About My Year in Film The Stars Reviews Contact Image Map

Sunday, 4 September 2011

5 Mini Reviews of Brilliant Films

Rating System
★★★★★ = watch it immediately because you need this film in your life
★★★★ = watch it soon
★★★ = watch it sometime
★★ = watch it if you must
★ = watch it if you want to waste a couple of hours of your life

Sadie Thompson, 1928 (Raoul Walsh)

The stars: Gloria Swanson, Lionel Barrymore, Raoul Walsh
The story: Sadie Thompson, a "fallen woman", arrives at Pago Pago just after Alfred Davidson, an extremist missionary, has also arrived. In an attempt to convert her, Davidson confronts Sadie and offers her salvation if she will renounce her evil ways.  
The verdict: Although her praises are most often sung for Sunset Boulevard, I believe Swanson's performance as the young yet weary prostitute Sadie Thompson is much greater. She played the character with such intensity and such capability that I was quite blown away. Lionel Barrymore gives a wonderful performance, but I think Walter Huston made a better Davidson in the 1932 remake, Rain. I would definitely recommend this film to someone as a silent film "starter".
The rating: ★★★★★

If You Could Only Cook, 1935 (William A. Seiter)

The stars: Jean Arthur, Herbert Marshall
The story: Can you buttle? The executive of a hugely successful car company meets a young, unemployed woman whilst sitting on a park bench brooding over his impending marriage. The young woman, thinking that he is also unemployed, convinces him to apply for a job with her and so they become butler and cook for the eccentric mobster, Mike Rossini. 
The verdict: I really didn't expect to love this film as much as I did, but the whole premise and the warmth of Jean and Herbert's acting just captivated me from the start. Eep, Jean is just too adorable - as always! It's such a sweet little film, I highly recommend it! 
The rating: ★★★★

These Three, 1936 (William Wyler)

The stars: Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon, Joel McCrea
The story: When a pupil tells a vindictive lie to her grandmother, schoolteachers Martha and Karen's lives are disrupted and completely upturned.  
The verdict: A brilliant film that really makes you think about how seemingly small things can completely alter people's lives, this is without a doubt one of the best I've seen this year. It was my first Merle Oberon film and I'm definitely going to be checking her filmography out because I loved her in it. All of the actors (including the child actors) gave spectacular performances.  
The rating: ★★★★★

I'll Be Seeing You, 1944 (William Dieterle

The stars: Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Spring Byington
The story: A soldier suffering from shell shock and a young woman on a ten-day leave from prison meet on a train during the Christmas holidays. They strike up a friendship which very swiftly turns into romance. 
The verdict: I finally got around to watching this after Audrey recommended it in her Box Set Monday post, and I can safely say that I was not at all disappointed. It's a beautiful, sweet story and I know I'll be watching it over the Christmas holidays. Ginger and Joseph compliment each other so well, which is definitely not something I expected!
The rating: ★★★★

Possessed, 1947 (Curtis Bernhardt)

The stars: Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey
The story: Louise wanders the streets of LA asking if anyone has seen a man called David, before eventually collapsing from exhaustion. She is taken to a nearby hospital and, while under the care and supervision of a psychiatrist, reveals the story of how she came to be in such a tragic state.
The verdict: I knew about half an hour into the film that this was going to take Mildred Pierce's place for my favourite Joan film. This woman can do no wrong! Her portrayal of Louise is absolutely spot on, she expresses so many emotions throughout the film and does so in such a quiet, beautiful way. Joan was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for the picture and she really should have won. Go and watch it right now! 
The rating: ★★★★★
Thanks for reading!


  1. I am exactly with you on Possessed and If You Could Only Cook...5 stars and 4 stars for sure. I'm 1 star up on you on I'll Be Seeing You. That is actually one of my 15 all-time favorite films. I LOVE it! I haven't seen the other 2 films, but you certainly have me intrigued.

    I'm wondering about These Three...it sounds alot like The Children's Hour (Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine). Do you know if it is the original of that movie.

    Finally, I thought Gloria Swanson was beyond fantastic in Sunset Boulevard, so if she was even better in Sadie Thompson, then I may just have to give silents another try.

  2. Yes to These Three. One of my all time favorites. You have to check it out Patti. And yes it's the original, The Children's Hour is the remake.

    Sadly that's the only film that you reviewed Sophie that I have seen. But I am intrigued by them all now, especially I'll Be Seeing You.

    Great post Sophie!

  3. Glad you enjoyed *I'll Be Seeing You*. :)

    I thought *Mildred Pierce* was great, so it sounds like I need to check out *Possessed*.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...