Della (1964) Robert Gist, Paul Burke, Charles Bickford, Joan Crawford

Della 1964
Della Chappell (Joan Crawford) is a very wealthy and incredibly reclusive woman. When a big company wants the land Della lives on, the town sends out Barney Stafford (Paul Burke) to talk to her. She invites Barney over to negotiate the proposal. Barney soon takes a liking to Della’s equally reclusive daughter Jenny Chappell (Diane Baker). After spending some time with Jenny, he realizes that Della has a dark secret, one that keeps them from the outside world.

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Arena (1953) Richard Fleischer, Gig Young, Jean Hagen, Polly Bergen

Arena (1953)
M-G-M’s first 3-D production shot at a rodeo in Tucson, Arizona is a story surrounded by objects flying into the camera. The story takes place in one day between the rodeo events where bronc buster Gig Young has left his wife, Polly Bergen, for rodeo-follower (i.e., “groupie” for those born since the sixties) Barbara Lawrence. The reconciliation of Young and Bergen is brought about by Harry Morgan (still being billed as Henry Morgan), an over-the-hill bronc buster now reduced to being the show’s clown. (Rodeo clowns are usually the most disciplined, most valuable to the welfare of the rodeo cowboys and best-trained of all rodeo performers but Hollywood always showed them as down-and-outers.) Morgan of course has a pretty wife, Jean Hagen, and a little boy, Lee Aker, and anybody watching this film and not guessing who is going to get killed just hasn’t been exposed to enough scripts from Hollywood set around a rodeo arena.

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Prick Up Your Ears (1987) Stephen Frears, Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave

Prick Up Your Ears (1987)
This film is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton. In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell, and while the two begin a relationship, it’s fairly obvious that it’s not all about sex. Orton loves the dangers of bath-houses and liaisons in public restrooms; Halliwell, not as charming or attractive as Orton, doesn’t fare so well in those environs. While both long to become writers, it is Orton who achieves fame – his plays “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” and “Loot” become huge hits in London of the sixties, and he’s even commissioned to write a screenplay for the Beatles. But Orton’s success takes him farther from Halliwell, whose response ended both his life and the life of the up-and-coming playwright.

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Zombie ja Kummitusjuna / Zombie and the Ghost Train (1991) Mika Kaurismäki, Silu Seppälä, Marjo Leinonen, Matti Pellonpää

Zombie ja Kummitusjuna (1991)
Antti “Zombie” Autiomaa does two things well: play the bass guitar and drink. After several months’ sleeping on the streets of Istanbul, he returns to Helsinki where he’s called into the army but discharged on mental health grounds after adding turpentine to the officers’ soup. Zombie lives bleary-eyed in an apartment off his parents’ house where his lonely, unemployed father suffers from heart disease. His girl-friend Marjo has taken up with a hairdresser but comes back to Zombie. His friend Harri hires him as a roadie for his band “Harry and the Mulefukkers” then gives him a chance as a bass player. He has his girl and he has a gig, but can Zombie put the bottle down?

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Duchess of Idaho (1950) Robert Z. Leonard, Esther Williams, Van Johnson, John Lund

Duchess of Idaho (1950)
Ellen Hallit is in love with her playboy boss, Douglas Morrison, but is too timid to do anything about it. To help her, her roommate Chris decides to step in, and devises a plan. Chris follows Morrison on his trip to Sun Valley, Idaho and plays the overattentive female, hoping that he will send for Ellen (who often played his “fiancée” when he had a female he couldn’t discourage otherwise.) Complications arise when Chris catches the eye of band leader Dick Layne, and finds herself caught in a triangle between the two men.

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