Favourite American Cinema

His-Girl-FridayThis list combines a number of accepted cinema classics with quite a few films of the 30s and 40s I feel are under-appreciated: this was, it is generally admitted, the great age of American cinema, but people turn away from films photographed in black and white, and miss the work of some of the best writers, directors, cinematographers and actors who have ever worked in the movies. All decades are represented here, but no comix, action or epics. The mix is as odd as anyone else’s selection but for me these are the most entertaining as well as the best of films.

1977 Annie Hall. Woody Allen got a lot of help from Diane Keaton both as actor and scriptwriter in this bittersweet story which could be based on the couple’s earlier relationship. Both very funny and very humane, it represents a balance between the earlier frenzied comedy routines and the later exploitation of neuroses as a source of humor.

1940 His Girl Friday. Howard Hawks and Cary Grant made what is probably their finest film. It’s a dark comedy about the unscrupulous use of power, and at the same time an uproarious battle of the sexes. Rosalind Russell and Grant do everything except wear boxing gloves. You have to concentrate to get it all: very fast, very furious, very funny.

1938 Bringing Up Baby. Howard Hawks showed Cary Grant to be one of the greatest of comedians and got a lively, hilarious performance from Kate (he told her not to act). Baby is a leopard from Brazil, Grant is a paleontologist, Asta steals the crucial bone, there’s a second, savage, leopard, everyone ends up in jail. Nope, it’s indescribable. One of the best comedies ever made.

1932 Trouble in Paradise. Ernst Lubitsch bought his light touch to this most romantic of comedies. Wonderful screenwriting and almost perfect lighting and composition created real magic here. It was never done as well again.

1937 The Awful Truth. Leo McCarey survived the Marx Brothers in 1933’s Duck Soup and came up with this, one of the half dozen best romantic comedies ever made. Cary Grant shows his perfect timing and Irene Dunne is a perfect foil. And that’s Asta from the Thin Man here as well. Superb.

1934 The Thin Man. W S Van Dyck, ‘one take Woody’, raced through this thrilling detective story while William Powell and Myrna Loy came up with non stop one liner witticisms and one of the best beloved of screen romances. Tough but tender. The 1936 sequel, After the Thin Man, is that rare thing, as good as the original. 1939’s Another Thin Man was not far behind.

1934 Dinner at Eight. George Cukor directed an all star cast in this hilarious satire of the rich and pretentious, and of the harsh realities they sometimes had to face: Jean Harlow stole the show, quite a feat considering the other performances. One of the most famous and funny final scenes in cinema.

1936 Libeled Lady. Jack Conway directed Jean Harlow, this time she’s one of two couples: the others being Spencer Tracy, William Powell and Myrna Loy. That sentence is deliberately confusing, a reference to one of the most absurd and bewildering of plots. Powell does magnificent slapstick, the girls come up with takeover ploys a Wall Street shark could learn from and did I say it’s one of the funniest of films?

1933 Bombshell. Victor Fleming and Jean Harlow tell it like it is in this frenzied exposé of tinseltown tawdriness. If you think film stars have it easy you’ll feel sorry for this one by the end. Jean Harlow and Lee Tracy act at a furious pace. It’s not only a true picture, but funny as well.

1934 Twentieth Century. Howard Hawks reputedly got Carole Lombard ‘not to act’, launched her career as one of the funniest and most frantic of screen comedians and started the screwball comedy genre. John Barrymore was still one of the finest actors of his generation. This is over the top humor, but done with lots and lots of style.

1936 My Man Godfrey. Gregory La Cava, surely an under rated director, does marvelous things with this material. William Powell is sublime; he was sublime throughout the decade. Witty, debonaire, good hearted, was he a great actor or not acting at all? Carole Lombard hit her peak. Lovestruck? This is lovestruck and it’s just wonderful.

1941 Citizen Kane. Orson Welles has lost some of his clout. The ground breaking techniques used in the film are now seen to have all been used before, and it’s questioned whether Welles’ decline was entirely due to the studio system he’d bucked. Yet this is still one of the greatest of films, made so perfectly it’s like a Silver Cloud where all you hear at full speed is the dashboard clock. And it’s also about the abuse of power.

