Sunday, September 30, 2012


The SS Intruder is negotiating rough waters when a passenger is found murdered in his stateroom. The captain is told by police detective William B. Davidson that the dead man was a jewel thief he'd been tailing, but the jewels he was carrying are missing.  Just as Davidson collects a group of suspects, all of whom had been in or near the dead man's room, the ship founders.  The cop gets all the suspects, the captain, and some crew members on one lifeboat, and they wind up on a deserted island—well, deserted except for a gorilla and a wild man, apparently a survivor of a previous wreck, who runs around doing a Tarzan yell. Tensions build in the group, including the dead man's valet, a comic relief drunkard, two lovely young women, and the sort-of strapping hero (Monte Blue) who seems to do a better job of detecting that the detective. Eventually, a ship comes along and rescues them, and in the last five minutes, the mystery is solved. Though this ultra-low-budget mystery is included in a DVD set of "Forgotten Horrors," this is in no way a horror film.  True, the best parts of the movie are those that feature the wild man and a cave full of skeletons that he talks to, and there are a couple of murders, but this is simply a Poverty Row "old dark house" mystery, set instead on an isolated island. Lila Lee (pictured), a silent movie starlet and the mother of James Kirkwood who co-wrote the musical A Chorus Line, is the heroine, and film buffs may recognize Russian actor Mischa Auer (the dance teacher in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU) as the wild man and Arthur Housman (who specialized in drunk roles) as the drunkard. Housman gets the best line, shouted in the middle of a heated group argument: "Hurray! We've gone primitive!" Short, under an hour, and nothing special. [DVD]

Friday, September 28, 2012


A fluffy romantic musical set in European high society in the manner that was popular at the time, though this one from Samuel Goldwyn feels a bit second-rate compared to the higher-toned productions being turned out by Ernst Lubitsch and others at Paramount (ONE HOUR WITH YOU, LOVE ME TONIGHT). Lilyan Tashman, an exotic performer in Budapest, incites fights so often at the nightclub where she performs that the police force her to "take a rest" by kicking her out of the city and putting her in the care of a count (John Boles) in the nearby village of Zuppa—everyone acts like just saying the name "Zuppa" is a hysterically funny bit of humor. Tashman realizes that flower girl Evelyn Laye looks like her, so she gets Laye to take on her identity and go to Zuppa in her place. Boles is excited that a woman with such a naughty reputation is staying with him, but Laye isn't quite so naughty, though eventually, they fall in love. Their budding romance is threatened when the authorities in Budapest discover Tashman's trick and send her to Zuppa.

Like the glossier Lubitsch films, this one has a fairytale operetta feel to it, but the talents both behind and on the screen seem more B-level. Boles and Laye (pictured) are OK but don't have much chemistry. Even the supporting cast is a little off. Leon Errol provides some OK comic relief as Laye's platonic companion, but I kept thinking Charles Butterworth or Edward Everett Horton would be funnier. The only other player to make any impression is Hugh Cameron as the overseer of Boles' estate; his relationship with Errol almost plays out like a parallel romance. The best scene is a duet that Boles and Laye have in the pouring rain. Not essential by any means, but as a relative rarity, I was glad to see it. [TCM]

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


In the New England town of Corinth, lifelong bachelor Harry Quincey is known affectionately as Uncle Harry by all; his once-wealthy family lost everything in the Depression except their mansion. He works as the head clothes designer at the Warren Mill and supports his two sisters:  Hester, a cranky childless widow, and Lettie, a sickly old maid who is certainly not as sick as she acts. Life goes along uneventfully for Uncle Harry until the arrival in town of Deborah Brown, a company executive from New York. She and Harry hit it off and she decides to stay in Corinth indefinitely. This upsets Lettie who has barely-hidden incestuous feelings for Harry; she claims she never married because she knew her brother needed her, and now she doesn't want to give him up. Harry and Deborah decide to marry as soon as living arrangements can be made for his sisters, but Lettie refuses to find any of the possibilities satisfying. When this stalling tactic has gone on long enough, Deborah gives up and marries Mr. Warren, her boss. A bitter Harry then concocts a plan to finally get free of Lettie: he decides to poison her cocoa. Unfortunately, it's Hester who ends up drinking the cocoa. However, since the two sisters had been quarreling publicly in recent days (over Lettie's behavior), it is Lettie who is charged with murder.  Who will hang for the crime?

