Spellbound (1945)

Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Spellbound Movie Review

Spellbound is a 1945 noir mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. It is a pretty good, interesting Hitchcock experiment.

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Women make the best psychoanalysts until they fall in love.

After that they make the best patients

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Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

Now I have read that Hitchcock himself dissed the movie decades later and truly the film isn’t a favorite nowadays. But I disagree with that notion. It is certainly far from his best works and it isn’t a great film, but it is still a pretty good film which is pretty on par with most of his other 40s efforts.

The movie is criticized for being dated, but to me the film is pleasantly old-fashioned in its approach and I loved personally the emphasis on traditional mystery and a strong reliance on psychology. Whether or not the film is scientifically accurate is a non-issue as movies, especially thrillers, aren’t supposed to be scientifically correct. I personally really liked the theme of psychoanalysis here and it was very well explored and even fascinating to hear about.

The film is a bit too cozy and less ambitious and dangerous than his usual fare, but that meant that it was original and different. The mystery is so well established and I loved the path to untangling it. It is a well written, mysterious and atmospheric film that works great as a noir mystery with some good thriller elements.

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Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

There are three highlights here. One is the dream sequence done by Salvador Dali. That was of course authentic and unforgettable visually. Another is of course the childhood flashback which is beautiful and such a great, important moment. And the third is that ending with the gunshot being fired at the audience being very inventive.

Gregory Peck is very good in Spellbound, but Ingrid Bergman is the standout here. She gave such a strong, subtle performance and she should have been nominated for her work here. She plays such a strong female character who is a doctor and who eventually saves her man. That is why the film is not sexist as some remarked, but rather opposite than that and modern.

Spellbound has some evident problems. One is the pacing which is at times slow. The entire first half should have been trimmed down a bit and some scenes are too slow and even dull. I also didn’t quite follow the murder storyline quite as well as the childhood drama one. It was a bit too convoluted.

But other than that, it is a very good film. One of the character highlights is Alex Brulov played so well by Michael Chekhov. His somewhat sexist and full of himself character was a lot of fun and he made me laugh a couple of times.

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Spellbound Movie Review…………………………………………………..

The film features very strong dialogue. Some of it wasn’t as great, but most of the conversations and discussions were very interesting and even fascinating in subject. The film has such an interesting psychological, dreamlike quality to it emphasized by gorgeous cinematography and many excellent shots and beautifully constructed sequences. Hitch’s direction is very strong here. The film isn’t as good as ‘Lifeboat’ or ‘Shadow of a Doubt‘, but it is better than overrated ‘Foreign Correspondent’ and it is a very underrated 40s effort from the director.

Spellbound is sometimes too convoluted and it drags in some scenes, but it is mostly a very intriguing, different kind of noir mystery with a strong emphasis on psychology. Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman are an excellent pair here with her in particular delivering a very strong performance. The film is intriguingly dreamlike in quality fueled by gorgeous cinematography and a couple of unforgettable sequences such as the gunshot ending, the childhood flashback and a weird dream scene done by Salvador Dali. It is a pretty underrated Hitchcock film.

My Rating – 4

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The Heiress (1949)

The Heiress Movie Review

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The Heiress Movie Review

The Heiress is a 1949 drama film directed by William Wyler and starring Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift. It is such a good, dramatic movie.

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Yes, I can be very cruel.

I have been taught by masters

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The Heiress Movie Review

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It is about a naive woman who falls in love with a handsome young man and decides to marry him despite the objections of her emotionally abusive father who suspects the man of being a fortune hunter. This is not a terribly original story, but it is applicable nonetheless and certainly timeless. It is relevant to this day and this issue is very well explored in this movie.
I like these melodramas from the forties even though I guess they did not age well according to many people. Here the change in Catherine’s personality is certainly not handled well and it was overly rushed and even over-the-top. But I still liked it in terms of storytelling no matter how weakly it was executed. It lead to a much more interesting and memorable film than I expected it to have been given its previously standard story. But the ending twisted my expectations and it was unpredictable and very fascinating.

