‘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 […]

The all-star 1935 ‘David Copperfield’ on HBO Max

Charles Dickens’ sprawling, semi-autobiographical novel gets squeezed into a vivid (if episodic) 130-minute Hollywood feature in the handsome MGM production David Copperfield (1935). Produced by David O. Selznick, MGM’s resident producer of class and literature, and directed by George Cukor, the film follows the life of David from birth and boyhood (played by thirties child […]

‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ – a delirious sequel on Peacock

Director James Whale did not seek out the sequel to Frankenstein but he turned out a horror masterpiece with Bride of Frankenstein (1935), a delirious sequel that tops the original. The screenplay draws additional story elements from Mary Shelley’s novel, which are reworked for Hollywood, and weaves them in with a new, original character: Dr. […]

Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton in Billy Wilder's adaptation of the Agatha Christie play

‘Witness for the Prosecution’ with Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich on Amazon Prime Video

Based on the stage play by Agatha Christie, Witness for the Prosecution (1957) isn’t opened up for the screen so much as it is perked up with witty dialogue and wily characterizations, two strengths of filmmaker Billy Wilder and writing and producing partner I.A.L. Diamond. Charles Laughton plays the legendary barrister who defies doctor’s order […]