Beginning or the End, The (1947)

“Our country must have an atomic bomb. It’s your job — and mine — to get it.” Synopsis: Scientists during WWII — led by Colonel Oppenheimer (Hume Cronyn) and General Groves (Brian Donlevy) — race to develop the first atomic bomb. Genres: Atomic Energy Brian Donlevy Films Hume Cronyn Films Race-Against-Time Scientists WWII Review: Though […]

Our Mother’s House (1967)

“Don’t worry… We’ll manage. We managed all the time mother was ill, and we’ll manage now. We’ve got to have faith!” Synopsis: After their deeply religious mother (Annette Carell) dies, seven siblings (Margaret Brooks, Pamela Franklin, Louis Sheldon Williams, John Gugolka, Mark Lester, Phoebe Nicholls, and Gustav Henry) bury her in the backyard and try […]

5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., The (1953)

“Tomorrow, down below me, I will have 500 little boys, 5,000 little fingers — and they’ll be mine, all mine!” Synopsis: Fatherless Bartholomew Collins (Tommy Rettig) dreams that his nefarious piano teacher, Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried), plans to enslave 500 boys and force them to play an enormous piano with 5,000 keys. He enlists the […]

King of Hearts (1966)

“All life is a spectacle — you’re on a stage.” Synopsis: During the final days of World War I, a meek private named Charles Plumpick (Alan Bates) is sent to a French village to find and dismantle a bomb. Once there, he discovers that most of the citizens have fled, and that harmless insane asylum […]

I Vitelloni / The Young and the Passionate (1953)

“Who are you? You’re nobody. You’re all nobodies.” Synopsis: A group of male friends in 1950s Italy — including a newly married womanizer (Franco Fabrizi) and an aspiring playwright (Leopoldo Trieste) — dream of leaving town and making it big. Genres: Coming of Age Fellini Films Friendship Italian Films Womanizers Review: Along with Amarcord (1973), […]

Directed by John Ford (1971/2006)

“‘Directed by John Ford’: what do those words really mean, anyway?” Synopsis: Peter Bogdanovich analyzes John Ford’s rich cinematic oeuvre. Genres: Documentary Movie Directors Peter Bogdanovich Films Review: Peter Bogdanovich’s adulatory look at iconic American director John Ford features movie clips from many of Ford’s most well-known films, a resonant voiceover narration by Ford-fan Orson […]

Stars Look Down, The (1940)

“These men and women are the backbone of nations, the stuff of human destiny — simple, working people, such as there are the world over, in all countries, and in all times.” Synopsis: An idealistic young man (Michael Redgrave) from a Welsh mining town hopes to return with a university degree and improve conditions for […]

Demon Pond (1979)

“There’s a firm covenant: as long as this bell is rung three times a day, the village is safe. The princess is bound by it.” Synopsis: A teacher (Gakuen Yamasawa) traveling through a drought-ridden Japanese village meets a long-lost friend (Akira Hagiwara) who has remained in the town both because of his marriage to a […]

Tender Mercies (1983)

“Every night when I say my prayers and I thank the Lord for his blessings and his tender mercies, you and Sonny hit the list.” Synopsis: A former country music star (Robert Duvall) starts a new life with a young widow (Tess Harper) and her son (Allan Hubbard). Genres: Character Studies Has-Beens Musicians Robert Duvall […]

Reefer Madness / Tell Your Children / The Burning Question / Dope Addict / Doped Youth / Love Madness (1936)

“The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you.” Synopsis: A principal (Joseph Forte) warns parents against the evil influence of “marihuana” by telling the story of an upstanding teen named Bill (Kenneth Craig) whose life went downhill after he was led into a life of wild partying by drug dealers Mae (Thelma […]