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1. Waterloo Bridge
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2. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
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3. Kings Row
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4. The Wolf Man
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1. Waterloo Bridge
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
list price: $19.98
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Asin: B000021Y6T
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3289
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Description

Vivian Leigh stars as a ballerina in war-torn England who turns to prostitution when she believes her fiance has died in the war in this drama based on Robert E. Sherwood's acclaimed play. Robert Taylor co-stars. Year: 1940 Director: Mervyn LeRoy Starring:Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor, Lucile Watson, Virginia Field, Maria Ouspenskaya ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Vivien Leigh at her very best.
Beautiful, sensitive love story told in flashback, loosely based on Robert E. Sherwood's play, of the doomed love between aristocratic british army officer Robert Taylor and frail and lovely, classic ballerina-turned-into-streetwalker, Vivien Leigh, at the peak of her natural beauty.

This movie was filmed after Miss Leigh's success in "Gone With the Wind" and she gives a great tragic performance as ballerina Myra Lester, and Robert Taylor is much better than usual as Captain Roy Cronin. Very good acting by the supporting players too: pretty Virginia Field is also great in a heart-felt performance as Leigh's very loyal & supportive friend; Madame Maria Ouspenskaya, once again gives a knowing authoritative performance as the strict ballet coach; Lucile Watson is very understanding, sweet and charming as Lady Margaret, the hero's mother; and last but not least, C. Aubrey Smith, very effective as usual, as the Duke, Taylor's Uncle.

Filmed before in 1931, at Universal Studios and directed by James Whale, much more faithfully to Robert E. Sherwood's play, with Mae Clarke and Douglass Montgomery in the leads, with newcomer Bette Davis in a small role. Then again, remade in 1956, as "Gaby" with Leslie Caron and John Kerr.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Tragic Romance
When pressed to name her favorite of her own films, Vivien Leigh brushed aside both GONE WITH THE WIND and STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE in favor of this now little-known film based on a failed 1930s stage drama of the same name: WATERLOO BRIDGE, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Leigh had good reason for her choice. Although she was dazzling as Scarlett O'Hara and elegantly depraved as Blanche DuBois, she was never as beautifully photographed as she was in this 1940 film.

WATERLOO BRIDGE is perhaps best described as one of a number of films "with an English accent" that played to American sympathies for England in the years when England largely stood alone against Nazi Germany. The story itself has a wartime setting: beautiful ballerina Myra (Vivien Leigh) meets and falls passionately in love with officer Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor), only to be parted from him when he is called to duty during World War I. Alone and increasingly destitute, she learns that he has been killed in action--and so, broken hearted and unconcerned for herself, she drifts into prostitution, plying the world's oldest profession along Waterloo Bridge... until she experiences a horrific twist of fate.

Although Robert Taylor is a bit miscast, Leigh carries the film with a truly remarkable performance. In the opening portion of the scene, she is at the height of her youthful beauty, and cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg makes the most of it; later, when experience has hardened her, she turns the graceful charm of her earlier scenes upside down to create the bitter, brassy tart that Myra has become. The cast also features an exceptional performance by Lucile Watson as Lady Margaret and notable turns by Maria Ouspenskaya, C. Aubrey Smith, and a host of others.

Although less well known than such tragic romances as Garbo's CAMILLE, WATERLOO BRIDGE is easily the equal of such and considerably better than most. The romantic aura is powerful, the production values are meticulous, the direction, photography, and script are first rate. And at the center of it all we have perhaps the single most beautiful actress of her era, Vivien Leigh, in one of her finest performances. You'll need a box of tissues for this one; don't miss it.

4-0 out of 5 stars IT WAS BOTH VIVIEN AND ROBERT`S FAVORITE FILM
Vivien Leigh proved that her success as Scarlett O`Hara was no fluke. She gives a stunning performance as the shy and innocent ballet dancer Myra Lester. MGM gives the product a lush and style and it is the definitive version of the play.

It is the PERFECT film for two people in love:-))))))))))))

5-0 out of 5 stars Romantic classic for lovers both young and old
Vivien Leigh had what I firmly believe was her most wonderful role as the tragic Ballerina Myra Lester in MGM's classic "Waterloo Bridge". If one film was to be regarded as the epitome of what romance on screen should be like then this beautiful production would be it. With no use of bad language, no gross sex scenes, relying as it is on a simple but beautifully wrought story of genuine love between two very different people, it is perfect and should be a film enjoyed by all those over the generations who have loved or wish to be.

Adapted from the famous stage play "Waterloo Bridge", by Robert F. Sherwood it provided the ever lovely Vivien Leigh with one of her greatest roles ever. Made in the aftermath of her triumph as Scarlett O'Hara in the classic "Gone With The Wind", it provided the second of two classic roles for her within the space of two years. Despite winning an Oscar later in her career for her tragic role in "A Streetcar Named Desire", Vivien Leigh would always be most fondly remembered for her work in "Gone With The Wind", and "Waterloo Bridge". Here she has a very different role to the feisty Scarlett and Vivien proves herself to be more than up to the challenge. Never on screen has she been more lovely or convincing as the fragile dancer Myra who meets the man of her dreams Colonel Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor in his best role ever)in the middle of an air raid on London's Waterloo Bridge, falls into a whirlwind romance only to be seperated from him by the demands of the war which also sees her own life crumble into degradation after falsely believing him killed in action in France. Expertly directed by veteran Mervyn LeRoy famous for extracting heartfelt performances out of his actors, "Waterloo Bridge" is a wonderfully moving experience from start to finish. We see the young couple meet in less than ideal circumstances in the underground being used as a airraid shelter, we see (in the most romantic scene in the film) the two dancing and falling in love at the wonderful Candlelight Club just as the light is being extinguished. We join them in their attempts to get married and then to find Roy being shipped off to active duty within a few hours. We then witness Myra's tragic decline into a life of prostitution only to discover too late that Roy is still alive and still just as in love with her while life has taken her in a totally different direction leading to tragic consequences. As the heart felt lovers Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor are perfectly matched and bring total conviction to their parts. Both stated in later years that this film was their own personal favourite and its easy to see why filled as it is by wonderful acting, beautifully staged romantic scenes and a message about what war can do to people in general. Robert Taylor has never been better and his old age rememberances of his lost love on Waterloo Bridge are some of the most tearful parts in the whole film.

"Waterloo Bridge", abounds with other beautiful performances as well. As Myra's best friend and confidant Kitty Meredith who shares the hardships of life on the streets with her , Virginia Field is wonderful in her unwavering love and loyalty to Myra. Veteran character actress Lucile Watson fresh from her triumph playing Norma Shearer's wise mother in "The Women", plays here Robert Taylor's mother Lady Margaret Cronin. Always a beautifully sensitive actress her standout scene where she meets Myra in a restauranrt just after Myra believes that Roy has been killed will leave a lump in your throat for a long time. Rounding out the superlative cast is Maria Ouspenskaya as the harsh Madame Olga Kirowa the domineering manager of the ballet company troupe who by her rigid set of rules is responsible for Myra's downward spiral to a life of degredation and C. Audrey Smith as the Duke delivering his usual sterling work as the army superior who finds himself a little in love with Myra himself when he gives she and Roy permission to marry.

First and foremost it is Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor's film and as an ideal image of what young lovers should be they are perfect. The chemistry here is ever bit as magical as it was for Vivien with Clark Gable in "Gone With The Wind". She and Taylor had worked together a couple of years previously in England when Robert Taylor travelled over to film "A Yank In Oxford" and their familiar camaradie shows on screen. I cannot recommend "Waterloo Bridge", highly enough to you. It is one of my all time favourite romantic dramas. Being also a favourite of my dear late mother's it also has a real sentimental attachment for me. Whether you are seeing this film for the first time or revisiting it after a number of years if you love romanctic tearful dramas you can't help but fall in love yourself with this beautiful production of "Waterloo Bridge".

5-0 out of 5 stars Roy and Myra will steal your heart!
"Waterloo Bridge" is a tender love story set in England during WWI. I really love this movie because of the beautiful development of the stars's romance. Robert Taylor is perfect as the aristocratic, dashing Capt. Roy Cronin while Vivien Leigh is captivating as the sweet ballet dancer Myra Lester.
They meet and fall in love during an air raid and share some of the most tender moments on the screen like the beautiful dance at the "Candlelite Club." But their love is put to the test when Myra,who mistakingly thinks Roy's been killed in the war, is dismissed from the ballet company and turns to prostitution as a means of survival.
If you're a romantic like me, you'll enjoy this tearjerker. Roy and Myra's story tugs at the heart and makes you believe in true love again. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who loves a good romance or a well developed story with substance. ... Read more


2. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
Director: Roy William Neill
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6300185443
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 20510
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Over 10 years after first turning down the role, Bela Lugosi donned the neck bolts and platform boots to play Frankenstein's monster for the first and only time in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr., reprising his most famous role), killed at the end of The Wolf Man, is inexplicably alive and searching for the brilliant Dr. Frankenstein but instead finds the Monster, frozen in ice beneath the castle, and an ambitious scientist (Patric Knowles) who revives the creature and promises to cure Larry. Lugosi is lurching and clumsy as the Monster, while Chaney is appropriately tortured as Larry but stiff and snarly as the Wolf Man, more man than wolf. Last-minute cuts by the studio renders much of the film incomprehensible: the monster was left blind and vocal at the end of Ghost of Frankenstein, but all references to either were deleted (which partly accounts for Lugosi's performance) and he's now sighted but mute. Roy William Neill, a talented B-movie director best known for his Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone, can't do much with the perfunctory script, but he does deliver a highly entertaining conclusion: the Wolf Man battles the Monster while a spectacular disaster (accomplished with obvious but charming models) wipes the castle off the face of the earth... at least until House of Frankenstein the next year. --Sean Axmaker ... Read more

Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, atmospheric Universal Horror Thriller!
Clever sequel to THE WOLF MAN and THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN has Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) revived from the dead and still in his doomed werewolf state seeking the aid of Gypsy Woman Maleva (again Maria Ouspenskaya) for a possible cure for his lycanthropy. Adjourning to Visaria to seek Dr. Frankenstein, they find only angry villagers and no Dr. F. Talbot later discovers the monster (played by now Bela Lugosi who turned down the role 12 years earlier) from the frozen ice caves and sort of befriends the monster, the two seek refuge as English Doctor Patric Knowles tracks Talbot down to help cure him once and for all, but with the lynching mob wanting to destroy the Monster not far behind. That is the plot, but it is not until the end that we are treated to the much awaited "Monster Brawl" as Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolfman battle inside the ruined laboratory. A worthy addition to the FRANKENSTEIN and now also WOLFMAN sequels, excellent cast, but due largely to Lugosi's stiff portrayal of the Monster - remember the Monster is supposed still possessed of Ygor's brain, therefore it probably made some sense to cast Lugosi as the Monster. The result was unfortunately a disaster for both Lugosi and Universal. Lugosi in Frankenstein Monster make-up with his eyes closed, arms out-stretched, and hissing and snarling portrayal is simply far overblown. Which is really too bad, because the film is very effective otherwise, but basically an unimaginative rehash of the earlier films, and definitively sunk by Lugosi's performance.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Wolfman Returns and Finds Dracula Dressed as the Monster
Good Grade B spook spectacular that combines two classic horror characters of Universal Studio. A resurrected Wolfman, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.), seeks release from his cursed life. Maleva, the old gypsy woman, suggests he consult the infamous Dr. Frankenstein. In Vasaria, Talbot discovers the Frankenstein monster within the ruins of the defunct mad-doctor's gloomy castle. The complicated plot involves Frankenstein's human granddaughter (Ilona Massey), a psychiatrist named Dr. Mannering (Patrick Knowles), and the usual irate villagers. Mannering evolves into a low-key version of the mad-doctor. After poring over Frankenstein's records describing "the secrets of life and death," Mannering decides to drain the energy forces from both Talbot and the monster. The two title characters find themselves strapped to tables in the laboratory on a night of metamorphosis and terror. Dr. Mannering has the urge to crank the monster up to its full strength before undoing Frankenstein's creation. When the full moon shines in the lab window, all hell breaks loose in explosive fashion as the super-charged monster and the Wolfman tear into each other.

Although Bela Lugosi had previously declined the role, he plays Frankenstein's monster. By this stage of his career, Lugosi suffered from advancing age and other physical ailments that no doubt contributed to his uninspired performance. The monster is relegated to a secondary role, and spends his time hanging around the ruins. Instead of terrorizing the countryside, he watches Talbot pace and fume. The movie works better as a "Wolfman" story. The opening segment of the two grave robbers that desecrate the Talbot crypt is one of the scariest scenes in all of Universal's horror flicks. Chaney's "man-into-werewolf" transformation is the stuff of troubled dreams, enhanced by Jack Pierce's classic makeup. After the action shifts to Vasaria, a young woman is brutally murdered, and the bewildered villagers question what animal kills that savagely? On cue, something howls in distance. Classic horror fans will recognize Dwight Frye as one of the respectable villagers. This is an inside joke because the character actor previously appeared as the hunchbacked dwarf in the original "Frankenstein," and played an insane procurer of "fresh" dead bodies in "Bride of Frankenstein." Maria Ouspenskaya returns as the enigmatic Maleva. Her mysterious presence effectively connects with Talbot's lost soul.

