MARY OF SCOTLAND (John Ford, 1936)

In addition to being a great actress, Katharine Hepburn was one of the most beautiful women to appear on-screen; and nowhere else is she quite so beautiful as she is in Mary of Scotland, based on Maxwell Anderson’s play, where (following Helen Hayes, for whom the part had been written) she plays Scotland’s ill-fated Mary […]

LITTLE CAESAR (Mervyn LeRoy, 1930)

Edward G. Robinson, tremendous, claimed the role that made him a star in Little Caesar, Mervyn LeRoy’s ultimately brilliant meditation on the unnaturalness and perniciousness of the American ethos of “rugged individualism,” which, to say the least, wars with humanity’s quest for sociability. LeRoy’s film, based on an unpublished novel by W. R. Burnett, also […]

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (Francis Ford Coppola, 1992)

Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula is the basis for two outstanding films, both from Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922), about which I have already written, and Hans W. Geissendörffer’s Jonathan (1970). Tod Browning’s 1931 Hollywood Dracula and, like Jonathan, from West Germany, Werner Herzog’s 1978 Nosferatu are of some substance, and star, respectively, Bela […]