1973 American Graffiti. George Lucas relived his past and asked everyone ‘where were you in ’62?’ A very convincing recreation of a time of life when cars and rock and roll mattered more than anything. Younger generations can see just how far they have progressed. Launched a lot of stars’ careers and bankrolled the Star Wars saga.

1947 Life With Father. Michael Curtiz, William Powell and Irene Dunne made a heart warming version of a favorite play and book. In this family of eccentrics you see beneath the surface of crusty patriarch and flighty matriarch to the affection and respect that binds them all together.

1972 Play It Again Sam. Herbert Ross directed Woody Allen in one of Allen’s best scripted films. An homage to Casablanca (the title refers to the way Allen comes to relive the plot of that film). Allen’s character and Bogart’s are contrasted to hilarious effect. A celebration of surrogate living.

1950 Born Yesterday. George Cukor showed Judy Holliday to be one of the greatest of actors (she was acting, really), America made fun of its Bronxness, William Holden was poised to become a major star. Dated plot, wonderful performances.

1941 The Lady Eve. Preston Sturges at this stage of his life could do no wrong. He promised Barbara Stanwyck her greatest role: he delivered. Sturges furiously ridicules everything self interested and inane in human nature, adds a love story, then shows how hard we work to make simple things difficult. Henry Fonda does slapstick, Stanwyck discusses the size of her nose. As W C Fields said, never give a sucker an even break.

1937 Stage Door. Gregory La Cava directs Ginger Rogers and Kate Hepburn and others in this multi plotted tale of aspiring actresses’ struggles. Poignant, funny and accurate, it has some of the fastest wit of the period, most of it from Ginger. Kate does the Calla lilies.

1964 Night of the Iguana. John Huston’s turn to do a Tennessee Williams’ play and he and Richard Burton make it the best cinema treatment by far, good as some of the others are. Burton finds that when you’ve lost everything you had, position, reputation, ambitions and illusions, you still have something left. Great acting, powerful message.

1950 Sunset Boulevard. Billy Wilder’ s greatest film, this sardonic, bitter jibe at pretension and unscrupulous ambition showed William Holden still poised to become a major star, but dwarfed by courageous performances from Erich Von Stroheim and Gloria Swanson. In a mad world only the mad are sane. Larger than life and twice as true.

1972 Slaughterhouse Five. George Roy Hill turned Kurt Vonnegut’s fable about Billy Pilgrim, a man unstuck in time, perhaps from the shock of the WWII fire bombing of Dresden, into a heroic fantasy. It’s very beautiful but under the surface is a vicious jab at the moral complacency that allows atrocities to happen.

1992 Husbands and Wives. Woody Allen lived out his own psychodrama in this study of disintegrating marriages. Honest and courageous acting by all make it compulsive viewing, insightful and wise writing give it hope.

1958 Separate Tables. Delbert Mann had a stellar cast here: all give great performances, but Deborah Kerr, Wendy Hillier and David Niven manage to outshine Burt Lancaster and Rita Hayworth. Terence Rattigan’s plays tell the story of the fear that drives us apart from one another and what we can do about it and is very insightful indeed.

1966 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Mike Nichols let Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor have their head in this scabrous look inside a relationship where love, resentment, contempt, grief, regret, despair and rage all simmer under the surface and come out at a faculty dinner party. Painful, brilliant acting.

2005 Nina Simone at Montreux 1976. Nina at her peak giving a revealing look at her personal life, and playing some of the best piano she recorded. Some of these performances are literally unforgettable.

2006 Van Morrison at Montreux 1974/80. Two concerts, one solo, one with a backing group. If you know the man, when he’s good he’s the best. Beautiful arrangements as always and a trip away from his album work. A rarity and well worth a visit.

1975 Nashville. Robert Altman directed this devastating in-depth look at America that featured 24 lead actors and over a dozen plot lines and flawlessly drew it all together to a shattering climax. Politicians are skewered, the nasty side of the music industry is shown, unfulfilled characters project their fantasies on the stars.

1993 Short Cuts. Robert Altman was back with a collage of Raymond Carver stories. It’s a portrait of a place and time that tells us something about human nature. Altman’s control of the multi plot is impressive, as is the acting.

1975 Dog Day Afternoon. Sidney Lumet gave a devastating glimpse at America in this astounding true story about a holed up bank robber who becomes a media star on the scene of his crime. Al Pacino has rarely acted as well. A thrilling heist story that tells you a lot about human nature.