This movie is an entertaining, albeit second-string, classic horror flick. Encourage the kids to set aside the playstation for 74 minutes and enjoy the thrills and chills. ;-)

4-0 out of 5 stars wish they make more movies like this
i t hink the classic universal frankenstein has been played 4 times by different actor's....karloff...is a classic, but i like
glen strange from abbot and costello better.
this movie good for a saturday afternoon..!

4-0 out of 5 stars Before Freddy battled Jason, Frankenstein meet the Wolf Man!
Before I watched this movie, I didn't think Lugosi could pull it off as Frankenstein. How wrong I was! The legendary actor who was famous for playing Dracula in Universal's classic 1931 film, did a great job as the monster in this film. Although Son of Frankenstein (1939) was a big let down after Frankenstein (1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), this film returns a little pride in the Frankenstein monster. Even though the title is Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, don't let it fool you. This film is more of a sequal to The Wolf Man featuring Frankenstein, but that doesn't really matter, because the story is very good.

Lon Chaney Jr. plays Larry Talbot (the wolf man) and he wants to rid himself of the werewolf curse. He seeks the gypsy woman from The Wolf Man (1941), who tells him there is nothing she can do to cure him. Talbot figures the only cure he can hope for is Dr. Frankenstein, who knew the secrect of life and death. As a result of Henry and Wolf Frankenstein now being dead, Talbot seeks the diary of Henry to figure out a way to kill himself and give his soul eternal piece. He runs into Frankenstein's monster (Lugosi) and Elsa Frankenstein. He turns into the werewolf and has a pretty good battle with Frankenstein.

This movie was scary at times. You can really feel sorry for Larry in this film. The performences by Lugosi, Chaney Jr., and the rest of the cast were great. The music was great too. The story was interesting and kept you guessing as to what will wind up happening to Larry. All in all, this is a fun monster movie. If you are a fan of Universal monster movies, this is a good monster mash for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Both were fabulous!!
This is a sequel to two films. The prequels are: Ghost of Frankenstein and the Wolf Man. Fabulous horror from beginning to end. Later in the film, the resurrected wolfman digs out Frankenstein's superhuman monster, who still stands tall and strong after being burnt and blown up so many times. Coolest!! I have no favorites out of the dozens of great horror classics made way back, and this a wonderful clash. I won't ruin anything else for you, so enjoy.... ... Read more


3. Kings Row
Director: Sam Wood
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6302308208
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 13874
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Secrets Behind A Small Town
King's Row starts off with a view of a sign that announces that the town of King's Row is a great place to live and have a family. The rest of the movie shows you just how untrue that sign was. The film turns the romantic view of life in a small town upside down, exposing a lot of vices and prejudices. The performances are a mixed bag. Ann Sheridan gives one of her best performances as the girl from the wrong side of the tracks (literally), and Ronald Reagan surprises with an effective job as the victim of a sadistic doctor. But Robert Cummings is sometimes laughable as the very idealistic young doctor and Betty Field is over the top as his troubled girlfriend. The supporting cast is generally fine, with an especially fine performance by Nancy Coleman, who should have become a star but didn't. The movie is both dramatic and entertaining, and if you like stories about small towns like I do, then don't miss this one. It's an eye-opener!

5-0 out of 5 stars A grim soap opera with Ronald Reagan's finest performance
"Kings Row" is the most distinguished film of Ronald Reagan's actor career, for which he drew his best reviews. However, by the time it was released in 1942, Reagan was in the Army and his film career had received a fateful interruption that would eventually lead to his shifting to a political career. I remember that when Breshnev was preparing to meet with President Reagan the Soviet leader screened several of Reagan's films, and "King's Row" was the one that impressed him. If you have already seen this film, directed by Sam Wood, you know why.

The film focuses on five childhood friends who grow up to complicated lives. Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) has become a medical student, studying privately with Dr. Alexander Tower (Claude Rains), whose daughter Cassandra (Betty Field) is a sheltered neurotic. Louise Gordon (Nancy Coleman) has been raised by harsh parents who warn here away from playboy Drake McHugh (Reagan), who is living off an inheritance. Drake ends up falling for Randy Monoghan (Ann Sheridan), the former tomboy who has grown up in to a most practical working class girl. Things then get very dark. First, when Dr. Tower discovers Cassandra is pregnant he kills her and himself. Then, after losing his fortune and taking a job at the railroad yard, Drake is injured and Dr. Gordon (Charles Coburn) decides to amputate the young man's legs as a punishment for his former hedonism. This is what leads to Reagan's unforgettable scene when he wakes up and discovers what has been done to him. The scene could have become ludicrous, but Reagan pulls it off and it is clearly his finest moment as an actor.

"Kings Row" is based on the novel by Henry Bellamann, which is a massive story of sadism and thwarted love in what was clearly the "Payton Place" of its day, set in a quiet Midwestern town at the turn of the (last) century. A lot of the novel's elements, such as incest, homosexuality and euthanasia were never going to make it into the film forcing screenwriter Casey Robinson to salvage what he could (e.g., turning the incest between Dr. Tower and his daughter Cassandra into a question of insanity). Robinson also gave the movie a "happier" ending (originally, Drake McHugh dies of cancer after his legs are unnecessarily amputated). Even more radical was the casting, since few in Hollywood were comfortable with Sheridan, Cummings and Reagan having the three lead roles. However, all of them perform admirably, as does Field and the supporting cast of veteran character actors.

Reagan would go on to entitle his autobiography "Where's the Rest of Me?" after the famous line he screams when he awakens to discover his legs are gone. He often told the story about what it was like to film the scene, his worried preparation for him to find the moment in him as an actor and director Wood waiting for Reagan to give the go ahead. For his parent, Reagan always credited Ann Sheridan, who was not supposed to be in the scene. But when he suddenly started calling for Randy she rushed into the room in character and Reagan delivered a powerful scene.

4-0 out of 5 stars "King" Size Entertainment
I am not a fan of Ronald Reagan on any level, but the one movie I've always heard talk about when discussing Reagan as an actor has been "Kings Row" the movie filmbuffs reserve as one of Reagan's best films.

I saw this movie mainly for two reasons. The first being, it's one of my grandmother's favorite movies, the other, the death of the former President.

"Kings Row" is quite an accomplised film from director Sam Wood, a man who has directed serval American classics that would take up too much space if I recited them all here, but they include "Goodbye Mr. Chips", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "The Pride of the Yankees", and two Marx Brothers comedies "A Night at the Opera", and "A Day at the Races".

"Kings Row" directly and indirectly takes on what must have been a lot of taboo subjects. One of the main ones being fornication.

The movie starts off with a shot of a sign that reads; "Kings Row, a great pace to raise your children". From that we are suppose to suspect this is a friendly small town, that to some would seem being. Everybody knows each other and spreads the town's gossip and the people give excited waiting for the local events, but as the film goes on we find out there is much going on behind everyone's back.And the town is not as innocent as it seems.

The film's main characters are Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) and Drake McHugh (Reagan) who have remained friends since childhood. Now that both are older they are soon starting to discover the secrets that lie beneath the town and some of its citizens.

The movie has a terrific cast including Claude Rains as Dr. Tower, a man who is trying to help Parris become a doctor, he also happens to be the father of Cassie (Betty Field), the love of Parris' life. Then there Dr. Henry Gordon (Charles Coburn) who is known to give usual operations and is the father of Louis (Nany Coleman), the girl Drake plans to marry. And there's Ann Sheridan as Randy Monaghan.

Just about everyone in the film does a good job acting wise, but I think it's Cummings' movie all the way, not Reagan. But either way you look at it you have to admit "Kings Row" is an interesting film that holds your interest.

Bottom-line: Well made dramatic suspense film notably known as one of Ronald Reagan's best films, but Robert Cummings gives one of his best performances. Well worth seeing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a job Reagan does!
I've always been a big fan of Reagan the President, but I studiously avoided Reagan the Actor. I had seen just one movie of his - ironically, "Bedtime for Bonzo" - and while it was a cute little romp, I didn't walk away from it, bowled over by Reagan's acting ability.

TCM had a Reaganfest this week because of the president's death, so I tuned in to see "King's Row." All I can say is WOW! I seriously underestimated him!

Not only is Reagan handsome, he steals the movie! You can find out the plot details from other reviews, but I'll guarantee you, when he wakes up to find out his legs have been amputated, you'll be riveted to the screen.

Reagan delivers a bravura performance, tough and touching at the same time. If you always assumed Reagan was a B-movie actor, this movie will blow that assumption to smithereens!

5-0 out of 5 stars good melodrama, great cast
This is a riveting soap opera with a cast that holds all the pieces together, and keeps the sometimes improbable plot fascinating at all times for the viewer.
It was filmed on a soundstage, with very effective scenic design by William Cameron Menzies...I just love the skies !
Brilliantly conceived and directed by Sam Wood, it's based on Harry Bellamann's best-selling novel. The excellent Erich Wolfgang Korngold score also adds to the drama and atmosphere.

Set in a turn of the century small town, where the dark secrets and vile motives of some contrast with the goodness of others, the best scenes are between Ann Sheridan and Ronald Reagan.
The chemistry between them is a delight, and their acting so real, one feels one is sharing the moment with them, even though this was filmed over 60 years ago. They shine as Randy and Drake, two strong, independent, and fun loving souls.

With the exception of one or two scenes with rather stilted dialogue between Betty Field and Robert Cummings, the pacing never lags. There are great actors even in the supporting roles, like Dame Judith Anderson and Maria Ouspenskaya. Claude Rains is absolutely marvelous, and steals every scene he's in.

This classic was nominated for several Oscars...B&W Cinematography (James Wong Howe), Director, and Best Picture, but lost to a "Mrs. Minever" sweep.
It's perhaps Ronald Reagan's best performance, so this film is a piece of American history, as well as being highly entertaining. ... Read more


4. The Wolf Man
Director: George Waggner
list price: $9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6300183092
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5462
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
And the autumn moon is bright.

If you haven't heard this piece of horror-movie doggerel before, you'll never forget it after seeing The Wolf Man for two reasons:it's a spooky piece of rhyme and nearly everybody in the picture recites it at one time or another. Set in a fog-bound studio-built Wales, The Wolf Man tells the doom-laden tale of Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), who returns to the estate of his wealthy father (Claude Rains). (Yes, Chaney's American, but the movie explains this, awkwardly.) Bitten by a werewolf, Talbot suffers the classic fate of the victims of lycanthropy: at the full moon, he turns into a werewolf, a transformation ingeniously devised by makeup maestro Jack Pierce. Pierce was the man who turned Boris Karloff into the Frankenstein monster, and his werewolf makeup became equally famous, with its canine snout and bushy hairdo--and, of course, seriously sharp dental work. The Wolf Man was a smash hit, giving Universal Pictures a new monster for their already crowded stable, and Chaney found himself following in the footsteps (or paw prints) of his father, who had essayed a monster or two in the silent era. This is a classy horror outing, with strong atmosphere and a thoughtful script by Curt Siodmak--well, except for the stiff romantic bits between Chaney and Evelyn Ankers. It's also got Bela Lugosi (briefly) and Maria Ouspenskaya, the prunelike Russian actress who foretells doom like nobody's business.--Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (68)

5-0 out of 5 stars A distant howling.
This legendary horror film is the granddaddy of all werewolf movies. The previous "Werewolf of London" notwithstanding, this film set the standard for much that followed. Wolf Man Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney) became a popular member of the classic horror family at Universal Studios. Makeup genius Jack Pierce created the trademark hirsute fright look that has been imitated, but never improved, over the years. The familiar story of metamorphosis, wolfbane, and the autumn moon unfolds quickly. The running time of the film is a mere 70 minutes. Once it gets going, the action doesn't let up. The inspired casting of Maria Ouspenskaya as Maleva the gypsy woman is a memorable event in classic horror flicks. She brings a mystic sense of Slavic fatalism to her role. Her son, Bela the fortune teller, has the mark of the beast and infects Talbot. Bela Lugosi's appearance is brief, but he manages to project the world-weariness and suffering of his peculiar malady as the doomed gypsy who sees the pentagram in the palm of his next victim. The terrific scenes of Chaney in full makeup, creeping amid the gnarled trees and through the foggy night are the stuff of troubled childhood dreams. Scream Queen Evelyn Ankers is the resident threatened female. Claude Rains is cast in the unlikely role of the hulking Chaney's father. American Ralph Bellamy is also a peculiar choice to play the stern local chief constable. Despite these little quirks, it all blends nicely. About the only thing missing, is the dark sense of humor of James Whale, which made the early Universal Frankenstein flicks so richly enjoyable. Every serious collector of Classic Horror 101 needs this addition to their collection. ;-)

