Drama · Thriller

The Sidney-Poitier-as-Social-Barometer Film Theory

We’re working on a Sidney Poitier film theory. We started developing this theory while watching the 1950 thriller No Way Out, in which Poitier portrays a young doctor at a busy city hospital. As the film opens, Poitier is asked to fill a shift in the hospital prison ward, where he examines two white prisoners. The two are brothers, and are sporting gunshot wounds… Continue reading The Sidney-Poitier-as-Social-Barometer Film Theory

Drama · Musical

The Great Gabbo: Mad Ventriloquist Skills

The next time you’re in the mood for a truly strange film, give this one a try. Now, we don’t mean strange as in occultist or supernatural; we mean strange as in, What kind of movie is this? We’ve recently glommed onto The Great Gabbo (1929), an early “talking picture”. It stars Erich von Stroheim as… Continue reading The Great Gabbo: Mad Ventriloquist Skills

Drama · War

Why John Wayne has to do Everything Around Here

There’s a delicious meta moment in the 1951 drama, Operation Pacific, a film that mostly takes place on a submarine during WWII. In the film, the submarine crew is watching a Cary Grant movie that is also set in a submarine. One of the crew members quips, “It’s amazing what Hollywood can do with submarines.” It’s amazing… Continue reading Why John Wayne has to do Everything Around Here


How Sidney Poitier Taught Us Forgiveness

There is something of a miracle in the 1963 drama, Lilies of the Field. The film, adapted from the 1962 novel by William E. Barrett, stars Sidney Poitier as a traveling carpenter who experiences car trouble in Arizona. Here he meets a strict Order of Eastern European nuns trying to scratch a living out of the dry… Continue reading How Sidney Poitier Taught Us Forgiveness

Drama · Thriller

Barbara Bel Geddes: Caught in an Unrealistic Worldview

One of the most satisfying experiences in film, in our opinion, is when a sympathetic character decides Enough Is Enough. A good actor lets you know the instant their character snaps, usually with a clenched jaw and don’t-mess-with-me expression. Barbara Bel Geddes has such a moment in the 1949 thriller Caught, a film loosely based… Continue reading Barbara Bel Geddes: Caught in an Unrealistic Worldview

Drama · War

To Sink a Battleship

They say it was the longest military campaign of World War II. The Battle of the Atlantic was a struggle to control shipping routes from Great Britain and North America to continental Europe. As you can imagine, protecting the transport of equipment and soldiers across the ocean was critical to the Allied war effort. The Germans… Continue reading To Sink a Battleship


Ingrid Bergman as the Ignoble Hedda Gabler

Really, there is no reason to like the fictional character Hedda Gabler. She’s vain, contemptuous and competitive. She’s not someone with whom you could let down your guard or trust with confidences. Yet, she can be witty and charming. She’s knowledgeable and smart – and that is the problem. Hedda Gabler is too smart for her own good. Hedda Gabler,… Continue reading Ingrid Bergman as the Ignoble Hedda Gabler


Constance Cummings Saves an American Bank

Here’s a depressing activity: Do an online search of the term “bank run”. In doing so, you’ll likely come across this cheerful tidbit on Investopedia: A bank run occurs when a large number of customers of a bank or another financial institution withdraw their deposits simultaneously due to concerns about the bank’s solvency. As more people withdraw their… Continue reading Constance Cummings Saves an American Bank

Drama · Film Noir

John Garfield: Film in a Dangerous Time

We’ve been musing about pathetic fallacy. Now, we don’t want you to miss all the fun, so here’s a quick definition: Pathetic Fallacy attributes human qualities and emotions to inanimate objects of nature. The word “pathetic” … is not used in the derogatory sense of being miserable; rather, here, it stands for “imparting emotions to something else”.… Continue reading John Garfield: Film in a Dangerous Time

Drama · War

Starring Joan Crawford, as France

You know those unpleasant times in life, such medical issues, the loss of a loved one, or a parade of rotten luck? Of course you do, and we’re guessing you went on with life anyway, determined to not let circumstances Break You. But when a minor setback occurs, such as misplacing keys or spilling a… Continue reading Starring Joan Crawford, as France