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The Story Of Vernon And Irene Castle [VHS]
The Story Of Vernon And Irene Castle [VHS]
VHS
Offered by shannon-raven
Price: £18.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tender Farewell, 29 Sept. 2005
This beautiful and poignant farewell from one of the most memorable and beloved of screen couples in film history was the perfect way to say goodbye. Their previous pairings had been filled with joy, grace and elegance; a delightful escapism which helped get everyone through the depression and set a tone of charm and romance no one else has ever come close to. Appropriately enough, their last in the incredible cycle is tender and sweet, faint echoes of their previous entries mixed with the melancholy of something special disappearing forever, never to pass this way again.
Astaire and Rogers tell the story of Vernon and Irene Castle, who set dance and fashion trends all across Europe and America during a more innocent time in the world. Their's was a story of love, humor and dance. But when what they had always dreamed of was within their reach, the world intruded in a way which could not have been anticipated. Astaire and Rogers have never been so real as in this nostalgic and gentle ode to love and innocence.
Based on Irene Castle's stories, "My Husband" and "My Memories of Vernon Castle," the adaptation by Oscar Hammerstein II and Dorothy Yost was turned into a screenplay by Richard Sherman. Ginger's costumes were created by the real Irene Castle, and the Castle's love hangs over this film like a soft velvet fog. H. C. Potter's direction is minimal, allowing Fred and Ginger to say so long through the story of Vernon and Irene.
It begins in 1911, when Vernon, a second comic for Lewis Fields, is chasing after another actress. She ditches him at the beach, and a drowning little dog will bring Irene Foot and Vernon Castle together for the first time. Walter Brennen is wonderful as the crusty and protective Walter. He has practically raised Irene and calls her "Sailor" through her entire life. Vernon and Irene slowly come around to each other. A scene where both he and Irene attempt to get her dog to jump in his borrowed automobile, as an excuse to take a ride together, perfectly captures the sweet and lovely innocence of the time prior to WWI.
There is a charm to scenes in the Foot's parlor as Walter, and Irene's parents, go out of their way to leave the couple alone and keep asking if there is any news yet. It will bring a warm smile to your face when Vernon finally tells Irene he loves her and proposes, and laughter at his reaction to her acceptance. There is a warmth and sense of nostalgia to everything here as the young couple try to make their dreams come true.
It was Irene's belief in Vernon that pushed them forward as a dance couple, as she knew his talents were being wasted in the role of comic buffoon he was forced to play on stage. They have to leave Fields in America for Paris, in what appears to be their big break. Their springtime honeymoon in Paris, however, is plagued by financial woes when they discover they are not getting the chane to dance at all, but only for him to keep playing the comic fool for laughs.
That is when Maggie Sutton (Edna May Oliver) steps in, using her influence to get them a chance to dance at the Cafe De Paris. They do it for a meal for themselves and Walter, but once they hit the dance floor, they will never go hungry again. Maggie becomes their manager, her gruff exterior hiding a heart of gold. Their popularity grows to staggering preportions, as does their bliss. They travel all over Europe and America, setting dance and fashion trends the world over.
Vernon and "Sailor" set dance trends such as the "Castlewalk" and "Foxtrot," as well as the "Maxie," the "Castle Polka," and, the legendary "Tango." There are Irene Castle hats, bon bons and face cream. And Vernon Castle shoes and cigars. The montage of Fred and Ginger storming to success is graceful and joyous. Ginger is especially fetching in a memorable black tango dress designed by Irene Castle.
There are dark clouds on the horizon, however, as the entire world is sucked into war for the first time. Vernon and Irene are ready to stop touring and settle down to the life they've always dreamed of having. Irene's fears finally have to take a backseat to Vernon's sense of duty, however, when he joins the fight and enlists in the Royal Flying Core. Irene waits anxiously, the couple exchanging letters until they can be together once again. A more innocent time, intruded upon by the world as never before, is captured beautifully here.
There will be a reunion in France, and one more dance, before Vernon is finally transferred to Texas as a flight instructor. It seems they may have escaped WWI unscathed, but fate may be requesting some sad music, for a final dance. A bittersweet fade out of Irene and Vernon dancing forever, will bring tears not only for the Castles, but for Fred and Ginger, who were in their elegant way, trying to say goodbye.
There is a sweet scent of honeysuckle and roses here, a different but equally lovely magic caught on celluloid one last time. If you love Fred and Ginger, you can not miss the graceful way they chose to exit, spinning and dancing down the lane in our hearts forever.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 7, 2010 1:21 PM BST


