Night Nurse (1931)

“Those poor little kids are starving — anyone can see it in their faces! If somebody doesn’t do something, they won’t last another month!” Synopsis: A nurse (Barbara Stanwyck) caring for two sickly children (Marcia Mae Jones and Betty Jane Graham) soon suspects that their alcoholic mother’s chauffeur (Clark Gable) is in cahoots with a […]

Mildred Pierce (1945)

“I’d do anything for those kids, do you understand? Anything!” Synopsis: Divorced housewife Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford) works as a waitress to keep her two daughters — spoiled Ann Blyth and tomboyish Jo Ann Marlowe — living in style. With the help of an adoring male admirer (Jack Carson), she opens up a successful chain […]

On Dangerous Ground (1952)

“All we ever see is crooks, murderers, winos, stoolies, dames — all with an angle. You get so you think everybody’s like that; ’til you find out different, it’s kind of a lonely life.” Synopsis: A city cop (Robert Ryan) with increasingly violent tendencies is sent by his concerned boss (Ed Begley) to help with […]

Claire’s Knee (1970)

“Every woman has her most vulnerable point. For some, it’s the nape of the neck, the waist, the hands. For Claire, in that position, in that light, it was her knee.”

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)

“How is One to Live if One Doesn’t Want to Die?” Synopsis: An ex-con (Gunter Lamprecht) struggles to stay employed and find love in corruption-riddled 1920s Berlin. Genres: Character Studies Corruption Ex-Cons Fassbinder Films German Films Literature Adaptation Unemployment Response to Peary’s Review: This “mammoth work” by Rainer Werner Fassbinder — “alternately astonishing and boring” […]

Raven, The (1935)

“I will not be tortured… I tear torture out of myself by torturing you!“ Synopsis: A psychotic, Poe-obsessed surgeon (Bela Lugosi) saves the life of a beautiful young dancer (Irene Ware), then falls obsessively in love with her. When her father (Samuel S. Hinds) ridicules his request for her hand in marriage, Lugosi blackmails a […]

Let’s Do It Again (1975)

“Our motto is, ‘We get even — and you can count on it!’” Synopsis: Two blue-collar buddies (Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier) and their wives (Denise Nicholas and Lee Chamberlin) head to New Orleans, where Cosby and Poitier hope to earn some money for their fraternal lodge (the Brothers and Sisters of Shaka) by hypnotizing […]

Uptown Saturday Night (1974)

“Never have so few owed so much to so many.” Synopsis: A factory worker (Sidney Poitier) and his taxi-driving buddy (Bill Cosby) visit a chic after-hours club one night, where they’re held up at gunpoint by a gang of masked robbers. When Poitier realizes that a winning lottery ticket is in his stolen wallet, he […]

Mystery of Kaspar Hauser, The / Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, The / Every Man For Himself and God Against All (1974)

“It seems to me that my coming into this world was a very hard fall.” Synopsis: A mysterious young man (Bruno S.) named Kaspar Hauser arrives in a German village in 1828, where he’s cared for by a kind professor (Walter Ladengast) who teaches him to read, write, and play music. Genres: Character Arc German […]

Merrily We Go to Hell (1932)

“I’m afraid as a rule I prefer the company of men… Particularly if they’re bartenders.” Synopsis: An aspiring playwright (Fredric March) with a drinking problem marries an heiress (Sylvia Sidney) whose father (George Irving) is skeptical of March’s intentions. When March carries on an affair with a former flame (Adrianne Allen), Sidney despairs, but resolves […]