Category Film

Three Days of the Condor (1975)

In many ways I agree with the late Dennis Grunes. Three Days of the Condor is a bad movie. The plot is slow and convoluted. The cinematography is dreary and uninspired. Robert Redford is wooden and unconvincing as an intelligence analyst who stumbles upon a rogue agency within the CIA. There’s a gratuitous, cringe worthy […]

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

The Shiite mob that stormed the United States Embassy in Iraq chanting “Death to America” the day before New Years Eve left me feeling no strong emotions one way or the other. It’s not going to change anything. While the Taliban and all of Shiite and Sunni militias in Iraq are strong enough to mount […]

The Red Shoes (1947)

In 1947, the British people were tired. They had spent the years 1939 to 1945 getting bombed. There were shortages, food rationing, and a long list of casualties. 383,600 soldiers and 75,000 civilians were dead. During the course of the war, the United States Navy had surpassed the British Navy. Britannia no longer ruled the […]

Day of Wrath (1943)

In his Epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote that without the capability to love, a believer, even one martyred for the faith, cannot be a real Christian. “If I give away all I have,” he wrote, “and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” In his […]

Black Legion (1937)

The United States is a country of 315 million people, people composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation in the world. Yet these days all Americans seem to be afraid of a foreign other. Every time Democrats lose an election, or a debate on social media, liberals blame Russia. Conservatives want a […]

Anna Karina: 1940-2019

Anna Karina (real name Hanne Karin Bayer), Jean-Luc Godard’s muse and ex-wife, has died at the age of 79. Her iconic dance number from the movie Bande à part was filmed the year before I was born. I sometimes get the feeling that in a past life I lived in a better world than the […]

Lifeboat (1944)

Michael Powell’s 49th Parallel, like most American and British films released between 1939 and 1945, end on an optimistic note. Democracy will defeat fascism. One big exception is the 1944 movie Lifeboat. Based on a short story by John Steinbeck and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat asks a provocative question. What if the citizens of […]

49th Parallel (1941)

Little known outside of Canada, the Battle of St. Lawrence took place between May of 1942 and November of 1944. For over two years, the Kriegsmarine waged a major operation against Canadian and British shipping. When the last German U-boat finally surrendered in 1945, the Canadians had lost 23 merchant ships and 4 warships. It’s […]

Pimpernel Smith (1941)

In 1905, a Hungarian-born, British novelist named Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála “Emmuska” Orczy de Orci, usually shortened to Emma Orczy, invented the “superhero.” Half a century before Batman, Sir Percy Blakeney, by day a wealthy English fop, assumed the “secret identity” of the Scarlett Pimpernel, a dashing swordsman and master of disguise who rescued […]

Gone With the Wind (1939)

Before venturing on a discussion about Gone with the Wind, it’s important to remember a few things. Classic Hollywood was great cinema, but terrible history. Michael Curtiz in The Adventures of Robin Hood and Cecil B. DeMille in The Crusades had as much concern for historical accuracy as Quentin Tarantino did in Inglourious Basterds and […]