Top Hat [VHS]
Top Hat [VHS]
VHS
Offered by rdowns33
Price: £3.98

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Isn't This a Lovely Day to Get Caught In the Rain?", 6 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Top Hat [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A merry Dwight Taylor story, this time adapted as a screenplay by Taylor himself and Allan Scott, gave Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire another chance to shine in this elegantly crafted Pandro S. Berman production, directed by Mark Sandrich. Lyrics and music by Irving Berlin and some truly lovely gowns created for Ginger by Bernard Newman, make this Fred and Ginger outing as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the ears. Their's was a style and grace that passed only once this way, and we shall never see anything like it again as long as our planet keeps spinning.
The three wonderful character actors from "The Gay Divorcee," Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, and Erik Rhodes, are joined this time around by Helen Broderick, giving a deft touch to this fun and zany story which was as good an excuse as any for Fred and Ginger to sing and dance the Irving Berlin tunes. It is Eric Blore this time who steals every scene he's in as Horton's quite odd little manservant, Bates. Just as in Deanna Durbin's "Lady on a Train," Edward Everett Horton will somehow manage to get a black eye!
Jerry Travers (Fred Astaire) is meeting Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton) at the stuffy Thackery Club to talk about starring in his new show. Horace's wife, Madge (Helen Broderick), has plans to set up the single Jerry with her girlfriend Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers). The meeting will be in Italy, but by chance, his dancing wakes up the prety girl below Hardwick's suite, who just happens to be Dale. From the moment she comes to complain about his dance affliction, Jerry is smitten, pouring sand on the floor to dance her lightly to sleep.
Jerry pursues her, not knowing at first who she is. His posing as a horsedrawn cab driver with an accent is one of the amusing scenes in his pursuit of his dream girl. Both he and Dale get caught in a storm and find shelter under a gazebo, where the couple share one of their finest and most romantic moments ever, to Irving Berlin's "Isn't This a Lovely Day to Get Caught In the Rain?" Later in the story, they will get to dance "Cheek to Cheek."
Another only in the movies mix-up causes Dale to think Jerry is Madge's husband, Horace, bringing about a confused, and twice slapped, Jerry. Horace, of course, has never seen Dale before, and sends his crazy little manservant Bates to follow her around Italy once they arrive, thinking she is out to trap his pal Jerry. Dale tells her friend Madge about the incident, of course, and more fun follows as Dale tries hard not to fall for Jerry, who she thinks is her best friend's husband.
Not to be forgotten in this merry mess is Erik Rhodes, as fashion desiner Alberto Beddini, using Dale as a model for his creations. Dejected at the situation, Dale will marry Beddini, causing no end of frustration and hilarity as Jerry has figured out by this time what is going on. Madge hasn't, and gives Horace a black eye! Can Jerry get Dale to unload her new husband Beddini once everything is cleared up and she is free to love him? Will he even need to? Don't forget, the wildly eccentric Bates, who refers to himself as "we" has been shadowing Dale all over Italy!
The glossy RKO sets match the elegance and beauty of Irving Berlin's songs, giving the public another big dose of what it needed as the country recovered from the great depression, which wasn't so great at all. You don't have to wear white tie and tails while watching this marvelous film, but you'll almost wish you were, so you could be up there with Fred and Ginger and enjoy a style of romance that shone brightly, but passed ever too briefly in American film.


Shall We Dance [DVD] [1937]
Shall We Dance [DVD] [1937]
Dvd ~ Fred Astaire
Price: £4.82

