WE, THE WOMEN (Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Luigi Zampa, Gianni Franciolini, Alfredo Guarini, 1953)

Called in the U.S. either We, the Women or Of Life and Love, Siamo donne is a composite film from Italy whose overall idea legendary screenwriter Cesare Zavattini originated. Each of four segments showcases a major star/actress; one tedious segment, with a labored postmodern spin, a starlet. The four “celebrities,” each ostensibly playing herself, are […]

SARATOGA TRUNK (Sam Wood, 1943, 1945)

Based on Edna Ferber’s novel, Saratoga Trunk reteamed Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, again under Sam Wood’s direction, right after their triumphant success, in and out of sleeping bags, in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), during the making of which they became lovers. However, the second film’s release was delayed to maximize its profits—until […]

ANASTASIA (Anatole Litvak, 1956)

Despite its uncertain tone that unexpectedly resolves itself in comedy and romance, Anatole Litvak’s Anastasia touches on momentous subjects: historical ambiguities; the exploitation of these due to greed and the spirit of adventure; the problem of identity, including the eternal mystery of identity; however embroiled one is in history, an individual’s right to self-determination. However […]

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (Victor Fleming, 1941)

Surely it is apocryphal that Clark Gable wondered aloud why he couldn’t act as well as Spencer Tracy while he watched his M-G-M co-star in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a turgid, overstuffed, over-fogged big production aiming to remake the 1931 Rouben Mamoulian version, which is better, rather than draw direct inspiration from Robert Louis […]

FEAR (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)

Roberto Rossellini’s stunning La paura, which updates Stefan Zweig’s 1920 novella Angst, finds one kind of jealousy masquerading as another. Research scientist Albert Wagner knows that Irene, his wife, has been having an affair with Erich Baumann because Baumann’s previous girlfriend, Johanna Schultze, striking out at the woman who replaced her, has told him this. […]