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Dear Inspector

Philippe De Broca’s romantic comedy about a lady police inspector (Annie Girardot, the French Joan Crawford) who falls in love with a rumpled classics professor (Philippe Noiret). The standard French fare designed for export, complete with tons of whimsy and periodic shots of the Eiffel Tower. Cute as a bug, and utterly undistinguished.

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Public Hero Number One

G-man Chester Morris gets the goods on underworld czar Joseph Calleia with the help of the mobster’s right-thinking sister, Jean Arthur. An MGM programmer from 1935 with a good reputation; the director was J. Walter Ruben, the cinematographer Gregg Toland. With Lionel Barrymore, Paul Kelly, and Lewis Stone.

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Country

It’s disturbing to see erstwhile avant-garde icons like Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange involved in so trite a project—neither would countenance anything so conventional in the theater, but in the movies they’re happy to condescend. As Gil and Jewell Ivy, they spend the first half of the film embodying a lost pastoral ideal of American […]

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The Blood of a Poet

Jean Cocteau’s 1930 attempt to transfer the artistic strategies of modern poetry—allusiveness, discontinuity, self-referentiality—to film. Though many of the images are striking (the mouth that lives in the poet’s hand, for example), they still function essentially as literary conceits, gaining nothing in the transition from words to pictures and perhaps even losing some of their […]

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Movie Sidebars

FESTIVAL Red Diva: Lyubov Orlova, First Lady of Soviet Cinema In 1999, when the Moscow daily Komsomolskaya Pravda asked readers to name the most beautiful women of the 20th century, the number five spot went to Soviet matinee idol Lyubov Orlova, who starred in a series of musical comedies in the 30s. (Marilyn Monroe came […]