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "They Can't Take That Away From Me", 6 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Shall We Dance [DVD] [1937] (DVD)
The beloved "Shall We Dance" was the only Fred and Ginger film with songs from George and Ira Gershwin, and they were splendid. Songs like "They Can't Take That Away From Me" made for great entertainment when coupled with the opulent RKO sets in this Pandro S. Berman production. The lively tale of mix-ups and misunderstandings was from a screenplay by Allan Scott and Ernest Pagno, based on an adaptation by P.J. Wolfson of a story by Lee Loeb and Harold Buchman. Ginger's gowns by Irene were fabulous as always and Mark Sandrich once again took the helm.
On his stay in Paris, Pete (Fred Astaire), a famous ballet dancer also known as Petrov, wants to meet musical comedy star Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers), and in fact, would like to marry her! Pete and his pal Jeffrey (Edward Everett Horton) discover she's sailing on the S.S. Queen Anne and follow her. Pete uses a fake accent for a short time but is eventually found out, and finds out that dogs are the way to a girl's heart.
A wild story Jeffery told Lady Tarrington (Ketti Gallian) in Paris comes back to haunt Pete, as suddenly everyone on the cruise thinks he and Linda have been secretly married, and are going to have a baby! It's a bit much for Linda, who has sworn off reporters, and they decide to really get married, so they can get divorced. But it's too late for Linda, as she has fallen in love with the pursuing Pete, and there is a sadness as Pete sings "They Can't Take That Away From Me" on a ferry to Manhattan after it's all done. The tune was nominated as Best Song but lost the Oscar to "Sweet Leilani" from "Waikiki Wedding."
Hilarious moments in the film include Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore in a "hushing" duel with ballet patrons, Horton and Jerome Cowan getting tight, with Horton getting ill afterward, and Fred convincing Horton that he's seasick, even though the water is perfectly calm. Blore ends up in jail for the second time in one of the couple's pictures and is once again a riot.
Ginger sings "They All Laughed" and she and Fred share a lovely dance that culminates with a smile, as the couple sit on a piano. A fun and famous scene has them on skates in the park, dancing to "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Fred's character Pete wants to dance with Linda all his life, but what's he to do when she won't consider it? Dance with images of her, that's what. A charming conclusion has Linda joining the other girls, but Pete can't figure out which is the real Linda. Will Linda say yes to Pete? If you are a fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers you know the answer to that one!
Devoted fans of one of the most fondly remembered couples in screen history might be shocked to learn that during production, there were plans for this to be their final film. "Swing Time," their previous entry, now widely regarded by film historians, along with "Top Hat," as the zenith of their films together, had done huge box office business in large cities upon its initial release. But that business had quickly subsided and there were those at RKO who felt they had gone to the well once too often.
Fortunately for us, that theory was squashed, and we got to see the hilarious "Carefree" and the tender "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" before the couple said farewell. Again, fortunately, we don't have to say farewell, only "see you later," because we now have the ability to watch these wonderful films at home whenever we want. "Shall We Dance" is a charming reminder of a magic that passed this way only once, and something you'll want to capture forever by picking up a copy today.


The Fred And Ginger Collection Vol. 1 [DVD]
The Fred And Ginger Collection Vol. 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Fred Astaire
Offered by Copeylad
Price: £64.95