5-0 out of 5 stars Your suffering is over, Bela my son.
Don Smith, Lon Chaney, Jr.'s biographer, states that the most important horror film of the 1940's is "The Wolf Man". This new full screen(aspect 1.33:1) release of "The Wolf Man" is what DVD is all about: A clear, pristine restoration of a cinema classic, an original documentary with director John Landis(written by historian David J. Skal), commentary by expert Tom Weaver, a trailer, and bio's on the major stars, including listing every film by Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi. The Wolfman story, perhaps a classic Greek tragedy, is well-known. Lawrence Talbot returns to his father's estate in Wales. After romancing a local village girl, Talbot is bitten by a werewolf. At the full moon, he suffers the curse of lycanthropy. Like a football team, a movie is perhaps, only as good as it's players. "The Wolf Man" is all first string. Fresh from his accolades for "Of Mice and Men", Lon Chaney, Jr. steps into the leading role with conviction and empathy. This is his finest work. His father, Sir John, is played by Claude Rains. Just one year later, he would be Oscar nominated for "Casablanca". British actress Evelyn Ankers began a long Universal film career here as the love interest. Warren Williams plays the doctor. Williams was once touted as the next Barrymore. Ralph Bellamy appears as Constable Montford. Bellamy was in over 100 films. He won the Academy Award and a Tony for his work. Patric Knowles, a Universal staple, plays the gamekeeper. World famous Maria Ouspenskaya emigrated to the U.S. from Russia, surviving the Revolution and famine. Her role here as Maleva, the old gypsy woman, is pivotal.Finally Bela Lugosi, as Bela the gypsy, is at once riveting and magnetic. Originally considered for the lead, Lugosi's part was sadly cut to 7 lines. It is his only screen appearance as a werewolf. "Wolf Man" director George Waggner creates a frantic pace and eery backgrounds here. Waggner started as an actor, appearing in "The Shiek", with Rudolph Valentino, in 1921. The "Wolf Man" story comes from a taut script by Curt Siodmak. An original music score from Charles Previn and Hans J. Salter was so successful, it popped up in Universal films for years. Some of the track was recycled in 1954 for "Creature From the Black Lagoon". An early "Wolfman" scene in Talbot Castle includes a candlabra prop seen in 1935's "The Raven". In a later segment, Chaney exits a magnificent old church. That set was built for his father in "Hunchback of Notre Dame". "The Wolf Man" finished shooting in November, 1941. Just weeks later it opened in theaters. It was an instant hit, earning over $1 million. Within days, five of the principal actors were rushed into Universal's next opus, "Ghost of Frankenstein". Lon Chaney, Jr.'s grandson, Ron Chaney, lives in Palm Springs, Calif.. I have spoken with him several times. He holds his famous ancestors in high esteem, thanks to his web-site (...). He remembers his grandfather as warm and generous. For "The Wolf Man" commentary, Tom Weaver is detailed and inspired. He makes one error, however,mentioning that Lon Chaney, Jr. died of lung cancer. He's wrong. It was actually his father, Lon Chaney,Sr., who passed away in 1930 after shooting his only sound film, a re-make of his own "The Unholy Three". Lon Chaney,Jr. died in 1973 of a heart attack and liver failure. He was 67. In "The Wolf Man"'s final epic scenes, Maleva, the old gypsy woman, bends over the battered body of Lawrence Talbot, and whispers the words that have echoed down and haunted Hollywood horror film history..."The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own. But as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to their predestined end. Your suffering is over, my son. Now you will find peace..."

5-0 out of 5 stars The birth of Universal's most tragic monster character
Among the pantheon of classic Universal monsters, only Dracula and Frankenstein's monster stand taller than The Wolf Man. This 1941 classic starring Lon Chaney, Jr., is a must-see for anyone claiming any interest in horror movies. The film has exerted a huge influence on the art of bringing horror to life for over six decades now, thanks to the heralded make-up prowess of Jack Pierce, the tight and powerful script of Curt Siodmak, some impressive photography work, and wonderful performances from a truly stellar cast of actors and actresses.

There is just something different about The Wolf Man; I have a hard time viewing him as a monster Larry Talbot is a thoroughly sympathetic and tragic character. Dracula loves being a vampire, Frankenstein's monster is just an unfortunate victim of circumstance whose various body parts have already lived full lives, but Larry Talbot desperately hates the monster he has become. He's already a sympathetic character, coming home after eighteen years following the death of his older brother, trying to fit in among the folks he said goodbye to long ago. Then, when he hears a fateful howl accompanied by a scream, he races off in heroic fashion, taking on a wolf in order to try and save a woman's life, killing the doggoned creature. And what does he get for his noble, self-less act? First of all, suspicion, because instead of the wolf he described, the authorities find the body of a gypsy fortune teller (played by Bela Lugosi, who gets all of seven lines in the film) clubbed to death by Talbot's cane. Then, tragically, he finds himself inflicted with the curse of the werewolf, thanks to the bite he suffered in the struggle. Chaney's performance also adds to his tragic status. He had a style of acting all his own; at times, I watch him and think the guy just couldn't act his way out of a dark room with a flashlight, but his strange and slightly awkward manner, tempered by a sort of gentle slowness ends up leaving me mesmerized. In most horror movies, I'm always ready to bring the monster on and get the party started, but I never look forwarding to watching Talbot turn into the werewolf.

I think everyone is pretty well acquainted with the story here. Man gets bitten by werewolf, man turns into werewolf, man suffers a tragic fate. The Wolf Man, though, succeeds in becoming much more than just the simple tale of a hairy monster. The inimitable Claude Rains lends the film character and class as Talbot's father. The lovely Evelyn Ankers makes a great leading lady in the form of Gwen Conliffe. Lugosi is of course terrific as the gypsy Bela, but the role is a minor one indeed. Maria Ouspenskaya is masterful as the gypsy woman Maleva who tries to warn Talbot and help him deal with the curse that suddenly consumes his life. Siodmak really provided a tight plot; there would be a number of sequels, but The Wolf Man is a completely self-contained movie of great power and meaning.

There are a number of really interesting things about this movie. For instance, we never actually see Talbot's transformation from man to wolf - we see the legs change, but that is it. There is a scene toward the end where we witness the transformation from wolf to man, but you won't see any time-lapse treatment of the change from man to monster. Of much more interest to me is the fact that you don't hear a single reference to the moon in the entire film. Apparently, the transformation happens nightly to Talbot; there is nothing to indicate that a full moon plays any part at all. Thus, some of the core Wolf Man assumptions do not trace themselves back to the original movie.

The commentary by film historian Tom Weaver, included on the DVD, is just superb. It's one of the most engaging commentaries I've heard. This guy is loaded to the gills with facts and trivia, and he barely pauses over the course of the film's 70 minutes, delivering one gem after another. He also asks some of the questions I ask when I watch the movie, and I love that. This isn't a commentary by some stuffy "expert." Weaver is indeed an expert, but at the same time he is one of us, a true fan of classic horror movies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lon Chaney and Claude Rains together.
The best thing about The Wolf Man is not the monster itself but the subtle progression of wolfish themes that are brought out from start to finish in the movie. Even though the much dated 'look' of the monster brings this Universal Classic offering a notch down it still happens to be the best screenplay of the Horror Classics. Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, son of Phantom of the Opera's Lon Chaney) shows that he has some of his father in him (not much facial contortions until the transformations) in his way of bringing darkness and madness to a character that is jolly, loving and smitten by local town kitten after he arrives at his fathers estate following a brief period of absence to take care of things. He learns the local legend of The Wolf Man in the village, how strange poems about the moon and wolfs bane can bring out the wolf in a man, the pentagram and how it can prevent werewolf attacks but also how if it appears on someone's skin then that person is the werewolf's next victim.

All of these superstitions come true very quickly when Larry finds himself the centre of a strange murder mystery in the nearby woods where a gypsy man (Bela Lugosi, in a bit of an under-performance [he is only in it for a few minutes]) was found dead without his shoes on next to the corpse of a young woman who had been mauled by a wolf that Larry had killed with his cane after going to visit the psychic gypsies who had stopped there after passing through the village. Larry remembers killing a wolf but no wolf was ever found...

... later after a gypsy funeral Larry learns that there is a werewolf in the village and that the gypsy's are leaving but not before he meets the wife of the dead gypsy who tells him that the gypsy was really a werewolf and that Larry is cursed!

Claude Rains (who also stars in The Invisible Man and the remake of Phantom of the Opera) has a supporting/lead role as Larry's father who means to prove his son's innocents and protect him from self harm as Larry falls slowly into despair with the knowledge that the superstitions are true and that he is a werewolf.

Most lovers of the classics will probably recognise this as the catchiest of the lot probably because it was closer to more supernatural/natural horror than Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man or Phantom of the Opera. Here we learned about the moon and fascinating facts about the werewolf that have not often been repeated in any other werewolf movie. Also Lon Chaney is the real reason to watch this and along side Claude Rains is to die for, really. The documentaries and extras make this a 5 star package!

5-0 out of 5 stars Hair¿s an Interesting Look
The Wolf Man is simply one of the greatest horror films ever made. Written by Curt Siodmak and directed by George Waggner this film had the perfect combination of narrative content and visual elements. The Wolf Man was one of a dozen B horror movies that Universal produced within the 1930s and 40s, but remains of an elite category for its excellence. From its release in 1941 and until now I believe this film hasn't been getting the appreciation it deserves. Its reputation of being just another black and white B horror film precedes it unfortunately.
The Wolf Man is the story of a man who takes the shape of an animal, in this case a wolf, to deal with his struggle with sexual repression. Larry Talbot, played by Lon Chaney Jr., returns to his home in England after studying abroad for nearly two decades. Shortly after his return, he falls in love with the daughter of an antique shop named Gwen Conliffe, who is played by Evelyn Ankers. Gwen is the stereotypical country girl. She is pretty, sweet, and moral. Larry is bitten by a werewolf on his first date with Gwen and becomes inflicted with the disease of lycanthropy. As the film prolongs we learn of Gwen's engagement to another man and how it leads to a great deal of Larry's frustration. An interesting aspect of this film is that before almost all of Larry's transformations into a wolf he is either directly or indirectly engaged with Gwen's seemingly unreachable hand until it's too late. This leads me to believe that Gwen is, in a way, responsible for Larry's "liberation" from man into beast; being that she is the object of not only his love, but of his sexual frustrations and repressions.
It is always interesting to see how a leading lady was depicted in the golden years of Hollywood films. In The Wolf Man's case, as in many other cases, she is represented as a stereotype and as an object. Without her character, however, the narrative would not have had its particularly well crafted strength. ... Read more


5. The Rains Came
Director: Clarence Brown
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Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Rains Came, But A Good Story Didn't
The Rains Came is an early example of the disaster films popular in the 70s, and unfortunately, like those films, this movie is long on special effects and short on story. Myrna Loy plays a woman with a "bad" past who falls in love with an Indian doctor played by Tyrone Power. George Brent stars as one of Loy's former boyfriends, who has romantic problems with a young girl (Brenda Joyce) who basically wants to get out of her parents' home. In the midst of all this, an earthquake hits Ranchipur and causes a spectacular flood, perhaps the only really interesting thing that happens in the film. Loy and Brent look bored and give bland performances. Power manages to deliver a performance that has more life in it. The special effects are good during the flood, although it appears that they simply shook the camera to get the earthquake effect! The story is trite and the movie is poorly paced. This was a real disappointment to me.

5-0 out of 5 stars A romantic triumph
The Rains Came is a romance set in Ranchipur during monsoon season. Myrna Loy is the former lover of George Brent. She falls in love with Tyrone Power who plays an Indian doctor. Myrna Loy is superb. Her performance as a vamp trying to mend her ways is one of her best. George Brent is not the stiff board he is in other movies. He's quite good. Tyrone Power is simply breathtaking. The man is beautiful to look at. The special effects are marevlous. The story is interesting, and it maintains your interest. It's a triumph!

5-0 out of 5 stars Grand Spectacle
Grandiose, lavish, entertaining, beautifully filmed, blockbuster, exotic-adventure movie, set in Ranchipur, India, based upon Louis Bromfield's novel, directed by MGM's first class director, Clarence Brown, on loan out to 20th Century Fox, with a great cast: dashing, young, heartthrob Tyrone Power (Major Rama Safti), in the role of an Indian doctor, who falls for aristocratic Englishwoman-with-a-tempestuous-past, Myrna Loy (Lady Edwina Esketh), who's married to an arrogant, unpleasant and unbearable Nigel Bruce (Lord Esketh). On the other hand, in Ranchipur lives a man with whom Loy, when very young, had an affair: aristocratic English man-of-the-world (with a very bad reputation), George Brent (Tom Ransome), who at the same time is being pursued by pretty, willful, 18 year old Brenda Joyce (Fern Simon), an American girl who lives in a Mission and wants to get out of her parents' home, whose social climbing and very snob mother, Marjorie Rambeau (Mrs. Simon) encourages the affair, because she longs to "rub shoulders" with the upper classes.

Others in this noteworthy long cast: Maria Ouspensakaya, who is stunningly great as the Maharani, H.B. Warner, as his husband the Maharajah, Ranchipur's Ruler, Joseph Schildkraut, as an "occidentalized" Indian, Mr. Bannerjee, Jane Darwell (who the same year acted in GWTW), as "Aunt" Phoebe Smiley, a down-to-earth American woman who lives in the Mission, Henry Travers (the future "angel" of Capra's 1946 "It's a Wonderful Life") as her husband Mr. Smiley, Mary Nash (famous for her nasty roles opposite Shirley Temple in both, "Heidi" (1937) and "The Little Princess" (1939)), as the rather jealous Miss Mc Daid, Power's nurse assistant, who I perceived as helplessly in love with him, and Laura Hope Crews (who the same year was the very funny Aunt Pittypat in GWTW), in a small role, as an aristocratic English Lady.