This psychological melodrama, directed by Robert Siodmak (THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE, THE KILLERS) has a dark noir look and good performances by George Sanders as Harry and Geraldine Fitzgerald (pictured) as Lettie, and the mansion provides a nice Gothic atmosphere. The script is clever until the end when, due to Production Code morality, the bottom drops out and things are resolved in a ridiculously unbelievable fashion, undercutting the well-developed tension of the last half. Ella Raines, as Deborah, looks good but has no chemistry with Sanders (of course, he's not exactly the traditional romantic hero type). Moyna MacGill, who is fine as Hester, was the real-life mother of Angela Lansbury. Sara Allgood gives her usual reliable performance as the family maid, who knows everything that's going on. Even though the ending nearly ruins the film, it's still a fun little dysfunctional family story.  [Netflix streaming]

Monday, September 24, 2012


Matt Helm (Dean Martin) is a playmate photographer who is also a secret agent, and Miss January seems to have killed him in his own bed with a death ray—leading to a funeral with many shapely ladies in attendance. But actually Helm has faked his death in order to go after archvillain Julian Wall (Karl Malden) who has kidnapped Dr. Solaris, inventor of the Helio-Beam which has the potential to destroy the earth using the rays of the sun. On the French Riviera, his sexy contact is killed but he meets up with Suzie (Ann-Margaret), Solaris' daughter and together they head off to Wall's private island and into his palatial house with tons of secret panels, strange weapons and torture chambers to save Suzie's dad and the world. This is the only Matt Helm movie I've seen and I'm not inclined to search out others. I know it's supposed to be a parody of the Bond films—and Mike Myers seems to have found some inspiration for Austin Powers from this film—but Martin is kind of a buzz kill, sleepwalking through his role even when others, like Ann-Margaret, are trying hard. There's an amusing scene with the band Dino, Desi & Billy in which Dino (Martin's real son) leans over and says, "Hey, now you’re swingin, dad!" I liked a What's My Line reference: "I deal in services and I'm bigger than a breadbox." There is also a thuggish bad guy with a nifty mirrored plate on the top of his head. Other than that, a disappointment, for die-hard 60s movie fans only. [TCM]


Thursday, September 20, 2012


Myra and Billy Savage are eking out a middle-class existence in an old Victorian house which Myra inherited from her mother. Myra is a psychic who holds afternoon seances for a small circle of clients; her spirit guide is someone named Martin (whom we later discover was her son who died in childbirth). The meek, passive (and apparently unemployed) Billy genuinely loves Myra and is at her beck and call, but struggles with her unbalanced mental state: it's unclear if she has accepted that Martin is dead because she talks about him as though he's just away temporarily. It's also unclear how much of her psychic talent is theoretically genuine and how much is chicanery. Wanting to beef up business, Myra plans to "borrow" Amanda, the daughter of a local businessman, hold her for ransom, then hold a seance to reveal her whereabouts and prove her psychic powers. She doesn't want the money, just the publicity. Billy goes along reluctantly: he grabs the girl after school and they put her in a prepared room in their house, set up to look like a hospital room, and convince her that she is recovering from a serious illness. Myra goes to the girl's mother and tells her she's had dreams about the girl; she is initially rebuffed but later the mother comes to a seance at which Myra gets worked up and faints. She later tells Billy that Martin wants a playmate, leading Billy to realize that she may not be so willing to give Amanda up. Finally, he decides to take matters into his own hands, even if it means exposing their plan to the police.

Despite the title and some of the near-Gothic trappings, this is not a drama of the supernatural but a bleakly compelling psychological thriller and character drama, beautifully directed (by Bryan Forbes), photographed (by Gerry Turpin), scored (by multiple Oscar winner John Barry) and acted. Even though it's mostly set in a somewhat cluttered old house and there's a claustrophobic feel for much of the film, it needs to be seen widescreen for the stunning shot compositions. Kim Stanley steals the show with her powerful performance as a woman who has been nearly driven mad by unresolved grief over the death of her child—not to mention the question of how much she believes in her psychic powers—but Richard Attenborough (pictured with Stanley) is just as good, if quieter and more subtle, as a man who truly loves and wants to understand his wife who is slowly drifting away from reality and into her own world of delusion. Much of this feels like a filmed play, with the two of them in intense conversation; add the fact that it's in black & white, and that a non-existent child is at the center of the couple's anguish, and it can be compared to WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, though without the wit or psychological violence. The only other actor to make much of an impression is Patrick McGee (husband of the rape victim in CLOCKWORK ORANGE) as a police inspector. The DVD is out of print, but this is worth tracking down on cable or Netflix.  [TCM]

