Best Art Direction

[7.0] In this potpourri of Middle-Eastern folklore, a banished king (John Justin) and a street boy (Sabu) team up to stop an evil magician (Conrad Veidt) from marrying a beautiful princess (June Duprez). The Thief of Bagdad tries to combine everything you can imagine from “Arabian Nights”, including the Genie and the magic carpet. Disney certainly used this classic as a springboard for their own …

[7.5] Paul Newman plays Fast Eddie, an overzealous pool player who’ll sacrifice everything to beat the renowned Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). This cautionary tale about obsession is the perfect showcase for several fine performances. It may be Newman’s finest work. He and costars George C. Scott, Jackie Gleason, and Piper Laurie were all nominated for Oscars here. Laurie has a unique, dark chemistry with Newman, …

[8.0] A lonely writer falls in love with a singing, dancing courtesan in this bawdy musical that soars on the charms of co-stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The song numbers cannibalize lyrics from love songs over the past century, an approach you’re either going to love or hate. I think the musical sequences are the best part of Moulin Rouge!, whether it’s the Tex …

[7.0] Ingrid Bergman won the first of her three Oscars for this psychological thriller from George Cukor. Bergman plays a woman increasingly traumatized by her husband, a thief who nearly succeeds in convincing her that she’s losing her mind. It’s easy to invest in a movie when someone’s being mean to Ingrid Bergman. I only wish that she were more empowered in the story’s third …

[3.5] Near the end of both Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, there is a big, epic dance number that feels very out of place. It’s the only thing I don’t like about Singin’ in the Rain, and the only thing I DO like about An American in Paris. The later film is essentially a superb 20-minute dance number tacked onto an …

[7.0] An unusual sequel of sorts, The Godfather Part II spends equal time in the past and the present, exploring the early life of Vito Corleone (with Robert DeNiro taking over the mantle from Marlon Brando) while also following the continuing story of Vito’s son Michael (Al Pacino reprises his role). Thematically and emotionally, the movie¬†plays like a long and redundant epilogue to the first …

[7.0] In colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness has an ongoing affair¬†with a big game hunter. On one hand, Sydney Pollacks’ Oscar-winning best picture is long and subdued. But on the other hand, it does a great job transporting you to another time and place. The wildlife, cinematography, and music score (another fine work from John Barry) will whisk you away whether you want whisked or …

[5.0] This early Oscar-winning best picture is uneven at best. Richard Dix makes for a hammy lead, while Irene Dunne is stuck playing his harpy of a wife. The film follows the two as they move west to Oklahoma at the end of the 1800s. The second half of the movie skips through so much time and character development, I felt pretty discombobulated by the …

[6.5] Paul Newman headlines this Robert Wise biopic about real-life boxing champ Rocky Graziano. Ernest Lehman’s smart, well-paced script sees Rocky through several youthful indiscretions that threaten to ruin him just as the lightweight championship comes within reach. Though he had appeared in one other film prior, this is the movie that launched Paul Newman to stardom, and it’s no wonder why — he’s magnetic. …

[5.0] Marlon Brando is terrific as Marc Antony in the centerpiece scene, rallying Rome to condemn Caesar’s assassins. The supporting cast, sets, Miklos Rozsa’s score, and the cast of thousands are impressive. But I’ll be damned if this movie didn’t have me fighting off sleep on more than one occasion. Maybe I need to see it again later, or maybe James Mason’s voice just puts …

1 2 3 4