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Rusty
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Re: Movies

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201 - The Magic Flute - 8/10 - Ingmar Bergman filmed the Mozart opera in Swedish and the result is pretty good.

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202 - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) - 8/10 - This version stars Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner. Tracy was convincing in both parts and I thought the movie overall was pretty good, on par with the 1931 version.

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203 - Mad About Music - 8/10 - Deanna Durbin stars as a schoolgirl named Gloria at a boarding school in Switzerland. Her mother is a famous actress whose fans don't know that she is a widow with a teenage daughter. Gloria's father was a navy pilot who died when she was a baby. She makes up stories about her father for her classmates and writes letters every week with all of his adventures. One girl doesn't believe her stories and Gloria recruits a stranger to pretend to be her father. I thought this was a pretty nice movie.

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204 - Loves of a Blonde - 7/10 - This Czech film was directed by Milos Forman. In a northern and rural part of the country, there are about 16 girls and women for every man. The young women at a shoe factory live in a dormitory and have little to do outside of work and socializing with each other. The director of the factory petitions the government to send a regiment of the army there to provide more men for the women. However, the group that is set is mainly middle aged reservists. The attempts at romance of one young woman are also part of the storyline. It was okay, but I didn't think it was in the same class as Forman's later Czech film, The Firemen's Ball (or the classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).

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205 - Never Cry Wolf - 7.5/10 - The caribou population in Alaska is declining and the thought is that they are being killed by wolves. A biologist travels to the frozen tundra to set up camp and study the caribou and wolf populations. The movie has great scenery and a decent story, though it moves at a very deliberate pace.

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206 - In the Navy - 7/10 - The second Abbott and Costello service comedy isn't quite as good as the first one (Buck Privates), but it certainly has its moments. A popular singer (Dick Powell) disappears and joins the navy under his real name. He becomes friends with two inept sailors (Abbott and Costello) who help him evade a reporter who is trying to get his picture and expose his secret. The Andrews Sisters are also featured and perform a number of songs.

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207 - Here Come the Waves - 6.5/10 - Bing Crosby is a popular singer who enlists in the navy to serve his country. Betty Hutton plays twin singers who join the Waves. The older twin is bright and reserved while the younger sister (by 12 minutes) is impulsive and not as bright. The younger sister is infatuated with Crosby and schemes to get him to fall in love with her, but Crosby only is interested in the older sister. I didn't think that the movie was all that great, though it is watchable.

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208 - Hail the Conquering Hero - 8.5/10 - Woodrow Truesmith wanted to be a Marine, but he was medically discharged due to hay fever. Instead of going home, he got a job in the San Diego shipyards and sent a couple of letters home to say that he was overseas. He meets a group of six Marines who just got home from Guadalcanal and they convince him to head home to see his mother and pretend to be a Marine for a little bit, but things get out of hand when he gets home. I thought this was very well done..

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209 - The Private War of Major Benson - 7.5/10 - Charlton Heston stars as an army major with his own theories about how troops should be treated and drilled. It doesn't make him too many friends. He is given the option of taking over as commandant of a JROTC program at a military academy or being kicked out of the army. He finds that the students are a lot younger than he expected. I thought that the movie was a lot of fun.

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210 - The Dam Busters - 8/10 - In 1943, an English scientist created a bomb that was designed to skip along water to increase force. He designed it to be used against dams and the RAF came up with a plan to attack several German dams in order to hinder their war effort. The mission was carried out with planes flying at a low altitude in May after months of training. This is a pretty good war film and is based on a true story.

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211 - Big Deal on Madonna Street - 7.5/10 - This Italian comedy features a group of small time thieves who aren't very good at it who plan to rob a pawn shop. Think of it as a sort of low level Ocean's 11 where things don't go exactly as planned. It was a decent film.

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212 - Zus & Zo - 6/10 - This Dutch film features three sisters who are upset to find that their 30 something gay brother is about to get married. This would make him the sole heir to the family hotel in Portugal which each of the sisters has plans for. They decide to meddle and do what they can to break up the wedding. I didn't find the movie to be very funny and don't think it is a good film.

