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Rating History

A Stolen Life
A Stolen Life (1946)
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Produced by Bette Davis this is a love triangle story with identical twin sisters played by Davis (for her 2nd time btw) both angling for the same lucky guy Glenn Ford. Ford is a loner and keeper of lighthouse. Kate is the simple artist girl who finds him. Her sister is the fast paced socialite that eventually marries him. But wait! It's not over till its over. This is a well done melodrama but due to its well done and well acted quality something romance drama fans will relish.

Monsieur Rick

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
3 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is a sublime look into the lives of returning WWII war veterans. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, by Sloan Wilson, is a novel published in 1955 about the American search for purpose in a world dominated by business.

Some get elevator jobs, like a fellow war veteran of Peck's, while Gregory Peck gets the good job as an executive writer at some million dollar company. So starts our film.

Men leave America, indeed men leave homes all over the world, to kill or be killed or at least be a part of the killing. Our lead actor, Gregory Peck, is just one of many who lands a great job in corporate position in New York City, at a mere $7000 a year (salary adjusted this would be more like 70,000 a year).

Gregory Peck, and his nagging, pushy wife Jennifer Jones get things going in this film with their modest home (which always dissatisfied Jones hates) in the suburbs. Peck is ok with the home, but Jennifer whines and harps on Peck about her dislike of the home and her desire for Peck to be more ambitious, a fighter she says, like the one she married. (this scene made me vomit)

Of course, Peck who knew and admits in the film he killed 17 people up close and personal and not from a distance, has a different view of the world. Jones was a stay at home girlfriend of Peck who didn't suffer more than a paper cut, but she has the audacity to tell Peck how to act and how to do things. The book, we are told in the special features (watch it if you can), never had her being so "bitchy".

As the film progresses, we detect a huge difference between home and office. This is what the film is all about. The corporate head played by Fred March is atypical in my opinion. I have met in my corporate life vice presidents and lower who were never this socialable or kind. Of course, our lead actor Peck gets favorable treatment because he reminds our corporate head of a son he lost in the war. This stands Peck in good order as he gets fired from his new position by his unfeeling boss, only to hang on because of the Fred March connection.

Family or success, this is the ultimate question. March bemoans giving up his family life for the role he now plays and advises Peck to not neglect his family. Peck later refuses to obey March because of his strained marriage. It seems he had a child back in the war years with a girl he truely loved. Of course, this is a problem the married Peck must face at some point with the never understanding Jones.

Jones keeps pushing the honesty line on Peck, but when Peck gives her a dose of honesty she goes nuts and wants to leave Peck. He lets his secret be known to her after a girl he left behind during the war needs funds to live in Italy. There is a boy, not sure if its his (how could it be? He only knew her for a few days and she admitted at the time to him that she was pregnant).

This is a very powerful film built on a best selling novel at the time. Its about memories, secrets, money, ambition and peace of mind. Due to Gregory Peck's impecable performance, a necessary addition to any film student's library.

Highly recommended, it has no special effects, no perversion, no nudity, no profanity. It does have some WWII scenes which are pretty graphic and intense. It is undoubtly slow paced for moviegoers today but uses Cinemascope to great effect.

Most likely because of the above it would not have succeeded in todays market...

NOTES about the film:

1 In the end, it is a story of taking responsibility for one's own life. The book by Wilson was largely autobiographical, drawing on Wilson's experiences as assistant director of the US National Citizen Commission for Public Schools.


2 The film was entered at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.


3 Both movie and book became hugely popular. The novel continues to appear in the references of sociologists to America's discontented businessman.


4 The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit II appeared in 1984 - by the time of the sequel a decade has passed in the story-line.


5 In an episode of The Honeymooners, Ralph Kramden is startled when Ed Norton emerges from a manhole in full sewer worker gear. Norton replies, "Who did you expect, the man in the gray flannel suit?"

6 Starring as Bones in TV's Star Trek, DeForest Kelley appears in this movie as a medic in one of the war scenes. Appropriately, his lines generally consist of variations of "This man is dead".





Cast

Gregory Peck - Tom Rath
Jennifer Jones - Betsy Rath
Fredric March - Ralph Hopkins
Marisa Pavan - Maria Montagne
Lee J. Cobb - Judge Bernstein
Ann Harding - Helen Hopkins
Keenan Wynn - Sgt. Caesar Gardella
Gene Lockhart - Bill Hawthorne
Gigi Perreau - Susan Hopkins
Portland Mason - Janey Rath
Arthur O'Connell - Gordon Walker
Henry Daniell - Bill Ogden
Connie Gilchrist - Mrs. Manter
Joseph Sweeney - Edward M. Schultz
Sandy Descher - Barbara Rath


Directed by Nunnally Johnson
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by Nunnally Johnson (screenplay)
Sloan Wilson (novel)

Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Charles G. Clarke
Editing by Dorothy Spencer

Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 8, 1956
Running time 153 min.

Agatha
Agatha (1979)
4 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Set in Victorian England this film is all about a marriage gone bad, Agatha's, but a new romance begun by Dustin with Redgrave as Agatha Christie.

Poignant, slow paced film shows how Agatha disappeared after a terrible argument with her husband (once Bond star) Tim Hutton. Dustin Hoffman as an American journalist visiting England is determined to find Agatha and falls in love with her. Turns out to be an ill fated love however and things get really interesting as Agatha plots her own suicide.

The movie didn't move me much until the last half when the action picks up to save Agatha from herself. The ending is poignant and a bit sad.

Monsieur Rick

Taking a Chance on Love
2 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A heartfelt film, not the one for you realistic film goers,but a nice film non-the-less. At first watching, I gave this 70%, but toward the end I bumped it up to 80%.

While not my favorite, Note One was a bit of a stretch. But now we have another NOTE. Hence, Note II, the title. This stuff is really fiction. But let me say this, the last half hour redeems the beginning.

Truth they say, is stranger than fiction. Fact of the matter is, however, fiction is just that... a made up bunch of what usually never happens in real life.

The day that a columnist would research my tragic love life is the day I win the lottery, bigtime. Fat chance, Fat tire.

But we can all live vicariously through this film. Substituting the plot for our own lives, we can find substance.

Another TV type film, the son and father (King) relationship unfolds. Its a pretty bitter one until the son finds what he really wants in life at the end of the film.

This wild and woolly film is beyond the pale, unfortunately. It is beyond truth, it is into fiction. That being said, the movie as a whole is more than the sum of its parts.

I would recommend this film IF you are willing to watch it to the very end. Touching and insightful.

The Black Windmill
5 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

If you like Caine you will love this one. Why the audience didn't like this one is beyond me. Caine's son is kidnapped and as he works for the British secret service he becomes involved in a ransom attempt on his son. The Brits won't pay up so its up to him to deliver the ransom and he tries but it is not so easy. This is a fast paced thriller which is well worth your time. Without Caine as a star this could have been just another movie about extortion.