Category: "Classics"

Archive Review: 12 Angry Men (1957)

Sidney Lumet was one of my favorite directors, so this week I have been prepping for an appropriate tribute to the actor, who passed just last weekend. This film is an absolute classic that I reviewed in August 2008. Look for more archive reviews of Lumet’s films throughout the rest of the week and the […]

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Archive Review: The Pink Panther (1963)

Unlike any film in history, “The Pink Panther” left its legacy not by its original sense of humor or iconic performance by Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, but by an animated pink panther and instantly recognizable theme music by Henry Mancini. Anyone born after 1980 knew of “The Pink Panther” at a young age, but […]

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Archive Review: Psycho (1960)

Thought I’d go with this one in honor of my last post. Going into the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece “Psycho,” it’s best that you know nothing — in fact Hitchcock wanted it that way — so this review will be succint and devoid of any synopsis beyond that of the basic plot summaries provided for the […]

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Archive Review: Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Few classic era film directors did comedy better than Frank Capra, if any. The over-the-top ridiculous dark comedy farce “Arsenic and Old Lace” is not the three-time Oscar winner’s usual cup of tea (there’s an inherent lack of romance), but he captures the adaptation of the play with a sense of humor that’s critical for […]

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Archive Review: Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)

One has to judge “Gentleman’s Agreement” in the context in which it was made. This was a landmark film, one of the first socially responsible films in movie history that barely escaped the clutches of the government’s inquisition of communism in Hollywood as well as numerous movie industry bigwigs who didn’t want it made. Few […]

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Archive Review: Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

Films about the movie industry are always interesting, but “Sullivan’s Travels” is in its own special niche in the show-biz comedy genre. The premise is about a successful musical comedy director who wants to make a serious picture about human suffering. The film opens with a dedication to the memory of clowns, buffoons — anyone […]

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Archive Review: Great Expectations (1946)

The Charles Dickens classic “Great Expectations” could not have been in better hands than David Lean’s. Though his later works would be the ones to earn him accolades, this film is just as special. Few directors can make a film feel grandiose while still paying close attention to the details like Lean. “Great Expectations” is […]

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Notorious (1946) – 4/5 Stars

In the wake of World War II, Alfred Hitchcock brought audiences “Notorious,” a romantic thriller with political undertones. To audiences of the era, I’m sure it was slightly scandalous. Not only in its dealing with Germans living in Brazil post-WWII and handling uranium, but also with its co-stars Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman kissing on […]

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It Happened One Night (1934) – 4/5 Stars

The oldest Best Picture winner I have seen … so far “It Happened One Night” is a classic love story yet its best feature is that it surprises you: it’s not chock-full of clich├ęs (though not devoid of them either) and it has an enduring sense of humor that all generations can appreciate. The film […]

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“The Apartment” (1960) – 4/5 Stars

Acclaimed writer/director Billy Wilder strikes again with another humorous and romantic comedy in “The Apartment.” But more important than another triangular love story from the “Some Like It Hot” creator is the actor he brought along with him: Jack Lemmon. Though “Hot” was his breaking out party, “The Apartment” really boasts the range of the […]

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“Sunset Blvd.” (1950) – 4.5/5 Stars

More than a half century after “Sunset Blvd.,” audiences are well aware that Hollywood is not all glitz and glamor — that there’s a stark reality. Yet despite that knowledge, “Sunset Blvd.” is still an eye-opening and deeply affecting motion picture today as it was in the 1950s. Because even though our “access” to Hollywood […]

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Archive Review: “The Philadelphia Story” (1940) – 4/5 Stars

Three of the brightest stars in the golden years of cinema converge in “The Philadelphia Story,” a romantic comedy of great wit and sophistication. Although it would be unfair to say that the talent makes this film, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and James Stewart are far and away its best feature.

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Now on Blu-ray: North by Northwest (1959) – 4.5/5 Stars

My first Hitchcock movie makes its way to Blu-ray today. Of all the oldies to work in high def, this could be one of them. There’s something so timeless about “North by Northwest” and it’s not necessarily that it will echo with any generation. Cary Grant’s Roger Thornhill, for example, feels a little foreign among […]

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Archive Review: City Lights (1931) – 4.5/5 Stars

Wish that today’s romantic comedies full of superficial blabber and polluted ideas about love and sex would just — shut up? Hold on to your ten dollars and rent the Charlie Chaplin classic “City Lights,” a heart-warming romance and physical comedy — where no one talks. It seems like the era and even the idea […]

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Archive Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – 3.5/5 Stars

It’s not unfair initially to dismiss “The Day the Earth Stood Still” as sci-fi pulp from an era full of it, but the film’s anti-war message given the Cold War context it was released in makes it nothing short of a classic. Its commercial exterior featuring posters with Gort the space robot pales in comparison […]

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