Joan Crawford in Nicholas Ray's cult western Johnny Guitar

Frontier women rule in ‘Johnny Guitar’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

In Johnny Guitar (1954), Joan Crawford’s Vienna is the most masculine of women western heroes. A former saloon girl who earned her way to owning her own gambling house, she’s a mature woman with a history and she’s not ashamed of what she did to carve out her claim for a future. Directed by Nicholas […]

Simone Simon stars in the 1942 classic from director Jacques Tourneur and producer Val Lewton

The original ‘Cat People’ on Criterion Channel

The original Cat People (1942) was made on a low budget for RKO’s B-movie unit, the first in an amazing series of B-horror films from producer Val Lewton that transcended its origins. It’s a masterpiece of mood and psychological ambiguity masquerading as a cheap exploitation knock-off. Cheap it is, but Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur […]

Jason Robards is Al Capone in Roger Corman's 'St. Valentine's Day Massacre

‘The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre’ on Amazon Prime

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967) gave Roger Corman, the director-producer who earned the nickname “King of the Bs,” the biggest budget of his career to date. After more than 40 films, most of them for the budget-challenged AIP, he was hired by 20th Century Fox and given the resources of their studio, casting department, […]

Harold Lloyd in 'Safety Last,' his most famous thrill comedy.

Criterion Streams: Harold Lloyd’s ‘Safety Last’ on Hulu

Safety Last (1923) is the most famous of Harold Lloyd’s silent comedies and first of his “thrill pictures,” films that he built around slapstick ingenuity in the midst of daredevil stunts. This one has a doozy: Lloyd scales an office building in downtown Los Angeles, fumbling and fighting with obstacles the entire way. The image […]

Charles 'Buddy' Rogers and Clara Bow in Wings

‘Wings’ – The First Best Picture on SVOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Clara Bow takes top billing in Paramount’s lavish 1927 war drama Wings (1927) and Charles “Buddy” Rogers and Richard Arlen (both virtual unknowns at the time) play the buddies and fellow pilots at the center of the film, but the real star of this World War I picture is the amazing aerial spectacle: the dogfights […]

Gene Evans stars in Sam Fuller's 1952 'Park Row.'

‘Park Row’ on Amazon Prime Video

Free press and free enterprise are uniquely intertwined in Samuel Fuller’s Park Row (1952), the great American maverick director’s tribute to the pioneers of the modern American press in 19th century New York City. Gene Evans—Fuller’s burly alter ego in The Steel Helmet and Fixed Bayonets!—plays Phineas Mitchell, a newsman with big ambitions who goes […]

The cast of 'All About Eve' - Gary Merrill, Bette Davis, George Sanders, Anne Baxter, Hugh Marlowe, and Celeste Holm.

‘All About Eve’ on SVOD and Blu-ray/DVD

“Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” All About Eve (1950), Joseph L. Mankeiwicz’s acerbic view askance at the Great White Way, is the writer/director’s Citizen Kane, a little less complex perhaps, but masterful in its own way in its cynical portrait of ambition on the boards. The barbed dialogue is […]

Paul Newman in Martin Ritt's 'Hombre'

Paul Newman in ‘Hombre’ on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Hombre (1967), adapted from the novel by Elmore Leonard, plays as a ruthless, revisionist take on Stagecoach. Paul Newman is the blue eyed “savage,” a white man raised by the Indians who rejects so-called civilized society for his spiritual family, who has chosen to go native rather than live in the lies and corruption of […]