The Man on the Flying Trapeze

US (1935): Comedy
65 min, No rating, Black & White

From their titles, it's hard to tell the W.C. Fields movies apart; as John Mosher observed, "Fields is Fields, a rose is a rose." For the record, in this one Fields is Ambrose Wolfinger, and he and his daughter (Mary Brian) are the defenseless victims of his new wife (Kathleen Howard) and her sponging relatives (the worst is Grady Sutton). Directed by Clyde Bruckman. Paramount.

The Man Who Came to Dinner

US (1941): Comedy
112 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

In the 30s, the unctuous, sentimental Alexander Woollcott was loved by millions of radio listeners; Woollcott the outrageous master of euphonious insults was loved and hated by a small circle. Two members of this circle, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, made him the hero and the target of their 1939 Broadway hit-a cheerful spoof on celebrity in that period. In this film version, the devastatingly adroit Monty Woolley (a former professor of drama at Yale) plays the arrogant, infantile Sheridan Whiteside, who goes on a lecture tour and breaks his hip while attending a dinner in his honor at the home of boring, worshipful fans. Stuck in that home until his hip mends, he takes it over and orders the residents around. Woolley has a wonderful way of looking at these hick fans with compassionate contempt-he feels sorry for them because they're too obtuse to appreciate how brilliant he is. The play, however, was built on topical jokes and a series of vaudeville turns, and in this version the jokes are flat and the turns seemed forced and not very funny. With Bette Davis as Whiteside's secretary, Reginald Gardiner impersonating Noel Coward, Jimmy Durante in the role based on Harpo Marx, Ann Sheridan as the sexpot actress, and Billie Burke, Richard Travis, George Barbier, and Grant Mitchell. Directed by William Keighley; the script, by the Epstein brothers, changed only a few lines. Warners.

The Man Who Could Work Miracles

UK (1936): Fantasy/Comedy
82 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

This version of H.G. Wells' comic fantasy is one of the most touching and good-natured of all the films that employ "supernatural" tricks and illusions. It's also one of the few with any real point. With Roland Young, as the mild, bewildered miracle-maker, Ralph Richardson as the militarist whose swords are turned into plowshares, Ernest Thesiger (who never disappoints), Joan Gardner, George Zucco, Torin Thatcher, and, in a tiny part as a god, young George Sanders. Alexander Korda produced; Wells did the script, with Lajos Biro; Lothar Mendes directed, with Vincent Korda designing the production.

The Man Who Fell to Earth

UK (1976): Science Fiction
140 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

Nicolas Roeg has a talent for eerily soft, ambiguous sex-for the sexiness of passivity. In this movie, the forlorn, limp hero-David Bowie-a stranger on earth, doesn't have a human sex drive. He isn't even equipped for it: naked, he's as devoid of sex differentiation as a child in sleepers. When he splashes down in a lake in the Southwest and drinks water like a vampire gulping down his lifeblood, one is drawn in, fascinated by the obliqueness and by the promise of an erotic sci-fi story. It is and it isn't. The stranger has come to earth to obtain the water that will save his people, who are dying from drought, but he is corrupted, and then is so damaged that he can't return. Although Roeg and his screenwriter, Paul Mayersberg, pack in layers of tragic political allegory, none of the layers is very strong, or even very clear. The plot, about big-business machinations, is so uninvolving that one watches Bowie traipsing around-looking like Katharine Hepburn in her transvestite role in SYLVIA SCARLETT-and either tunes out or allows the film, with its perverse pathos, to become a sci-fi framework for a sex-role-confusion fantasy. The wilted stranger can be said to represent everyone who feels misunderstood, everyone who feels sexually immature or "different," everyone who has lost his way, and so the film is a gigantic launching pad for anything that viewers want to drift to. Roeg can charge a desolate landscape so that it seems ominously alive and he photographs skyscrapers with such lyric glitter that the U.S. (where the movie was shot) seems to be showing off for him. And his cutting can create a magical feeling of waste and evil. But the unease and the sense of disconnectedness between characters also disconnect us. Roeg's effects become off-puttingly abstract, and his lyricism goes sentimental-as most other Christ movies do. With Buck Henry, Candy Clark, Bernie Casey, and Rip Torn as a scientist-perhaps his least convincing role. Based on the novel by Walter Tevis. Produced by Michael Deeley and Barry Spikings.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book When the Lights Go Down.