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charm and Elegance, 6 Sept. 2005
It was the touch of finger tips, a hand on the waist, a longing look and a smile, and a graceful spin; it was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, making love while they danced into our hearts and stayed there. It was elegance and charm, a romantic screen teaming like no other. Fred and Ginger gave the country a boost and a bit of hope in dire times, and made a collection of funny and romantically elegant dance musicals that have never been surpassed as film entertainment. There was magic when they danced, and charm when the talked to each other.
Here, in this wonderful boxed set, are some of their finest films. It is a bit of heaven you can slide into your vcr any time you need a lift, and never be let down. Even the wonderful "Carefree" is included, a film less like the others in that the emphasis was on the screwball humor rather than the routines, which were less in abundance but still as enchanting.
What I believe is the best of the three films they were in together, before they were "promoted" to starring roles, "Follow the Fleet," is included in this set. It is an early glimpse of their magic, and while the film itself is not on a par with the others, its inclusion here is nice.
Here is an overview of this lovely collection of fun and romantic films we all took to our hearts long ago------
TOP HAT
"Isn't It a Lovely Day to Get Caught In the Rain?"
A merry Dwight Taylor story, this time adapted as a screenplay by Taylor himself and Allan Scott, gave Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire another chance to shine in this elegantly crafted Pandro S. Berman production, directed by Mark Sandrich. Lyrics and music by Irving Berlin and some truly lovely gowns created for Ginger by Bernard Newman, make this Fred and Ginger outing as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the ears. Their's was a style and grace that passed only once this way, and we shall never see anything like it again as long as our planet keeps spinning.
The three wonderful character actors from "The Gay Divorcee," Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, and Erik Rhodes, are joined this time around by Helen Broderick, giving a deft touch to this fun and zany story which was as good an excuse as any for Fred and Ginger to sing and dance the Irving Berlin tunes. It is Eric Blore this time who steals every scene he's in as Horton's quite odd little manservant, Bates. Just as in Deanna Durbin's "Lady on a Train," Edward Everett Horton will somehow manage to get a black eye!
Jerry Travers (Fred Astaire) is meeting Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton) at the stuffy Thackery Club to talk about starring in his new show. Horace's wife, Madge (Helen Broderick), has plans to set up the single Jerry with her girlfriend Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers). The meeting will be in Italy, but by chance, his dancing wakes up the prety girl below Hardwick's suite, who just happens to be Dale. From the moment she comes to complain about his dance affliction, Jerry is smitten, pouring sand on the floor to dance her lightly to sleep.
Jerry pursues her, not knowing at first who she is. His posing as a horsedrawn cab driver with an accent is one of the amusing scenes in his pursuit of his dream girl. Both he and Dale get caught in a storm and find shelter under a gazebo, where the couple share one of their finest and most romantic moments ever, to Irving Berlin's "Isn't This a Lovely Day to Get Caught In the Rain?" Later in the story, they will get to dance "Cheek to Cheek."
Another only in the movies mix-up causes Dale to think Jerry is Madge's husband, Horace, bringing about a confused, and twice slapped, Jerry. Horace, of course, has never seen Dale before, and sends his crazy little manservant Bates to follow her around Italy once they arrive, thinking she is out to trap his pal Jerry. Dale tells her friend Madge about the incident, of course, and more fun follows as Dale tries hard not to fall for Jerry, who she thinks is her best friend's husband.
Not to be forgotten in this merry mess is Erik Rhodes, as fashion desiner Alberto Beddini, using Dale as a model for his creations. Dejected at the situation, Dale will marry Beddini, causing no end of frustration and hilarity as Jerry has figured out by this time what is going on. Madge hasn't, and gives Horace a black eye! Can Jerry get Dale to unload her new husband Beddini once everything is cleared up and she is free to love him? Will he even need to? Don't forget, the wildly eccentric Bates, who refers to himself as "we" has been shadowing Dale all over Italy!
The glossy RKO sets match the elegance and beauty of Irving Berlin's songs, giving the public another big dose of what it needed as the country recovered from the great depression, which wasn't so great at all. You don't have to wear white tie and tails while watching this marvelous film, but you'll almost wish you were, so you could be up there with Fred and Ginger and enjoy a style of romance that shone brightly, but passed ever too briefly in American film.
SHALL WE DANCE
"They Can't Take That Away from Me"
The beloved "Shall We Dance" was the only Fred and Ginger film with songs from George and Ira Gershwin, and they were splendid. Songs like "They Can't Take That Away From Me" made for great entertainment when coupled with the opulent RKO sets in this Pandro S. Berman production. The lively tale of mix-ups and misunderstandings was from a screenplay by Allan Scott and Ernest Pagno, based on an adaptation by P.J. Wolfson of a story by Lee Loeb and Harold Buchman. Ginger's gowns by Irene were fabulous as always and Mark Sandrich once again took the helm.
On his stay in Paris, Pete (Fred Astaire), a famous ballet dancer also known as Petrov, wants to meet musical comedy star Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers), and in fact, would like to marry her! Pete and his pal Jeffrey (Edward Everett Horton) discover she's sailing on the S.S. Queen Anne and follow her. Pete uses a fake accent for a short time but is eventually found out, and finds out that dogs are the way to a girl's heart.
A wild story Jeffery told Lady Tarrington (Ketti Gallian) in Paris comes back to haunt Pete, as suddenly everyone on the cruise thinks he and Linda have been secretly married, and are going to have a baby! It's a bit much for Linda, who has sworn off reporters, and they decide to really get married, so they can get divorced. But it's too late for Linda, as she has fallen in love with the pursuing Pete, and there is a sadness as Pete sings "They Can't Take That Away From Me" on a ferry to Manhattan after it's all done. The tune was nominated as Best Song but lost the Oscar to "Sweet Leilani" from "Waikiki Wedding."
Hilarious moments in the film include Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore in a "hushing" duel with ballet patrons, Horton and Jerome Cowan getting tight, with Horton getting ill afterward, and Fred convincing Horton that he's seasick, even though the water is perfectly calm. Blore ends up in jail for the second time in one of the couple's pictures and is once again a riot.
Ginger sings "They All Laughed" and she and Fred share a lovely dance that culminates with a smile, as the couple sit on a piano. A fun and famous scene has them on skates in the park, dancing to "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Fred's character Pete wants to dance with Linda all his life, but what's he to do when she won't consider it? Dance with images of her, that's what. A charming conclusion has Linda joining the other girls, but Pete can't figure out which is the real Linda. Will Linda say yes to Pete? If you are a fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers you know the answer to that one!
Devoted fans of one of the most fondly remembered couples in screen history might be shocked to learn that during production, there were plans for this to be their final film. "Swing Time," their previous entry, now widely regarded by film historians, along with "Top Hat," as the zenith of their films together, had done huge box office business in large cities upon its initial release. But that business had quickly subsided and there were those at RKO who felt they had gone to the well once too often.
Fortunately for us, that theory was squashed, and we got to see the hilarious "Carefree" and the tender "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" before the couple said farewell. Again, fortunately, we don't have to say farewell, only "see you later," because we now have the ability to watch these wonderful films at home whenever we want. "Shall We Dance" is a charming reminder of a magic that passed this way only once, and something you'll want to capture forever by picking up a copy today.
CAREFREE
Ginger's Turn to Shine
While somewhat different than their charming and endearing musical films, this entry from Fred and Ginger is probably my favorite. Fortunately all the great elements that made the previous films so wonderful are still here, but this time those elements are interspersed between some nice screwball comedy that finally got to showcase Ginger's comedic talents. Fred is great as always, but this one is really Ginger's film, and she shines.
Once again, a fine Pandro S. Berman production and some magical songs by Irving Berlin made this Mark Sandrich film a sheer joy. An origional idea by Marian Ainslee and Guy Endore was adapted to story form by Dudley Nicols and Hagar Wilde, then turned into a screenplay by Allan Scott and Ernest Pagano. Fred and Ginger, with fine support from Ralph Bellamy, Jack Carson and Luella Gear, turn all these elements into what, I believe, is the most "fun" of all their films.
Tony (Fred) is a psychiatrist trying to do his pal Stephen (Ralph Bellamy) a favor by seeing his radio singer fiance Amanda (Ginger) so he can figure out why she has called off their wedding three times! She blows Fred off as a quack when she overhears a transcription he's done which is less than flattering but finally gives in and agrees to let Tony disect her dreams and discover what's wrong with her.
A meal of lobster and mayonnaise, and a lot of other things, make her dream alright, but in her dream she's dancing with Tony! Amanda can't tell him, of course, and when he threatens to stop seeing her she makes up a dream that would keep ten psychiatrists busy and the fun really begins.
Rogers was fabulous in this film and it was the impetus for her very successful solo career. This light screwball comedy has some terrific moments. It's a laugh riot as Ginger walks out while being hypnotized, thinking she loves Bellamy, and going after Fred with a shotgun, so he can die like a dog! As Fred tells Bellamy while they run after her: "She's in a trance. She may even act, a little odd!"
During the dream sequence they get to dance to "I Used to be Color-Blind" and later on at a party they do "The Yam" in a very fun scene. Berlin's "Change Partners" was nominated for an Oscar. But Ginger and the screwball comedy take top billing in this one, making it one of their best. It is sophisticated and funny, and Fred and Ginger end up together as always. This time she's in a gorgeous wedding dress, and she has a black eye!
You don't hear as much about this one, but its inclusion here is what puts this collection over the top for me, making it a must have for anyone who wants to collect some of the team's best films in one easy purchase. Just fabulous fun!
THE STARS MUST BE BRIGHTER
Watching the sheer elegance and timeless grace of Fred and Ginger when they danced, and sharing in the laughter of their humorous pursuit of love, is a gift we could never measure, or put a price tag on. The delightful and charming escapism they brought into our lives helped carry us through the roughest of times. They still take our breath away and gives us a boost when we need it, as each new generation discovers the magic of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. And sometimes, in the evening, if we listen carefully, we can hear the faint echo of an orchestra, playing a tune by Berlin, or Kern, or Gershwin, and we know for certain, the couple we hold dear in our hearts, who gave us so much love and laughter, dance the night away, among the stars......