In all a very good picture with great special effects, featuring lots of rain, a big earthquake and a flood, in the same vein of other famous disaster films of the era, like: "San Francisco" (1936), "The Hurricane" (1937), "The Good Earth" (1937), and "In Old Chicago" (1938).

Remade in 1955, by Jean Negulesco, as "The Rains of Ranchipur", with Lana Turner, Richard Burton, Fred Mac Murray and Michael Rennie.

4-0 out of 5 stars ok for a older movie
I don't know why this movie got the bad reviews. It wasn't all that bad. The remake was better but the story line was changed some to make it better. It should be watched at least once.

It should not have gotten a one star review

1-0 out of 5 stars I'd give it no stars if I could
This was a BORING movie. I can't really say anything else, except it was putting me to sleep. The main characters were never developed. None of them were really interesting to me anyway. If a movie doesn't make me care about the characters and their lives, then the movie is just a waste of time for me. I didn't care about these people or why they were in India. It would have been much nicer if the flood had just swept all these boring people away and swept the soundstage clean to set up for making a more interesting movie. If you like Myrna Loy, who was in this, I recommend you skip this and see her in "The Best Years of Our Lives". ... Read more


6. Dodsworth
Director: William Wyler
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Asin: 6302227135
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Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
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One of the finest films of the 1930s, this classic Samuel Goldwyn production was based upon the hit Broadway play written by Sidney Howard, which had in turn been adapted from the 1929 novel by Sinclair Lewis. Ahead of its time in dramatizing the disintegration of a marriage, the story centers on the title character (superbly played by Walter Huston, who originated his role onstage), a wealthy automobile manufacturer whose wife (Ruth Chatterton, in her final American film role) desperately craves an aristocratic lifestyle in Europe. Dodsworth indulges her fancies to a degree, but their clashing desires--compounded by her affair with a European baron and his affection for a sympathetic widow (Mary Astor)--create further tension and mutual rancor. Dodsworth was perhaps the first Hollywood drama of the sound era that maturely addressed the complexity of a failing marriage and impending divorce, made especially compelling since Dodsworth is such an admirable and upstanding character who means well and upholds the ideal of marital commitment. Sharply directed by William Wyler, the film is as relevant today as it was when released in 1936. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superior film of adult behaviour and society
Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Mary Astor, Kathryn Marlowe, and John Payne headline this study of marriage and early 20th Century culture. The story line is solid, the script is restrained, direction & acting excellent. Typical of many lesser known films, Dodsworth combines the best of book-to-film conversions (Sinclair Lewis-book, Sidney Howard-script), and accurate psychological drama - for thinking adults.

Dodsworth offers a rare chance to see musical stage star Kathryn Marlowe as the daughter. Marlowe (AKA Kay Kimber on Broadway & London stage, Kay Rea on radio and TV), was brought to Hollywood as Fred Astaire's choice to be his movie partner at RKO studios. In typical Hollywood politics, this was stopped by Ginger Roger's mother, an RKO executive. Marlowe is the person who introduced Iowa radio sports announcer Ronald Reagan to Hollywood, getting him his agent, and introducing him around. Underused as a Goldwyn personal contract player, Marlowe returned to the London stage, starring in "High Button Shoes". There, she also pushed careers of newcomers in her shows, such as Audry Hepburn. Married to famed bandleader Roy Fox, after World War II Marlowe stopped touring, and became Production Manager of KTVO TV in Ottumwa, Iowa to be near her parents, and to raise a family.

John Payne can be seen early in his busy career.

5-0 out of 5 stars A movie for adults--in the best sense of the term.
It is a stinging indictment of today's Hollywood that a movie like Dodsworth probably couldn't get made today. In its emotional richness and complexity, it demands an audience that doesn't expect an explosion or a poopoo joke every ten seconds. Walter Huston gives one of the all-time great performances as Sam Dodsworth, a self-made millionaire who goes to Europe searching for his roots. Unfortunately, his neurotic wife Fran (Ruth Chatterton, an unjustly forgotten actress) goes with him searching for something else entirely, and the movie is largely about the suffering her emotional games-playing causes him. Add Mary Astor as an elegant American divorcee, Paul Lukas and David Niven as shady Europeans, and Maria Ouspenskaya as a wise old Austrian baroness, and you have a great cast giving life to a screenplay of uncommon literacy and wisdom. Dodsworth is a movie for people who are willing to pay attention, who don't want everything spelled out in huge letters, and who agree with F. Scott Fitzgerald that action is character.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, for the good old days of films!
Ruth Chatterton, William Wyler, Walter Huston - how could you go wrong with these film greats involved? I loved every minute of it. It was romantic, touching, funny -- black and white and I wouldn't have it any other way. Such a great film -- please, do yourself a favor and buy this NOW! It's how movies should be!

5-0 out of 5 stars A movie for a desert isle....
If I can only have one movie to take with me to that proverbial desert isle, I pick this one. The play between Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton is really something to see...they gave the best performances of their careers here (and I love Chatterton in a little-known Pre-Code film called "Lilly Turner" which you should definitely seek out). The script VASTLY improves upon the book by Sinclair Lewis, and fleshes out the part of, to quote Chatterton, "that washed-out ex-patriate" played by Mary Astor. Praised in its day for its maturity and its sumptuous production, it is still an absolutely perfect film. The final 5 minutes show what an intense climax a director can create from a relatively tiny story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT FILM FROM 1936.
This movie holds a special fascination for me. First off, the little-seen-on-video actress Ruth Chatterton does a superlative job as Fran Dodsworth, the hopelessly vain forty-something wife of a successful American Industrialist

I love the remark Mary Astor makes to Chatterton when Fran states to the younger Edith: "I hope I look as good as you do at your age" - "You're almost certain to, my dear" replies Mary.

As Dodsworth himself, Walter Huston is amazing: a brilliantly effective performance, simple, unaffected -- basking in its realism.

Mary Astor is wonderful as the true blue widow Edith Cortwright. Astor plays her role with a sincere confidence and her character is a nice contrast to the foolish Fran (Who gets more ridiculously affected and flirtatious as the film progresses)

Apart from the great Maria Ouspenskaya - who has one telling scene - David Niven is merely adequate here and the other supporting players (John Payne, Spring Byington, etc.) aren't particularly memorable.

But Huston, Chatterton and Astor carry the film aided by William Wyler's superb direction. And that lovely semi-sentimental musical theme heard throughout doesn't exactly mar the film, either.

DODSWORTH is an uncommonly adult film for the 193O's (Nineteen thirties Hollywood, anyway!) And it's a joy to relish for those interested in fine vintage performances from three pros doing some of their finest work on screen. ... Read more


7. Waterloo Bridge
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
list price: $19.98
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Asin: 630197834X
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Sales Rank: 18865
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Vivien Leigh at her very best.
Beautiful, sensitive love story told in flashback, loosely based on Robert E. Sherwood's play, of the doomed love between aristocratic british army officer Robert Taylor and frail and lovely, classic ballerina-turned-into-streetwalker, Vivien Leigh, at the peak of her natural beauty.

This movie was filmed after Miss Leigh's success in "Gone With the Wind" and she gives a great tragic performance as ballerina Myra Lester, and Robert Taylor is much better than usual as Captain Roy Cronin. Very good acting by the supporting players too: pretty Virginia Field is also great in a heart-felt performance as Leigh's very loyal & supportive friend; Madame Maria Ouspenskaya, once again gives a knowing authoritative performance as the strict ballet coach; Lucile Watson is very understanding, sweet and charming as Lady Margaret, the hero's mother; and last but not least, C. Aubrey Smith, very effective as usual, as the Duke, Taylor's Uncle.

Filmed before in 1931, at Universal Studios and directed by James Whale, much more faithfully to Robert E. Sherwood's play, with Mae Clarke and Douglass Montgomery in the leads, with newcomer Bette Davis in a small role. Then again, remade in 1956, as "Gaby" with Leslie Caron and John Kerr.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Tragic Romance
When pressed to name her favorite of her own films, Vivien Leigh brushed aside both GONE WITH THE WIND and STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE in favor of this now little-known film based on a failed 1930s stage drama of the same name: WATERLOO BRIDGE, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Leigh had good reason for her choice. Although she was dazzling as Scarlett O'Hara and elegantly depraved as Blanche DuBois, she was never as beautifully photographed as she was in this 1940 film.

WATERLOO BRIDGE is perhaps best described as one of a number of films "with an English accent" that played to American sympathies for England in the years when England largely stood alone against Nazi Germany. The story itself has a wartime setting: beautiful ballerina Myra (Vivien Leigh) meets and falls passionately in love with officer Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor), only to be parted from him when he is called to duty during World War I. Alone and increasingly destitute, she learns that he has been killed in action--and so, broken hearted and unconcerned for herself, she drifts into prostitution, plying the world's oldest profession along Waterloo Bridge... until she experiences a horrific twist of fate.

Although Robert Taylor is a bit miscast, Leigh carries the film with a truly remarkable performance. In the opening portion of the scene, she is at the height of her youthful beauty, and cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg makes the most of it; later, when experience has hardened her, she turns the graceful charm of her earlier scenes upside down to create the bitter, brassy tart that Myra has become. The cast also features an exceptional performance by Lucile Watson as Lady Margaret and notable turns by Maria Ouspenskaya, C. Aubrey Smith, and a host of others.

Although less well known than such tragic romances as Garbo's CAMILLE, WATERLOO BRIDGE is easily the equal of such and considerably better than most. The romantic aura is powerful, the production values are meticulous, the direction, photography, and script are first rate. And at the center of it all we have perhaps the single most beautiful actress of her era, Vivien Leigh, in one of her finest performances. You'll need a box of tissues for this one; don't miss it.

4-0 out of 5 stars IT WAS BOTH VIVIEN AND ROBERT`S FAVORITE FILM
Vivien Leigh proved that her success as Scarlett O`Hara was no fluke. She gives a stunning performance as the shy and innocent ballet dancer Myra Lester. MGM gives the product a lush and style and it is the definitive version of the play.

It is the PERFECT film for two people in love:-))))))))))))

5-0 out of 5 stars Romantic classic for lovers both young and old
Vivien Leigh had what I firmly believe was her most wonderful role as the tragic Ballerina Myra Lester in MGM's classic "Waterloo Bridge". If one film was to be regarded as the epitome of what romance on screen should be like then this beautiful production would be it. With no use of bad language, no gross sex scenes, relying as it is on a simple but beautifully wrought story of genuine love between two very different people, it is perfect and should be a film enjoyed by all those over the generations who have loved or wish to be.

Adapted from the famous stage play "Waterloo Bridge", by Robert F. Sherwood it provided the ever lovely Vivien Leigh with one of her greatest roles ever. Made in the aftermath of her triumph as Scarlett O'Hara in the classic "Gone With The Wind", it provided the second of two classic roles for her within the space of two years. Despite winning an Oscar later in her career for her tragic role in "A Streetcar Named Desire", Vivien Leigh would always be most fondly remembered for her work in "Gone With The Wind", and "Waterloo Bridge". Here she has a very different role to the feisty Scarlett and Vivien proves herself to be more than up to the challenge. Never on screen has she been more lovely or convincing as the fragile dancer Myra who meets the man of her dreams Colonel Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor in his best role ever)in the middle of an air raid on London's Waterloo Bridge, falls into a whirlwind romance only to be seperated from him by the demands of the war which also sees her own life crumble into degradation after falsely believing him killed in action in France. Expertly directed by veteran Mervyn LeRoy famous for extracting heartfelt performances out of his actors, "Waterloo Bridge" is a wonderfully moving experience from start to finish. We see the young couple meet in less than ideal circumstances in the underground being used as a airraid shelter, we see (in the most romantic scene in the film) the two dancing and falling in love at the wonderful Candlelight Club just as the light is being extinguished. We join them in their attempts to get married and then to find Roy being shipped off to active duty within a few hours. We then witness Myra's tragic decline into a life of prostitution only to discover too late that Roy is still alive and still just as in love with her while life has taken her in a totally different direction leading to tragic consequences. As the heart felt lovers Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor are perfectly matched and bring total conviction to their parts. Both stated in later years that this film was their own personal favourite and its easy to see why filled as it is by wonderful acting, beautifully staged romantic scenes and a message about what war can do to people in general. Robert Taylor has never been better and his old age rememberances of his lost love on Waterloo Bridge are some of the most tearful parts in the whole film.

"Waterloo Bridge", abounds with other beautiful performances as well. As Myra's best friend and confidant Kitty Meredith who shares the hardships of life on the streets with her , Virginia Field is wonderful in her unwavering love and loyalty to Myra. Veteran character actress Lucile Watson fresh from her triumph playing Norma Shearer's wise mother in "The Women", plays here Robert Taylor's mother Lady Margaret Cronin. Always a beautifully sensitive actress her standout scene where she meets Myra in a restauranrt just after Myra believes that Roy has been killed will leave a lump in your throat for a long time. Rounding out the superlative cast is Maria Ouspenskaya as the harsh Madame Olga Kirowa the domineering manager of the ballet company troupe who by her rigid set of rules is responsible for Myra's downward spiral to a life of degredation and C. Audrey Smith as the Duke delivering his usual sterling work as the army superior who finds himself a little in love with Myra himself when he gives she and Roy permission to marry.

