Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

“Christmas isn’t just a day — it’s a frame of mind.” Synopsis: A cynical young girl (Natalie Wood) who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus befriends an older man (Edmund Gwenn) who claims to be Kris Kringle himself. Genres: Christmas Courtroom Drama Do-Gooders Edmund Gwenn Films Fantasy John Payne Films Maureen O’Hara Films Mental Illness Natalie […]

Christmas Carol, A (1951)

“Go and redeem some other promising young creature, but leave me to keep Christmas in my own way.” Synopsis: Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) is visited by the ghost of his former business partner (Michael Hordern), as well as the spirits of Christmas Past (Michael Dolan), Christmas Present (Francis De Wolff), and Christmas Yet To […]

Girlfriends (1978)

“You don’t know me at all anymore; you really don’t.” Synopsis: An aspiring photographer (Melanie Mayron) struggles to create a new life for herself when her long-time roommate and best friend (Anita Skinner) gets married. Genres: Character Studies Eli Wallach Films Feminism and Women’s Issues Friendship Photographers Review: Writer/director Claudia Weill’s indie debut film, while […]

X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963)

“We are virtually blind — all of us.” Synopsis: A doctor (Ray Milland) develops a serum which gives him x-ray vision, but soon finds that his new power causes him more trouble than glory. Genres: Carnivals and Circuses Downward Spiral Fugitives Mad Doctors and Scientists Ray Milland Films Science Fiction Roger Corman Films Supernatural Powers […]

Carnival of Souls (1962)

“I feel sorry for you and your lack of soul!” Synopsis: After emerging from a fatal car crash, a young woman (Candace Hilligoss) travels to her new job as a church organist in Utah, but remains haunted by the presence of a ghoulish man (Herk Harvey), and unable to emotionally connect with anyone around her. […]

House of Dark Shadows (1974)

“I have found my Josette — and this time, there will be that wedding.” Synopsis: A recently unleashed vampire (Jonathan Frid) woos a young woman (Kathryn Leigh Scott) who looks eerily like his long-lost love; meanwhile, a female doctor (Grayson Hall) with a crush on Frid attempts to “cure” him. Genres: Horror Joan Bennett Films […]

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

“You’ve been taken to the cleaners, and you don’t even know your pants are off.” Synopsis: A city slicker (Cary Grant) and his wife (Myrna Loy) purchase a run-down house in Connecticut, against the advice of their well-meaning lawyer friend (Melvyn Douglas). Genres: Cary Grant Films City vs. Country Comedy Melvyn Douglas Films Myrna Loy […]

Not of This Earth (1957)

“This killer is a fiend of the most diabolical kind, interested in only one thing: blood.” Synopsis: A dying alien (Paul Birch) travels to Earth to secure blood for the inhabitants of his planet, hiring an increasingly curious doctor (William Roerick), personal nurse (Beverly Garland) and valet (Jonathan Haze) as his assistants. Genres: Aliens Roger […]

On the Nickel (1980)

“Goddamnit, I don’t want this world no more!” Synopsis: A former alcoholic (Donald Moffat) goes searching for his friend (Ralph Waite) in L.A.’s skid row. Genres: Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Review: Movies about homeless, alcoholic, and/or mentally ill individuals are finicky beasts to get right — and this low-budget indie film (written and directed by […]

Oliver Twist (1948)

“Please sir — I want some more.” Synopsis: Orphaned Oliver Twist (John Howard Davies) joins a gang of pickpockets led by miserly Fagin (Alec Guinness) and evil Bill Sykes (Robert Newton). Genres: Alec Guinness Films David Lean Films Literature Adaptation Orphans Robert Newton Films Thieves and Criminals Response to Peary’s Review: As Peary notes, David […]