Sparked by a rich, pulsating score by Jerome Moross, The Big Country is William Wyler’s heartfelt Cold War allegory, set in the Old West, depicting the murderous feud between adjacent ranchers Major Henry Terrill and Rufus Hannassey, characters based on U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. The somber, engrossing film adapts David […]
Victor Milner’s gray, faded black-and-white cinematography suits the mood of Theodore Dreiser’s turn-of-the-century urban naturalism in his dense, painstaking Sister Carrie, from whose title Hollywood excised the first word not to confuse audiences into thinking that the heroine was a nun. Carrie Meeber isn’t that, nor as a nervous Paramount studio or “actress” Jennifer Jones […]
Miriam Hopkins, glitteringly lovely and massively moving, gives the performance of a lifetime as “Swan,” who beds with a dishonest man for security and loses her heart to an honest, poetically minded man in Barbary Coast, one of the most dazzling dramatic entertainments of the Great Depression. The film was written by Ben Hecht and […]
Written by Robert E. Sherwood from MacKinlay Kantor’s blank-verse novella, Glory for Me, The Best Years of Our Lives is William Wyler’s finest, most moving film, the one most infused with his humane sensibility and least compromised by melodrama. It essays the civilian readjustment of three soldiers upon their return home to Boone City somewhere […]
Please see my piece on William Wyler’s first version of Lillian Hellman’s play The Children’s Hour, which is called These Three, and which Hellman herself adapted for the screen—in particular, paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, and also the asterisked note at the end.