First and foremost it is Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor's film and as an ideal image of what young lovers should be they are perfect. The chemistry here is ever bit as magical as it was for Vivien with Clark Gable in "Gone With The Wind". She and Taylor had worked together a couple of years previously in England when Robert Taylor travelled over to film "A Yank In Oxford" and their familiar camaradie shows on screen. I cannot recommend "Waterloo Bridge", highly enough to you. It is one of my all time favourite romantic dramas. Being also a favourite of my dear late mother's it also has a real sentimental attachment for me. Whether you are seeing this film for the first time or revisiting it after a number of years if you love romanctic tearful dramas you can't help but fall in love yourself with this beautiful production of "Waterloo Bridge".

5-0 out of 5 stars Roy and Myra will steal your heart!
"Waterloo Bridge" is a tender love story set in England during WWI. I really love this movie because of the beautiful development of the stars's romance. Robert Taylor is perfect as the aristocratic, dashing Capt. Roy Cronin while Vivien Leigh is captivating as the sweet ballet dancer Myra Lester.
They meet and fall in love during an air raid and share some of the most tender moments on the screen like the beautiful dance at the "Candlelite Club." But their love is put to the test when Myra,who mistakingly thinks Roy's been killed in the war, is dismissed from the ballet company and turns to prostitution as a means of survival.
If you're a romantic like me, you'll enjoy this tearjerker. Roy and Myra's story tugs at the heart and makes you believe in true love again. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who loves a good romance or a well developed story with substance. ... Read more


8. Love Affair
Director: Leo McCarey
list price: $4.95
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Asin: 6303935257
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 8640
Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars Well, quite honestly...
Although this original 1939 version of the thrice-told story is usually hailed as the best of the lot, today it seems slow and more melodramatic than romantic. In the first hashing of this story, Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer play the star-crossed pair on a transatlantic cruiser and fall in love. They plan to meet at the Empire State Building in several months, but an accident prevents Dunne from showing up. The end is perhaps the best scene, in which Boyer discovers what happened to Dunne- it's one of the few believable scenes in the picture.

Unfortunately, casting is not as believable. Irene Dunne chirps and quips her way through the picture, and does not seem to be acting up to her caliber until the last emotional scene (Why was this, of all of Dunne's finest performances, nominated for an Oscar?). Charles Boyer fares somewhat better, when that heavy French accent doesn't get in the way. Marie Ouspenskaya is indeed very good as Boyer's wise grandmother.

The cinematography is very good, and costumes are very good. Unfortunately, both fail completely saving the picture. For a better version, see "An Affair to Remember" the REAL best of the lot: Chemistry between Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is much deeper and more enchanting, and glowing Technicolor adds a real nice touch to the story. Even in the role of the grandmother, Cathleen Nesbitt fares better than Marie Ouspenskaya. Although "Affair" is pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of this film, it's worth it to see Cary and Deborah look into each other's eyes.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love Affair: Love Overcomes Adversity
LOVE AFFAIR is one of many films whose theme is that love does not adhere to imposed schedule. What distinguishes this movie from other and similar ones is what the actors do and say after they realize this. Terry McKay (Irene Dunne) and Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) are each romantically involved with other people when they meet and fall in love on a sea voyage to New York. This sort of thing happens often enough in real life but their reaction to their new emotions reveals their basic decency and depth of feeling. They agree to meet months later on the top floor of the Empire State Building to cement their relation. Thus far, the tone is one of light, romantic comedy. However, LOVE AFFAIR takes an unexpected tragic detour as Terry is crippled in a car accident. Other movies have often dealt with issues in which one lover grows ill or crippled, but in this film, one of the lovers (Terry) makes things worse by hiding her condition by running away from Michel. For most of the second half, Terry and Michel are apart physically but connected emotionally. Each copes with the separation as best as they can. Michel's grief is probably the easier to cope with since he feels that he was unjustly jilted so what can he do about that except heal. Terry's grief is more multi-faceted since she has to live with a series of complicating factors, only one of which (her being confined to a wheelchair) is beyond her control. She must reconcile her present unhappiness with the unpleasant realization that she could have tossed away a life of bliss with a man who might not have been scared off by the prospect of a wheelchair bound wife. Miss Dunne was a deserved nominee for Best Actress as she manages to hide her misgivings about her decision to break off the relation beneath smile and song. Charles Boyer is convincing as a man who loses his love, does not know why, and then must face the consequences of factors totally beyond his control. LOVE AFFAIR is not your three hanky sobber. Rather it is an intelligent exploration of love gone astray, a condition exacerbated when one of them discovers that this love sometimes needs a healthy dose of honesty and confidence to keep it on track.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic golden age romance
Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne star in this delightful romance movie, which opens with some brilliant dialogue, then devolves into a convoluted melodrama, as the screenwriters struggle to come up with *some* silly reason these two star-crossed lovers shouldn't get together. Both actors are splendid in their roles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Buy It Anyway on DVD
The quality of the DVD is good enough to be able to enjoy the movie. No white outs, black outs or pixalation. On the other hand it is not what you can call great. I noticed a sound problem for a few minutes but I could tolerate it. This DVD is adequate until someone puts out a restored version. I prefer movies on DVD even if the VHS version is better. The story and actors are just great. In short don't pay too much and don't expect too much and you can enjoy a great old movie. That said let's hope someone restores it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best!
Irene Dunne glows in this movie. She delivers the jokes and poignant lines in an effortless, natural way way Kerr never could. Dunne is just funnier and Charles Boyer is much more expressive than Grant.

Normally I'm a die hard Cary Grant fan but "Love Affair" is the best version of this wonderful story. It inspires both laughs and tears. Five stars isn't enough. I keep a copy of this close at hand for those rainy days... ... Read more


9. The Mortal Storm
Director: Frank Borzage
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6303120490
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 17121
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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One of the best American pre-war films to attempt to explain the crisisbrewing in Europe, this 1940 MGM film documents the effects of the new Naziregime on a small, peaceful Alpine village. James Stewart and Margaret Sullavanstruggle to understand the unjust changes being forced upon their community bythe growing Nazi influence. Helpless to avert the horror unfolding before them,Stewart and Sullavan witness old friends becoming fearful and suspicious. Otherscast their lot with the new order and become cruel, jealous, and vengeful--evendrunk on Nazi power. The small German village seduced by the corrupt Nazimessage is an excellent analogy for what happened in Germany as a whole. At thetime, Americans did not want to get involved in another "European war," butfilms like The Mortal Storm tried to show Americans that what washappening overseas could also happen on Maple Street, USA. --Mark Savary ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A brutally depressing film about the horrors of Nazi Germany
"The Mortal Storm" is the most depressing but arguably the most powerful movie about what was happening in Germany produced by Hollywood before America entered World War II. University Professor Viktor Roth (Frank Morgan), a non-Aryan, is dismayed when his sons Otto (Robert Stack) and Erich (William T. Orr) become Nazis, following their fanatical friend Fritz Marberg (Robert Young). The professor's daughter Freya (Margaret Sullavan) tries to escape the country with her anti-Nazi friend Martin Breitner (James Stewart), but this is one of those films where nobody gets out alive. When this 1940 film directed by Frank Borzage and based on the novel by Phyllis Bottome was released in Europe, Hitler banned all MGM films from being shown in territories occupied by the Nazis. However, "The Mortal Storm" was a box-office failure in the United States, mainly because by the time it was released it was all too obvious what was happening in Germany. So on the one hand this film is a blistering indictment of Nazi Germany and on the other hand it produced about a year too late to have much of an impact in this country. On balance, I go with the fact that the film is brutally honest at a time when Nazis were being reduced to cartoonish buffoons in films to determine how I would rate this film. For me this is an unforgettable story with a message that could never have been repeated often enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Important Pre-WWII Film
The VHS version of the 1940 MGM film, "The Mortal Storm" is certainly worth viewing, and makes a strong contribution to any resource library dealing with the history of the Second World War.

This film version of Phyllis Bottome's book is expertly crafted in classic MGM style. Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Robert Young (Father Knows Best), Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz); gowns by Adrian, and art direction by Ward B. Rubottom (later to become Art Director at WED Enterprises / Disneyland Inc. for 1955's Main Street USA in Disneyland); all add up to a cast and crew that Hollywood can be proud of.

While the bombs had not yet dropped on Pearl Harbor, some in our nation could foresee the storm that was rising while Hitler seized power throughout Europe. This is the story of that rise, and the consequences for both action and inaction as power is centralized and abuse of that power spins out of control.

An historic and highly recommended story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Indictment Of Nazism
THE MORTAL STORM is an excellent movie about the early days of Nazi oppression. The film is adapted from a book by Phyllis Bottome.

The story concerns a young couple played by James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan who attempt to flee Germany to Austria on skis after Hitler gains power in 1933. The acting by Stewart and Sullivan is superb. A Strong supporting cast includes Robert Young, Frank Morgan, Robert Stack and Bonita Granville. Frank Borzage is known for directing many other fine movies including A FAREWELL TO ARMS.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understanding "The Mortal Storm" means Understanding Borzage
Probably the best movie concerning the rise of Hitler and Nazism ever made. By far, the most compelling performances were that of Jimmy Stewart (Martin Breitner) and M. Sullivan. There are many familiar faces in this film that went on to even greater heights: Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz), Robert Stack (The Untouchables), & Robert Montgomery (Father Knows Best, Marcus Welby MD). But to really understand this film you have to understand the director, Frank Borzage. A 2-time Oscar winner (Seventh Heaven, The Bad Girl), he attained high rank in the Masonic Order. A primary axiom of the Masons was their belief in the universal brotherhood of man. The idea that all had value. This themes is very evident in the film. The alpine village depicted here serves as an excellent model relative to what happened in nearly every German home. Although a box office failure, the film serves as perhaps the best commentary ever on the effects of Nazism on the individual German family.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful WWII-era political drama
A chilling and surprisingly effective political drama detailing Germany's transition from a center of European high civilization into the totalitarian paranoia of the Nazi regime. Jimmy Stewart is a free-thinking, kind hearted Everyman, whose best friends turn on him when he refuses Party membership, and whose life and career are destroyed by the people who were once his neighbors and confidants. The sense of horror and surprise at how swiftly things changed is made manifest in this film, which is one of Hollywood's most effective pre-war antifascist propaganda films. Margaret Sullavan plays opposite Stewart, and once again adds a nice touch to her role as the girl he loves, and the daughter of an eminent scientist who runs afoul of the local Nazi fanatics. Robert Stack also appears, so young (and so blond!) that you'll hardly recognize him. A powerful film; well worth watching. ... Read more


10. I've Always Loved You
Director: Frank Borzage
list price: $19.98
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Asin: 6302112060
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27272
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Borzage love story
Okay, that rating may be a bit indulgent. But this is truly an enjoyable and emotionally involving love story. It is set in the world of classical music and makes excellent use of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto, performed on the soundtrack by no less than Artur Rubenstein ("The world's greatest pianist," as the credits tell us!).

The story is about Myra (played by Cathrine McLeod), a young, starry-eyed piano student who falls under the spell of an imperious pianist/conductor (Philip Dorn). Myra becomes his protegee and steadily grows in her talent--and her love for him--until she becomes a bit TOO good for his masculine ego. And there is also a third point to this romantic triangle--Myra's childhood sweetheart (William Carter)--waiting in the wings. . .

Frank Borzage was a director who specialized in romantic pathos. His films convey a compassionate, spiritually transcendent belief in the power of love. By the time he made I've Always Loved You, he was entering his third decade as a director. This film was the first of three he made at Republic--ordinarily, NOT a prestigious studio. Yet I've Always Loved You was made on a budget of $2 million--a VERY generous amount for 1946--and contains spectacular sets and costumes and stunning use of Technicolor. The film was not well-received upon its release (and many contemporary critics continue to dismiss it), but it remains a high-water mark in Borzage's career.

I heartily recommend the film to anyone who enjoys a classic Hollywood love story (and if you want to see it, purchase the video--I don't think the film has been shown on TV for decades!). Sit back, relax, and let Borzage and company give your emotions a good workout--all to the tune of some lushly beautiful music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Borzage love story
Okay, that rating may be a little indulgent. But this is truly one of my favorite films. It's a lavish ($2 million budget--quite an amount for 1946!), colorful romance set against the world of classical music. Catherine McLeod plays a young student who becomes the protegee of Philip Dorn, an imperious pianist/conductor. McLeod steadily grows in her performing ability--and her love for Dorn--until she becomes a little bit TOO good for his masculine ego. And there is also a third point of this romantic triangle--McLeod's childhood sweetheart, William Carter--waiting in the wings. . . It may be too easy today to make fun of classic Hollywood romantic contrivances. But I've Always Loved You contains some true narrative surprises, along with the sense of compassionate, transcendent love that always marked director Frank Borzage's work. This was the first of three films Borzage made under contract to Republic; I've seen only two of the three (this one and Moonrise), and both are among the best films of his long career. His leading lady here, McLeod, was playing her first leading role (which is evident from her uneven performance, which improves as the film goes along). Sadly, she never became a major Hollywood "name." If you enjoy classic Hollywood romances/"women's films," give I've Always Loved You a try. You won't be disappointed! ... Read more


11. Beyond Tomorrow
Director: A. Edward Sutherland
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
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Asin: 6302482887
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 34601
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sentimental story that starts out on Christmas Eve...
This is a little-known black and white movie that is, in many ways, a treasure. The story begins on Christmas Eve in a large city (NYC, I believe), with three elderly gentlemen business partners who prepare to spend Christmas Eve together. Alas...at the last minute the invited guests cancel. The three elderly men make a bet -- they take three gift wallets, placing a business card and $10 in each of them, and they toss the wallets out onto the street...just to see if anyone will return the wallet.