The Strange Love of Martha Ivers [DVD] [1946]
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers [DVD] [1946]
Dvd ~ Barbara Stanwyck
Offered by BigLrecords
Price: £7.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rain That Never Stops, 29 Aug. 2005
It's pouring rain as this dark noir melodrama opens, and after the night is over, it will always be raining for Martha Ivers. Lewis Milestone directed this tale of a life-long guilt that has festered until misplaced suspicion destroys one person and puts another out of her misery. There are good performances from a great cast, none better than Lizabeth Scott's as a girl down on her luck and hoping against the odds for something good to happen. She is the outside element to three lives bound together since childhood by a crime that has haunted two of them into adulthood.
This is a strange noir in many respects, mostly due to Milestone allowing the moviegoer to see the story in chronological order, rather than using flashbacks. It creates sympathy for the twisted Martha Ivers, because we know how one selfish moment of hatred in her youth set her on a coarse she can not change. It has been raining inside her ever since, until the water is sick and stagnant, but it always keeps coming. At the same time, however, we are rooting for the vulnerable Scott, hoping she'll be the victor in a battle she's not sure she can win.
Judith Anderson is Mrs. Ivers, little Martha's (Janis Wilson) aunt. She's none too nice and on a rainy night Martha causes her death in the heat of the moment, only her pal Walter (Mickey Kuhn) a witness. But they both think their friend Sam (Darryl Hickman) saw the crime also, and ran away. He did run away, but before the event that would change their lives forever.
It is nearly two decades later, and the adult Sam Masterson (Van Heflin) has an accident just outside of Iverstown. It brings back memories of when he was a brash kid, and the girl who now controls both Walter (Kirk Douglass) and the town. He meets the lovely Toni Marachek (Lizabeth Scott) on his first night there and helps her out a bit. She is fresh from jail and though Sam is a WWII veteran, his past is nothing to sneeze at either. There is something beginning between them but fate may decide Toni's future as a past Sam was no part of intrudes on the present.
Barbara Stanwyck is the adult Martha, married to the weaker of the boys from her youth, Walter. But you can tell she always wished it had been Sam who'd stayed that night so long ago. Even though they think he's there to blackmail them, she can't help but throw herself at him, even though she is too far gone on the inside for anything like real love. She does this right in front of her weak husband Walter, who may be more courageous in the end than Martha. Martha has it over on Walter because he loves her, but he is a constant reminder of the past for her. What they have together is a sick and twisted version of the real thing.
The relationship of Sam and Walter sort of mirrors their childhood but Heflin starts to feel sick about it and begins to like Walter, especially when he finally understands why they are so scared he'll tell something he didn't even know about. It's one thing to kill someone, but quite another to let someone else hang for it. All the while Toni has little moments with Sam, hoping it's enough to make him care, and blow Iverstown forever.
Even at the bitter end, there is that moment when you see in Matha's eyes, ever so briefly, that little girl again, and feel sympathy. Douglass is very good in his first screen role and Stanwyck's portrayel of the sad and sick Martha Ivers can stand proudly with any she played in the 1940's. Though her screen time is less by comparison, it is Scott who steals this film, however, as Toni is easily the most memorable character. Even when she isn't around, we are thinking about her plight, wondering where she's at and what will happen to her.
Heflin is solid as always and this is one of the great neglected noirs of the 1940's. There is a great ending where both couples get what they really want, and neither will look back on Iverstown anymore.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2008 10:57 AM GMT


