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Posted inFilm

The Human Comedy

Not the best example of director Clarence Brown’s work, this 1943 film is nevertheless faithful to William Saroyan’s achingly sentimental novel about a boy’s awakening maturity in the midst of war. If you can stand a teenage Mickey Rooney for nearly two hours, you’ll find it a solid piece of Americana. With Frank Morgan, Marsha […]

Posted inFilm

Marriage in the Shadows

Kurt Maetzig, an assistant in the German film industry, joined the communist underground to fight the Nazis, and after the war became one of the leading filmmakers in the newly created German Democratic Republic. His 1947 debut, a study of a “mixed marriage” under Hitler that becomes an indictment of the German intelligentsia’s refusal to […]

Posted inFilm

Till the Clouds Roll By

Robert Walker makes a nervous Jerome Kern in this mediocre MGM musical biography, which has a large cameo cast and some uncredited direction by Vincente Minnelli (on wife Judy Garland’s numbers) in its favor. I wouldn’t want to be the MGM lawyer who let the copyright slip on this expensive Technicolor production—it’s now in the […]

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An early Indian neorealist film, about a boy abandoned to an orphanage by his impoverished mother. He escapes, falls in with a band of boy thieves, and is eventually rescued by the wife of a wealthy industrialist. K.A. Abbas directed (1954).

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The Animal Kingdom

This 1932 RKO feature was thought lost until a print turned up unexpectedly in the Universal vaults. It’s an adaptation of a stage play by Philip Barry (Holiday, The Philadelphia Story), starring Leslie Howard as a playboy determined to settle down and Myrna Loy (in her first drawing room part) as the straitlaced girl he […]

Posted inFilm

Father Sergius

Yakov Protazanov was one of the few prerevolutionary Russian filmmakers who continued to make movies under the new regime (the pioneering science fiction film Aelita is his best-known effort). This feature, a peasant melodrama, dates from 1918.