Needless to say, from this humble beginning two kind souls return the wallets, friendships are built, and even romance ensues.

The part I think is most interesting about the movie though, is that the story really does go "Beyond Tomorrow," following the elderly gentlemen and their opinions, interests, and concerns for their new friends, even beyond the grave -- in an uplifting way.

This is an extremely enjoyable movie. I encourage you to give it a look, especially if you are tired of watching the same line-up of Christmas specials and movies.

Top-notch holiday entertainment, though not quite in the same class as "It's a Wonderful Life" or "A Miracle on 34th Street"...both better known 5-star offerings.

Merry Christmas!

Alan Holyoak

4-0 out of 5 stars Moral and funny at the same time
Three old gentlemen, rich and engulfed in industrial adventures, come to their last Christmas. One of them engages the others into some social caper : to invite for their Christmas dinner and subsequent follow-up events the people who will bring back the billfolds containing ten dollars that they throw in the street. It is of course two rather poor and solitary people, a young man and a young woman, who do this whereas the third billfold is carelessly thrown away by a rich girl. Dishonesty is not the main quality of this selfish girl. Of course the young woman and the young man fall in love, but the young man is a singer and he gets into business rather fast and thus gets involved with a female star who is a shark and a vulture looking for men she can eat alive and raw. The young man falls into the trap. During that time the three old men meet with some mishap in a blizzard and they come back as ghosts, waiting for their being called on the road to some eternal fate. But one of them will look after the dramatically trapped young man and will eventually get his salvation, after him being killed by the previous husband of the cannibal star, and all will end well that started well and turned sour in the middle.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU ... Read more


12. Conquest
Director: Clarence Brown, Gustav Machatý
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6301967143
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 10888
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice old-fashioned historical romance!
Charles Boyer and Greta Garbo play opposite each other as, respectively, the great Napoleon Bonaparte and a Polish noblewoman who captures his heart. Garbo is stunning: this is her at the height of her sensuality, while Boyer's Napoleon is a fiery, arrogant, magnetic character who gains our sympathy by the film's end. A grand, old-fashioned romance that pays viewers off quite nicely. Recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars BOYER IS BRILLIANT
As Garbo's last dramatic role, this is often included in the retrospectives that have kept her genius visible to new generations. For the only time in Garbo's starring career, her male opposite had a more interesting role than her own in CONQUEST. Charles Boyer, as Napoleon was the flame around which his Polish mistress, Marie Walewska, fluttered in this Samuel Hoffenstein-Salka Viertel-S.N. Behrman script; their doomed affair is superbly acted by both stars under Clarence Brown's able direction. However, it DOES lack the bravura scenes which made CAMILLE so special. Although she looks utterly beautiful, Garbo seems a bit exhausted - like she was still recovering from her extraordinary previous performance. Expensively mounted by Bernard Hyman, this film didn't earn back its cost in America, but it did beautifully overseas. The supporting cast is mostly excellent; it includes Dame May Whitty, Leif Erickson, George Zucco and the great Maria Ouspenskaya.

4-0 out of 5 stars Charles Boyer as Napoleon outshines Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer team up as a Polish Countess and Napoleon Bonaparte in this 1937 film directed by Clarence Brown. During a 1807 visit to Poland, Napoleon encounters the Countess Marie Walewska. Asked by the Polish government to visit the dictator to get his aid in making their country independent, the Countess reluctantly agrees. Of course she has an affair with him, is divorced by her husband (Henry Stephenson), and becomes Napoleon's mistress. She longs to be his wife, but when Talleyrand (Reginald Owen) arranges Napoleon's marriage to Marie Louise (Jean Fenwick), her hopes are dashed even though she has born the future Emperor a son (Scotty Becket).

"Conquest" is unique as a Garbo film because for once her leading man makes more of an impression than she does. Once again, as with all of her more famous roles, Garbo does not get to live happily ever after. This film is notorious as the biggest money-losing film of 1937. The fault lies more in the script, which is based on Waclaw Gasiorowski's novel "Pani Walewska," than with the performances. Boyer makes a passable Napoleon while Garbo is, well, Garbo, stoically resigned to her fate at the hands of others. All in all, I would say this was an average one of her films. An enjoyable film but not particularly memorable.

4-0 out of 5 stars **NOT** a space documentary, a COSTUME ROMANCE FROM 1937!
I was first introduced to "Conquest" in the Medved Brothers' tome "The Hollywood Hall of Shame" in which the movie gained an honorary mention as being the biggest money-loser of 1937. So when I saw it I was unexpectedly surprised- in fact I **really** liked it! "Conquest" stars not only the fabulous Scandinavian woman of mystery, Greta Garbo, but 1930s French matinee idol Charles Boyer (of "Gaslight" and "Algiers" fame) in a very entertaining and sudsy costume romance about Napoleon and a Polish countess, Marie Walewska. It's Old Silver Screen Romance at its best; gorgeous actors, spectacular sets and costumes, melodramatic delivery, violins, convenient thunderstorms, and loads of corny dialogue ("Are you real, or born of a snow drift?") You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll pine for the good ol' days when movie actors actually had charisma! ... Read more


13. The Shanghai Gesture
Director: Josef von Sternberg
list price: $14.98
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Asin: B00000JN25
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 51689
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Description

A melodrama of sex, corruption and greed from the great German director Josef von Sternberg (The Blue Angel). Gene Tierney and Walter Huston star in this passionate tale of a gambling den in the Orient and the people who collide while following their lusts in Shanghai's slimy underworld. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, Visually Sumptuous Film
Although the plot may present some "holes" (I think maybe due to censorship "cuts") and some of it might strike some as "uneven", it is nevertheless an attractive, visually stunning, sumptuous, bizarre, baroque, "decadent" Von Sternberg film, with a great cast.

I will start with Ona Munson, 'cos she really steals the film from everyone, including one of my favourite actresses and beauties, lovely Gene Tierney glamorously dressed by her then husband Oleg Cassini. Munson's performance is a-la-par with any of the exotic characters played by Marlene Dietrich in her '30s Paramount Extravaganzas. As Mother Gin Sling, she's simply superb, wearing heavy Chinese-make-up, and all kinds of exotic hairstyles and clothes. I only recall Ona Munson, as Belle Watling in "Gone With the Wind", and you'd never tell they're the same person. She seems to have been really a "chameleon", because she IS the embittered Mother Gin Sling. I think she gave an Academy Award winning performance (IMHO).

On the other hand, Walter Huston, one of America's greatest actors ever ("Dodsworth", "Treasure of Sierra Madre", etc.) is his usual best as Sir Guy Charteris, the man who wants to take control of Shanghai, thus affecting Mother Gin Sling's business (she owns a Casino located in an "important zone" of the city). I won't tell more.

I saw this one on TCM (they borrowed it , because it does not belong to their catalog) with a Robert Osborne introduction, excellent as always, and he tells that no one could had filmed this story, because of the restrictions of the Production Code, until Von Sternberg did it, using the "innuendo" and making changes on the original story here and there, to have the "approval" seal. Anyway, the films is charged with sexual tension, double-entendre, amorality and decadence, as I stated before. It is a Shanghai that can only exist within the mind of the "Master of Style" that was Von Sternberg, I just love his films.

And we have too a lovely, young Gene Tierney as the spoiled Victoria Charteris (Huston's daughter), Victor Mature as "gigoloyish" character, Phyllis Brooks, as a beautiful, wise-cracking chorus girl (she reminded me of Jean Harlow's wise-cracking roles), Ivan Lebedeff as a "Casino-Roulette-addict", the funny Eric Blore as an employee of Mother Gin Sling, Mike Mazurki (as one of Mother Gin-Sling's thugs) and Madame Maria Ouspenskaya, in a small role (The "Amah").

In all, a worthwhile film, which I enjoyed completely. Sadly, it seems there are not "restored" copies available.

I think I'll buy the DVD, in spite of what's stated about its quality, because I don't think that there is any better edition around (Both the VHS and the DVD were edited by Image).

4-0 out of 5 stars A DVD zone SHANGHOLLYWOOD
Strangely enough, Gene Tierney isn't the main character of Von Sternberg's THE SHANGHAI GESTURE, neither Victor Mature alias Dr. Omar, nor Walter Huston. No, the picture is haunted by the Sternbergian character of "Mother" Gin Sling who steals the show whenever it appears. Ona Munson and Von Sternberg have created here a figure worthy to stay in the annals of cinema if not in the cinematographic harem of this director, in the company of Marlene Dietrich.

Too bad that the quality of the DVD presented by Image isn't at the level of the movie. Bad images, bad sound and extra poor bonus features. This shows how highly this company thinks of the movie lovers.

5-0 out of 5 stars "I would have torn down the whole world to get at you."
In Josef von Sternberg's film "The Shanghai Gesture" sinister Madame Gin Sling runs a very profitable casino in Shanghai. When the casino is scheduled for demolition to make way for new real estate development, Gin Sling receives an eviction order from Shanghai government officials. Madame Gin Sling initially resists the order from Sir Guy Charteris, but then suddenly submits. She gains a slight delay--until Chinese New Year's--the day when all debts are paid.

Sir Guy's daughter bets heavily--and loses--at the casino nightly. Her little gambling addiction goes unnoticed by Sir Guy. He's unaware that she's sinking deeper and deeper into debt and debauchery, or that she's now the paramour of the decadent poetry-spouting Dr Omar (Victor Mature). Madame Gin Sling "trades in the weaknesses of others" and so she's experienced enough to utterly ruin Guy's daughter and blackmail Sir Guy into a better bargaining position.

"The Shanghai Gesture", at first, seems tremendously dated. Americans play the roles of the Chinese characters, and this has an overall cheesy effect. Then to make matters worse, the Chinese characters (who are clearly European) speak gibberish and Pidgin English. But as the story develops, and the plot intensifies, authenticity seems to matter little. The sets are magnificent--especially the casino floor. The casino is huge, teeming with life--people cheating & attempting suicide. The impression is that the casino is a world of its own, and Madame Gin Sling rules over all. She descends to the casino floor when trouble erupts (this is frequently), and she also has the final word on who is allowed credit. A jeweler evaluates and prices jewelry as desperate gamblers exchange family heirlooms to stake the next bet, and baskets are filled with money from the gambling tables and then hauled up through holes in the ceiling. This is Madame Gin Sling's empire, and she rules with an iron fist and long, sharp claws.

Talented acting really carries this film far. Three of the main characters--Madame Gin Sling, Poppy/Victoria Charteris and Dr Omar (Victor Mature) all really work at their roles. Ona Munson plays Madame Gin Sling magnificently. She is the ultimate dragon lady--complete with ridiculously exaggerated eyebrows, long, sharp nails, and fantastically complex hairstyles. She "washed ashore" in Shanghai--the "cesspool of the Far East" and created her fortune. While she is not a particularly sympathetic character, all attention is focused on her whenever she enters a scene.

Gene Tierney plays "Poppy" (the name she uses in the casino) or Victoria Charteris. As the film begins, she appears fresh and quite beautiful, but as the film winds on, the results of her decadent behaviour begin to tell, and her looks fade. Tierney also does an excellent job in her role, and she is at her best when she's manipulating the men in her life--Dr Omar and her indulgent father, Guy Charteris.

When I first saw Victor Mature as Dr Omar, I cringed. He wore a fez and cloak, and yet underneath that costume, it was still Victor Mature as large as life. But, once again, as the plot wore on, I became wrapped up in his role. Omar is a delightful rogue, and he announces, "I'm not an authority on mirages or powder puffs." From the onset, it's clear that Poppy won't be able to manipulate Omar. The source of his income is dubious and he tells Poppy "I can say with pride that I've never paid for anything in my life." He is a moral corruptor and also a conduit between Madame Gin Sling and Sir Guy.

The universal and timeless themes in the story are ultimately what make this film quite wonderful. The stuffy British and European officials and nobility look down on Madame Gin Sling, and yet they create a class of "useable" (see the scene of girls in the cages) people by their corruption and decadence--it's not the other way around. Madame Gin Sling is created by forces which now imagine they can destroy her. The story of her past is both terrible and magnificent.

"The Shanghai Gesture" is--in many ways--an amazingly enlightened film for its time. The film was rejected by censors 32 times before its release, and if you watch the film you'll see why. Due to reviewer complaints about the quality of the DVD, I purchased the videotape, and the quality was excellent--displacedhuman.