Monday, September 17, 2012


Here's another historical figure I know nothing about except what this movie has told me, so Voltaire buffs, beware. In 1762, so we're told, France, under Louis XV, is corrupt and the people unsettled. The writings of the philosopher Voltaire whip up the poor against the King and the policies of the state, but because of Madame Pompadour, he remains a favored figure at court. However, the royal advisors, led by Count de Sarnac, lead the King to believe that Voltaire is planning on betraying French secrets to Russia. Voltaire champions the case of the unjustly imprisoned Jean Calas, but Calas is executed anyway. His daughter Nanette, who has a price on her head, escapes and finds refuge with the sympathetic Voltaire who, despite being out of Louis' favor, is still allowed to put on a play for the royals. Voltaire pulls a Hamlet move and presents a play that is a thinly veiled account of the Calas affair, but before the play can be finished, Sarnac accuses Voltaire of treason and he is sentenced to the Bastille. Disillusioned and sick, Voltaire seems ready to give up, but when he finds evidence that Sarnac is working with the Russians behind the King's back, his spirit returns and with the help of Mme. Pompadour, he manages to trap Sarnac and save Nanette. 

I do love George Arliss, who is mannered and predictable and occasionally a scenery-chewer, but always fun to watch, and he's at his best here. His characters, whether historical or fictional, always have a twinkle in their eyes, usually become victims of circumstance who are redeemed in a tricky reversal, and always get at least one big dramatic scene, and all that is true here. There is also the added bonus that, when he's in his nightclothes, he looks like Ebenezer Scrooge, a role Arliss probably could have done in his sleep. Reginald Owen (who did play Scrooge in 1938) as King Louis is very good as usual; Alan Mowbray is fine as the villainous Sarnac and Doris Kenyon has some good moments as Pompadour. Margaret Lindsay is lovely as Nanette, but doesn't get to do much except suffer. Quite enjoyable. A quotable quote: "It is because people can jest that they do not hang themselves." I'm still waiting for a good George Arliss DVD set. Warner Archive put out a 3-disc set earlier this year, which was welcome, but which does not include his best movies. [TCM]

Friday, September 14, 2012

CABIRIA (1914)

During the Second Punic War (ca. 200 BC), the wealthy Batto and his family, including his very young daughter Cabiria, live in the shadow of Mt. Etna. When it erupts, the servants discover secret passages that lead to Batto's hoarded riches; they leave with some of it, and the nurse Croessa takes Cabiria with her, though Batto assumes his beloved daughter is dead. In Carthage, a high priest buys the little girl, intending to sacrifice her to the demonic god Moloch, but Croessa talks Roman spy Fulvius and his slave Maciste into tracking her down and saving her. Eventually, they are all separated, with Maciste sentenced to be chained to a millstone for the rest of his life. We follow the adventures of the characters, including Queen Sophonisba, who winds up with Cabiria, over the next few years until finally a happy ending reunites Cabiria with her saviors.