The Man Who Knew Too Much

UK (1934): Mystery
75 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

This Hitchcock thriller about a kidnapping and an attempted political assassination features Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Pierre Fresnay, Nova Pilbeam as the kidnapped child, and Peter Lorre (it was Lorre's d�but in English-language films), and it has the director's ingenuity and flair and sneaky wit. The best scenes-especially an assassination attempt at Royal Albert Hall-are stunning, but Hitchcock seems sloppily unconcerned about the unconvincing material in between the tricks and jokes (a fault that persisted in the later, stodgier version, which he made in 1955, in color with James Stewart and Doris Day).

The Man Who Laughs

US (1928): Horror/Drama
94 min, No rating, Black & White

No one who saw this silent movie as a child is likely to have forgotten it. The Victor Hugo story is about fairly conventional 17th-century English court intrigues, except for one detail about the hero, Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt). The heir to an earldom, he was kidnapped as a child and, at the orders of the king, a political enemy of his father, he was mutilated-his face carved into a perpetual grin. He had no choice but to become a clown. Produced by Universal on a lavish scale, the film is by no means a cheap horror story. The German-born director Paul Leni had a true gift for macabre decor, and the film's ambitious mixture of morbidity and historical melodrama is very effective, even with its heavy sentimentality. With the physically elegant Veidt as the hero, the picture has a romantic center that it would not have had with Lon Chaney. (John Barrymore played Gwynplaine on the stage.) Mary Philbin is beautiful, though sticky, as a blind girl who loves the clown; Olga Baclanova is a rowdy, loose duchess who is drawn to him.

The Man Who Loved Women

France (1977): Drama/Comedy
119 min, No rating, Color, Available on videocassette

The dedicated skirt-chaser of Fran�ois Truffaut's film is meant to be irresistibly charming, but his compulsion looks to be about as exciting as building a two-foot replica of the Pentagon with toothpicks. In its gross flippancy, this film resembles Truffaut's SUCH A GORGEOUS KID LIKE ME-it may be even worse, because of the mixture of evasiveness and obviousness. With Charles Denner, Nelly Borgeaud, Brigitte Fossey, and Leslie Caron. Cinematography by Nestor Almendros; music by Maurice Jaubert. In French. (Remade in 1983 by Blake Edwards.)
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book When the Lights Go Down.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

US (1962): Western
119 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

The reputation of this John Ford Western is undeservedly high: it's a heavy-spirited piece of nostalgia. John Wayne is in his flamboyant element, but James Stewart is too old for the role of an idealistic young Eastern lawyer who is robbed on the way West, goes to work in the town of Shinbone as a dishwasher, and learns about Western life. Opposite him, Vera Miles is as proficient and colorless as ever. There's not much of the outdoors; the action takes place mainly in Shinbone, and even a stagecoach robbery was filmed on a sound stage. With Lee Marvin as the villainous Liberty Valance, Edmond O'Brien as the newspaper editor, and Andy Devine, John Carradine, Woody Strode, and Strother Martin. Paramount.

The Man Who Would Be King

US (1975): Adventure
129 min, Rated PG, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

John Huston's exhilarating farfetched adventure fantasy, based on the Rudyard Kipling short story, is about two roughneck con men, Danny and Peachy (Sean Connery and Michael Caine), in Victoria's England, who decide to conquer a barbarous land for themselves, and set out for Kafiristan, a region which was once ruled by Alexander the Great. This ironic fable about imperialism has some of the pleasures of GUNGA DIN; it's a wonderfully full and satisfying movie, with superb performances by Connery and Caine and also by Saeed Jaffrey, who plays Billy Fish. The role of Kipling is played by Christopher Plummer, and Roxanne is played by Shakira Caine. The script is by Huston and Gladys Hill; the cinematographer was Oswald Morris; the music is by Maurice Jarre; the production design is by Alexander Trauner. Allied Artists.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book When the Lights Go Down.

Man With a Million

UK (1954): Comedy
90 min, No rating, Color
Also known under the English title THE MILLION POUND NOTE, the title of the Mark Twain story on which the movie is based.