1940 Too Many Husbands. Jean Arthur ends up with two husbands, Fred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas, in this satire directed by Wesley Ruggles based on a Somerset Maugham story. When the men start competing for her affection she realises it’s not a bad situation after all. Features three great actors at the top of their game.

1943 Heaven Can Wait. Ernst Lubitsch took Don Ameche to Hell where he recounts a lifetime of debauchery that deserves punishment. But like Edith Piaf, he regrets nothing. We see his life unroll before our eyes and what he’s had is a devoted marriage to Gene Tierney and an enormous heartfelt love of life. Case dismissed. The film has the famous Touch.

1935 The Devil is a Woman. This is one of the best partnerships of Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich, over the top but full of style, style, style. Beautiful to look at and profound in its way.

1930 Morocco. Another of the best von Sternberg and Dietrich partnerships, this one adds Gary Cooper and Adolph Menjou to the heady mix. A romance made by one who was a great director and possibly cinema’s greatest cameraman as well.

1932 Shanghai Express. This delirious romance is probably Dietrich’s greatest role, playing a woman betrayed by love who plies her trade on an express fleeing revolution in China who finds she has another chance. Von Sternberg’s camera makes it believable.

1981 My Dinner With Andre. Louis Malle made an impossible film, a two hour conversation between Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory. The actors make it strangely watchable, what they talk about makes it fascinating for those interested in self exploration.

1994 Vanya on 42nd Street. Louis Malle filmed Andre Gregory directing Anton Checkov’s Uncle Vanya. What Malle unobtrusively allows you to see is the process, both of acting and of filmmaking, and the affirmation that this continuity of creative endeavor represents.

1981 Atlantic City. Louis Malle’s film about a city and a man in decline is inspiring for all its sadness. Burt Lancaster has rarely been better as a small time hood living dreams of imaginary past grandeur who turns to another illusion, that of love. Susan Sarandon is the girl who betrays him and gives him the wisdom to live in the real world.

1938 You Can’t Take It With You. Frank Capra made a hit out of this successful stage play and you can see why when you look at the cast list. Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore represent one way of life, and James Stewart and Edward Arnold quite another and the collision is both funny and heartwarming.

1939 Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Frank Capra was in full force with this tale of simple integrity versus unscrupulous duplicity. James Stewart is the hick from the sticks with more tricks than they think, Jean Arthur is the first to appreciate him. Lasted well because we still don’t trust politicians.

1936 Mr Deeds Goes to Town. Gary Cooper gets rich and finds it quite a nuisance, Jean Arthur is the journalist who exploits him and then…The value of money and the ethics of suicide are considered, love finds a way. Familiar stuff but my they do it well.

1941 Sullivan’s Travels. Preston Sturges was so big at this time he might have been tempted to make a ‘great’ film. Something about the meaning of life. Joel McCrea goes on a quest, meets Veronica Lake, ends up in jail, inspires a chase scene the Keystone Kops could have been proud of and learns to make people laugh. Inspiring: and funny.

1942 The Palm Beach Story. Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea work out issues of trust in their marriage in this sparkling Preston Sturges comedy with a moral. The stars couldn’t be better, Sturges was still one of America’s greatest writer/directors.

1942 Roxie Hart. William Wellman’s frantic comedy stars Ginger Rogers in one of her best roles and examines if there’s any truth in the adage ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’. The pace is pretty frenzied: so are the laughs.

1954 On the Waterfront. Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger both work for Lee J Cobb but one breaks free with tragic and then heroic results. It’s a stage work but very, very powerful, and the acting is impressive indeed.

1951 A Streetcar Named Desire. Elia Kazan took Tennessee Williams’ tragic tale of the disintegration of a sensitive and lonely Southern belle and drew a tumultuous red herring across it with an explosive performance from Marlon Brando. It’s a tribute to Vivian Leigh’s acting ability that the film survives still as the story of Blanche.

1933 Bitter Tea of General Yen. Frank Capra before Capraesqueness prevailed. Powerfully acted by Barbara Stanwyck, some consider it Capra’s best film. In its depiction of the ambiguities of sexual attraction it’s miles ahead of most films.

