‘Ministry of Fear’ – World War II spy noir on Criterion Channel

You could call the conspiratorial wartime thriller Ministry of Fear (1944) Hitchcockian, at least in its play with an innocent man swept up in international intrigue, but the sensibility comes from its director, Fritz Lang. Ray Milland is the wrong man here, recently released from a mental asylum (he was sentenced for the mercy killing […]

‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’ on Criterion Channel

The title may sound like pure pulp but The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Jack Arnold’s screen adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel The Shrinking Man, is compassionate, intelligent, and the most metaphysical American science fiction film until Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Scott Carey (Grant Williams), just a guy on a daylong boating excursion, drifts […]

Peter Sellers stars in Stanley Kubrick's political satire of mutually assured destruction

‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the screwball satire of mutually assured destruction on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Stanley Kubrick’s screwball satire of cold war posturing and mutually assured destruction, is the funniest film ever made about nuclear holocaust. But it didn’t begin as a comedy. The source novel, Peter George’s Red Alert, was a grave contemplation of the […]

Burl Ives and Robert Ryan star in the western noir by Andre de Toth

‘Day of the Outlaw’ – snowbound western noir on Amazon Prime

Day of the Outlaw (1959), a western set in a snowbound mountain town on the high frontier, is one of the toughest, most tension-filled pictures from Andre de Toth, a studio filmmaker who could be counted on to bring a savage edge to his assignments. The town is already coiled like a spring thanks to […]

Eight Classic Christmas Movies to Stream in 2020

It’s 2020 and there are more streaming services than ever offering up Christmas movies, so many that you may not be able to sort through all the modern Christmas comedies, Hallmark holiday romances, and Netflix originals to find the classics of yesteryear. Here’s our guide to finding eight Hollywood Christmas classics, from the obvious to […]

‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ – a musical for all seasons on HBO Max

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Vincent Minelli’s first Technicolor film, is the ultimate in Hollywood Americana and a masterful musical that turned Judy Garland into a true leading lady. A celebration of old fashioned values in song, dance, and family melodrama in turn-of-the-century St. Louis, the glowingly nostalgic tale follows a year in the […]

Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood star, George Seaton directs

The original ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ on Disney+

Is there a more warmhearted celebration of Christmas cheer amid the urban reality of modern America than the original Miracle on 34th Street (1947)? It’s a Wonderful Life may be the cult film of the Christmas season, a holiday noir that slips into nightmare before pulling out its happy ending. But the idealized small town […]

Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen star in 'White Christmas'

‘White Christmas’ on Netflix

Irving Berlin’s iconic Christmas ballad “White Christmas” debuted in the 1942 musical for all seasons Holiday Inn, where Bing Crosby crooned it into the best-selling song of all time. It became such a standard—and a signature tune for Crosby—that it was recycled twelve years later for another Crosby film, this one adopting the hit song […]

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

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 […]

Gary Cooper bids ‘A Farewell to Arms’ on Amazon Prime

A Farewell to Arms (1932), the first screen version of Ernest Hemingway’s novel, is not the most faithful adaptation—at 90 minutes, it was greatly reduced and Hemingway himself was quite vocal with his displeasure at the adaptation of his semi-autobiographical story—but almost a century later it is still the most passionate and moving version. Gary […]