The original ‘The Killers’ on Criterion Channel

The first 15 minutes of Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946) remains the most the most faithful adaptation of Ernest Hemingway ever put on screen. Two gunmen from the city (Charles McGraw and William Conrad) take over a small town diner to wait for their target. When he doesn’t show, they take the hit to him, […]

The glory of Astaire and Rogers in ‘Swing Time’ on HBO Max

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the most elegant of Hollywood’s dance teams in the golden age of American musicals and Swing Time (1936) is the peak of their ten-film output. The plot is as absurd as anything from the era: Astaire is a dancer and gambler who is set to marry his hometown sweetheart […]

Gary Cooper is ‘Beau Geste’ on Peacock

Golden-age Hollywood adventures don’t come more rousing than Beau Geste (1939). Gary Cooper, Ray Milland and Robert Preston are the boisterous Geste brothers, orphans raised by a society lady as gentlemen with a sense of playful camaraderie and undaunted chivalry. Their sense of honor and sacrifice inspires all three of them take the blame for […]

‘Sullivan’s Travels’ – Preston Sturges takes on Hollywood on Criterion Channel

Preston Sturges simultaneously lampoons and embraces Hollywood in his comedy masterpiece Sullivan’s Travels (1941). A very low-key Joel McCrea play John Sullivan, a popular Hollywood director  of lowbrow hits like Ants in Your Pants of 1939 who decides to make a serious film about social strife and human suffering called O Brother, Where Art Thou […]

Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino star in the film noir by Nicholas Ray

Robert Ryan is ‘On Dangerous Ground’ on HBO Max

On Dangerous Ground (1952), directed by Nicholas Ray from a script he developed with A.I. Bezzerides and producer John Houseman, opens on the urgent yet fractured dramatic score by Bernard Herrmann, a theme that rushes forward anxiously, pauses with quieter instruments, then jumps again as we watch the nocturnal city streets in the rain through […]

Alfred Hitchcock’s original ‘Psycho’ on Peacock

Psycho (1960) shocked America in 1960. Suburban theatergoers headed to the theaters to see the latest offering from the director of the glamorous and sexy Rear Window and the Technicolor confection North by Northwest. Who expected the droll host of TV’s showcase for suspense, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, to get so down and dirty and tawdry. […]

Burt Lancaster is the ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’ on Amazon Prime Video

Filmmaker John Frankenheimer earned his first major big screen success with Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), his third theatrical feature and his second collaboration with producer/star Burt Lancaster (they would make five films together all told). Lancaster delivers an angry, brooding performance as real life criminal Robert Stroud, a violent killer who developed into an internationally […]

Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell star in the 1948 film noir classic.

Nicholas Ray’s ‘They Live by Night’ on HBO Max

“This boy… and this girl… were never properly introduced to the world we live in…,” begins They Live By Night (1948), a bubble of a brief, idealized vision of young love immediately swept away in the urgency and desperation of the prison break in the very next scene. The directorial debut of American filmmaker Nicholas […]

Cary Grant in ‘Only Angels Have Wings’ on Criterion Channel

If you love movies, I mean really love the glory of Hollywood moviemaking and star power and the joys of wondrous stories, then you surely Only Angels Have Wings (1939), the quintessential Howard Hawks adventure of male bonding and tough love in a world where there may be no tomorrow. If you haven’t fallen for […]