There is something wonderfully satisfying about watching a shabby young man dine in a restaurant and then casually hand over a million pound banknote, while murmuring, "I'm awfully sorry, but I don't have anything smaller." Mark Twain's little satire on attitudes toward money and on English mores posits a perfect practical joke: a young American (Gregory Peck), stranded in London, is given an authentic million pound note; but he cannot cash it, he can only flash it. The question is, Can a penniless man live for a month by this display? This ingratiating English comedy failed completely in this country; Americans may have assumed from the author's name that the film (which is set in Twain's period) was a dull classic. The cast includes Jane Griffith, such distinguished old charmers as Ronald Squire and A.E. Matthews, and also Bryan Forbes, Joyce Grenfell, Hartley Power, and Wilfrid Hyde-White. Directed by Ronald Neame, from Jill Craigie's screenplay; cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth.

The Man With the Golden Arm

US (1955): Drama
119 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

Frank Sinatra's performance is pure gold, but the director, Otto Preminger, goes for sensationalism; the film is effective, but in a garish, hyperbolic, and dated way. It's a lot more entertaining than the other pictures about dope addiction in that period, though. The others tended to treat it very gingerly, with edifying explanations of childhood traumata, or a slice-of-life view of the addict's environment. (In the 1957 A HATFUL OF RAIN the real problem seemed to be the drab low-cost housing.) Here, the emphasis is on excitement. The film is based on Nelson Algren's Chicago-set novel about the hot poker dealer and addict Frankie. Sinatra's performance is rhythmic, tense, and instinctive, yet beautifully controlled, and of course, he has a performer's presence. Eleanor Parker's Zosh is somehow out of context, but in its own terms it has some appeal. The young Kim Novak's Molly has a dumb, suffering beauty that's very touching. With Arnold Stang as Sparrow, Darren McGavin as Louie, Robert Strauss as Schwiefka, Doro Merande, Leonid Kinskey, Emile Meyer, and George E. Stone. Adapted by Walter Newman and Lewis Meltzer; cinematography by Sam Leavitt; titles by Saul Bass; music by Elmer Bernstein, with jazz sequences in which Shorty Rogers and Shelly Manne appear, along with Bud Shank, Ralph Pena, and others. (Shelly Manne also served as "tutor" for Sinatra.) United Artists.

The Man With the Golden Gun

UK (1974): Spy/Adventure
125 min, Rated PG, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

Set in the Orient, this is the ninth-and one of the more dispirited-of the James Bond series. The production is a little snappier than in the preceding voodoo one (LIVE AND LET DIE, 1973), and this time Guy Hamilton's direction isn't quite as crude, but the script lacks satiric insolence, and the picture grinds on humorlessly. The villain Christopher Lee's fanged smile is the only attraction. With that iceberg Roger Moore as Bond, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Herv� Villechaize, Clifton James, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Marne Maitland, Richard Loo, and Marc Lawrence. Written by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz.

The Man With Two Brains

US (1983): Comedy
93 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

As the world's greatest brain surgeon, Steve Martin is an exuberantly dirty-minded kid; sunny, grinning, lewd, Martin is wired up for the whole movie-a slapstick burlesque that moves along enjoyably. The surgeon perceives himself as a man of the world, but he's a guileless innocent compared with the flirty, dimply sadist (Kathleen Turner) who marries him for her convenience and coos with pleasure as she frustrates him. With David Warner as a soft-spoken mad doctor who keeps live human brains in candy jars before putting them into gorillas, Paul Benedict as his butler, and George Furth. There's at least one inspired love scene (between Martin and a brain, in a rowboat). This movie has the kind of maniacal situations that are so dumb they make you laugh, and since much of what children find hilarious has this same giddiness, they'd probably like the film a lot. But it also has the kind of raunchiness that may worry their parents (though it will probably just make the kids giggle). Directed (more gracefully than usual) by Carl Reiner; written by Reiner, Martin, and George Gipe. The cinematography, by Michael Chapman, has a graphic vitality that's unusual in a comedy. Warners.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book State of the Art.

Man's Castle

US (1933): Drama
66 min, No rating, Black & White

Spencer Tracy and the lovely, big-eyed Loretta Young in a Depression idyll about an independent-minded man who takes in a homeless waif and falls in love with her-one of Frank Borzage's heavily sentimental yet magically romantic movies. With Glenda Farrell, Marjorie Rambeau, Walter Connolly, Arthur Hohl, and Dickie Moore. The script is by Jo Swerling, the cinematography by Joseph August. Columbia.

