Mr Watanabe’s Life-Fulfilling Project

“[T]his is one of the few movies that might actually be able to inspire someone to lead their life a little differently,” writes movie critic Roger Ebert. Ebert is speaking of the award-winning Japanese film Ikiru (1952), a haunting story about the meaning of one man’s life. Ikiru, in Japanese, means “to live”. The film is about a… Continue reading Mr Watanabe’s Life-Fulfilling Project

Comedy · Drama

A Love Affair, Recycled

You really can’t beat Rita Wilson’s monologue in the 1993 romantic comedy, Sleepless in Seattle. In the film, a chagrined Tom Hanks is describing a potential meeting his young son has arranged with a stranger (Meg Ryan) at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. Wilson immediately recognizes this rendezvous from the 1957 classic film, An… Continue reading A Love Affair, Recycled

Drama · Western

William Wellman and the Accusatory Close-Up

*Spoiler Alert The trouble with creating a masterpiece is sometimes people don’t automatically see it as such. One example is The Ox-Bow Incident, a 1943 western directed by William Wellman. This film was released during some of the darkest days of WWII and, as a result, it was a box office disappointment. Audiences were in no mood to… Continue reading William Wellman and the Accusatory Close-Up

Drama · Film Noir

Ida Lupino’s Murderous Sucker Punch

In 1940, Warner Bros. released They Drive By Night, a commentary on the American trucking industry. It starred George Raft, who was one of the studio’s biggest stars, and a young British actress who would steal the entire film. Her name was Ida Lupino. Lupino plays the perfectly-coiffed but disaffected wife of a trucking company… Continue reading Ida Lupino’s Murderous Sucker Punch

Comedy · Drama

Alice Guy: Entertaining Since 1896

They say Alice Guy (Alice Guy-Blaché) made over 600 movies between 1896-1920. Sure, a lot of these films were under 15 minutes, and she did have her own studio. Even so. Over six hundred movies. Although Guy’s work is slowly gaining more recognition through recent publications and a biopic Kickstarter campaign, she remains largely unknown. Now, we’re not saying Guy should be popular just… Continue reading Alice Guy: Entertaining Since 1896


Sounder: The Anti-Blaxploitation Film

“Son, don’t get used to this place.” This advice is from a sharecropping father to his eldest son in 1930s Louisiana – and if you guessed these people are black and poor, you guessed right. The father’s statement has dual meaning: Don’t settle for being a sharecropper, and don’t settle for being a poor black man in Louisiana. The line… Continue reading Sounder: The Anti-Blaxploitation Film


Kirk Douglas: Disaster Tourism for Fun & Profit

We humans are fascinated by disaster and tragedy. Many tourist attractions (politely named “Interpretive Centres”) have been built on the sites of man-made and natural disasters. You want to tour the Chernobyl nuclear power station? Click HERE! The gritty 1951 drama, Ace in the Hole, is one of the best films to explore disaster tourism, profitable side businesses and media… Continue reading Kirk Douglas: Disaster Tourism for Fun & Profit

Drama · Gangster

Saying Goodbye to the 1930s Gangster

*Spoiler Alert* Who doesn’t love that great dialogue from 1930s gangster flicks? These films treated us to such gems as: “Listen, you crummy, flat-footed copper. I’ll show you whether I’ve lost my nerve…!” – and – “Why, that dirty, no-good, yellow-bellied stool.” From these movies we learn what a “mug” is, how to “take a powder”, and when a… Continue reading Saying Goodbye to the 1930s Gangster

Drama · War

Fred MacMurray: Villain in Remission

*This post is one great big spoiler. There’s a neat villain bait-and-switch in the 1954 drama The Caine Mutiny. This film, based on the novel by Herman Wouk, is about a crew on an aging minesweeper during WWII. The script cleverly muddies the waters (ha ha) as it resets the parameters of villainy. When the tired, caustic captain… Continue reading Fred MacMurray: Villain in Remission