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The Heiress Movie Review

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The Heiress features stellar performances from its superb cast. Of course Olivia de Havilland is so great in one of her best roles that rightfully garnered her an Oscar win. But Montgomery Clift is also really good in an atypical role for him and to me Ralph Richardson shouldn’t be forgotten in this acting conversation as he delivered such a great performance in a very interesting role. All three of them are terrific.
Despite the lack of subtlety and sometimes apparent over-the-top approach in the last third of the film, it was still a memorable and very dramatic and even dark turn of events. I loved that ending which was beautifully conceived and is the most unforgettable sequence of the entire film. But I also liked all of those scenes between the romantic duo as it featured terrific acting from both of them with Clift being surprisingly subtle in his role.
It deals so well with the troublesome father-daughter relationships and the father is certainly the most fascinating character here as they never made him too good, but the fact that he knew what was going on and wanted to help his daughter, but also emotionally abused her and definitely was unsensitive to her led to such a realistic and complex character who stole the show for sure.

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The Heiress Movie Review

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William Wyler of course directed the film superbly and it is also very well shot and edited with never a dull moment. I loved its sophisticated dialogue and the script is mostly fantastic. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four. It deserved all of the wins and noms, but I wish that Ralph Richardson had won for Supporting Actor. Regardless, it remains a memorable and very involving film which is certainly one of the best of 1949.

The Heiress is definitely rushed and over-the-top in its third act, but still featuring a very interesting and unpredictable turn of events. It is such a well told and relevant story imbued by excellent direction and of course terrific performances from Montgomery Clift who is admirably subtle in his role, Olivia de Havilland who is phenomenal and deserved her Oscar and even Ralph Richardson who shouldn’t be forgotten as he wonderfully acted the most fascinating character in the film.

My Rating – 4.5

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Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 psychological thriller noir film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. It is such a flawed, yet respectable movie.

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He thought the world was a horrible place.

He couldn’t have been very happy, ever.

He didn’t trust people. Seemed to hate them.

He hated the whole world. You know,

he said people like us had no idea what the world was really like

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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It is about a teenage girl who learns that her uncle who has just come to visit their family is actually a murderer. This plot is quite standard and there is nothing truly original here. The same goes for some of its execution, mostly the first half. I just knew everything that would happen as the story is predictable and you know from the start that he is the criminal.
But still that aspect of the darkness lurking beneath the light is quite fascinating here. The movie is incredibly dark and that is why it is probably the only noir film from Hitchcock, a sort of noir as it has some of those elements for sure. This idyllic little town seems great at first, but then we witness how seedy some of its parts are and of course we realize that the man who seemed wonderful and kind at first is actually a cold, calculated killer.
I liked his character quite a bit and I honestly liked Charlie too. She was a bit too naive and good-natured, but that perfectly clashed with her uncle’s personality and all of the scenes between the two are terrific. I loved the final scene in the movie as it showcases how despite everything some people just cannot stop loving their relatives and I really liked the ultimately positive look on life that was present in that final line.

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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As for the other characters, they are solid, but overly abundant. I liked her bookworm sister, quite funny at times. The mother is also memorable and of course Charlie’s love interest is quite likable and the two are wonderful together. As for those two men constantly talking about possible murder methods, I do not know what to think of these two. Their conversations fit the story of the film and they are quite a fun, goofy duo, but they seemed too comedic and I do not know if this movie needed two full comic reliefs.
Shadow of a Doubt is really well acted with Joseph Cotten delivering such a strong performance. I am glad that they haven’t chosen William Powell. I love him to death, but he isn’t suited for this role and Cotten is. As for Teresa Wright, she was always such an underrated actress whom I loved here. She gave a strong performance and was immensely charming and beautiful.

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Shadow of a Doubt Movie Review

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Hitchcock directed this movie really well. It truly is one of his better films from this period, but to me not one of the best. I really do think that it should have been shorter in length and some scenes were overly extended. The film is really well edited despite the first half. It took too much take to get there. And of course that train scene was awfully convenient and rushed. But despite those flaws, it is still such a well shot, directed and made movie which also features excellent dialogue and some memorable scenes with the library sequence being beautifully shot and so atmospheric. The film is thrilling despite its predictable nature.