The Manchurian Candidate

US (1962): Political/Thriller
126 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

A daring, funny, and far-out thriller about political extremists. George Axelrod adapted the Richard Condon novel, and John Frankenheimer came to life as a director. This picture plays some wonderful, crazy games about the Right and the Left; although it's a thriller, it may be the most sophisticated political satire ever made in Hollywood. With Angela Lansbury, Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, James Gregory, John McGiver, Henry Silva, Madame Spivy, Whit Bissell, James Edwards, Leslie Parrish, Khigh Dhiegh, and Albert Paulsen. United Artists.

Manhattan Melodrama

US (1934): Crime
93 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

The film made famous when Public Enemy No. 1, John Dillinger, went to see Clark Gable in it (as Blackie, a gangster who strode to the electric chair with a smile on his face) and was shot down as he emerged. It's a deluxe melodrama. Gable and William Powell play boyhood friends from the slums who grow up on what Hollywood writers used to call "opposite sides of the law." In the climax, Powell, the District Attorney, must prosecute his old friend, who gallantly dies rather than allow Powell to jeopardize his career. Despite the heavy moralizing tone, the picture holds one's interest; Powell manages to get his conflicting emotions across, and he has an unusual rapport with Myrna Loy, the woman both men love. (Powell and Loy were then teamed and made THE THIN MAN later that year.) Produced by David O. Selznick and directed by W.S. Van Dyke, it was originally released by MGM as one of their Cosmopolitan Productions (which meant a William Randolph Hearst production), but after the Dillinger shooting, Hearst, who was sensitive to any hint of scandal or notoriety, had the Cosmopolitan credit deleted. The cast includes Leo Carrillo, Isabel Jewell, the one-man goon squad Nat Pendleton, Leonid Kinskey playing a Trotskyite, and Mickey Rooney playing Clark Gable as a 12-year-old. The screenplay involved at least four writers (Oliver H.P. Garrett, Rowland Brown, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Pete Smith), working from Arthur Caesar's Academy Award-winnign screen story. Cinematography by James Wong Howe; Shirley Ross appears in a set that is meant to represent the Cotton Club, singing "The Bad in Every Man"-a song by Rodgers and Hart that later got new lyrics and became "Blue Moon."

The Manhattan Project

US (1986): Drama
117 min, Rated PG-13, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

The writer-director Marshall Brickman and his co-writer, Thomas Baum, have a knack for capturing the way brainy people talk to each other, and how ridiculous and touching they can be. And the actors-John Lithgow, especially-seem overjoyed to be speaking such good satirical dialogue. Lithgow plays a beaming, self-conscious nuclear scientist, the director of a new, secret government research center in Ithaca, New York. He courts a woman (Jill Eikenberry) whose prankish 17-year-old son (Christopher Collet), a scientific wizard, is miffed-the boy swipes plutonium from the center and builds a homemade nuclear bomb to enter in the competition of high-school students at the National Science Fair in Manhattan. The title is from the Second World War Manhattan Project, where the first atom bomb was devised, by largely apolitical scientists, such as Oppenheimer, Teller, and Fermi, and the movie is about how the boy's folly forces the man to shed the illusion that he's apolitical and face up to his responsibilities. When this bland moral rectitude takes over, the film's comedy spirit withers. But there are a lot of enjoyable things: Lithgow's warming presence, and the way he has of turning his lines into boomerangs; Cynthia Nixon's cool self-possession-she plays the boy's pretty blond girl friend who helps him sneak into the center; the break-in itself, which is a series of ingenious, silent slapstick tricks; Warren Manzi as the courtly day attendant at the center; Sully Boyar's puzzled routine as the night guard-it's like a sober variation on a Barry Fitzgerald drunk routine; and the kids at the Science Fair whose projects take you back to the looniest absorbing interests you ever had. The cast includes John Mahoney as the hardheaded colonel. Bran Ferren designed the laboratory effects; the cinematography is by Billy Williams; the editing is by Nina Feinberg; the music is by Philippe Sarde. 20th Century-Fox.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Hooked.


