Drama

Bait (1954) Hugo Haas, Cleo Moore, Hugo Haas, John Agar

Bait 1954
Another in the long line of the Trials-and-Tribulations (compounded by Misery and Irony) offerings from Hugo Haas. This time out his character, Marko (Hugo Haas, is searching for a lost gold mine with his young partner Ray Brighton (‘John Agar’ )qv)) and, despite the fact that Haas appears no more at home playing a prospector than Raymond Hatton would playing a Bulgarian diplomat, they find the mine. But Marko decides he doesn’t want to share with his partner and figures out a devious and complicated scheme to get rid of him. (Shooting him in the head and burying him in the desert is far too simple a solution in a Haas film.) So, Marko ups and marries buxom young Peggy (Cleo Moore) as a marriage of convenience, even though past experience would indicate any involvement with a character played by Cleo Moore would not be described as anything close to convenience.
Read More »

The Poll Diaries / Poll (2010) Chris Kraus, Paula Beer, Edgar Selge, Tambet Tuisk

The Poll Diaries (2010)
In the summer of 1914, thirteen-year-old Oda von Siering (Paula Beer) leaves Berlin to join her family and an assortment of German and Russian aristocrats on an estate in Estonia. The von Siering family home is a character in its own right, a hulking, neoclassical manor that hovers on stilts above the sea. Oda arrives there bearing her mother’s coffin and a gift requested by her surgeon father: a jarred, two-headed fetus to add to his laboratory of gruesome curiosities. Ebbo von Siering (Edgar Selge) sees himself in his daughter when she calmly and expertly learns to suture the corpse of a cat. What he fails to recognize – and what Oda luckily understands – is that their interest in science is their only similarity. His dedication to experimentation is linked to an appalling obsession with power and destruction, while Oda is genuinely curious about life. Her quick, quiet intelligence complements her humanity and her lucid understanding of right and wrong. When she strays from a family…
Read More »

Sky Murder (1940) George B. Seitz, Walter Pidgeon, Donald Meek, Kaaren Verne

Sky Murder 1940
Pat Evans is a German expatriate who is loyal to her new adopted home, the United States. A shadowy German bund operating in the Long Island area tries to recruit as the sophisticated but lecherous Andrew Hendon tries to physically coerce her into joining. While she is flying in the private plane of Cortland Grand, a rich friend of Nick Carter’s, she knocks Hendon unconscious in self defense, but leaves him alive in a rear compartment of the plane. When the steward discovers the body, he finds Herndon stabbed in the throat by a nail file. Before the trip is over, the co-pilot is also stabbed to death. Luckily for Pat, one of the passengers on Grand’s plane is famed New York detective Nick Carter. Although he is off-duty, the resourceful sleuth along with Beeswax, his bizarre sidekick, and beautiful Southern Chris Cross, a female gumshoe, breaks up a secret cell of Nazi saboteurs and FIfth Columnists.
Read More »

The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) Raoul Walsh, Jane Russell, Richard Egan, Joan Leslie

The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956)
Set in the early ’40s, a San Francisco prostitute is run out of town just as the second World War has begun to intensify. Mamie settles down in Hawaii, hoping to start a new life. Though her prospects look good when she falls in love with a science-fiction writer who treats her with the respect she deserves, the dawning war and the fallacies of her previous lifestyle complicate their budding romance. Mamie cannot fully remove herself from her former profession, and provides some of her old services to the sailors stationed in town. Searching for another means of financial security, Mamie invests in several pieces of real estate and becomes quite wealthy, though her bad reputation has not been forgotten by the locals.
Read More »

Patterns (1956) Fielder Cook, Van Heflin, Everett Sloane, Ed Begley

Patterns (1956)
The story of the fierce and corrosive competition that exists in the executive branch of Ramsey & Co., a New York industrial colossus headed by Walter Ramsey, its cold, designing and ruthless chief. It is the saga, too, of Bill Briggs, his longtime second in command, who is swayed by human as well as technological values. And, it is the case of Fred Staples, a comparatively youthful industrial engineer brought in by Ramsey to succeed Briggs. The younger man’s views and sensitivities are essentially the same as Briggs’. People are not merely units, they feel. But it is Ramsey’s calculated pattern not to fire his aging aide but to create such untenable positions that he will be forced to resign.
Read More »

Broken Journey (1948) Ken Annakin, Michael C. Chorlton, Phyllis Calvert, James Donald, Margot Grahame

Broken Journey (1948)
A plane flying over the Swiss Alps develops engine trouble and is forced to crash-land on a glacier. Unable to radio for help because of damaged batteries and with limited food supplies, the survivors must come to a decision–whether to stay and wait for help they believe is coming or to leave the shelter of the wrecked plane and set out in bad weather to try to reach civilization.
Read More »

Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) Julie Christie, Peter Finch, Alan Bates, John Schlesinger

Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)
Based on Thomas Hardy’s 19th century novel, Bathsheba Everdene is a willful, passionate girl who is never satisfied with anything less than a man’s complete and helpless adoration. And she captures the lives and loves of three very different men: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer who is captivated by her beauty and proposes marriage; William Boldwood, a prosperous man in his early forties and a confirmed bachelor; and Sergeant Frank Troy, a handsome, reckless swordsman given to sudden fits of violence.
Read More »