1992 Unforgiven. This is Clint Eastwood’s film as both star and director, but the support from Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris is outstanding. The script ditches stereotypes of heroes and villains and shows the mix of good and bad we all carry around. It’s also a standoff between two characters not that different, though one’s a lawman and the other an outlaw, as in Michael Mann’s Heat of 1995.

1984 Amadeus. Milos Forman adapted a play about the (imaginary) poisoning of Mozart by Salieri. The sets and costumes are perfect, the pacing is masterly, the music makes it a great film. Shows the perilous and tragic isolation of a genius who can only inspire admiration, envy and incomprehension in others.

1953 The Big Heat. Fritz Lang’s powerful crime melodrama pits Glenn Ford against Lee Marvin with Gloria Grahame somewhere in the middle. The film both defines film noir and transcends it.

1946 The Big Sleep. Howard Hawks reputedly threw away contributions to the script from William Faulkner: in fact the script came a poor second to action and atmosphere, not everything is explained and there seems to be a spare body, but no one cares. Hawks, Bogart and Bacall were never finer. A definitive film noir yet something a whole lot more. It’s a dirty world but roses grow there.

1970 Lovers and Other Strangers. Cy Howard showed a lot of skill balancing the many stories in this well scripted exploration of relationships and the way they develop. Great acting adds depth to a film which is by turns funny, sad and ruefully true to life.

1941 Love Crazy. Jack Conway directs William Powell and Myrna Loy in this breakneck screwball comedy that clocks in at a laugh a minute. The great Powell excelled at witty dialogue and frantic slapstick and here he does both to perfection.

1941 I Love You Again. William Powell and Myrna Loy with Woody Van Dyke at the helm cope with a case of mistaken identity, except the two are really one, Powell with a split personality. It’s nonsense but it’s funny nonsense, light as a feather.

1989 True Love. Nancy Savoca’s film is about Italo-Americans, a girl who wants to get married, a boy who doesn’t realise marriage gets in the way of nights out with the boys. A lot of things have to be ironed out, but it is true love.

1998 Happiness. Tod Solondz offended a lot of people with this harrowing story of dysfunction, which indicates he was pretty close to the mark. Brilliant acting and direction, and unflinching honesty about anguish and despair.

1958 Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. Richard Brooks tried his hand at a Tennessee Williams play. This could be Elizabeth Taylor’s greatest performance. Williams had a lot to say about women’s needs and how they were stifled by society that nobody else voiced. Both explosive melodrama and deeply poignant drama at the same time.

1962 Sweet Bird of Youth. Richard Brooks is criticised for emasculating Tennessee Williams’ play to satisfy conservative audiences’ expectations, but he only does so technically. It’s a gutsy ripping apart of the dream called ambition and the emotion called family love. Paul Newman showed himself one of the best actors of his generation.

1989 sex lies and videotape. Stephen Soderbergh’s subtle film looks at social and sexual relationships and discovers that the way people feel is often different to the way they act and that often they don’t know this.

1950 In a Lonely Place. Nicholas Ray extended Humphrey Bogart’s range in this haunting look at self destructive inner compulsions; Gloria Grahame is the woman who doesn’t quite distrust him. The film points the moral that if you say one thing and do another, the first person you will fool will be yourself.

1986 Children of a Lesser God. Randa Haines evokes magnificent performances from Marlee Matlin and William Hurt in this story of love that overcomes obstacles because it gives the lovers faith in themselves.

1936 Wife vs Secretary. Clarence Brown directed Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow. Harlow isn’t a hussy, Gable is a loyal husband, Loy is unjustifiably jealous. A forgotten gem. Anita Loos’ script is witty and insightful.

1931 Possessed. Joan Crawford and Clark Gable in an early teaming. Crawford is at her most beautiful, and both stars make the melodrama come to life by their acting ability. It’s what you expect but pretty wonderful nevertheless.

1971 Macbeth. Polanski does Shakespeare and it’s a good combination, bleak, gory and in your face. Very definitely a film and not a stage play, the dialog is cut and extremely realistic. Matches Kurosawa.

1934 The Girl From Missouri. Jack Conway directs Jean Harlow and Franchot Tone in a script by Anita Loos. This is a combination that works. The plot’s a bit dated, but the stars are worth watching.