US (1937): Drama
95 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

A star vehicle in which the star-Joan Crawford-is a lyric talker and so solemnly noble that you want to strangle her. Poetic flights are her specialty as she rises from Hester Street to penthouses, suffering from emotional conflicts every step of the way. Alan Curtis, a corner loafer with a mean slant to his fedora, is the bad egg whom she marries and stays loyal to, even after she meets Spencer Tracy, a self-made shipping tycoon, who has been looking all his life for her kind of nobility. As the picture drags along from one crisis to another, the self-righteousness in Crawford's voice seems to get throatier and more grating. The director, Frank Borzage, gives some care to the tenement sequences, but he's perfunctory when the locales become swanky. The unconvincing script (from a Katherine Brush story) is no more than an excuse for MGM gloss and glamour; a simple statement of the truth would solve the heroine's wracking problems. With Mary Philips as the heroine's no-nonsense friend, and Leo Gorcey, Ralph Morgan, and Elisabeth Risdon.


US (1941): Drama
105 min, No rating, Black & White

This is one of those roughneck melodramas about two men friends who both fall for the same woman. Marlene Dietrich comes out of prison after serving a year for theft and gets involved with Edward G. Robinson and his buddy, George Raft, who are Los Angeles light-and-power-company linemen; the hackneyed situation isn't improved by a tragic ending-Robinson attacks Raft on a high-tension tower during a storm. Dietrich has never seemed more foolishly miscast than in her bungalow apron, baking biscuits for good, honest Robinson. She's so thin she's wraithlike, and her face is a cold, bored mask; Robinson doesn't give a bad performance, but he's playing a crippled overeager, goodhearted fellow-the sort of virtuous character nobody wants to watch. Raoul Walsh directed; Richard Macaulay and Jerry Wald concocted the script-obviously out of such films as the 1932 TIGER SHARK (also with Robinson) and the many versions of THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WANTED. With Alan Hale, Eve Arden, Ward Bond, Frank McHugh, Faye Emerson, Barton MacLane, Joyce Compton, Walter Catlett, Anthony Quinn, and Barbara Pepper. Warners.

Marathon Man

US (1976): Thriller/Spy
125 min, Rated R, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

William Goldman's book-a visceral thriller about a Nazi ring of thieves in New York-seemed a lead-pipe cinch to make audiences almost sick with excitement (the way THE FRENCH CONNECTION did); it's DEATH WISH with a lone Jewish student (played by Dustin Hoffman) getting his own back from the Nazis. But the director, John Schlesinger, opts for so much frazzled crosscutting that there isn't the clarity needed for suspense. The only emotion one is likely to feel is revulsion at the brutality and general unpleasantness. With Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, Marthe Keller, William Devane, and Fritz Weaver; cinematography by Conrad L. Hall. Paramount.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book When the Lights Go Down.


US (1985): Political/Biography
112 min, Rated PG-13, Color, Available on videocassette

Sissy Spacek stars in what is advertised as the true story of Marie Ragghianti, who, in 1976, became the first woman to head Tennessee's Board of Pardons and Paroles, and discovered that she was expected to rubber-stamp the deals of the state officials who were selling pardons. Directed by Roger Donaldson, the movie tells Marie's story clearly and briskly in political-thriller style, ending in courtroom drama after she sues the governor for firing her. Yet the picture is weightless, and the story it tells doesn't add up right. The script, by John Briley, gives us too much about Marie's early hardships, but skitters over such matters as what she thought she was getting into when she took the job. The Marie it presents is unbelievably na�ve and good. And fine, magnetic actress though she is, Spacek doesn't appear to have any way of communicating experience, maturity, womanhood. (It isn't her tininess that limits her; it's the girlish, small-voiced acting style that she developed because of it.) With Jeff Daniels, who, as the governor's legal counsel and toady, suggests the scary side of Southern chivalry-he's Marie's protector, but only for as long as she does just what he tells her to; and Fred Thompson, the lawyer who represented Marie Ragghianti in court, playing himself. Also with Keith Szarabajka as Kevin, and Morgan Freeman and John Cullum. Cinematography by Chris Menges; music by Francis Lai. Based on Marie: A True Story by Peter Maas. A Dino De Laurentiis Production, released by MGM/United Artists.
For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Hooked.

Marie Antoinette

US (1938): Romance/Historical/Biography
149 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

A resplendent bore. MGM built a grand ballroom that was several feet longer than the original at Versailles, and Adrian designed 1,250 gowns, as well as costumes for two poodles. The effort to create a sympathetic interpretation of Marie that would be suitable for Norma Shearer-MGM's "first lady" and, as Irving Thalberg's widow, a large stockholder-resulted in a lugubriously noble central character. Since King Louis XVI (Robert Morley) wasn't much of a love interest, Shearer was given Tyrone Power (as a Swedish count) for a bit of romance; meant for leavening, this doomed affair only adds to the sodden weight. W.S. Van Dyke directed; with John Barrymore, Gladys George, Anita Louise, and Joseph Schildkraut.