Sherlock Holmes - the Woman in Green [DVD]
Sherlock Holmes - the Woman in Green [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sherlock Holmes
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £14.74

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping London Safe, 29 Aug. 2005
This spiffy little entry in the Sherlock Holmes franchise starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, who will forever be Holmes and Watson to moviegoers the world over, has a good cast and story and loads of atmosphere that make it one of the best in the series.
London is being terrorized by a Jack the Ripper type killer preying upon young women; murdering then mutilating them by severing the right forefinger from each victim. Scotland Yard is at a loss to find the killer or prevent the murders from continuing. It is time to call in the one man who may be able to put an end to the terror, Sherlock Holmes.
A chance encounter at Pembroke House where Holmes sees an attractive woman named Lydia (Hillary Brooke) will be the key to what's really behind the slayings, which as Holmes explains to his old pal Watson, may involve something far more sinister than plain old murder. Every Holmes devotee knows only one mind could devise something more sinister than murder, but wasn't Moriarity hanged in Montividio?
This fast paced and exciting entry is a lot of fun for Rathbone and Bruce fans as the two have some fine moments together. The story is full of dark alleys and London fog. The morgue, hypnotism, and a deadly confrontation between Holmes and his long-time "acquaintance," Professor Moriarity, on a dangerously narrow ledge overlooking London, make this one a fine Holmes' tale well-told.
Henry Daniel is the definitive Moriarity and Hillary Brooke adds flavor in this story of blackmail and murder, all tied to hypnotism. Paul Cavanagh is good as Sir George Fenwick, who awakes one morning after a date with Lydia with no memory of where he's been. His only clue is a bloody finger in his pocket and the newsboy's chant outside his window about the latest victim.
Eve Amber has a small but nice role as Sir George's daughter Maude, who comes to Holmes worried about her father. Holmes suspects she has reason to worry and those suspicions are proven valid when her father's body is discovered by Holmes and Watson, clutching a matchbook from Pembrose House.
There are two confrontations between Holmes and Moriarity in this one for us to enjoy. Also included in the jam-packed 68 minutes is a niftily, and quite humorously thwarted, assination attempt on Holmes' life. Watson and an army sniper named Williams may be easy fodder for hypnotism, but is Holmes impervious to Lydia's charms?
This one is great fun and gets the highest rating for being a fine and entertaining "B" entry for Holmes' fans to enjoy.


You Can't Take It With You [DVD] [2003]
You Can't Take It With You [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Jean Arthur
Price: £4.95