Shadow of a Doubt is definitely too predictable in plot, it takes its time to get ther owing to a slow start plus the train sequence is rushed and awfully convenient. However, the story is pretty well told, the characters are memorable and really well developed, I really liked its interesting themes, the cinematography is gorgeous and some scenes are very memorable and so well conceived. Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten are also phenomenal. It is in the a very good film, but I do not share Hitchcock’s sentiments as it isn’t my favorite movie of his, not by a long shot.

My Rating – 4

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The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

The Magnificent Ambersons Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The Magnificent Ambersons Movie Review

The Magnificent Ambersons is a 1942 period drama directed by Orson Welles and starring Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead and Tim Holt. It is an expectedly overrated movie.

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I said, automobiles are a useless nuisance.

Never amount to anything but a nuisance.

They had no business to be invented

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The Magnificent Ambersons Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The plot isn’t there. This is a story that obviously came from the book and is just not suited for visual media such as film. And certainly it has too many characters, too many plot points and developments and it is overly entangled and complicated for such a short running time. Everything is underdeveloped, underutilized and ultimately quite weak.

I truly think that Orson Welles is the most overrated classic director as I find most of his films to be pretty weak. This one doesn’t change that tradition for me. None of its characters was even remotely memorable. Yes, the acting is great for sure. Joseph Cotten is as good as usual and Tim Holt and Agnes Moorehead are very good themselves, but the characters they play are beyond weak. This is the kind of family drama that is very soapy, boring and overly melodramatic and filled with so many gossips and rumors that it reminded of soap operas.

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What The Magnificent Ambersons does right lies in the technical departments. The direction from Welles is admittedly quite weak, but the visuals are mesmerizing. I loved the art direction and it deserved to be Oscar nominated for sure. The film has gorgeous cinematography and that castle is beautiful to watch. It is also meticulous in detail and you really feel as if you’ve been transported to the beginning of the 20th century. It serves as a good, charming look at that particular time period and I loved the transitions in technology portrayed here, especially that in automobiles. But I still found the plot itself and the characters way too boring and pointless and the film did not deserve its Best Picture nomination at all. It is cited as one of the best American films of all time by the critics which is just crazy talk to me. Ridiculous.

The Magnificent Ambersons is an expectedly overrated film from one of the most overrated directors. The art direction and cinematography are admittedly splendid along with its attention to detail as it transports you well into its time period. But that’s about it. It was so obviously not meant to be a film material and it’s a dull, gossipy soap opera filled with too many characters and a lack of any meaningful plot to it.

My Rating – 3

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Lifeboat (1944)

Lifeboat Movie Review

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Lifeboat Movie Review

Lifeboat is a 1944 thriller drama film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Tallulah Bankhead among others. It is such an underrated Hitch entertainer.

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Dying together’s even more personal than living together

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Lifeboat Movie Review……………………………………………………

It is set on a lifeboat which contains survivers from a sinking ship during a naval attack in World War II. One of the people on the boat is German so the conflict naturally arises. This is one of those limited space movies and Hitchcock’s take on it is quite inspired which was expected from his caliber. The movie is consistently engaging and works as a great chamber drama while also being a triller.
The character development is quite stupendous. Some characters are weaker and less interesting such as Alice and Hume, but others such as Ritt and Gus are quite memorable. But of course Kovac and Connie are the standouts and I just loved their dynamic. The movie is surprisingly sensual for a Hitchcock film. She is such a great character, very competent and complex, fuelled by Tallulah Bankhead’s absolutely terrific performance. She should have been Oscar nominated for this role in my opinion.

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Lifeboat Movie Review

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There is one problem in Lifeboat and that is its treatment of Germans. I realize that it was pretty different and even too positive for that time, but for now not so much. Willi is too much of a villain here and it is totally ridiculous that anyone on a boat surrounded by Americans would think he has a chance against them. I did not like that at all. Gus’s murder raised the stakes, but it was still unnecessary and I felt bad for him.
But there is one person that is suprisingly for its time very well treated here and that’s Joe. Yes, Hitchcock was obviously not a racist for including this character. Joe is very likable and sympathetic and the rest of the group treat him nicely and with respect. It is great seeing a black character portrayed in such a wonderful manner during the 40s.