3-0 out of 5 stars BIZARRE BAZAAR.....
If you want to see what a sick movie was like in 1941, then this is for you. Supposedly watered down from the stage play, "Shanghai Gesture" is a mess. A spoiled rich girl, Poppy (get it?) becomes enamored of a hustler (Victor Mature) working in a notorious Den of Sin run by the notorious Madame Gin Sling (Ona Munson from "GWTW"). It's a gambling set up that offers more if you're interested. Poppy becomes addicted to gambling and opium in a bizarre plot by Gin Sling to humiliate the girl's father (Walter Huston) who she had once been involved with and who left her when she became pregnant. Now China's most infamous underworld figure, she's out to even the score. Trashy and ridiculous, it takes a lot to sit through this hokum. Gin Sling's hair styles are a sight to see. Mean, unsympathetic characters populate this Von Sternberg directed morality tale but the overall effect is "yawn". A lot of hinted at depravity includes white slavery where girls are held in baskets that are suspended over throngs of reaching and grabbing men. See this out of curiosity if you must---it sounds more interesting than it really is---but be aware the DVD transfer is poor. Gene Tierney (Poppy) went on to do better films than this like "Laura" and "Leave Her to Heaven" proving that her talent and beauty could shine in better material.

4-0 out of 5 stars A New DVD Transfer, Please!!!
"The Shanghai Gesture" is one of the finest films of all time. The incredible and surreal acting, production design, dialogue and photography are a must-see. Unfortunately, the previous laserdisc release was a far superior transfer than the DVD currently available (which is watchable, but not nearly adequate for Josef von Sternberg's best film). Hopefully, the source material used for that laserdisc will be used to create a new DVD transfer. ... Read more


14. Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet
Director: William Dieterle
list price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304525117
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 35409
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Edward G. Robinson looks for a vaccine to cure V.D.
Edward G. Robinson stars as Dr. Paul Ehrlich in this 1940 film directed by William Dieterle that is one of the best biopics out of Warner Brothers. The film is noteworthy because of its mature handling of the formerly taboo subject of syphilis, which is mentioned in a Hollywood film for the first time. Ehrlich was the German doctor who decided to search for a vaccine for the venereal disease and discovered Salvarsan. These were the days when a bunch of dedicated scientists looking through a microscope while speaking of the wonders of nature and the sancity of life could come across as being dramatic. The Hays Office signed off on this film, after some intense deliberations, and "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" was supported by medical societies and the U.S. Public Health Service. This film has an outstanding supporting cast, with Ruth Gordon as Mrs. Ehrlich, Otto Kruger as Dr. Behring, Donald Crisp as Minister Althoff, Sig Ruman as Dr. Wolfert, Donald Meek as Mittelmeyer, and Maria Ouspenskaya as Franziska Spever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Warners biography of famed chemist.
Edward G. Robinson should have netted an Oscar nom for his finest screen portrayal - as the dedicated chemist and researcher, Paul Ehrlich. This is one of the great Warners screen biographies (THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR, THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA, MADAME CURIE). The screenplay is literate and absorbing. The acting is excellent, the direction tight. Ehrlich introduced the idea of treatment with chemical substances and developed a cure for both diptheria and syphillis. The screenplay was deservedly nominated for an Oscar but it is Robinson who shines in an atypical but superb performance. ... Read more


15. Dodsworth
Director: William Wyler
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0792844599
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 2785
Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superior film of adult behaviour and society
Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Mary Astor, Kathryn Marlowe, and John Payne headline this study of marriage and early 20th Century culture. The story line is solid, the script is restrained, direction & acting excellent. Typical of many lesser known films, Dodsworth combines the best of book-to-film conversions (Sinclair Lewis-book, Sidney Howard-script), and accurate psychological drama - for thinking adults.

Dodsworth offers a rare chance to see musical stage star Kathryn Marlowe as the daughter. Marlowe (AKA Kay Kimber on Broadway & London stage, Kay Rea on radio and TV), was brought to Hollywood as Fred Astaire's choice to be his movie partner at RKO studios. In typical Hollywood politics, this was stopped by Ginger Roger's mother, an RKO executive. Marlowe is the person who introduced Iowa radio sports announcer Ronald Reagan to Hollywood, getting him his agent, and introducing him around. Underused as a Goldwyn personal contract player, Marlowe returned to the London stage, starring in "High Button Shoes". There, she also pushed careers of newcomers in her shows, such as Audry Hepburn. Married to famed bandleader Roy Fox, after World War II Marlowe stopped touring, and became Production Manager of KTVO TV in Ottumwa, Iowa to be near her parents, and to raise a family.

John Payne can be seen early in his busy career.

5-0 out of 5 stars A movie for adults--in the best sense of the term.
It is a stinging indictment of today's Hollywood that a movie like Dodsworth probably couldn't get made today. In its emotional richness and complexity, it demands an audience that doesn't expect an explosion or a poopoo joke every ten seconds. Walter Huston gives one of the all-time great performances as Sam Dodsworth, a self-made millionaire who goes to Europe searching for his roots. Unfortunately, his neurotic wife Fran (Ruth Chatterton, an unjustly forgotten actress) goes with him searching for something else entirely, and the movie is largely about the suffering her emotional games-playing causes him. Add Mary Astor as an elegant American divorcee, Paul Lukas and David Niven as shady Europeans, and Maria Ouspenskaya as a wise old Austrian baroness, and you have a great cast giving life to a screenplay of uncommon literacy and wisdom. Dodsworth is a movie for people who are willing to pay attention, who don't want everything spelled out in huge letters, and who agree with F. Scott Fitzgerald that action is character.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, for the good old days of films!
Ruth Chatterton, William Wyler, Walter Huston - how could you go wrong with these film greats involved? I loved every minute of it. It was romantic, touching, funny -- black and white and I wouldn't have it any other way. Such a great film -- please, do yourself a favor and buy this NOW! It's how movies should be!

5-0 out of 5 stars A movie for a desert isle....
If I can only have one movie to take with me to that proverbial desert isle, I pick this one. The play between Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton is really something to see...they gave the best performances of their careers here (and I love Chatterton in a little-known Pre-Code film called "Lilly Turner" which you should definitely seek out). The script VASTLY improves upon the book by Sinclair Lewis, and fleshes out the part of, to quote Chatterton, "that washed-out ex-patriate" played by Mary Astor. Praised in its day for its maturity and its sumptuous production, it is still an absolutely perfect film. The final 5 minutes show what an intense climax a director can create from a relatively tiny story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT FILM FROM 1936.
This movie holds a special fascination for me. First off, the little-seen-on-video actress Ruth Chatterton does a superlative job as Fran Dodsworth, the hopelessly vain forty-something wife of a successful American Industrialist

I love the remark Mary Astor makes to Chatterton when Fran states to the younger Edith: "I hope I look as good as you do at your age" - "You're almost certain to, my dear" replies Mary.

As Dodsworth himself, Walter Huston is amazing: a brilliantly effective performance, simple, unaffected -- basking in its realism.

Mary Astor is wonderful as the true blue widow Edith Cortwright. Astor plays her role with a sincere confidence and her character is a nice contrast to the foolish Fran (Who gets more ridiculously affected and flirtatious as the film progresses)

Apart from the great Maria Ouspenskaya - who has one telling scene - David Niven is merely adequate here and the other supporting players (John Payne, Spring Byington, etc.) aren't particularly memorable.

But Huston, Chatterton and Astor carry the film aided by William Wyler's superb direction. And that lovely semi-sentimental musical theme heard throughout doesn't exactly mar the film, either.

DODSWORTH is an uncommonly adult film for the 193O's (Nineteen thirties Hollywood, anyway!) And it's a joy to relish for those interested in fine vintage performances from three pros doing some of their finest work on screen. ... Read more


16. Beyond Tomorrow
Director: A. Edward Sutherland
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6302595746
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 6749
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sentimental story that starts out on Christmas Eve...
This is a little-known black and white movie that is, in many ways, a treasure. The story begins on Christmas Eve in a large city (NYC, I believe), with three elderly gentlemen business partners who prepare to spend Christmas Eve together. Alas...at the last minute the invited guests cancel. The three elderly men make a bet -- they take three gift wallets, placing a business card and $10 in each of them, and they toss the wallets out onto the street...just to see if anyone will return the wallet.

Needless to say, from this humble beginning two kind souls return the wallets, friendships are built, and even romance ensues.

The part I think is most interesting about the movie though, is that the story really does go "Beyond Tomorrow," following the elderly gentlemen and their opinions, interests, and concerns for their new friends, even beyond the grave -- in an uplifting way.

This is an extremely enjoyable movie. I encourage you to give it a look, especially if you are tired of watching the same line-up of Christmas specials and movies.

Top-notch holiday entertainment, though not quite in the same class as "It's a Wonderful Life" or "A Miracle on 34th Street"...both better known 5-star offerings.

Merry Christmas!

Alan Holyoak

4-0 out of 5 stars Moral and funny at the same time
Three old gentlemen, rich and engulfed in industrial adventures, come to their last Christmas. One of them engages the others into some social caper : to invite for their Christmas dinner and subsequent follow-up events the people who will bring back the billfolds containing ten dollars that they throw in the street. It is of course two rather poor and solitary people, a young man and a young woman, who do this whereas the third billfold is carelessly thrown away by a rich girl. Dishonesty is not the main quality of this selfish girl. Of course the young woman and the young man fall in love, but the young man is a singer and he gets into business rather fast and thus gets involved with a female star who is a shark and a vulture looking for men she can eat alive and raw. The young man falls into the trap. During that time the three old men meet with some mishap in a blizzard and they come back as ghosts, waiting for their being called on the road to some eternal fate. But one of them will look after the dramatically trapped young man and will eventually get his salvation, after him being killed by the previous husband of the cannibal star, and all will end well that started well and turned sour in the middle.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU ... Read more


17. Love Affair
Director: Leo McCarey
list price: $5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304818386
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 72846
Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars Well, quite honestly...
Although this original 1939 version of the thrice-told story is usually hailed as the best of the lot, today it seems slow and more melodramatic than romantic. In the first hashing of this story, Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer play the star-crossed pair on a transatlantic cruiser and fall in love. They plan to meet at the Empire State Building in several months, but an accident prevents Dunne from showing up. The end is perhaps the best scene, in which Boyer discovers what happened to Dunne- it's one of the few believable scenes in the picture.

Unfortunately, casting is not as believable. Irene Dunne chirps and quips her way through the picture, and does not seem to be acting up to her caliber until the last emotional scene (Why was this, of all of Dunne's finest performances, nominated for an Oscar?). Charles Boyer fares somewhat better, when that heavy French accent doesn't get in the way. Marie Ouspenskaya is indeed very good as Boyer's wise grandmother.

The cinematography is very good, and costumes are very good. Unfortunately, both fail completely saving the picture. For a better version, see "An Affair to Remember" the REAL best of the lot: Chemistry between Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is much deeper and more enchanting, and glowing Technicolor adds a real nice touch to the story. Even in the role of the grandmother, Cathleen Nesbitt fares better than Marie Ouspenskaya. Although "Affair" is pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of this film, it's worth it to see Cary and Deborah look into each other's eyes.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love Affair: Love Overcomes Adversity
LOVE AFFAIR is one of many films whose theme is that love does not adhere to imposed schedule. What distinguishes this movie from other and similar ones is what the actors do and say after they realize this. Terry McKay (Irene Dunne) and Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) are each romantically involved with other people when they meet and fall in love on a sea voyage to New York. This sort of thing happens often enough in real life but their reaction to their new emotions reveals their basic decency and depth of feeling. They agree to meet months later on the top floor of the Empire State Building to cement their relation. Thus far, the tone is one of light, romantic comedy. However, LOVE AFFAIR takes an unexpected tragic detour as Terry is crippled in a car accident. Other movies have often dealt with issues in which one lover grows ill or crippled, but in this film, one of the lovers (Terry) makes things worse by hiding her condition by running away from Michel. For most of the second half, Terry and Michel are apart physically but connected emotionally. Each copes with the separation as best as they can. Michel's grief is probably the easier to cope with since he feels that he was unjustly jilted so what can he do about that except heal. Terry's grief is more multi-faceted since she has to live with a series of complicating factors, only one of which (her being confined to a wheelchair) is beyond her control. She must reconcile her present unhappiness with the unpleasant realization that she could have tossed away a life of bliss with a man who might not have been scared off by the prospect of a wheelchair bound wife. Miss Dunne was a deserved nominee for Best Actress as she manages to hide her misgivings about her decision to break off the relation beneath smile and song. Charles Boyer is convincing as a man who loses his love, does not know why, and then must face the consequences of factors totally beyond his control. LOVE AFFAIR is not your three hanky sobber. Rather it is an intelligent exploration of love gone astray, a condition exacerbated when one of them discovers that this love sometimes needs a healthy dose of honesty and confidence to keep it on track.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic golden age romance
Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne star in this delightful romance movie, which opens with some brilliant dialogue, then devolves into a convoluted melodrama, as the screenwriters struggle to come up with *some* silly reason these two star-crossed lovers shouldn't get together. Both actors are splendid in their roles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Buy It Anyway on DVD
The quality of the DVD is good enough to be able to enjoy the movie. No white outs, black outs or pixalation. On the other hand it is not what you can call great. I noticed a sound problem for a few minutes but I could tolerate it. This DVD is adequate until someone puts out a restored version. I prefer movies on DVD even if the VHS version is better. The story and actors are just great. In short don't pay too much and don't expect too much and you can enjoy a great old movie. That said let's hope someone restores it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best!
Irene Dunne glows in this movie. She delivers the jokes and poignant lines in an effortless, natural way way Kerr never could. Dunne is just funnier and Charles Boyer is much more expressive than Grant.