1932 Red Headed Woman. Jack Conway directed Jean Harlow in the film that made her a star. She plays a woman who uses sex to get ahead: America was not allowed to see this kind of movie once the Hays Office got into gear. It’s scandalous and very funny.

1937 Personal Property. Jean Harlow and Robert Taylor are the height of glamour in this melodrama from Woody Van Dyke. This was one of Harlow’s last films (she was to die later in ’37 aged 26) and she is seen here in her prime. Movie magic.

1936 Suzy. The plot is ridiculous, Jean Harlow plays a singer (and she couldn’t sing a note), the direction is slow: but what this film has going for it is star power, Harlow and Cary Grant.

1935 Hands Across the Table. Mitchell Leisen’s film stars the great Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray as two people on the up and up who mistake each other for a security blanket but find out money is not the only value in life.

1967 The Graduate. Mike Nichols and a young Dustin Hoffman show us just what a burden the American Dream could be to the next generation. Anne Bancroft makes a bored wife’s play, Hoffman is good showing just how stalled a young man can get, Simon and Garfunkel provide a great soundtrack. Respectability gets the finger. Great way to lock a church.

1982 Blade Runner. Ridley Scott and his set designers made Philip K Dick’s world real, while superimposing an action packed, menacing, fight based plot. The replicants have our sympathy because they have to die, the humans seem pathetic because they have made an entirely non-natural world, the sets have got into our dreams and nightmares.

1992 Passion Fish. John Sayles digs deep in this character exploration of the relationship between two bitter, scarred women. Mary McDonnell and Alfre Woodard show that real drama happens everyday, to ordinary people.

1938 Carefree. Mark Sandrich worked with Fred and Ginger on several films. This is the best written film the two ever starred in, an attempt to get away from the song based series that launched their career. Really great acting, fine comedy, but can you believe in Fred as a psychologist? You must have a complex.

1936 Swing Time. George Stevens got to direct that other great screen couple of the 30s, Fred and Ginger and made the most of any of their directors from the usual superficial plot. The music’s great, the songs’re great, the dancing’s great: they always were with these two. Take time out from enjoying the almost faultless Fred and appreciate just how good a dancer and comedian Ginger Rogers was.

1996 Beautiful Girls. Ted Demme’s episodic coming of age comedy boasts a galaxy of stars and a superbly written script. If you can do without a plot you’ll find it fascinating.

1995 Amateur. Hal Hartley mixes theatre of the absurd, Greek tragedy and film noir in this strange tale of a man and a woman seeking redemption. A new look at the old problem of alienation.

1991 Trust. Hal Hartley’s best film stars Adrienne Shelly and Martin Donovan as two quirky characters who haven’t a hope – alone. Minimalist, deadpan, dryasdust humour you can choke on, and the famous dialog.

1989 The Unbelievable Truth. Hal Hartley’s first feature creates a bizarre, not-quite-real world where people speak dialog from a Samuel Beckett play, fears and neuroses are shown as real events and drama becomes psychodrama.

1960 Elmer Gantry. Richard Brooks directs Burt Lancaster in an exuberant performance as a persuasive salesman doing poorly until he pitches for god to get the girl he thinks he wants, then an old sin comes to roost and things fall apart. A warning to evangelists everywhere about the dangerous vulnerability and need in people they attempt to use.

1956 Baby Doll. Elia Kazan elicited great performances in another Williams’ film, a comedy of revenge that pits Karl Malden against Eli Wallach. Each man feels threatened by and goes to extreme lengths to damage the other. Malden and Carroll Baker have one of the sexiest seduction scenes in cinema simply by showing Baker’s arousal.

1957 Twelve Angry Men. Sidney Lumet directed this courtroom drama starring Henry Fonda which examines what is involved in judging others. How much needs to be taken into consideration, how much actually is? Superb performances make this great drama, and the little room in which it takes place makes it even more intense.

1995 Strange Days. Kathryn Bigelow’s classic SF action movie shifts effortlessly between an Orwellian warning of the dangers of media addiction, a classic love triangle and heart stopping action. One of the best.

1973 An Evening with Marlene Dietrich. Late Dietrich in a London concert of her standards. This is a magical performance and Dietrich expertly holds the audience under her spell. Ten years later Dietrich asked Maximilian Schell to make a film about her but refused to be filmed. The result, Marlene, is a worthy addition to the legend.

