Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mini Reviews: The Dark Mirror, The Snake Pit, The Heiress, We’re No Angels, Johnny Belinda

In honor of the new year, I have started recording on my Tumblr a mini review for each film I watch. I actually type up my thoughts and comments for each and every movie I watch, though I rarely post these reviews because they are largely made up of abstract ramblings. But I thought it would be fun to post an abbreviated review where I just write my over all view of the films. I have taken the ones I’ve done so far on Tumblr, added a bit more, and posted them here. Hopefully I can post more of them as I watch more films.

This batch is largely made up of Olivia de Havilland films, as I was kind of on an Olivia kick. If anyone has any other recommendations for good films she was in, let me know! (I have also seen Princess O’Rourke…and plan on watching To Each His Own and In This Our Life soon). Are her films with Errol Flynn enjoyable to someone who’s not a big fan of westerns?

But enough rambling. On to the reviews!

Jan. 1, 2011<br />1. The Dark Mirror (1946)<br />Starring Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, Thomas Mitchell<br />Written &amp; Produced by Nunnally Johnson. Directed by Robert Siodmak <br />Plot: a film noir/mystery about identical twin sisters&#8212;one of them is guilty and one is innocent.<br />This was a very entertaining film with an incredible performance by Olivia&#8212;playing two people! The special effects were skillfully handled and impressive. I wish they would&#8217;ve explained more about the dark mirror, though. Trying to kept everything straight was a little confusing at times but the pacing was great and it really kept me interested and concentrating on the plot. 

Jan. 1, 2011

1. The Dark Mirror (1946)

Starring Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, Thomas Mitchell

Written & Produced by Nunnally Johnson
Directed by Robert Siodmak 

Plot: a film noir/mystery about identical twin sisters—one of them is guilty and one is innocent.

This was a very entertaining film with an incredible performance by Olivia—playing two people! The special effects were skillfully handled and impressive. I wish they would’ve explained more about the dark mirror, though. Trying to kept everything straight was a little confusing at times but the pacing was great and it really kept me interested and concentrating on the plot. I was kept guessing until the very end.

<br />Jan. 2, 2011<br />2. The Snake Pit (1948)<br />Starring Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Leif Erickson, Beulah Bondi, Betsy Blair<br />Directed by Anatole LitvakBased on a book by Mary Jane Ward<br />Plot: About a woman in a mental hospital. <br />This was one of the most amazing movies I&#8217;ve ever seen. The immersive realism that it achieved kept me riveted throughout. Olivia de Havilland gave one of the most terrific performances I&#8217;ve ever seen and all the other actors were also perfectly cast. I could rattle on a long time about this movie, but in summary: I highly recommend it. <br />

Jan. 2, 2011

2. The Snake Pit (1948)

Starring Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Leif Erickson, Beulah Bondi, Betsy Blair

Directed by Anatole Litvak
Based on a book by Mary Jane Ward

Plot: About a woman in a mental hospital. 

This was one of the most amazing movies I’ve ever seen. The immersive realism that it achieved kept me riveted throughout. Olivia de Havilland gave one of the most terrific performances I’ve ever seen and all the other actors were also perfectly cast. This movie just touches on so many emotions and is one that I can definitely see myself rewatching. I could rattle on a long time about this movie, but in summary: I highly recommend it. 

<br />Jan. 3, 2011<br />3. The Heiress (1949)<br />Starring Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, Miriam Hopkins<br />Produced &amp; Directed by William Wyler<br /><br />Plot: A socially awkward heiress falls in love with a handsome young man. But does he really love her, or just her money?<br />I apologize in advance to those that feel differently, but I really hated this movie. The plot seemed thin and it was just very depressing. It went nowhere but down and then left you there&#8212;the end. The only positive things I can attribute to it are a lovely soundtrack and some skillful camera shots. 

Jan. 3, 2011

3. The Heiress (1949)

Starring Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, Miriam Hopkins

Produced & Directed by William Wyler

Plot: A socially awkward heiress falls in love with a handsome young man. But does he really love her, or just her money?

