James Agee

James Agee
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
(Photo Credit: John Springer Collection/Corbis Historical/Getty Images)
Publications: The Nation, TIME Magazine

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
93% The Pearl (La perla) (1947) An extremely sincere and high-minded effort and, in my opinion, perfectly lousy "art." - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2021
No Score Yet New Orleans (1947) The movie is a crime. Not only is it horribly inept and unimaginative in everything that does not center on jazz; the jazz itself is too often cut short, or smothered as background for pictures which fail to carry it out. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2021
No Score Yet The Hucksters (1947) I dislike the movie as I disliked what little I could read of the book: for I find uniquely nauseating the spectacle of incurable corruption laboring under delusions of honesty. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2021
100% Great Expectations (1947) The film is almost never less than graceful, tasteful, and intelligent, and some of it is better than that. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2021
100% L'Atalante (1934) It is very good, spasmodically great poetry applied to pretty good prose; a great talent trying, I judge, to apply itself so far as it can stand to, conventionally and commercially. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2021
93% Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite) (1933) It is hard for me to imagine how anyone with a curious eye and intelligence can fail to be excited by it, for it is one of the most visually eloquent and adventurous movies I have seen. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2021
No Score Yet Another Part of the Forest (1948) Ardently acted, and directed with sense and tension by Michael Gordon. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2021
No Score Yet Roughly Speaking (1945) The whole thing depresses me beyond words. Jack Carson, however, is likable, as he always is. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
80% Objective, Burma! (1945) It makes this picture moving and good, for all its outright faults and sorry limitations. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
No Score Yet God Is My Co-Pilot (1945) The picture is not as bad, I must admit, as I'm making it sound; but it is not good enough to make me feel particularly sorry about that. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
97% The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) There is nothing brilliant about the picture, but it is perceptive, witty, and sweet-tempered, and it shows a continuous feeling for the charm and illuminating power of mannerism, speech, and gesture used semi-ritually, rather than purely realistically. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
100% The Clock (1945) It is strictly a romance, and in every -- essential respect a safe one, safely ae disappointing and angering in the thought of the great film it might have been. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
No Score Yet The Battle of San Pietro (1945) No war film I have seen has been quite so attentive to the heaviness of casualties, and to the number of yards gained or lost, in such an action; none has so levelly watched and implied what it meant, in such full and complex terms. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
No Score Yet Cornered (1945) Murder, My Sweet gave a Raymond Chandler story the combination of skinned knuckles and big-city sentience proper to it; Cornered, without losing much if any force as melodrama, is much more elaborate, self-assured, and ambitious. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
No Score Yet It Happened at the Inn (1943) Some of the characters are as salient as those of comic strips; none lose truthfulness or depth through this; all are with tender, sober adroitness graded, controlled, and modulated between different levels of caricature and... realism. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
94% Cluny Brown (1946) Lubitsch's direction -- always, at its best, so shrewd about protocol -- makes the film more amusing than there was any other reason to expect; and Richard Haydn's performance as a prissily bullying, mother-bound druggist is very nice caricature. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
100% The Blue Dahlia (1946) It knows its own weight and size perfectly and carries them gracefully and without self-importance; it is, barring occasional victories and noble accidents, about as good a movie as can be expected from the big factories. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2021
82% Air Force (1943) I cannot be sure how I feel about Air Force. It is loud, loose, sincere, violently masculine, and at times quite exciting. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
No Score Yet The Hard Way (1943) There is a good deal in it to excite and to please. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
79% Saludos Amigos (1943) Saludos Amigos depresses me. Self-interested, belated ingratiation embarrasses me, and Disney's famous cuteness, however richly it may mirror national infantilism, is hard on my stomach. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
99% Casablanca (1942) Apparently Casablanca, which I must say I liked, is working up a rather serious reputation as a fine melodrama. Why? It is obviously an improvement on one of the world's worst plays; but it is not such an improvement that that is not obvious. - The Nation EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
81% Cabin in the Sky (1943) Like many star-filled pictures, this one never really shows off its crowded heavens. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 16, 2020