1982 My Favourite Year. Richard Benjamin directed this salute to 1950s TV, a story based on an incident which occurred when Errol Flynn appeared on the Sid Caesar Show. Peter O’Toole is superb as the drunken Swann (“I’m a film star, not an actor!”). It’s very funny and very warm hearted.

1996 Fargo. Joel and Ethan Coen’s bizarre tale of a ransom scam gone wrong is worth viewing for the acting alone. Frances McDormand, William H Macy and Steve Buscemi manage to be hilarious, tragic and slightly skewed all at once.

1974 Thieves Like Us. Robert Altman gets nostalgic about the Great Depression in this story about simple country boys gone wrong. It’s the other side to his great version of The Long Goodbye, set beautifully in its period, a lyrical tragedy.

1943 The More the Merrier. George Stevens directs Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea in this world war 2 romantic comedy. Charles Coburn is a bit too cute as cupid but the leads are a joy to watch.

1942 Casablanca. Michael Curtiz, like the studio, probably thought this was a propaganda piece to help the war effort. For most viewers it’s one of the greatest of love stories. Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart are perfect together. And the screenplay is like Hamlet: full of quotations.

1937 True Confession. Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray and John Barrymore expertly play roles that teeter on the brink of melodramatic farce and black comedy in this film directed by Wesley Ruggles. Truth, lies and trust are all investigated.

2001 Ghost World. Terry Zwigoff is incredibly accurate in showing what is wrong with the world inherited by teenagers Thora Birch and Scarlett Johanson. It’s a scathing indictment of conformity, lack of feeling and bad taste. Brilliant.

1947 Out of the Past . Jacques Tourneur had an Elizabethan namesake, Cyril, who would have been proud of this labyrinthine plot of cross and double cross, revenge and deceit. Coming from nowhere Robert Mitchum suddenly personified the noir hero, tough, cynical, capable of losing with as cool an exterior as in winning. Very fatalistic, the film accepts that people betray, that self interest rules, that someone always has to lose.

1997 Chasing Amy. Kevin Smith took his mastery of dialog to this film but little else from his previous work. It’s a romantic comedy that accurately skewers all kinds of relationships and remains totally honest throughout.

1996 Bound. Larry and Andy Wachowski revitalise the 40s caper movie to stunning effect in this perfectly made first feature. The stylish, expertly paced story doesn’t miss a thrill throughout its entire length.

1944 Murder My Sweet. Edward Dmytryk showed viewers an unsuspected side of Dick Powell in this masterful version of Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely. Rich and poor: all are alike because lust, greed and crime are great equalisers. This is a dark world where you need to cling grimly to your values before they’re swept away. The second best film Chandler.

1986 Runaway Train. Andrei Konchalovsky makes this action movie a heart stopper from start to finish. John Voight does a marvelous job and Eric Roberts is not far behind him as two crims on the lam with the law just a jump away.

1941 High Sierra. Raoul Walsh directs Humphrey Bogart in his breakthrough role as an ex-gangster who meets the right girl too late (Ida Lupino in a great performance). Bogart is magnificent in his portrayal of a tough/vulnerable ex-con with a great deal of integrity who sees long before everyone else he’s got a one way ticket to nowhere.

1997 L.A. Confidential. Curtis Hanson does James Ellroy in this character driven cop story about crime and corruption and cover-up. Terrific acting, set design and pacing make it compulsive watching from start to finish.

2000 Memento. Christopher Nolan tells his story backwards as Guy Pearce investigates his wife’s murder while suffering from short term memory loss. The technique creates a puzzle which Pearce’s acting ability holds together.

1941 The Maltese Falcon. John Huston took Hammett’s story and turned it into a cinematic classic. Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre earned their ticket to screen immortality, Humphrey Bogart was one step away from being a legend. It’s a dark story about greed and where it can take you.

1948 Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House. HC Potter directed Cary Grant and Myrna Loy in this bitter comedy about a couple who attempt to realise their dream only to find how frustrating and disillusioning dreams turn out to be in the real world. With these actors its full of funny moments: home renovators will think it a tragedy.

This is my choice: what’s yours?

©2009 Original material copyright Phillip Kay. Images and other material courtesy Creative Commons. Please inform post author of any violation.


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