John Wayne , Claire Trevor, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Donald Meek, Louise Platt, directed by John Ford

John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’ on HBO Max

Stagecoach (1939) – John Ford’s classic western is a landmark of the genre for so many reasons: mature, classically constructed and superbly directed, it made a star of John Wayne, revitalized the western genre, and introduced Ford to the breathtaking landscape of Monument Valley, which would become the mythic backdrop of his west. It was […]

Steven Spielberg makes compelling drama from the statesmanship it took to pass the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution

Daniel Day-Lewis is ‘Lincoln’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012) is a remarkable historical drama. Scripted by Tony Kushner, guided by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book A Team of Rivals, Lincoln casts a spotlight on one of the most important political actions in American history: passing the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution, which abolished slavery. In compelling detail, this film shows […]

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’

Strangers on a Train (1951) is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s undisputed masterpieces, a thriller of demented wish fulfillment turned into a waking nightmare that turns on a chance meeting. Demented playboy Bruno (Robert Walker, whose insidious insincerity is unsettling from his first scene) meets champion tennis player Guy (Farley Granger). Bruno knows that Guy has […]

Blu-ray: Orson Welles’ ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ on Criterion

The Magnificent Ambersons (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) How did it take so long for the sophomore feature from Orson Welles to finally get its Blu-ray debut? I don’t need an answer, I’m just thrilled that it’s finally here, and in such a beautiful edition. The magnificence of The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) is apparent from the first […]

Anthony Quinn, Peter O'Toole, and Omar Sharif star in the Oscar-winning epic from director David Lean

David Lean’s masterpiece ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Lawrence of Arabia (1962), David Lean’s epic adventure based on the true-life story of T.E. Lawrence (played by Peter O’Toole in a compelling, complex performance), is the most beautiful big screen film ever made, which means it’s grandest attributes suffer on video no matter how big your screen is. It’s also a fiercely intelligent drama […]

Arletty, Marcel Herrand, Pierre Brasseur, and Jean-Louis Barrault star in Marcel Carné's classic of French cinema

‘Children of Paradise’ – The theatre of love and crime on The Criterion Channel

Children of Paradise (France, 1945), Marcel Carné’s legendary drama of love, theater, and crime in 19th Century Paris, is an epic in every sense of the word. It opens and ends on a stage curtain, which rises to reveal the Boulevard of Crime, the theater district of 1830s Paris, where street performers and pickpockets alike ply […]

Orson Welles’s ‘Othello’ on Shout! Factory TV and Fandor

Orson Welles’ 1952 masterpiece Othello, his shoestring-budgeted adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy, is an example of creative will overcoming physical liability. Using primitive (by Hollywood standards) equipment and a rotating crew, and interrupting his shoot to raise money, Welles shot in spurts over three years all over Italy and Morocco and matched images shot in […]