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polly Waddle Doodle All Day!, 29 Aug. 2005
If you were not in love with Jean Arthur before seeing this Frank Capra gem, you certainly will be afterward. Robert Riskin handed the great director another warm and hilarious screenplay, based this time on a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. A perfect cast, which includes Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, Jimmy Stewart, Spring Byington, Mischa Auer, Edward Arnold, Donald Meek, Ann Miller, Harry Davenport and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, make this a true film classic.
The story centers around the impending marriage of Tony Kirby (Jimmy Stewart) and Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) and the complications that arise due to her very unconventional family, headed by her kind and loving grandfather, portrayed in memorable fashion by Lionel Barrymore. Everyone in her family does pretty much as they please, defying convention and unafraid to enjoy life to its fullest.
Alice's mother Penny (Spring Byington) writes plays because a typewriter was once delivered to their house by mistake. Her sister Essie (Ann Miller) can't dance worth beans but takes lessons anyway from a starving and slightly crazy Russian named Kolenkov (Mischa Auer). He knows she can't dance but comes for the food and might as well be one of the family. Alice's dad spends all his time creating fireworks and testing them out inside the house. And grandpa, who refuses to pay taxes, has brought home a Mr. Poppins (Donald Meek), whom he has talked into pursuing his true love, which happens to be the making of monstor masks. All the above is usually going on simultaneously as grandpa plays the harmonica.
Tony's family is involved in some strange thing called banking. His father Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold) is, in fact, one of the most powerful men in America, and seeking even more power in a deal that hinges on his acquisition of an entire city block. But Alice's family lives in that block and grandpa is quite happy to hold out so everyone in the neighborhood doesn't have to move.
There is a warm and charming scene as the young couple talk of their dreams and families on a bench by a moonlit lake. They end up dancing with some kids trying to make a buck, and Arthur somehow winds up with a sign on her back that reads: NUTS! Since Alice and Tony are on their way to meet his parents for the first time, it might just raise some eyebrows!
The sweet but nervous Alice finally arranges for the Kirbys to come for dinner. Tony brings them on the wrong night, however, and catches everyone being their normal and whacky selves. Even Alice gets caught in the act, sliding on the bannister! The only thing Anthony P. Kirby has in common with these folks is he once upon a time played the harmonica, just like Alice's grandpa. Both Lionel Barrymore and Edward Arnold shine, respectively, as man enjoying life, with lots of friends, and a man out to make more money, at any price.
A fireworks mishap lands both families in jail, and the press has a field day when they learn Anthony P. Kirby is in the clinck! Harry Davenport is wonderful as the wise judge they are brought before who does his best to straighten the mess out. The results are terrible, however, as Alice is hurt by Tony's family and runs away, refusing to let Tony know where she's at. She comes rushing back when word reaches her that her grandpa has given in to Kirby, and is selling their home.
It is Kirby who will set things right in the end as his love for his son and a foreshadowing of his own future causes gradpa's words to sink in. You really can't take it with you, but you sure can play the harmonica! Even Tony's stuffy mom might loosen up a bit, if handled in the right way. The daughter-in-law they didn't want, with the family they didn't like, may just prove to be the best thing that ever happened to the Kirbys.
Stewart and Arthur are great together, and Arthur is just magical in a couple of scenes. Eddie Anderson, Jack Benny's long-time sidekick, has a few fun moments also. No director ever straddled the line between the sweet and madcap better than Frank Capra, and this warm and wonderful film is proof of that. You can't take it with you, but you can certainly pick this film up and take it home, which is exactly what I suggest you do.
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Borderline [DVD]
Borderline [DVD]
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £12.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars South of the Border Fun, 29 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Borderline [DVD] (DVD)
This fun and funny crime caper has a great cast and lots of south-of-the-border flavor that makes it an entertaining 88 minutes at the movies. William A. Seiter's Borderline is a nifty little film that has more in common with The Big Steal than the noir film it is often advertised as. It is a blend of humor, crime and fun that grows on you more and more until its snappy ending.
It seems both the L.A.P.D. and United States Treasury Customs wants to stop a dope smuggling ring bringing narcotics across the border from Mexico. Claire Trevor is the enthusiastic if green L.A. cop Madeline Haley, a former O.S.S. agent who talks her way into the assignment of going down south in an attempt to get information on the nasty middleman Pete Ritche, hoping it will lead them to Mr. Big. TV's Perry Mason, Raymond Burr, is the heavy in the white suit, Ritche, and plays the role with menace.
Madeline sort of stumbles into Ritchie but before she can find anything out, Johnny Mackland, an unknown player working for the L.A. end of the connection, hijacks Ritchie's gold so he can make a deal for the next shipment. He ends up taking Madeline with him after the guns are drawn and the chase is on.
The chase across Mexico, as they try to avoid Ritchie and elude the cops is a lot of fun. Madeline and Johnny start telling each other tall tales and warming up to each other along the way. When Johnny's pal Miguel gets shot they have a body on their hands to deal with, complicating the chase even more. Fred MacMurray is good as Johnny, the cop who doesn't know Madeline is a cop, who doesn't know he's a cop!
Sort of a fun pulp film with more flavor than a habanero pepper, Trevor gives a cute performance as she begins to like Johnny, even getting a bit jealous of the oh so friendly young and pretty daughter of a not too smart Mexican cop. He unknowingly helps them garner a plane to Encinada for the big deal. As the two near the border, each regrets having to turn the other one in because they've fallen for each other.
Once they get straightened out on just who works for who, a rousing shoot-out with Ritchie and his gang climaxes a great ending to this very fun to watch film. A film that's meant as entertainment, it doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should you. Fans of genre films like this will enjoy going south of the border with this one.


