MADEINUSA (Claudia Llosa, 2006)

Imagine a three-day festival during which God doesn’t exist and folk can therefore bust loose, indulging in all kinds of behavior that are otherwise forbidden because of God’s all-seeing eyes. Mostly, people simply celebrate the release from moral scrutiny rather than take malicious advantage of it; but I do not know enough about Peruvian Indian […]

GIDEON OF SCOTLAND YARD (John Ford, 1958)

T.E.B. Clarke adapted John Creasy’s first Gideon novel, Gideon’s Day, providing visiting Yank John Ford with an opportunity to make the film. Jack Hawkins shrewdly plays Inspector George Gideon, who is followed throughout the course of a single day, during which he misses dinner and his daughter’s onstage celloing but solves or resolves a string […]

THE DEFIANT ONES (Stanley Kramer, 1958)

Compact, clear, niftily edited and formally, at times, breathtakingly beautiful, The Defiant Ones, about racial brotherhood, has stood the test of time. Certainly, unlike nearly every other film by producer-director Stanley Kramer, it hasn’t become a target of critical derision. Nevertheless, because of the extent and depth of that derision, it may be necessary to […]

I WANT TO LIVE! (Robert Wise, 1958)

Susan Hayward, “the Brooklyn Bernhardt,” seemed to arrive at her career peak playing singer-actress Lillian Roth in I’ll Cry Tomorrow (Daniel Mann, 1955), for which she was named best actress at Cannes, but she surpassed this celebrated work as another actual personage, Barbara Graham, whom the state of California executed for murder in 1955, in […]

THE ANNIVERSARY (Roy Ward Baker, 1968)

A Hammer film, The Anniversary is a British black comedy starring Bette Davis, who is wonderful as the one-eyed, unmotherly widowed matriarch of a brood of grown weaklings and their more combative wife and girlfriend. (One of the sons, fixated on women’s undergarments, remains unattached.) This film is wickedly funny and more entertaining, perhaps, than […]