‘Gun Crazy’ – a film noir classic on Criterion Channel

Gun Crazy (1950), the greatest of the criminal lovers-on-the-run thriller, explodes onto the screen in a fury of sex and guns and love and violence. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis, it is a masterpiece of style and a blast of cinematic ecstasy on a budget barely bigger than a B movie. John Dall is a […]

‘Bell, Book and Candle’ – James Stewart, Kim Novak and a touch of witchcraft

Kim Novak glows in Bell, Book and Candle (1958) as the bewitching downstairs neighbor of staid, secure publisher James Stewart in this colorful romantic comedy adapted from the lighthearted Broadway comedy by John Van Druten. Novak is at her best as Gillian, a modern day witch in Greenwich Village, halfway between the worlds of magical […]

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

Nicholas Ray’s ‘They Live by Night’ on Criterion Channel

“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 […]

David Bradley stars in the 1969 drama by Ken Loach

‘Kes’ – a boy and his kestrel on Amazon Prime

The story of a boy and his bird, Kes (1969) is something of a small cinematic treasure in Britain. Set and shot in the North of England and cast overwhelming with non-professional locals from the area, it cast its lens on the dreary life and hopeless future of a scrawny, fatherless teenager, Billy Casper (David […]

‘The Tall Target’ – steam noir on Criterion Channel

Anthony Mann’s The Tall Target (1951) is a rare period piece noir. This one is set in 1860 and the tall target of the title is President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Dick Powell plays the lone police detective who believes in the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln on his journey to be sworn in as President and, in […]

Marlene Dietrich stars in Josef von Sternberg's 'The Blue Angel.'

‘The Blue Angel’ – Marlene Dietrich’s breakthrough on Criterion Channel

The Blue Angel (1930) – American director Josef von Sternberg went to Germany to direct Emil Jannings in his transition from silent to sound cinema and returned to Hollywood with an international hit and a new star: Marlene Dietrich. Not exactly what Jannings had in mind, but then how could he know that his thick, […]

Errol Flynn is ‘Captain Blood’ on HBO Max

Errol Flynn was Warner Bros. contract player, barely a supporting actor on the Hollywood scene, when he shot to stardom in the starring role of Captain Blood (1935), Warner Bros.’ lavish adaptation of Rafael Sabatini’s novel. His bravado and charisma brings to life the rousing tale Peter Blood, a courageous British doctor who, unjustly sold […]

‘The Red Shoes’ on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger’s The Red Shoes (1948) has been called the greatest ballet film ever made. To girls of a certain age and a predisposition to the romance and beauty of ballet, this film is a touchstone that remains an impassioned favorite long after their invitation to the dance is over. To me, […]

Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher star in the film directed by Milos Forman

‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ on HBO Max

A rare screen adaptation of a beloved novel to maintain the emotional and dramatic power of the original while establishing its own distinctive approach to the story, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) is an underdog masterpiece. Jack Nicholson stars as Randle P. McMurphy, a wild man of a petty crook who fakes insanity […]