1950’s

[9.0] Bette Davis revived her sagging career and writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz continued an Oscar streak with All About Eve. Davis stars as Margo Channing, an aging broadway star who takes a sympathetic, aspiring ingenue under her wing. Anne Baxter plays the ingenue and title character, Eve Harrigton. Over the course of the film, Eve ingratiates herself to Margo’s friends and acquaintances, who include a …

[4.0] The Darling children — Wendy, Michael, and John — take a magical trip to Neverland with a hero only children can see or believe in: Peter Pan. Once there, they meet Pan’s Lost Boys, visit the mermaids, pow-wow with the Indians, and have a couple of entanglements with the dastardly Captain Hook. Peter Pan is not one of my favorite Disney animated ‘classics’. I …

[4.5] Real life wife and husband Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz star in this comedy about a married couple who begin drifting apart. When Ball’s guardian angel (James Mason) appears and coaches her on how to strengthen the relationship, she decides to go with Arnaz on a work-related trip to Yosemite National Park to test a new insecticide on mosquitoes. Forever, Darling is as disjointed …

[3.0] Victor Mature (Samson and Delilah) leads an ensemble cast in this underwhelming adventure about Navy scientists in Cuba trying to invent an effective shark repellent for downed pilots. With a title like The Sharkfighters, you might expect to see people fighting sharks. But apart from one character being bitten and dying, there’s precious little shark action in this movie. To fill the void, the …

[9.5] A young boy is orphaned and left in the care of his only living relative, an eccentric aunt who defies convention and encourages discovery. The pair endure challenge after challenge in an episodic narrative that ends in the boy becoming a man and getting married, a decision that threatens to finally tear them apart. It’s so rare for me to fall this much in …

[7.0] Thirteen-year-old Dean Stockwell (Kim, The Dunwich Horror) stars in this turn-of-the-century coming-of-age flick about a mischievous boy who mellows after years of preparatory school. Stockwell plays “Dink” Stover, who in the first act of the film is responsible for painting a horse green and blowing up a classroom before his family send him to a strict all-boys school where he quickly makes enemies of …

[4.0] Joan Crawford seems born to play a lady gangster fighting blindness, but unfortunately, This Woman is Dangerous isn’t nearly as interesting as it sounds. The ‘gangster’ aspect of the movie is kept to a bare minimum, with most of the screen time spent on a romance between Crawford and the doctor (Dennis Morgan) who saves her sight. The crux of the story is whether …

[5.0] Gordon Scott continues his reign in the famed loincloth in Tarzan’s Fight for Life. In this chapter of the ongoing series, Tarzan is trying to mediate between an English doctor building a hospital in the jungle and a jealous witch doctor who feels his power is being usurped. A young native chief’s life hangs in the balance and when the witch doctor steals the …

[6.0] Spencer Tracy and Jean Simmons star in this adaptation of an autobiographical stage play by writer/actress Ruth Gordon (Harold & Maude, Rosemary’s Baby). The story centers around teen-aged Gordon’s final year at home with her parents, when she first set her sights on acting while dodging her father’s efforts for her to pursue a more practical line of work. Director George Cukor sticks to …

[6.5] When a small plane goes down in a South American jungle, the passengers and pilots must work together to repair the vehicle and get it back in the air before native headhunters attack. Back from Eternity is a remake of 1939’s Five Came Back, both films directed by John Farrow. The cast this time around includes Anita Ekberg (La Dolce Vita), Robert Ryan (The …

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