I apologize in advance to those that feel differently, but I really hated this movie. The plot seemed thin and it was just very depressing. It went nowhere but down and then left you there—the end. The only positive things I can attribute to it are a lovely soundtrack and some skillful camera shots. I was really sorry that I didn’t like this movie. I wanted to! In some ways it seems similar to My Cousin Rachel, another movie which I didn’t like. I hate to say it because I was really becoming fond of Olivia as an actress, but here I just didn’t relate to her character or performance. I feel like I am missing something because so many people have stated what an incredible performance she gives here (which won her an Academy Award!). Please feel free to dish in the comments on your thoughts on this (and any of the films mentioned here).

 <br />Jan. 4, 2011<br />4. We&#8217;re No Angels (1955)<br />Starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov, Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, Leo G. Carroll<br />Directed by Michael Curtiz<br />Plot: Three escaped convicts help a shopkeeper and his family out during Christmas.<br />It was fun to see Bogart in a light comedy like this. Ray and Ustinov round out the trio and together they make a quirky and humorous bunch. This movie was okay. Kind of fun but I guess I just don&#8217;t really like the black humor. Good to see once but not a favorite.

Jan. 4, 2011

4. We’re No Angels (1955)

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov, Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, Leo G. Carroll

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Plot: Three escaped convicts help a shopkeeper and his family out during Christmas.

It was fun to see Bogart in a light comedy like this. Ray and Ustinov round out the trio and together they make a quirky and humorous bunch. This movie was okay. Kind of fun but I guess I just don’t really like the black humor. I found some of the humor uncomfortable—like jokes about one of the convicts who was a rapist (of course he wasn’t called that, but still). Maybe I’m just taking it too seriously, though. Good to see once but not a favorite.

 <br />Jan. 5/6, 2011<br />5. Johnny Belinda (1948)<br />Starring Jane Wyman, Lew Ayres, Charles Bickford, Agnes Moorehead, Stephen MacNally, Jan Sterling<br />Directed by Jean Negulesco<br />Plot: A doctor helps and deaf and mute girl learn to communicate.<br />I don&#8217;t really know how to describe this movie. Heartfelt is the only word that comes to mind, but it&#8217;s not cheesy, sentimental, Hallmark heartfelt. It&#8217;s just a very good film with wonderful performances by Jane Wyman and the rest of the cast. Based on a stage play, the story is original and engaging. At first I thought it would be like the Helen Keller story, but the setting&#8212;along with some significant dramatic turns&#8212;make it unique. I was also impressed with the realistic mood and setting of the film. Although it was nominated for a dozen Academy Awards, it only won Best Actress (for Wyman&#8217;s performance). Despite a few moments that were maybe just a little contrived, I heartily recommend this film. It is a classic movie in the best sense of the word.

Jan. 5/6, 2011

5. Johnny Belinda (1948)

Starring Jane Wyman, Lew Ayres, Charles Bickford, Agnes Moorehead, Stephen MacNally, Jan Sterling

Directed by Jean Negulesco

Plot: A doctor helps and deaf and mute girl learn to communicate.

I decided to watch this film in honor of Jane Wyman’s birthday on January 5. I don’t really know how to describe this movie. Heartfelt is the only word that comes to mind, but it’s not cheesy, sentimental, Hallmark heartfelt. It’s just a very good film with wonderful performances by Jane Wyman and the rest of the cast. Based on a stage play, the story is original and engaging. At first I thought it would be like the Helen Keller story, but the setting—along with some significant dramatic turns—makes it unique. I was also impressed with the realistic mood and scenery of the film. Although it was nominated for a dozen Academy Awards, it only won Best Actress (for Wyman’s performance). Despite a few moments that were maybe just a little contrived, I heartily recommend this film. It is a classic movie in the best sense of the word.

1 comment:

  1. Reel Popcorn JunkieJanuary 15, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    We're No Angels does have many funny lines, but the trio's backgrounds do make for uncomfortable viewing. At one point, it looks like Albert cops a feel from Isabelle, who enjoys the uninvited sexual touching. 

    ReplyDelete

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