Tarantula (1955)

“I didn’t expect to see a biologist that looked like you!” Synopsis: After a mysteriously deformed corpse is found in the desert, a local doctor (John Agar) investigates a laboratory where a scientist (Leo G. Carroll) is experimenting with a serum designed to make creatures grow huge — thus hypothetically providing humanity’s exponentially expanding population […]

Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The (1969)

“I am always impressed by Ms. Brodie’s girls — in one way or another.” Synopsis: A free-spirited, Mussolini-loving teacher (Maggie Smith) — who’s had an affair with a married artist (Robert Stephens) and is currently dating her school’s music teacher (Gordon Jackson) — attempts to teach “her girls” — including dependable Sandy (Pamela Franklin), beautiful […]

Ball of Fire (1941)

“That is the kind of woman that makes whole civilizations topple!” Synopsis: When the nightclub-singing moll (Barbara Stanwyck) of a gangster (Dana Andrews) goes on the lam, she lands at the home of a group of professors working on a new encyclopedia. Soon she and Professor Potts (Gary Cooper) begin having romantic feelings for one […]

Little Miss Marker (1934)

“I ain’t takin’ no dolls for security!” Synopsis: When a bookie (Adolphe Menjou) accepts the young daughter (Shirley Temple) of a suicidal gambler as collateral, he and the moll (Dorothy Dell) of a local gangster (Charles Bickford) end up caring for her — but when Temple starts to pick up bad habits and slang, they […]

Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

“We’re nothing! We’re a bunch of grabbers, all of us, looking for the best of it!” Synopsis: When a destitute apple vendor (Bette Davis) learns her grown daughter (Ann-Margret) will be arriving from Spain with her noble fiance (Peter Mann) and his father (Arthur O’Connell), she enlists the help of a superstitious gangster (Glenn Ford) […]

Birth of the Blues (1941)

“Our music sure is going high-brow!” Synopsis: With support from a family servant (Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson), a clarinetist (Bing Crosby) in New Orleans builds on a rich tradition of African-American blues music in constructing his own White band — including a recently jailed cornet player (Brian Donlevy) and a singer (Mary Martin) with a young […]

Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)

“It’s a new kind of war — but it’s still war.” Synopsis: When a German doctor (Paul Lukas) comes to America to foment support for the Nazi cause, an unemployed man (Francis Lederer) eagerly joins forces with him in a fifth column — but they and their secret compatriots are soon foiled by an FBI […]

Platinum Blonde (1931)

“You’re my pal, aren’t you? Don’t turn female on me!” Synopsis: A reporter (Robert Williams) falls for and marries a blonde heiress (Jean Harlow), not realizing that his gal-pal (Loretta Young) has a crush on him. Genres: Cross-Class Romance Frank Capra Films Jean Harlow Films Journalists Loretta Young Films Love Triangle Review: Frank Capra directed […]

Juarez (1939)

“It is our task to strip the cloak of godliness from him, and show him to the Mexican people for who he really is.” Synopsis: Napoleon III (Claude Rains) and his wife (Gale Sondergaard) arrange for an Austrian archduke (Brian Aherne) and his wife (Bette Davis) to become Mexico’s new imperial rulers — not informing […]

Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The (1939)

“The necessities of a queen must transcend those of a woman.” Synopsis: During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (Bette Davis), Sir Walter Raleigh (Vincent Price) and Sir Robert Cecil (Henry Daniell) are determined to separate the aging queen from her young lover — the Earl of Essex (Errol Flynn) — by sending him to […]