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213 - The Adventures of Mark Twain - 8/10 - This biopic stars Fredric March as Sam Clemens and he does a nice job as the celebrated author. Some events from his stories are mixed into the narrative as if Clemens participated in them. Overall, I thought it was a pretty nice movie.

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214 - Taras Bulba - 7.5/10 - Tony Curtis and Yul Brynner star in this movie about battles between the Poles and the Cossacks in the 16th/17th Century. It starts with the Poles betraying the Cossacks and conquering them and then skips ahead 20 years or so. Taras Bulba is one of the Cossack leaders and he sends his two sons to the Kiev Academy to get an education, but they are subject to harassment there. One of the sons falls in love with a Polish princess which causes further problems in a number of ways. I thought it was a pretty good historical epic.

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215 - Sunflower - 8/10 - Sophia Loren stars as a woman who gets married shortly before her husband is sent to fight against the Russians during World War II. Years later when the war is over, her husband does not return with the other soldiers. He is officially listed as missing and she spends years trying to track him down with no success. Eventually, she travels to Russia and continues the search. I thought that Loren did an excellent job. Marcello Mastroianni was good as the husband as well.

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216 - Fantastic Mr. Fox - 8.5/10 - Wes Anderson directs this adaptation of the Roald Dahl book about a fox who steals birds from nearby farms, but retires and becomes a reporter for a couple of years until he relapses, which leads to retribution from three mean farmers. The movie has a very nice voice cast with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and others. I thought it was a lot of fun.

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217 - First Wives Club - 7/10 - When a middle aged socialite commits suicide after her husband left her for a younger woman, her best friends from college get back together for the first time in over 25 years. They discover that they all have problems with their ex-husbands and decide to get some revenge. Goldie Hawn, Bette Middler and Diane Keaton star in a film that isn't great, but is at least watchable.

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218 - Pal Joey - 7/10 - Frank Sinatra stars as a nightclub singer who dreams of opening up his own club. He doesn't have a great reputation, in part because of his womanizing ways. He gets involved with two women - Vera (Rita Hayworth), a former burlesque dancer and now a wealthy widow - and Linda (Kim Novak), a chorus girl at the club he works at. There are plenty of good songs, but the story is average.

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219 - Sweet Charity - 7/10 - Shirley MacLaine stars in the adaptation of the stage musical. Charity has an optimistic outlook and is looking for love, but things always seem to go wrong somehow. She works as a dance hall hostess in a rundown establishment and has a lot of friends there. The choreography was really good and the songs were pretty good as well. My favorite parts were those involving Ricardo Montalban (an an Italian movie star) and Sammy Davis, Jr. (as a preacher of an oddball church).

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220 - Boom Town - 8/10 - John Sand (Spencer Tracy) and John McMasters (Clark Gable) become partners and best friends on the oil fields of Oklahoma. Their relationship and their fortunes have a series of ups and downs over the year. The first crack in their friendship is their love for the same woman (Claudette Colbert). Hedy Lamarr also costars. I thought this was a really good look at the early oil industry. It is a pretty entertaining film.

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221 - The Strawberry Blonde - 7.5/10 - Biff Grimes is a successful dentist with a quick temper. He reminisces back to his rivalry with childhood friend Hugo who took advantage of their friendship a number of times. They each pursued the beautiful Virginia Brush, but only one of them was successful. I thought Cagney did a pretty nice job here and Alan Hale is always entertaining. Olivia de Havilland does a nice job as Cagney's wife. Rita Hayworth and Jack Carson also star.

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222 - Cheyenne Autumn - 8/10 - In 1878, many of the Cheyenne who were forced to abandon their lands and move to a reservation in Oklahoma are dead due to hunger and disease. The government has promised aid, but many delays occur. The Cheyenne that are left decide to leave and return to the north where they came from. The military pursues them and stories spread (mostly wildly exaggerated) throughout the U.S. about the dangerous Cheyenne. This is one of John Ford's last films and is much more sympathetic to the Native Americans than in many earlier westerns. It is based on a true story and I think is very well done.