France (1931): Drama
125 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette

The first film of the celebrated Marcel Pagnol trilogy. Static and visually unimaginative (Alexander Korda directed) but famous for its dialogue and characterization, and for the rich humanity Raimu brought to the role of C�sar, the Marseilles caf� owner. In the film, the life along the harbor centers on this caf�. The story involves C�sar's son, Marius (the elegant Pierre Fresnay, oddly miscast), who longs to go to sea, though he loves Fanny (Orane Demazis). Produced and written by Pagnol. In French.

Mark of the Vampire

US (1935): Horror/Crime
61 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette

This is a failed effort of Tod Browning's, though it's handsomely staged and well photographed (by James Wong Howe). The cast includes Carol Borland as an amusing female vampire who flies on huge bat wings, Lionel Barrymore, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, and Elizabeth Allan. (It's a remake of Browning's 1927 LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT, with Lon Chaney.) MGM.

The Mark of Zorro

US (1940): Adventure
93 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

Tyrone Power, wanly miscast, stars in this lavish and inoffensive yet somewhat tiresome remake of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.'s, innocent, buoyant swashbuckler. The often imitated material had been squeezed dry by the time this version was made, and there are so many leisurely quaint conversations among Linda Darnell, Basil Rathbone, Gale Sondergaard, and Eugene Pallette that the swordplay, fast riding, and holdups seem like interpolated spasms of activity. Rouben Mamoulian directed; with Montagu Love, Janet Beecher, and J. Edward Bromberg. 20th Century-Fox.

Marked Woman

US (1937): Crime
99 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

As the smart, lively young "clip-joint hostess" who turns police informer, Bette Davis is the embodiment of the sensational side of 30s movies. The closest later equivalent was Jeanne Moreau in BAY OF THE ANGELS, but Moreau is different, more purely conceptual; she's never as vibrantly, coarsely there as Davis, swinging her hips in her beaded-fringe dress. This racketeering melodrama is based on the career of Lucky Luciano, who lived high at the Waldorf-Astoria on the proceeds of a thousand prostitutes. In the film, Eduardo Ciannelli plays the role, with Humphrey Bogart (never at his best when cast on the side of officialdom-but then, who is?) taking over Thomas E. Dewey's function as prosecutor. One of the prostitutes Dewey persuaded to testify was branded-"marked"-as Davis is here. The film has the tawdry simplicities of many of the 30s movies that were built out of headline stories, but it also has more impact than most of the melodramas played out in more elevated surroundings, and when Davis tells Luciano-Ciannelli, "I'll get you even if I have to crawl back from my grave to do it," you believe it. At the time, the presence of Allen Jenkins in the cast certified the film as Warners contemporary. Talented young Jane Bryan plays the heroine's sister, and there are the whores of the Club Intime-Mayo Methot, Lola Lane, Isabel Jewell, Rosalind Marquis-who negate the euphemism "hostesses." Lloyd Bacon directed; Robert Rossen and Abem Finkel wrote the screenplay.


US (1969): Mystery
95 min, Rated PG, Color, Available on videocassette

As Raymond Chandler's detective, in this adaptation of THE LITTLE SISTER (1984), James Garner doesn't disgrace himself, but the film, directed by Paul Bogart, doesn't stay with you in the way that most of the Philip Marlowe pictures do. It just doesn't have much personality. The script by Stirling Silliphant is no help. With Gayle Hunnicutt, Carroll O'Connor, Rita Moreno, Bruce Lee, Sharon Farrell, William Daniels, and Jackie Coogan. MGM.


US (1964): Thriller/Romance
129 min, No rating, Color, Available on videocassette and laserdisc

Hitchcock scraping bottom. Marnie (Tippi Hedren) is a frigid kleptomaniac; Sean Connery, looking pale and beleaguered, plays the man scheduled to cure her on both counts. It hardly seems worth the trouble. With Diane Baker, Martin Gabel, Louise Latham, and Bruce Dern. Screenplay by Jay Presson Allen, based on a novel by Winston Graham; music by Bernard Herrmann. Universal.

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