City for Conquest (1940)

“Call it applause, call it ambition, call it whatever you’d like — but it’d take a lot more than a man to come between you two.” Synopsis: An aspiring dancer (Ann Sheridan) chooses a performing career over marriage with a truck driver (James Cagney) whose decision to fight for a boxing title leaves him with […]

St. Louis Blues (1958)

“There are only two kinds of horns: Gabriel’s and the devil’s!” Synopsis: Jazz composer W.C. Handy (Nat “King” Cole) goes against the wishes of his religious father (Juano Hernandez) in joining forces with a dance hall singer (Eartha Kitt); meanwhile, his loyal girlfriend (Ruby Dee) waits in the wings. Genres: African-Americans Biopics Father and Child […]

I Want to Live! (1958)

“Just this once, I wish it wasn’t ladies first.” Synopsis: Accused of participating in a murder, ex-convict Barbara Graham (Susan Hayward) awaits execution at San Quentin while the media hovers in the wings. Genres: Biopics Courtroom Drama Ex-Cons Prostitutes and Gigolos Robert Wise Films Strong Females Susan Hayward Films Review: Peary doesn’t review this Oscar-nominated […]

Citadel, The (1938)

“Your work isn’t making money — it’s bettering humanity, and you know it.” Synopsis: An earnest new doctor (Robert Donat) meets his wife (Rosalind Russell) when working and researching tuberculosis in a hard-scrabble Welsh mining town. With assistance from a friend (Rex Harrison), he soon finds himself living a more luxurious existence serving wealthier clients […]

Life of Emile Zola, The (1937)

“Posterity will choose between your name and mine.” Synopsis: After steadily growing fame and fortune, French author Emile Zola (Paul Muni) — enjoying a comfortable life with his loving wife (Gloria Holden) — is called to action when a Jewish captain (Joseph Schildkraut) is falsely accused of treason, and his wife (Gale Sondergaard) seeks Zola’s […]

Mother Wore Tights (1947)

“No kid of mine is going to be born in front of a backdrop!” Synopsis: A vaudevillian (Dan Dailey) and his wife (Betty Grable) perform together on stage until Grable becomes a mother. When she eventually decides to return to her performing career, her oldest daughter (Mona Freeman) is mortified by how their family will […]

Barbed Wire Dolls (1976)

“No government inspector would dare condemn our ways, because we have the worst degenerates — female whores, addicts, pimps, abortionists. They’re the worst kind of scum!” Synopsis: A young woman (Lina Romay) imprisoned for killing her incestuous father (Jess Franco) joins a cell with a babbling redhead (Beni Cardoso) who has gone off the deep […]

Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

“What I’m trying to do is give an account of the times in which I’m living. And I’ve seen all kinds of murder — physical, yes, but moral, spiritual, emotional murder!” Synopsis: A controversial fashion photographer (Faye Dunaway) known for her graphically violent and sexualized imagery begins seeing murders of her colleagues and friends take […]

Member of the Wedding, The (1952)

“We go around trying first one thing, then another. Yet we’re still caught, just the same.” Synopsis: A housekeeper (Ethel Waters) cares for a sickly young boy (Brandon de Wilde) and his 12-year-old cousin Frankie (Julie Harris), who wants nothing more than to join in the excitement and romance of her brother’s (Arthur Franz) marriage […]

Camille (1936)

“Never be jealous again! Never doubt that I love you more than the world — more than myself.” Synopsis: In 19th century Paris, a sickly courtesan (Greta Garbo) whose bills are paid by a wealthy baron (Henry Daniell) falls in love with a young admirer (Robert Taylor) whose father (Lionel Barrymore) fears for his reputation. […]