Normally I'm a die hard Cary Grant fan but "Love Affair" is the best version of this wonderful story. It inspires both laughs and tears. Five stars isn't enough. I keep a copy of this close at hand for those rainy days... ... Read more


18. Love Affair/Animal Kingdom
Director: Leo McCarey
list price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304808356
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 105187
Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars Well, quite honestly...
Although this original 1939 version of the thrice-told story is usually hailed as the best of the lot, today it seems slow and more melodramatic than romantic. In the first hashing of this story, Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer play the star-crossed pair on a transatlantic cruiser and fall in love. They plan to meet at the Empire State Building in several months, but an accident prevents Dunne from showing up. The end is perhaps the best scene, in which Boyer discovers what happened to Dunne- it's one of the few believable scenes in the picture.

Unfortunately, casting is not as believable. Irene Dunne chirps and quips her way through the picture, and does not seem to be acting up to her caliber until the last emotional scene (Why was this, of all of Dunne's finest performances, nominated for an Oscar?). Charles Boyer fares somewhat better, when that heavy French accent doesn't get in the way. Marie Ouspenskaya is indeed very good as Boyer's wise grandmother.

The cinematography is very good, and costumes are very good. Unfortunately, both fail completely saving the picture. For a better version, see "An Affair to Remember" the REAL best of the lot: Chemistry between Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is much deeper and more enchanting, and glowing Technicolor adds a real nice touch to the story. Even in the role of the grandmother, Cathleen Nesbitt fares better than Marie Ouspenskaya. Although "Affair" is pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of this film, it's worth it to see Cary and Deborah look into each other's eyes.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love Affair: Love Overcomes Adversity
LOVE AFFAIR is one of many films whose theme is that love does not adhere to imposed schedule. What distinguishes this movie from other and similar ones is what the actors do and say after they realize this. Terry McKay (Irene Dunne) and Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) are each romantically involved with other people when they meet and fall in love on a sea voyage to New York. This sort of thing happens often enough in real life but their reaction to their new emotions reveals their basic decency and depth of feeling. They agree to meet months later on the top floor of the Empire State Building to cement their relation. Thus far, the tone is one of light, romantic comedy. However, LOVE AFFAIR takes an unexpected tragic detour as Terry is crippled in a car accident. Other movies have often dealt with issues in which one lover grows ill or crippled, but in this film, one of the lovers (Terry) makes things worse by hiding her condition by running away from Michel. For most of the second half, Terry and Michel are apart physically but connected emotionally. Each copes with the separation as best as they can. Michel's grief is probably the easier to cope with since he feels that he was unjustly jilted so what can he do about that except heal. Terry's grief is more multi-faceted since she has to live with a series of complicating factors, only one of which (her being confined to a wheelchair) is beyond her control. She must reconcile her present unhappiness with the unpleasant realization that she could have tossed away a life of bliss with a man who might not have been scared off by the prospect of a wheelchair bound wife. Miss Dunne was a deserved nominee for Best Actress as she manages to hide her misgivings about her decision to break off the relation beneath smile and song. Charles Boyer is convincing as a man who loses his love, does not know why, and then must face the consequences of factors totally beyond his control. LOVE AFFAIR is not your three hanky sobber. Rather it is an intelligent exploration of love gone astray, a condition exacerbated when one of them discovers that this love sometimes needs a healthy dose of honesty and confidence to keep it on track.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic golden age romance
Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne star in this delightful romance movie, which opens with some brilliant dialogue, then devolves into a convoluted melodrama, as the screenwriters struggle to come up with *some* silly reason these two star-crossed lovers shouldn't get together. Both actors are splendid in their roles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Buy It Anyway on DVD
The quality of the DVD is good enough to be able to enjoy the movie. No white outs, black outs or pixalation. On the other hand it is not what you can call great. I noticed a sound problem for a few minutes but I could tolerate it. This DVD is adequate until someone puts out a restored version. I prefer movies on DVD even if the VHS version is better. The story and actors are just great. In short don't pay too much and don't expect too much and you can enjoy a great old movie. That said let's hope someone restores it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best!
Irene Dunne glows in this movie. She delivers the jokes and poignant lines in an effortless, natural way way Kerr never could. Dunne is just funnier and Charles Boyer is much more expressive than Grant.

Normally I'm a die hard Cary Grant fan but "Love Affair" is the best version of this wonderful story. It inspires both laughs and tears. Five stars isn't enough. I keep a copy of this close at hand for those rainy days... ... Read more


19. Love Affair
Director: Leo McCarey
list price: $12.99
our price: $12.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303063705
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 38799
Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars Well, quite honestly...
Although this original 1939 version of the thrice-told story is usually hailed as the best of the lot, today it seems slow and more melodramatic than romantic. In the first hashing of this story, Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer play the star-crossed pair on a transatlantic cruiser and fall in love. They plan to meet at the Empire State Building in several months, but an accident prevents Dunne from showing up. The end is perhaps the best scene, in which Boyer discovers what happened to Dunne- it's one of the few believable scenes in the picture.

Unfortunately, casting is not as believable. Irene Dunne chirps and quips her way through the picture, and does not seem to be acting up to her caliber until the last emotional scene (Why was this, of all of Dunne's finest performances, nominated for an Oscar?). Charles Boyer fares somewhat better, when that heavy French accent doesn't get in the way. Marie Ouspenskaya is indeed very good as Boyer's wise grandmother.

The cinematography is very good, and costumes are very good. Unfortunately, both fail completely saving the picture. For a better version, see "An Affair to Remember" the REAL best of the lot: Chemistry between Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is much deeper and more enchanting, and glowing Technicolor adds a real nice touch to the story. Even in the role of the grandmother, Cathleen Nesbitt fares better than Marie Ouspenskaya. Although "Affair" is pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of this film, it's worth it to see Cary and Deborah look into each other's eyes.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love Affair: Love Overcomes Adversity
LOVE AFFAIR is one of many films whose theme is that love does not adhere to imposed schedule. What distinguishes this movie from other and similar ones is what the actors do and say after they realize this. Terry McKay (Irene Dunne) and Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) are each romantically involved with other people when they meet and fall in love on a sea voyage to New York. This sort of thing happens often enough in real life but their reaction to their new emotions reveals their basic decency and depth of feeling. They agree to meet months later on the top floor of the Empire State Building to cement their relation. Thus far, the tone is one of light, romantic comedy. However, LOVE AFFAIR takes an unexpected tragic detour as Terry is crippled in a car accident. Other movies have often dealt with issues in which one lover grows ill or crippled, but in this film, one of the lovers (Terry) makes things worse by hiding her condition by running away from Michel. For most of the second half, Terry and Michel are apart physically but connected emotionally. Each copes with the separation as best as they can. Michel's grief is probably the easier to cope with since he feels that he was unjustly jilted so what can he do about that except heal. Terry's grief is more multi-faceted since she has to live with a series of complicating factors, only one of which (her being confined to a wheelchair) is beyond her control. She must reconcile her present unhappiness with the unpleasant realization that she could have tossed away a life of bliss with a man who might not have been scared off by the prospect of a wheelchair bound wife. Miss Dunne was a deserved nominee for Best Actress as she manages to hide her misgivings about her decision to break off the relation beneath smile and song. Charles Boyer is convincing as a man who loses his love, does not know why, and then must face the consequences of factors totally beyond his control. LOVE AFFAIR is not your three hanky sobber. Rather it is an intelligent exploration of love gone astray, a condition exacerbated when one of them discovers that this love sometimes needs a healthy dose of honesty and confidence to keep it on track.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic golden age romance
Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne star in this delightful romance movie, which opens with some brilliant dialogue, then devolves into a convoluted melodrama, as the screenwriters struggle to come up with *some* silly reason these two star-crossed lovers shouldn't get together. Both actors are splendid in their roles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Buy It Anyway on DVD
The quality of the DVD is good enough to be able to enjoy the movie. No white outs, black outs or pixalation. On the other hand it is not what you can call great. I noticed a sound problem for a few minutes but I could tolerate it. This DVD is adequate until someone puts out a restored version. I prefer movies on DVD even if the VHS version is better. The story and actors are just great. In short don't pay too much and don't expect too much and you can enjoy a great old movie. That said let's hope someone restores it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best!
Irene Dunne glows in this movie. She delivers the jokes and poignant lines in an effortless, natural way way Kerr never could. Dunne is just funnier and Charles Boyer is much more expressive than Grant.

Normally I'm a die hard Cary Grant fan but "Love Affair" is the best version of this wonderful story. It inspires both laughs and tears. Five stars isn't enough. I keep a copy of this close at hand for those rainy days... ... Read more


20. Mortal Storm
Director: Frank Borzage
list price: $39.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000009N29
Catlog: Video
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A brutally depressing film about the horrors of Nazi Germany
"The Mortal Storm" is the most depressing but arguably the most powerful movie about what was happening in Germany produced by Hollywood before America entered World War II. University Professor Viktor Roth (Frank Morgan), a non-Aryan, is dismayed when his sons Otto (Robert Stack) and Erich (William T. Orr) become Nazis, following their fanatical friend Fritz Marberg (Robert Young). The professor's daughter Freya (Margaret Sullavan) tries to escape the country with her anti-Nazi friend Martin Breitner (James Stewart), but this is one of those films where nobody gets out alive. When this 1940 film directed by Frank Borzage and based on the novel by Phyllis Bottome was released in Europe, Hitler banned all MGM films from being shown in territories occupied by the Nazis. However, "The Mortal Storm" was a box-office failure in the United States, mainly because by the time it was released it was all too obvious what was happening in Germany. So on the one hand this film is a blistering indictment of Nazi Germany and on the other hand it produced about a year too late to have much of an impact in this country. On balance, I go with the fact that the film is brutally honest at a time when Nazis were being reduced to cartoonish buffoons in films to determine how I would rate this film. For me this is an unforgettable story with a message that could never have been repeated often enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Important Pre-WWII Film
The VHS version of the 1940 MGM film, "The Mortal Storm" is certainly worth viewing, and makes a strong contribution to any resource library dealing with the history of the Second World War.

This film version of Phyllis Bottome's book is expertly crafted in classic MGM style. Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Robert Young (Father Knows Best), Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz); gowns by Adrian, and art direction by Ward B. Rubottom (later to become Art Director at WED Enterprises / Disneyland Inc. for 1955's Main Street USA in Disneyland); all add up to a cast and crew that Hollywood can be proud of.

While the bombs had not yet dropped on Pearl Harbor, some in our nation could foresee the storm that was rising while Hitler seized power throughout Europe. This is the story of that rise, and the consequences for both action and inaction as power is centralized and abuse of that power spins out of control.

An historic and highly recommended story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Indictment Of Nazism
THE MORTAL STORM is an excellent movie about the early days of Nazi oppression. The film is adapted from a book by Phyllis Bottome.

The story concerns a young couple played by James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan who attempt to flee Germany to Austria on skis after Hitler gains power in 1933. The acting by Stewart and Sullivan is superb. A Strong supporting cast includes Robert Young, Frank Morgan, Robert Stack and Bonita Granville. Frank Borzage is known for directing many other fine movies including A FAREWELL TO ARMS.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understanding "The Mortal Storm" means Understanding Borzage
Probably the best movie concerning the rise of Hitler and Nazism ever made. By far, the most compelling performances were that of Jimmy Stewart (Martin Breitner) and M. Sullivan. There are many familiar faces in this film that went on to even greater heights: Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz), Robert Stack (The Untouchables), & Robert Montgomery (Father Knows Best, Marcus Welby MD). But to really understand this film you have to understand the director, Frank Borzage. A 2-time Oscar winner (Seventh Heaven, The Bad Girl), he attained high rank in the Masonic Order. A primary axiom of the Masons was their belief in the universal brotherhood of man. The idea that all had value. This themes is very evident in the film. The alpine village depicted here serves as an excellent model relative to what happened in nearly every German home. Although a box office failure, the film serves as perhaps the best commentary ever on the effects of Nazism on the individual German family.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful WWII-era political drama
A chilling and surprisingly effective political drama detailing Germany's transition from a center of European high civilization into the totalitarian paranoia of the Nazi regime. Jimmy Stewart is a free-thinking, kind hearted Everyman, whose best friends turn on him when he refuses Party membership, and whose life and career are destroyed by the people who were once his neighbors and confidants. The sense of horror and surprise at how swiftly things changed is made manifest in this film, which is one of Hollywood's most effective pre-war antifascist propaganda films. Margaret Sullavan plays opposite Stewart, and once again adds a nice touch to her role as the girl he loves, and the daughter of an eminent scientist who runs afoul of the local Nazi fanatics. Robert Stack also appears, so young (and so blond!) that you'll hardly recognize him. A powerful film; well worth watching. ... Read more


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