This silent Italian epic is perhaps the first film in the sword-and-sandal adventure genre that the Italians would become famous for in the 1960s. Despite its age, it holds attention due to elaborate sets and setpieces, and a strong narrative. It's also the movie that introduces the heroic character of Maciste who would be the focus of many of those 60s films, though in America, he was usually renamed Hercules or Sampson or Atlas. Interestingly in this film, Maciste is African (played by a white actor, Bartolomeo Pagano, in blackface—really more like duskyface, pictured at right), though in later movies, he would be white. The acting here is of the typical early silent type, all grimaces and hands in the air, but the adventure scenes are lots of fun, even if I lost track of who was fighting whom, and who we were supposed to be rooting for—not to mention that the title character vanishes for long stretches of the movie. Among the best scenes: the Moloch sequence which looks as if it may have been an inspiration for some scenes in D.W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE; a scene of soldiers making a human ladder with their shields so Fulvius can scale a castle wall; a nightmare scene with Sophonisba tortured by gigantic figures (pictured above); the final shot of a fairy ring of lovers and revelers circling our surviving trio out at sea. There is some interesting use of camera movement throughout, with many leisurely takes, especially in a scene in which the camera pans very slowly in to reveal Cabiria hiding behind a curtain. Worth seeing, and a must for silent film fans. [DVD]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This is an unnecessary remake of the George Arliss movie THE MILLIONAIRE which is only of interest to fans of its stars. Sydney Greenstreet is a rich auto manufacturer who is under doctor's orders to take it easy but he's chomping at the bit to live, live, live. He sneaks out of the house posing as his own gardener and buys half of a struggling gas station--the other half belongs to war vet and all-around nice guy Dane Clark. Of course, Greenstreet has a lovely daughter, Martha Vickers (pictured with Clark), whom he tries to fix up with Clark, even though she already has a boyfriend, Craig Stevens, who is handsome and slick and, we soon find out, not a very nice guy--he runs a neighborhood protection racket which Greenstreet and Clark get into trouble with. There's a nice furniture-destroying fight between Clark and Stevens, but that's it for highlights. Alan Hale has a nice supporting spin and personal favorite John Ridgely appears as one of the racket boys. Directed by Fredrick De Cordova, long-time producer of the Johnny Carson show. You should opt for the original instead.  [TCM]

Monday, September 10, 2012


This British thriller with a distinct noir feel has a reputation as a "bad" movie, but aside from the atrocious American accents from the mostly Brit cast, I quite enjoyed it. Miss Blandish is a lovely young Manhattan heiress who is set to marry a man she's not in love with, and she keeps getting orchids delivered with accompanying cards imprinted with black dice which implore her not to marry. She sends the orchids back (hence the title) but they keep coming. One night, when Blandish and fiancĂ© duck out of a fancy party to be alone at a roadhouse, some small-time thugs follow and hold them up for her jewels. The drunken fiancĂ© tries to stop them and is shot dead; one of the thugs punches Blandish out cold and they kidnap her, planning on splitting the diamonds and a big ransom. Their plans are thwarted when Slim Grisson, owner of a fancy nightclub and head of a notorious crime gang, finds out what's going on—he’s the one who's been sending Blandish the orchids, a pair of black dice being his club's logo. He gets rid of most of the thugs and makes his gang think he's taking control of the kidnapping, but as he's in love with her, he actually sets her free. Then she finds herself falling for him—he’s shady and tough, and symbolizes everything she's been forbidden to experience—so she stays, which causes problems with his gang (the nominal head of which is his somewhat grotesque mother, who becomes jealous of Blandish). Into this stew comes a reporter digging into the case, who is not afraid to use a gun in his journalistic exploits. 

There are problems here aside from the accents. One is that there is no real moral center, no one with whom the audience can fully identify. Jack LaRue, as Grisson, is a dapper tough guy who owns a club with a gambling room, making Humphrey Bogart in CASABLANCA the primary reference point for the character, though LaRue also has a tic involving the constant rolling of dice, which conjures up George Raft. But LaRue, though OK in the role, is no Bogart, and there’s no real chemistry between him and Linden Travers (both pictured above), who plays Miss Blandish—who for her part is attractive but no Ingrid Bergman. LaRue does a nice job of often seeming dumbstruck by his feelings. The film is notable for its violence; not only do lots of people get killed, but almost everybody either slaps someone or gets slapped, even the women. There are a couple of nightclub songs and one moderately amusing bit in which a comedian does an imitation of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. A number of supporting players do nice jobs, including Walter Crisham as a mob enforcer, Richard Nelson as the thug who mandhandles Miss Blandish, and Charles Goldner as a snarky waiter. Many people wind up dead by the end, and the bleak (but absolutely correct) conclusion is right out of film noir. There is not a lot of humor, but my favorite exchange is the following: "Do you believe in fairy stories?" "That depends on the fairy." [TCM]

Saturday, September 08, 2012

THE GROUP (1966)