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Lifeboat Movie Review

 

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I liked almost all of its parts. Some scenes in Lifeboat were less interesting than the others, but most of them are very engaging thanks in large part to such excellent characterization and superb dialogue. I loved the dynamic between the group and they honestly felt like such a wonderful group of people. I liked the ending and to me the humor, especially with Connie, is excellent. It needed more thriller elements, but as a drama Lifeboat excels.
Lifeboat is one of the most underrated Hitchcock films. Yes, it may be unrealistic at times and some characters and scenes are less interesting than the others, but it benefits from very strong acting (Tallulah Bankhead is so good here), a terrific set of characters and an intriguing drama and dilemmas brewing between those well-rounded characters. It is also authentic in its setting meaning that not many films of the era revolve on the boat. It is flawed, but it’s an entirely involving, very good and an unfortunately forgotten film from the master of suspense.

My Rating – 4

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Saboteur (1942)

Saboteur Movie Review……………………………………………………

Saboteur Movie Review

Saboteur is a 1942 spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane. It is one of his most underappreciated films.

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Don’t you know I can see a great deal farther than you can?

I can see intangible things.

For example, innocence

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Saboteur Movie Review……………………………………………………

I have to say that the conspiracy plot here is highly typical. We’ve seen this premise with man accused of crime that he didn’t commit done many times before and it is his usual theme. It isn’t that unpredictable and rarely does it contain truly original scenes in it.

However, it still surprised me with its quality as the execution of this story is so good. This is without any doubt one of the most purely entertaining films from the Master of Suspense. I’ve had such a great time watching it and it is both fun and charming.

The beginning and ending are important, but not the best. The entire middle section of the film is where the movie shines. I loved the high adventure and the relationship between these two characters and the highlights are the river scene and of course the whole extended sequence with the circus performers was so authentic, highly interesting and a blast to watch.

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Saboteur Movie Review……………………………………………………

The characters are solid. Pat and Barry are both archetypes, but still realized really well and highly sympathetic. I loved their interactions and they are a great couple. Priscilla Lane and Robert Cummings are certainly B-actors and their performances aren’t the greatest, but they are still very charming and serve as great eye candy.

Saboteur is technically a very well made film. The cinematography is so good and it contains a lot of memorable scenes with unforgettable imagery. Of course the last scene with the Statue of Liberty is such a memorable climax, although too typical for Hitch. The sound is strong and I liked its lack of score as it fits the plot.

In terms of it being a thriller, it is a solid one with some chases and fights being quite fun to watch, but still I expected more thrills and danger from it and there were too many obvious scenarios in my opinion. The film is definitely too influenced by some of Hitchcock’s previous works and it never quite achieves to be its own thing, no matter how entertaining it is.

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Saboteur Movie Review……………………………………………………

The spy elements are solid, but still not the greatest. I liked that the film doesn’t have any score as it didn’t need it at all. As for its dialogue, it is pretty solid and actually quite funny at times. Saboteur surprised me with its high amount of humor at times. The director is more than capable of making funny movies which is why I think that he definitely should have tried to make a comedy in his career, but unfortunately he never did. Saboteur is funny and actually very charming in both its story and couple. I found the villains to be overly typical, but that entire party sequence found good use of them and was a memorable part of the film. The flick flows really well and is fun and involving to watch from beginning to end which is why I think that its status is definitely underserved as it is better than a lot of his previous movies. Very underrated and it really caught me by surprise.

Saboteur is one of Hitchcock’s most underrated and most unabashedly entertaining films. It certainly is not original, the acting isn’t the greatest and the beginning and ending are typical, but the entire middle section was so much fun with excellent scenarios, a memorable romantic pair at its center and with so many unforgettable and immensely entertaining scenes populated with memorable characters and imagery.

My Rating – 4

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Ball of Fire (1941)

Ball of Fire Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

Ball of Fire Movie Review

Ball of Fire is a 1941 screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. It is a very charming and endearing screwball comedy.

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I love him because he’s the kind of a guy that gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk,

and I love the way he blushes right up over his ears.