Deanna Durbin: Lady on a Train [DVD]
Deanna Durbin: Lady on a Train [DVD]
Dvd ~ Deanna Durbin
Price: £12.92

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Light and Breezy Murder Mystery, 19 Aug. 2005
This is a Christmas snowflake from the wonderful Deanna Durbin. She may have saved Universal from bankruptcy as a young musical sensation in the late 30's, but by the mid 40's she had matured into a pleasantly gorgeous actress who made several memorable light comedies. This breezy murder mystery is one of her best. The entire film takes place over a snowy Christmas weekend and it makes a marvelous backdrop to this fun film.
Nikki Collins (Deanna) is on a train bound for New York for the Christmas holiday, reading a mystery by her favorite author, Wayne Morgan (David Bruce), when out the train window she witnesses the murder of Josiah Warring. Since no one will believe her, she hunts down mystery writer Morgan and slowly drags him into her enthusiastic search for the killer. He is engaged to a rather stuffy society babe, and we know right away that he and Durbin will end up together before the final curtain.
The murdered man was a rich shipping magnate and when Durbin attempts to snoop around the tycoon's mansion she is mistaken by nephew Arnold (Dan Duryea) for Margo Martin, the nightclub singer to whom Josiah has left everything, much to the chagrin of everyone. This gives Durbin an opportunity to go to the nightclub and do some amateur detective work, as well as do a sexy rendition of "Give Me a Little Kiss, Will Ya?" and the lovely "Night and Day," the latter in an alluring black dress you'll definitely remember.
The real Margo gets murdered of course, as does the owner of the swanky nightclub "The Circus," and everyone seems to be after the blood stained slippers Nikki has found that prove the tycoon was really murdered! David Bruce does a nice job as the mystery writer Morgan as does Duryea as the black sheep of the family, Ralph Bellamy being the good nephew. Edward Everett Horten gives a very funny performance as Mr. Haskell (of the New York office!) who has been instructed to keep an eye on Durbin by her father, a nearly impossible task!
This is an entertaining muder mystery that is a lot of fun to watch. Deanna Durbin and the great cast make this film light and airy. She married director Charles David II later on and maybe that's part of the happiness you feel from the screen. We get to watch a glowing Durbin solve a murder, fall in love and sing some nice songs, all during a snowy Christmas weekend. What could be wrong with that?


Deanna Durbin - I'll Be Yours [DVD]
Deanna Durbin - I'll Be Yours [DVD]
Dvd ~ Deanna Durbin
Price: £12.16

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and Innocent, 19 Aug. 2005
This sweet and old-fashioned offering from the lovely Deanna Durbin is very much a film of another time. A simple and liesurely paced film about a small town girl going to the big city shortly after her father's passing, there is a sweet innocence to both the humor and the love story that should not be confused as lightweight. Based on a screenplay by the great Preston Sturges, the story really gets going slowly and Deanna carries the first portion of this film on her considerable charm. By the end, you'll be smiling, glad you stuck around for a film that remains true to its intent.
Deanna is Louise Dinglebusher(!), a girl from the small town of Cobleskil not sure what to expect from the city of New York. Eating on a budget after landing a job as an usherette through a fellow Cobleskil alum, she meets and haggles with waiter William Bendix about what to eat and how much it costs and the two become friends. It is through the amusing and sometimes exasperated Bendix she meets George W. Prescott (Tom Drake), a young lawyer who is poor because he is honest.

When Bendix gets Louise into a swank party, a wealthy tycoon, played nicely by Adolph Menjou, sets his sights on the pretty Louise after she sings the magnificent "Granada" and is a big hit. To stop his advances she invents a marriage to the only other person she knows in New York, George W. Prescott. There are amusing complications from her white lie, and of course, a real romance between the two ensues.
As George begins to fall in love with Louise, so do we. One of the nicest scenes in any Durbin film is the one of she and George rowing down the lake with other couples as she sings "It's Dreamtime." Both this scene and that song alone are worth any price of admission. The ending is lovely and sweet, like the entire film. It is to the credit of everyone involved in the film that no artificial fireworks were created to "jazz" it up. The old-fashioned tone of this Durbin classic is kept through the entire hour and a half.
This film is full of quiet charm and a must have for Deanna's fans. Others in the mood for something very old-fashioned and nostalgic will enjoy this as well. Make this film yours today.


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