No Score Yet Casbah (1948) The older versions were slicker moviemaking but took this likable trash more seriously than it is worth. The new version has just about the right easygoing attitude. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Tawny Pipit (1944) Bernard Miles and Charles Saunders, who collaborated in writing and directing Pipit, are not quite equal to their idea; and Mr. Miles, who is too young to play the colonel, is not quite up to his role. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet The Time of Your Life (1948) Those who made the picture have given it something very rare. It's obvious that they love the play and their work in it, and their affection and enjoyment are highly contagious. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
100% I Remember Mama (1948) Above everything else, the picture has obviously been made with the lively affection and pleasure which are the life blood of good popular art. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
83% Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) Blandings may turn out to be too citified for small-town audiences, and incomprehensible abroad; but among those millions of Americans who have tried to feather a country nest with city greenbacks, it ought to hit the jackpot. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Where There's Life (1947) Where There's Life there is, naturally, Bob Hope. This movie has quite a lot of Hope, in fact, but rather less life than his admirers have reason to hope for. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet The Voice of the Turtle (1947) Since these characters have been deprived of their chief motives, their honesty, and their essential innocence, they are also deprived of most of their reality and all their charm. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Golden Earrings (1947) The general whimsicality of the picture is weary but Miss Dietrich does what she can with the laborious charade. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Christmas Eve (1947) [A] dead rat. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Lost Moment (1947) A puzzling screen version of Henry James's fine novelette, The Aspern Papers ... would doubtless-if it had James himself for a critic-be delicately strangled in the ineluctable tendrils of his famous final manner. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet The Exile (1947) The script ... has a charming, blank-verse hauteur that just possibly may be a bit asinine-but the direction saves the day by insisting on a witty, natural reading. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet The Upturned Glass (1947) In polite concern to grant the intelligence of moviegoers, Actor-Producer Mason has underplayed so drastically that his surgeon fails to exhibit enough intensity. As a result, the whole last reel of the film groans like a car trying to do 80 in low gear. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Cass Timberlane (1947) Should refine the judgment of readers who did not like the Sinclair Lewis novel, but thought that it would make a good movie script, anyhow. It doesn't. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
67% Mourning Becomes Electra (1947) O'Neill is one of the finest theatrical craftsmen of his day, and Electra has a gnashing vitality. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Green Dolphin Street (1947) The moral of all this seems to be: if you want to be happy, be sure to marry someone you don't love. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Variety Girl (1947) In its unpretentious, meandering way, Variety Girl is a likable show, mostly because its stars are allowed to do what they do best ... - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
100% Nightmare Alley (1947) Scripter Jules Furthman and Director Edmund Goulding have ... seldom forgotten that the original novel they were adapting is essentially intelligent trash; and they have never forgotten that on the screen pretty exciting things can be made of trash. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
11% Forever Amber (1947) Linda Darnell ... makes a handsome but unexciting Amber. Cornel Wilde, as Amber's steady, Lord Bruce Carlton, uses both of his facial expressions frequently. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
83% Unconquered (1947) Cecil Blount DeMille's florid, $5,000,000, Technicolored celebration of Gary Cooper's virility, Paulette Goddard's femininity and the American Frontier Spirit. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Cynthia (1947) At its best, it is pleasantly reminiscent of the late Booth Tarkington. At its worst, it slops over with such cheap laughs as the writhings of a tuxedoed adolescent with a recalcitrant shirt front. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Singapore (1947) A lot of technical competence, a certain amount of talent and a staggering amount of time and money have been marshaled into a quiet, polished frenzy about nothing whatever. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet Wild Harvest (1947) There is ... too much talking and face making. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
63% Desert Fury (Desert Town) (1947) If you could be sure that it was meant to be funny, you could relax and enjoy it thoroughly. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
40% Down to Earth (1947) The film may annoy those who do not thoroughly enjoy "swinging" everything in sight. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
100% The Web (1947) The story is no more than a fair excuse for the neat moviemaking which makes this picture entertaining. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
No Score Yet They Won't Believe Me (1947) Producer Joan Harrison & associates have brought the story to the screen with considerable skill. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
100% The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) The film's whimsy is a bit heavy-handed and it is short on wit, style and ingenuity. Yet most of it is pleasant enough fun, and pretty to watch. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018
20% Copacabana (1947) The result is not so wildly zany as the best Marx brothers collaborations, nor is it designed to be. But it is an unpretentiously entertaining movie. - TIME Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2018