This episodic soap opera follows the lives of eight young women who graduate from Vassar in 1933—after having been close friends throughout college—and remain in touch for the next decade. Based on a novel by Mary McCarthy, the movie packs a lot of incidents into its 2-1/2 hour running time, and the best way to summarize the action is to tick through the major characters one by one. Kay (Joanna Pettet) gets married soon out of college to an insecure Marxist playwright (Larry Hagman) who becomes an abusive alcoholic. Dottie (Joan Hackett) has sex for the first time with Hagman's former roommate (Richard Mulligan) and is shaken when she realizes she's just a one-night stand for him. Libby (Jessica Walter) wants to break into publishing and gets a job as a manuscript reader for editor Hal Holbrook; she faints when he fires her (for having virtually no gift for recognizing talent) but Holbrook sets her up as a secretary for a literary agent. Polly (Shirley Knight) becomes a nurse and briefly dates Holbrook before falling for a doctor (James Brodrick) who helps her deal with her senile father. 

We don't see as much of the other four women, though they do pop in and out of the larger narrative threads. Pris (Elizabeth Hartman) and Pokey (Mary-Robin Redd) get married and become mothers; Helena (Kathleen Widdoes) writes an alumni newsletter and keeps everyone in touch; Lakey (Candice Bergen) jets off to Europe where she takes a rich, German, female lover—the ever-charming Hagman calls her a "lesbo" to her face. One of the women meets a tragic fate which brings everyone back together one more time for a funeral. Despite the many plotlines which twine in and out of each other, it's not hard to follow the action, but the characterizations do suffer; it might have worked better as a TV series. I kept getting Pris and Pokey mixed up—Pris is the one whose jerk of a husband forces her to breast-feed against her nurses' advice—and, though Libby, as the snotty bitch, is the most fun, she winds up being around mostly for her acid one-liners. The acting is fine, with Walter (dark hair, pictured above), Pettet (behind Walter) and Knight coming off best; Bergen appears in the beginning and vanishes for most of the rest of the movie until the end. If there is an implied message or moral embedded here about American women—or men, or the times for that matter—I didn't get it, but it held my interest. The film does have a period feel, but it seems more like the 50s than the 30s. Favorite line, from Jessica Walter: "I'm appalled by all this vulgar breeding." [TCM]

Thursday, September 06, 2012


John Gilbert is a famous magician whom we first see being challenged by police inspector Lewis Stone to get his way out of a water tank while chained and handcuffed.  He does, embarrassing Stone but impressing rich girl Leila Hyams. We find out that Hyams' father (C. Aubrey Smith) put Stone up to it hoping to make Gilbert look foolish, but instead Hyams, who is theoretically engaged to Ian Keith, becomes even more enamored of Gilbert. At a party, Keith shows his real colors in front of Smith—he's named in Smith's will and is only interested in Hyams' money—who immediately moves to take Keith out of his will. Keith kills Smith but circumstances make it look like Gilbert was at fault. As Gilbert awaits execution, he fakes a suicide, escapes from jail, and lives in hiding with his manager (Jean Hersholt). Hyams marries Keith, some time passes (it's unclear how much), and soon Keith is on his deathbed. Gilbert sneaks in the house and gets Keith to admit his guilt, but Keith dies before Gilbert can call in a witness. The solution: Gilbert takes Keith's body, makes it look like a kidnapping, then after some more time (again unclear) surfaces looking like Keith and claiming that Gilbert has killed himself.  He successfully passes as Keith, learning that he and Hyams had a loveless marriage and that Keith has a mistress who was an accomplice in the murder of Smith. Gilbert's last hope is to get the mistress to tell all to the police before he is found out.

Whew! That plot summary is a bit more convoluted than most of that era. Things actually play out fairly clearly except for the odd ellipses in time I mentioned above. It's a little odd that the magician aspect of Gilbert's character is more or less forgotten after the first half. Some interesting atmosphere is built up early on that also mostly vanishes. We're left with a twisty story of revenge with some decent acting—Gilbert is good, though Hyams is rather bland—and a few too many improbable plot points. A dated relic worth watching for Gilbert fans.  [TCM]

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Joan Crawford is a middle-aged freelance typist who works out of her apartment and never married because she devoted her life to taking care of her ill father; now, she feels that romance has passed her by. One night, after attending a concert, she stops at a diner and happens to play "Autumn Leaves" on the jukebox. A handsome young man just out of the Army (Cliff Robertson) walks in and strikes up a conversation with her based on the fact that he loves the song as well. She resists him for a time because of their age difference but slowly warms up to his attentions. They to go a beach and have a "From Here to Eternity"moment, and go to the movies and enjoy a Mr. Magoo cartoon.  He gets a job in a department store and soon they have a Tijuana wedding.  They're happy for a time until she begins catching him in lies about his past, the biggest one involving a former wife (Vera Miles) that Crawford knew nothing about. It turns out that Robertson is a compulsive liar and has violent episodes, and when Crawford goes to his father (Lorne Greene) to find out more about his past, she discovers that Greene and Miles are having a fling. A doctor diagnoses Robertson as an "infantile schizophrenic"; can modern psychology and/or true love fix him before his erratic behavior splits the two apart?