Love him because he doesn’t know how to kiss, the jerk!

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Ball of Fire Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

It follows a group of professors who are writing a big encyclopedia. A nightclub performer then comes to live with them for a while in order to provide her knowledge of slang to the linguistics professor and eventually the two fall in love. I found the film’s plot to actually be kind of genius. It is basically a modern retelling of the tale of Snow White and even though it is sort of a parody, it still managed to be original and interesting in its own right. I really liked how both of the subplots were well incorporated into a coherent whole even though its conclusion felt typical and somewhat unbelievable.

The characters are so great. All of the professors were wonderful and endearing. I liked their dynamic and that they worked superbly as a group. They never approached the quality of the dwarfs from the original fairy tale film, but they were still pretty good and memorable in their own right. I also found the gangsters to be surprisingly solid.

Professor Bertram Potts is such a kind and wonderful soul. He is such a likable protagonist. And of course Sugarpuss is the highlight and she is such a phenomenal character. I loved her conflict, the relationship between the two was wonderful and truly all of interactions between her and the others were fantastic.

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Ball of Fire Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

The acting is terrific. Every one of these talented older actors did a great job in their roles. Dana Andrews is also pretty memorable as the main villain. As for Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, I was surprised at how amazing this mix turned out to be. Naturally the clash between personalities is obvious and somewhat unrealistic, but it was still endearing to follow. Gary Cooper is as immensely likable as ever in this movie, if not the most likable. Barbara Stanwyck gave one of her finest performances here, she is professional, charismatic and she carried every scene she was in, whether emotional or comedic. She entirely deserved her Oscar nomination and truly the film’s acting and especially casting are top-notch.

Ball of Fire is truly such a great movie, but it isn’t fantastic as it just never reached that greatness somehow. I guess because it was way too predictable and because I never laughed out loud. The humor is actually very good and some lines and jokes were pretty funny, but none of it was as truly hilarious as I’ve come to expect from screwball comedies. But still, it came close and when screwball comedies from the forties are concerned, the film is definitely one of the best examples.

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Ball of Fire Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

Ball of Fire is very well edited and paced, never rushed and never slow. It is hugely entertaining from start to finish and it just flew by how fun it was. It provided me a wonderful and entertaining evening. The dialogue is as great as you would expect from everyone involved. Some of the lines felt overly childish and sometimes the film verged into caricaturing its characters, but it mostly managed to stay away from that and instead offer us such a likable bunch of people. The direction from Howard Hawks is expectedly great too.

Ball of Fire is such an immensely entertaining and charming film. It isn’t as hilarious as I’d come to expect from screwball comedies, but it is still pretty funny at times and it is actually one of the genre’s best when it comes to the forties. Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper are superb in their roles as is everyone else too, the story is such a fun rendition/parody of Snow White, the characters are so likable and the film is just so wonderful and fun that you just can’t resist it.

My Rating – 4.5

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Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Foreign Correspondent Movie Review

Foreign Correspondent is a 1940 spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joel McCrea, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders and Albert Bassermann. It is a disappointing movie.

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I’m in love with a girl, and I’m going to help hang her father.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

It is about an American reporter who tries to expose enemy spies in Britain who are involved in a conspiracy in the prelude to World War II. Now the plot is solid, if a bit too of its time. I liked the movie, but it is just solid and being solid isn’t what’s expected from The Master of Suspense. The major problem in terms of storytelling lies in its convoluted nature. I couldn’t get invested in it because there were too many convoluted plot points, not great twists and turns and it was overall needlessly complicated.

Another problem lies in the character development and the acting. None of these characters were remotely interesting or memorable, at least not in my opinion. They are all solid and they are at least somewhat developed, but they just felt typical. Of the actors, everyone did a solid job, but none of them stood out which is weird as this is a really good cast of actors. It basically had no time for either of them to properly get their due and that is exactly what happened here.

