June 30, 2013

A Woman's Face (1941)

Sympathetically villanous Joan Crawford looks younger and fresher (after plastic surgery by one Dr. Melvin Douglas) in A Woman's Face, a 1941 potboiler helmed by female diva director George Cukor. Joan Crawford is mesmerizing in black and white both while scarred and when beautiful once again. The story isn't all that involving but the film is strikingly shot and ultimately lead to Crawford's casting in the quintessential Mildred Pierce.

June 20, 2013

Titanic (1953)

Titanic (1953) is dated drama but phenomenal spectacle - the iceberg hit is black and white, matter-of-fact and very well-done - with yet another captivating performance by Barbara Stanwyck. Clifton Webb, Thelma Ritter (as Molly Brown) and baby Robert Wagner with Audrey Dalton (the latter two playing Leonardo diCaprio and Kate Winslet, respectively) are enthusiastic and solid - ably aiding Stanwyck in tugging at our heartstrings. Director Jean Negulesco has fashioned a good old-fashioned yarn from history but then haven't all cinematic versions of this story been created from yarn?

June 11, 2013

The Kongs King (2009, 1976, 1933)

Judging from the most recent remakes of King Kong (1976, 2009) people suck when it comes to animals, and an oil company (1976) / film corporation (2009) removing the big ape for profit and entertainment is horrifyingly sad. Still if you're not an emotional obsessive when it comes to the treatment of animals this might not be an issue - in which case these remakes are watchable with the most recent (2009) being the only one not worthy of having its poster embedded below. 1976 (with Jeff Bridges and a debuting Jessica Lange) is fine - not what its reputation would have you believe - but it's the original (1933), mustering all the naïveté that a pre-code movie can squeeze from Fay Wray, that is still the classic best.