded as one of the least merited winners of that award.)

Continue reading: Cimarron Review

It's A Gift Review


Excellent
W.C. Fields at his best -- this time as a henpecked general store owner who dreams only of having his own orange grove. Alas, he gets his wish, and there are no oranges to be found. While the lack of any background music makes the pacing of the longer comedy vignettes strangely pregnant, Fields's sense of humor and his physical committment to the role make It's a Gift one of his finest comedies. No, it doesn't all hold together from one scene to the next, but watching Field and the inimitable Baby LeRoy strut their stuff is comic gold.
William Lebaron

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William LeBaron Movies

Baby Face Movie Review

Baby Face Movie Review

Recent DVD releases have given movie buffs the wonderful opportunity to see what Hollywood was...

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