If there is one thing Foreign Correspondent got right, those are the technical aspects. Wow, does this movie look great!. The cinematography is amazing and everything looks splendid with memorable imagery. The set design in this movie is brilliant, unforgettable and instantly recognizable from the windmill to the streets to the airplane.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Definitely the action is very well utilized, but to me it was still overabundant and too much like a modern instead of classic thriller and I am always up for more classic. That is one of the reasons why it disappointed me. The pacing is awfully frenetic and yet at times dull. Very uneven as is the entire picture. The direction from Hitchcock is also problematic. It is obviously quite good, but not as great as you’d come to expect from him as the entire film doesn’t run as smoothly as his other efforts and sometimes it felt to me that it was a pretty weak sum of some great parts.

That is this movie in a nutshell – works great many times as a singular scene, but when taken into context, it mostly falls apart. Now watching it after so many decades, it definitely is interesting as it was made just at the cusp of World War II and it does feel urgent. I also really liked is global feel as it makes use of various locations and nations in it which was a refreshing change in pace for the pictures of the time as was its emphasis on outdoors sequences. Some of the scenes are thrilling and intense, but I wished that more of them were like that. It definitely is more a spy than a thriller flick and its spy elements are certainly better utilized.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

In the year of ‘Rebecca in which it came out, it is infinitely inferior and it is one of his lesser works. It is still a solid movie, but not up to his standards. As for its Academy Award nominations, Albert Bassermann’s nod was deserved and of course the visual effects, cinematography and art direction are awesome here, but the nominations for Picture and screenplay were ridiculous to me as the year was too strong for its inclusion in those categories.

Foreign Correspondent looks amazing with absolutely spectacular cinematography, just brilliant and unforgettable set design and great effects, but it is ultimately just a solid movie which is not what you’d come to expect from The Master of Suspense. The script is problematic, the film is overly convoluted, the pacing is all over the place and the characters are forgettable. It is one of Hitchcock’s weakest 1940s efforts.

My Rating – 3.5

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Out of the Past (1947)

Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Out of the Past Movie Review

Out of the Past is a 1947 noir film directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. It is said to be one of the greatest noir films of all time and I have to agree with that assessment.

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Nothing in the world is any good unless you can share it.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Now the plot here is superb. The only problem with the plot and the entire movie is that it is overly convoluted in a typical noir fashion. I understood most of it, but some of the scenes in the second act of the film were too entangled and not properly explained. It also has a lot of twists and turns and a lot of characters, but it manages to be satisfying in most of those areas.

I loved each and every character here. The film features terrific character development and superlative acting leading to fully realized characters with the protagonist in particular being amazing. Kathie I found to be one of the most effective femme fatale noir personalities and she never disappointed. Whit wasn’t as good, but was well incorporated into the storyline.

Kirk Douglas is solid in his role which is his earliest role I’ve seen. Jane Greer also played it really well and she manages to exude that mystery and danger around her wonderfully. But Robert Mitchum shines above both of them and gives one of the definitive performances in a noir film. He is so suave here, so handsome and cool, yet so tragic and sad which is evident in his eyes. He is such a memorable presence and his character is very complex owing to such a great, subtle performance that is one of his greatest.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Whereas Out of the Past features a weaker second act, the first and third one are stellar. I loved how Kathie and Jeff met and those sequences were very romantic and so well shot, but the ending is even better. In fact, it features one of the most memorable ending scenes of the period. I loved how the story ended and although dark, it was essential for this kind of story and you have a great final moment where Jeff’s girlfriend asks about him and if he was going away with Kathie during his last moments. That was so heartbreaking to watch and the entire film is very poignant.

Out of the Past features great twists and excellent character motivations. It truly is a splendid script. But the dialogue is even better and as brisk and clever as you would expect from this type of film. The same goes for its technical aspects which are all terrific. The cinematography is so good and some of the shots are quite inspired, they really contribute to the overall atmosphere which is expectedly dark, moody and melancholic. The score is also great and some of the imagery is very memorable with those scenes in Mexico being the highlights.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Everything is so well done here, including the film’s themes. It showcases how a woman can ruin a man and this is probably one of the most extreme examples of that, even for noir standards. But it also shows us loneliness in the main character who is one of the most moving and memorable protagonists of any 40s flick. The film grew on me as I at first didn’t love it that much, but after I have watched it entirely and after thinking about it a bit, I started to appreciate it and it truly is one of the best noir films out there.

