THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS (Peter Godfrey, 1945; 1947)

The year 1945 saw the completion of the first two of three collaborations between director Peter Godfrey and actress Barbara Stanwyck; one, Christmas in Connecticut, is a light romantic comedy that has become a seasonal semi-classic, while the other is a marital thriller that was not released until March 1947, to help further distinguish it […]

EXECUTIVE SUITE (Robert Wise, 1954)

The complacent 1950s in the United States were the wee-est bit rattled by some questioning of American materialism, part of the fallout of enormous American prosperity. Based on Cameron Hawley’s 1952 novel, which Ernest Lehman adapted and Robert Wise roomily and entertainingly directed, Executive Suite essays corporate boardroom contentiousness as five men vie for the […]

NIGHT NURSE (William A. Wellman, 1931)

As a hospital-affiliated private nurse, Lora Hart suspects that her two patients—young children; sisters—are being starved to death by an ambitious thug who plans on marrying the mother so he can inherit the girls’ trust fund. Essentially, Wild Bill Wellman’s compulsively watchable Depression melodrama Night Nurse is an assault on medical “ethics”—code, for doctors not […]

BABY FACE (Alfred E. Green, 1933)

“What chance does a woman got?” For the third consecutive year Barbara Stanwyck acted brilliantly, as Florence Fallon, the Aimee Semple McPherson-character, in Capra’s The Miracle Woman (1931), Selina Peake in Wellman’s So Big (1932) and, here, Lily Powers in Baby Face, which made Time magazine’s 2005 list of the 100 greatest movies ever made. […]

THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS (John Ford, 1936)

John Ford’s streamlined version of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars is full of a rich, provocative ambivalence.      Despite wife Nora’s pleas, Jack Clitheroe continues with his dangerous activities against British rule of Ireland as a member of the Irish Citizen Army (that is, Irish Republican Army). It is 1916 in Dublin, during the […]