Site Under Reconstruction

Fredric March

[7] Fredric March and Cary Grant play American pilots fighting for Britain during the first World War. The two men frequently quarrel, each coming from a different wartime philosophy. March does his best to avoid killing anyone, while Grant is out to kill any German that crosses his path. The film encourages us to empathize with both men, whose destinies entangle after Grant’s bloodlust contributes …

[7] Fredric March plays a 1950s Czechoslovakian circus owner trying to lead his troupe in a daring escape from the Iron Curtain. The plan is to obtain a permit to perform for communist soldiers in the border territories — then create a distraction and make a run for freedom over a narrow bridge into American occupation. At the same time, March’s character is dealing with …

[5] Sylvia Sidney (Madame Butterfly, Sabotage) plays a rich girl smitten with a drunkard. Fredric March co-stars as her somewhat charming but sobriety-challenged lover, effectively doing a dry-run for the type of role for which he’d receive an Oscar nomination five years later with A Star is Born. Despite the warnings of her father (George Irving) and friends, Sidney marries March and things go as …

[6] In 18th century Italy, an orphan boy comes of age with the help of nuns and a kindly mentor, falls in love, gets embroiled in the slave trade, and fights for his inheritance in this adaptation of Hervey Allen’s sprawling novel. Anthony Adverse looks and sounds great, with immense sets, period costumes, and a rich score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Some of the supporting …

[6] Janet Gaynor and Fredric March star in a love story so good, they’ve made it four times now — most recently with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the roles. Gaynor plays a small-town girl with dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress. With encouragement from her grandmother, she arrives in Tinseltown bright-eyed and bushy-tailed only to discover what everyone discovers — that opportunity is …

[7] Paul Newman reunites with director Martin Ritt (Hud, The Long Hot Summer) for this ensemble Western based on the novel by Elmore Leonard. It’s an Eastwoodesque performance from Newman, playing a reticent loner raised by Apaches who ends up having to protect a stagecoach crew that initially thumb their noses at him. I don’t think the ending was particularly well executed, but the characters …

[5] I love the concept, but Death Takes a Holiday has a hard time overcoming the theatricality of its source material, a stage play by Alberto Casella. The sets are extravagant and the visual effects used to depict Death are remarkable for the time (double-exposure with a moving camera — I don’t know how they did it without computers). But the film is way too …