Out of the Past is very difficult to understand and too convoluted in the second act, but the first act is so well done and the third act is tragic and simply unforgettable. It features one of the finest protagonists of its time period with Robert Mitchum being so memorable in this great role, but it also has superb cinematography, very good story and a very poignant tone to it leading to one of the finest noir films.

My Rating – 4.5

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Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Rebecca Movie Review

Rebecca is a 1940 mystery film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier and Judith Anderson. It is such an authentic mystery.

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Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Now of course Rebecca is an accomplished movie on many grounds, but I’ve had an interesting history with it. When I watched it for the first time, I thought it was just solid. Upon second viewing, I thought it was really good and now, upon my third viewing, I really changed my mind and now I think it is a great film by all means. It really grew on me and I have always respected the films that become better and better every time you see it and this is a great example of that phenomenon.

Rebecca is above all else a great story. It follows a young woman who becomes the second wife of an aristocrat and comes to live in his mansion. But she can’t escape the ghost of his previous, deceased wife whom the servants absolutely adored. It is a testament to Hitchcock’s ingenuity that we never see Rebecca in the film and yet we feel like we met her as she is always present in the conversations between the characters. That created such a weird, even creepy feel to the movie.

I really liked both of the main characters and their relationship is strongly developed. Favell is another strong, sneaky character played wonderfully by typically cold and malicious George Sanders. He was perfectly cast for this role and he delivered in spades. But of course Mrs. Danvers is the true standout character and she is one of Hitchcock’s most menacing and unforgettable villains. Some of her scenes were extremely creepy and atmospheric and I loved that her fascination with Rebecca drove her every move.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Judith Anderson is suitably theatrical in the role and this is the best type of theatrical performance, the one that fits and lifts the role. She gave such an outstanding performance that should have brought her a supporting Oscar. Laurence Olivier is quite good, but Joan Fontaine deserved her Oscar nomination and she maybe even should have won. Despite a couple of overly emphasized moments, she mostly excelled in a difficult main role. The acting in this movie is truly top-notch.

Rebecca succeeds as a gothic tale in spades. It is actually one of the finest mystery films that I have ever seen as it is just always riveting to watch and wonderfully atmospheric. The plot unfolded in a really well crafted and structured manner and all of the twists and turns were satisfying and clever.

I have rarely seen a better looking movie than this one. The cinematography is excellent and some of the imagery here is just unforgettable and I will remember some scenes for years to come. But the art direction is just stunning as the house Manderley is absolutely magnificent to behold with its gothic look and we explore many of its parts leading to it becoming a character in its own right. The score is also fantastic and of course the direction from Hitchcock is brilliant.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Let’s talk about some of Rebecca’s flaws. Now I still stand by my original assessment that this is not one of Hitchcock’s best films. It is on the list, but certainly not in the top five. And it did not deserve to win Best Picture in an especially strong year for film, ridiculously strong actually. In many other years, yes, but here it was undeserved.

The pacing in particular is troublesome. It takes its time to get there owing to a slow start and some of the scenes were a bit too long in my opinion. The third act of the film I really liked, but it still felt like a different movie with its courtroom drama elements and I can’t help but wonder what this movie would have turned out had the story remained the same as it was in the first half. I definitely liked the conclusion and the ending is particularly striking, but it did have a bit too many twists in it and the final twist, although good, is a bit too convenient.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

But it is mostly a very good, respectable film that is even artistic in its look and very original and memorable in its story. It is one of the most successful gothic mysteries ever put on screen. It was nominated for eleven Oscars but only won two and the cinematography win is much deserved. But production design as well as both of the actresses should have also won in my opinion.

Rebecca isn’t well paced, but it is such a strong mystery that is one of the finest ever put on screen. It isn’t one of Hitchcock’s best, but it comes close with top-notch performances, an unforgettable and creepy villain in Mrs. Danvers, very involving and well crafted plot and many memorable scenes that stay with you. It is also one of the finest looking black and white films thanks to some brilliant imagery, an even artistic look to it and amazing production design. Atmospheric and authentic, it is a thoroughly delightful gothic mystery.

My Rating – 4.5

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