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223 - You Were Never Lovelier - 8/10 - Robert Davis (Fred Astaire) is a singer/dancer who runs out of money while in Buenos Aires so he seeks out a nightclub owner for a job. The nightclub owner is an irascible man with four daughters that he insists get married in age order. The oldest is getting married, but the second oldest (Rita Hayworth) has little interest in marriage, much to the chagrin of her younger sisters. Through a couple of misunderstandings, Davis becomes the girl's suitor and they fall for each other. I enjoyed this one a lot and the title might really apply to Hayworth.

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224 - Parasite - 8.5/10 - This Korean comedy/drama wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I still thought it was very well done.

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225 - Terminator: Dark Fate - 8/10 - This has gotten a lot of bad reviews, but I thought it was pretty good. Plenty of action, a fair amount of humor, good lead characters.

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226 - Pride and Prejudice (1940) - 8.5/10 - This is a very nice adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. It may not be totally faithful to the novel, though how could it be in under two hours, but Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier did a splendid job as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy and the rest of the cast was very good, too.

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227 - The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) - 8/10 - Charles Laughton plays Quasimodo and Maureen O'Hara plays Esmerelda in this adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel. I thought it was very well done, perhaps even a bit better than the 1923 silent version.

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228 - The Young Land - 7/10 - In 1848, California is transitioning into statehood. A young cowboy (Dennis Hopper) kills a 'Mexican' man and is promptly arrested by the local sheriff (Patrick Wayne), a former Marine who doesn't carry a gun. A judge and marshal are sent for and a murder trial is held. Wayne's acting is pretty wooden (certainly nothing like his father), but I did like the movie. I thought Dennis Hopper did a decent job in his role.

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229 - Cowboy - 7.5/10 - Tom Reece (Glenn Ford) is an experienced cowboy who has just finished a cattle drive. When he heads back to Mexico with his crew, he is joined by hotel clerk Frank Harris (Jack Lemmon) who wants to learn the cattle business and also reunite with his girl Maria, the daughter of a Mexican cattle rancher. Harris learns that life on the trail isn't quite what he expected. I think Ford and Lemmon did a nice job and it was a pretty entertaining film.

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230 - The House on Telegraph Hill - 8/10 - Karin Dernakova dies in the Belsen concentration camp a few days before it is liberated. Her friend takes over her identity because she knows that she has a son and aunt in San Francisco. She sends a cable, but learns that the aunt is dead. When she eventually makes it to San Francisco, she ends up marrying the son's guardian, but something isn't quite right. This noir film is pretty well done.

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231 - Gold DIggers of 1935 - 7/10 - Romance, comedy, singing and a show. I didn't like this as much as the 1933 and 1937 versions, but it had a couple of good production numbers and the Lullaby of Broadway song is fairly well known.

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232 - King of Jazz (1930) - 7/10 - This film is mostly a series of singing, dancing and comedy skits (or combination thereof) plus a short animated film near the beginning which includes Oswald the Rabbit. The songs are decent, though not really memorable for the most part. The lack of a plot may turn off many viewers. They did a lot of neat things here, though, including special effects and the use of color. My favorite part was the dancing of 18 year old Marion Stadler and her future husband, Don Rose, during Ragamuffin Romeo. Bing Crosby also makes his screen debut as part of The Rhythm Boys trio.

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233 - The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) - 8.5/10 - Ronald Colman stars as Rudolf Rassendyll, a British tourist to Ruritaria who happens to bear an amazing resemblance to the new King of Ruritaria, a distant cousin whose coronation and marriage are fast approaching. When the king becomes indisposed due to a plot to steal the throne, Rassendyll takes his place. I thought that this was an excellent adaptation of the book. Raymond Massey, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Madeleine Carroll, and David Niven are among the costars.

