1940’s

[5] Ernest B. Schoedsack (King Kong, The Most Dangerous Game) directs this schlocky sci-fi matinee flick about a mad scientist (Albert Dekker) who summons colleagues to his South American jungle laboratory. Once there, the guests discover he is using radium to shrink living creatures to miniature size. When they threaten to expose his unorthodox work, he shrinks them for study. It’s then a matter of …

[8] Teresa Wright (Mrs. Miniver) plays a bored teenager who’s over-joyed when her favorite Uncle (The Third Man‘s Joseph Cotton) comes to stay with her family. But the warmth of family reunion soon gives way to cold suspicion when Cotton starts hiding things from her. Could he be the infamous ‘Merry Widow’ murderer? Alfred Hitchcock said Shadow of a Doubt was his favorite film he …

[6] Cary Grant plays a widower who remarries seven years after his first wife (Irene Dunne) disappears at sea. While on his honeymoon with wife number two (Gail Patrick), he’s shocked to discover Dunne survived her ordeal and is ready to rejoin her family. This comedy of errors co-written and produced by Leo McCarey (The Awful Truth) sees Grant charged with bigamy and on the …

[7] Joan Crawford won her Oscar for playing the title character in this noir-melodrama from director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). Based on the book by James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce is told largely in flashback, with Crawford spilling the beans to police after her second husband is found murdered in their beach house. She tells them how she divorced her adulterous first husband and pulled herself …

[7] Humphrey Bogart escapes from San Quentin to try and prove he’s innocent of killing his wife. Lauren Bacall plays the woman who believes him and gives him shelter. He resorts to plastic surgery to hide his identity from the police and extortionists, but will he be able to discover who the real killer is? Or will he be forced to flee the country? Dark …

[8] Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck star in this lively screwball comedy from director Howard Hawks. Cooper is working on a new encyclopedia with seven other scholars when he realizes the group is woefully uneducated in the world of contemporary slang. So he hits the streets to research and stumbles upon a wisecracking lounge singer named Sugarpuss O’Shea, played by Stanwyck. He invites her to …

[3] Vying with Nazi Germany to create ties in South American countries during World War II, the U.S. government guaranteed Walt Disney federal loans to produce animated films celebrating South American culture. Saludos Amigos is the first resulting film from this strategic effort (the second would be The Three Caballeros). It would also be the first of Disney’s “package” features — combinations of short subjects …

[6.0] An American (John Shepperd) visits his fiancĂ©e (Lynne Roberts) and her father in their rural chateau at the same time a series of murders begins. The father’s brutish gardener with a criminal past is a prime suspect. And so is his socially awkward servant, an immigrant from Java who holds a childlike adoration for the bride-to-be. Dr. Renault’s Secret is Twentieth Century Fox’s attempt …

[3.0] Boris Karloff stars as a doctor who transplants the brain of a gangster into the body of a dying professor (both played by Stanley Ridges), then tries to get the convalescing professor to remember — with his new brain — where the gangster hid half a million dollars. Once they visit the gangster’s old stomping grounds, the memories come flooding back and the professor …

[6] Cary Grant and Myrna Loy play parents of two young daughters in a cramped New York apartment who decide to find a bigger place for themselves in the wide-open countryside. But their initial purchase turns out to be a bad investment, forcing them to tear it down and build a new house from scratch. As the bills pile up, Grant also becomes suspicious that …

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