Things are really starting to get hopping over at Project 39. The past few weeks has seen a terrific slew of top-notch films celebrating their 70th anniversaries.
Remember and rejoice. (all capsule review from Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide.)
Mitchell Leisen. Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Francis Lederer, Mary Astor. Penniless Colbert masquerades as Hungarian countess in chic Parisian marital mix-up; near-classic comedy written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. Barrymore’s antics are especially memorable. – Leonard Maltin.
Edmund Goulding. Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ronald Regan, Cora Witherspoon, Henry Travers. Definitive Davis performance as a spoiled socialite whose life is ending; Brent as brain surgeon husband, Fitzgerald as devoted friend register in good soaper. Bogart as Irish stable master seems out of place.
Michael Curtiz. Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan, Bruce Cabbot, Alan Hale, Frank McHugh. Errol tames the West and de Havilland, in entertaining large-scale Western, with Warner Bros. stock company and the granddaddy of all barroom brawls. Principal inspiration for Blazing Saddles.
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Sidney Lanfield. Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie, John Carradine, Lionel Atwill. Rathbone made his first appearance as Sherlock Holmes in this grade-A production based on Conan Doyle’s story about mysterious murders taking place at a creepy mansion on the moors (though he’s off screen for a good part of the story). Fairly faithful to the source material with the now classic closing line from cocaine-user Holmes: “Quick Watson, the needle!”
Leo McCarey. Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Lee Bowman, Astrid Allwyn, Maria Ouspenskaya. Superior comedy-drama about shipboard romance whose continuation onshore is interrupted by unforeseen circumstances. Dunne and Boyer are a marvelous match. Screenplay by Delmer Daves and Donald Ogden Steward, from story by Mildred Cram and Leo McCarey. Remade as An Affair to Remember and then Love Affair.
William Wyler. Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson, Donald Crisp, Geraldine Fitzgerald. Stirring adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel stops at chapter 17, but viewers shouldn’t despair: sensitive direction and sweeping performances propel this magnificent story of doomed love in pre-Victorian England. Haunting, a must see film. Gregg Toland’s moody photography won an oscar; script by Ben Hecth and Charles MacArthur.