Scream, Pretty Peggy (1973)

Imagine Psycho, but if instead of running a motel, Norman Bates was a sculptor, his mother was still alive and a raging alcoholic and Marion Crane didn’t take that shower, but performed light housekeeping duties and was an art student who had a crush on Norman.¬† By the time the denouement¬† finally occurs, it’s clear that at best Scream, Pretty Peggy was heavily influenced by that earlier, far superior film and the only suspense is whether it really is going to blatantly rip off Psycho. (For fans of homely guys in drag, it happily does!) Continue reading “Scream, Pretty Peggy (1973)”

Dangerous (1935)

Bette Davis is just fine in the role of Joyce Heath, the talented and self-destructive actress who is brought back from the brink by the creepily-obsessive adulation of architect Don Bellows (Franchot Tone). The problem is the herky-jerky and sporadic treatment of the problems that Joyce suffers from, notably alcoholism. She seems to be a heavy drinker just so that she can say she’s a down and out has-been, like it was something to aspire to! Continue reading “Dangerous (1935)”

The Letter (1940)

Leslie Crosbie (Bette Davis) is the wife of a guy who runs a rubber plantation in Malaysia and if you know anything about life on a rubber plantation in Malaysia like I do, there isn’t much more to do than your husband’s best friend. And even though this all went down in Malaysia, it still turns out that you just can’t go around killing secret boyfriends because they dump you! You can’t really blame Leslie though. How can anyone be expected to know the intricacies of Malaysian homicide laws? Continue reading “The Letter (1940)”

Deception (1946)

Deception teaches us the hard way that the only thing worse than a film ending with a big cello concerto is a film that drones on with lots of talk ten minutes after the big cello concerto.

Watching Paul Henreid straddling a big violin as he makes all these “either I’m a musical genius or I’m in need of some serious fiber” faces while he plays some obnoxious dirge that composer/rival Claude Rains dreamed up in between bouts of surly self-pity at having lost the affections of Bette Davis, made me realize why you don’t see a lot of love triangle movies involving classical musicians these days. Continue reading “Deception (1946)”

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

The Man Who Came To Dinner is a story about a radio host, Sheridan Whiteside, who ruins Christmas, but since this is Hollywood, he also manages to save it in the end. And unlike the majority of real people, the titular man’s consistently caustic manner and maddening self-absorption is fairly amusing. The writers also understood the most rudimentary elements of comedy and thus we are also treated to penguins periodically running around loose in the house. Continue reading “The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)”

A Stolen Life (1946)

Stolen Life PosterYou know you’re in for some rough sailing when it’s the evil twin that goes over the side of the boat leaving the goody-goody twin to assume her identity. Spoiling your “twin tricks Glenn Ford” gimmick by having him get the better twin after already dumping her for her slightly sluttier sister doesn’t make much sense and limits the sort of screeching drama that a movie of this sort demands.

A slow moving film that never amounts to much and frequently languishes on the shoals of extraneous plot points, A Stolen Life seems to be scripted without any concept of what a Bette Davis movie involving dirty tricks and silly plot twists is all about. Continue reading “A Stolen Life (1946)”