Five Graves to Cairo (1943)-Early Billy Wilder

On TMC today 9/22/16- Early Billy Wilder WW II set Five Graves to Cairo (1943) with a great Miklos Rozsa score  cast with another future Oscar winner Anne Baxter-very believable as a Frenchwoman working in a hotel occupied by Field Marshall Rommel (played by the great Eric Von Stroheim).  Franchot Tone was very good here as the British soldier caught behind enemy lines posing as a hotel waiter to spy.


How Green Was My Valley (1941)- John Ford Magic

On TCM 8/15/16-In John Ford’s touching masterpiece How Green Was My Valley (1941), while we see young Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall) looking into the window of Mrs.Tossall’s Bakery and Confectionary Shop (“the shop for that toffee which you could chew for hours”), we hear the voice over narration of the older Huw telling us: “it seems to me now, and even after it had gone down, you could swallow and still find the taste of it hiding behind your tongue. It is with me now, so many years later. It makes me think of so much that was good that is gone.” Then we hear the older Hew Morgan telling us in the most powerful voice over narration of all time, for the full length of the film, how he missed the people of his youth who are ” now long gone.” As the narration proceeds Ford’s magic camera mostly filmed with Huw’s point of view brings these memories alive and shows us the wonderful people Hew Morgan will forever miss.

I Confess (1953)-Filmed in Quebec City

On TCM 8/16/16 – Hitchcock’s I Confess (1953)-the historic Hotel Le Chateau Frontenac which dominates the skyline of Quebec City, Canada is utilized by Hitch as a location for establishing shots and important scenes. Great performances here with Montgomery Clift as a priest falsely accused of murder (another wrong man) Anne Baxter, and Karl Malden as the detective highlighted by a great Dimitri Tiomkin score.


Bad Day at Black Rock (1954)- Spencer flips Ernie

In Bad Day at Black Rock (1954) on TCM 8/11/16-the Japanese farmer Kamoko (or for that matter any strangers) are not greeted with a welcome wagon to the American West.  Even the friendly nice guy we know from the 1955 film Marty (Ernest Borgnine) is a thug here put in place by the great Spencer Tracy as witnessed by fellow thugs played by screen greats Robert Ryan and Lee Marvin.

The Heiress (1949)-tutors of cruelty

“Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters.”-Oscar winning here screen icon Oliva de Havilland as Catherine Sloper in the William Wyler masterpiece The Heiress (1949) on TCM 10/9/16 where these tutors of cruelty were played to perfection by Sir Ralph Richardson as her insensitive father Dr. Austin Sloper who was indifferent to his daughter’s self-esteem and Montgomery Clift as her fortune hunting suitor Morris Townsend. Catch Wyler’s dynamic technique of utilizing group shots (as he also does in The Best Years of our Lives) of Catherine, Dr. Sloper, and Morris all in clear focus within the frame-you will catch more details about these characters on repeated viewings.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) – Some interesting casting

On TCM 8/11/16- Both screen greats Judy Garland and Montgomery Clift as holocaust victims received Oscar nominations for their emotional show stopping roles as testifying witnesses against Nazi War criminals in the courtroom of Spencer Tracy perfectly cast as the chief Allied judge. Catch Burt Lancaster here cast against type as Ernst Janning, one of the German defendants.


The Long Gray Line (1955)- John Ford on the widescreen

John Ford’s first Cinemascope venture The Long Gray Line (1955) opens with wall to wall singing cadets, an effective demonstration of how a master director fills the 50’s widescreen with emotion- Certainly brings John Ford magic to today’s large TV HD screens! Catch this underrated masterpiece where Tyrone Power plays the Irish immigrant who became a fixture at West Point with great support from Ford regulars Maureen O’Hara, Donald Crisp, and the great Ward Bond.

The Bradbury Building in Movies


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The Pacific All Risk Insurance Co in the Wilder masterpiece Double Indemnity (1944) where Fred MacMurray and Edward G Robinson work is set in a downtown Los Angeles office building that is set to look like the Bradbury Building.  However, in the scene in The Artist (2011) where George Valentin-on the way down – bumps into Peppy Miller-on the way up  and on TCM 11/6/16 -D.O.A. (1950)  where the great Edmund O’Brien is literally  a NOIR dead man walking to avenge his killer was actually filmed in The Bradbury Building.

Bruce Bennett-The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)- the fourth share?

On TCM 8/9/16- the much underrated second lead and character actor Bruce Bennett (star shot-putter in the 1928 Olympics and past screen Tarzan) was perfectly cast as the fellow American prospector in John Huston’s Oscar winning The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) who Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt initially looked upon with suspicion as a possible claim jumper -but turning out to be a lifesaving man of integrity….. Bennett’s role as Bert Pierce in Mildred Pierce (1945) follows the same pattern as Joan Crawford divorces him and in my opinion Bert turns out to be one of the most gracious ex-husbands in movie history.

Red River (1948) -Simpatico Coleen Gray

On TCM last night 8/6/16-Howard Hawk’s Red River (1948)- As the wagon train moves on in the background great actress Coleen Gray as Fen gives a great performance in the foreground with little screen time as the sincere love Thomas Dunson (John Wayne) chooses to leave behind. Coleen was also compelling as the loyal Nettie standing behind Nick Bianco (brilliantly played by Victor Mature) in Kiss of Death (1947) and in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956) Coleen also stands behind the great Sterling Hayden as ex con Johnny Clay asserting: “It is not that you were locked in. It was that I was locked out.” Was Coleen what I would dub as a “Femme Simpatico” specialist?