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234 - The Fighting Seabees - 6.5/10 - John Wayne stars as the leader of a construction crew during WWII. He can be hardheaded and this gets him and his men in some trouble in the Pacific Theater. He and his men eventually join the Navy as the first Seabees (Construction Battallion members in uniform and with weapons). It wasn't really a good movie, but it was watchable.

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235 - Wee Willie Winkie - 8/10 - Shirley Temple stars as a girl who travels to India with her mother to stay with her grandfather, a British colonel. She becomes a mascot for the Scottish regiment there, uniform and all. She also befriends Khoda Khan (Cesar Romero), one of the leaders of the Hindu forces that oppose the British. The movie lacks the song and dance numbers that were typical of Shirley Temple movies in the 1930s and I enjoyed it quite a bit. There's a lot of humor in the movie and Temple fits in nicely with the supporting cast.

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236 - The Journey of Natty Gann - 7.5/10 - Natty Gann (Meredith Salenger) is a teenage tomboy during the depression in Chicago. Her widowed father has been out of work for a while, but finds a job one day. The problem is that it will take him to Washington state and he has to leave that evening. When he can't find Natty to say goodbye, he arranges for his landlady to take care of her until he can send for her. Natty eventually takes to the rails to try and find her father and she picks up a couple of traveling companions along the way - a wolf and a young man (John Cusack). I thought that it was a pretty good film.

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237 - Heavenly Creatures - 7.5/10 - Peter Jackson directed this drama about two teenage girls who form an obsessive relationship from 1952-1954 in New Zealand that ultimately leads to them committing a murder. It is based on a true story and Kate Winslet has her film debut here as Juliet Hulme with Melanie Lynskey debuting as Pauline. The real life Hulme later became author Anne Perry. The movie is well made and utilizes Pauline's diary from that time period for some of the narrative parts.

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238 - Vatel - 7.5/10 - I thought this was a nice historical drama with lots of visual spectacle. Gerard Depardieu plays the title role as the head steward to Louis, Prince of Condé, a disgraced general in 1671 France. Condé is hosting Louis XIV and his entourage for three days of feasts and entertainment and Vatel puts on quite a show and feast. There is a lot of politics at play here as well.

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239 - Louisa - 7.5/10 - Ronald Reagan stars as architect Hal Norton. He comes home late one evening with news that he is being promoted to vice president in his company. His family seems very subdued and he finds that it is due to the meddling of his mother who moved in with them a month earlier. Hal encourages his mother to find a life outside of the house, but he is dismayed to find out what she has been doing. Further trouble arrives in the form of Hal's boss (Charles Coburn) who pays a visit to the family one weekend. I thought this was a fun comedy.

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240 - My Gal Sal - 7/10 - This fictionalized biography of Paul Dresser, a well known 19th Century composer, wasn't great, but was just okay. It stars Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature.

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241 - San Antonio - 7/10 - A decent western starring Errol Flynn about a man named Clay Hardin who returns to San Antonio with proof that another man named Roy Stuart has been rustling cattle over the border into Mexico from many local ranches in the late 1800s. Stuart's men are on the lookout for Hardin when he arrives in town. There is romance, music, humor, and of course, action.

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242 - Ridin' On a Rainbow - 7.5/10 - Gene Autry stars as a rancher who convinces his fellow ranchers to put their money in the bank only to see the bank robbed soon after. The key to finding the money is a girl (Mary Lee) who is one of a group of performers on a riverboat. I thought this was a pretty good movie.

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243 - The Competition - 8/10 - Richard Dreyfuss plays a 30 year old pianist who is struggling to make a name for himself. He decides to give it one last shot at an international competition in San Francisco. He meets a 24 year old pianist named Heidi (Amy Irving) who remembers him from an earlier competition, but finds him brusque in response to her advances. Their relationship and the competition unfold over the following week. I thought it was very good.

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244 - The Brave One - 7/10 - Leonardo raises a bull from the time it is born, but there is some dispute about the actual ownership of the bull. After a couple of years, the bull is sold out from under Leonardo with the intent to fight in the ring. Leonardo sets out to try and save his beloved pet. I enjoyed it.

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