This one of those 50s women's melodramas which posits that most of our kinky behavioral problems can be solved by a stay in a sanatorium, or analysis, or shock treatment, or all three. Robertson does a nice job with a tricky part, coming off like a less unhinged Anthony Perkins with a Jimmy Stewart twang at times; old pro Crawford does her usual soap opera shtick and works up some effective chemistry with Robertson, but still the very visible gulf in their ages remained a bit of a problem for me—I never figured out what he saw in her, and frankly, though Robertson is quite good looking, it wasn't clear what she saw in him besides a "last chance."  30s supporting player Ruth Donnelly is Crawford's landlady and friend.  The title song, by Nat 'King' Cole, is pleasant enough. Not really my cup of tea and predictable, but fairly painless.  [TCM]

Sunday, September 02, 2012

LA BOHEME (1926)

As the snow falls over the Latin Quarter in Paris, four struggling bohemians are trying to raise rent money so the landlord won't kick them out. Rudolphe is a handsome, hot-headed writer, trying to write a great play but turning out sentimental articles about cats for a magazine for money. Marcel is a painter with a girlfriend who lives directly below them (they even have a loose floor tile that they can remove for communication). Schaunard is a would-be songwriter and Colline is his buddy who seems to spend all day reading; he sells a book to get some money, but then spends it on another book (sounds like me). On the same floor is a waifish seamstress named Mimi, who also doesn’t have rent money; she pawns some belongings, including her coat and her fur muff, but still can’t make rent. The four men manage to scrape together some money when Schaunard goes on the streets singing with a monkey and a tin cup. They also get a nice dinner courtesy Marcel's girlfriend Musette, and that night as Mimi is about to head out for the streets, they invite her in where she gets warmed up and fed, and strikes a spark with Rudolphe. Later, she gets an offer from the aristocrat Paul who hires her to make several projects, but the way he leers at her, we know he's going to want some other favors from her eventually. By Easter, all the bohemians are scraping by and Rudolphe realizes he's in love with Mimi, calling her his muse and beginning serious work on a play. Unfortunately, when Mimi takes his latest cat article to his editor, he won't take it because it's weeks late and fires him. Mimi gives him some money that she's made working for Paul and strings him along, making him think his articles are still being accepted. Misunderstandings pile up, to the point where Mimi gets Paul to find a producer for Rudolphe's play, but Rudolphe thinks Mimi is Paul's kept woman. Mimi leaves the neighborhood and finds a job at a sweatshop, but winds up deathly sick with consumption. The bitter Rudlophe finishes his play, which is a success, and on opening night, Mimi leaves her deathbed for a last reunion with Rudolphe.

This silent film is technically not based on the Puccini opera, but on the novel which was the basis for the opera. I'm only familiar with the modern musical adaptation Rent, and plotlines from the musical are obvious here. The tone veers back and forth between celebratory (the bohemians reveling in their carefree lifestyle, people finding love) and gloomy (poverty, sickness), and most of the scenes involving Mimi (played by Lillian Gish) are overly melodramatic—though Gish certainly looks the part. Her protracted death scene, which includes her being dragged through the streets of Paris by a carriage, is actually quite good. John Gilbert (pictured above with Gish) is generally fine as Rudolphe; when he's being romantic or moody, he's great, but when he's being rowdy or angry, he can come off like an overacting amateur. Edward Everett Horton is almost unrecognizable as the slacker beatnik Colline—his role is not large, but he's fun. Roy D'Arcy as Paul leers constantly, to the point where he seems more comic than threatening. The production design is superb; the opening snowy street of Paris, the bohemian rooms (which are supposed to be shabby but are actually rather appealing) and the Easter picnic are all lovely looking. A lovely film. [TCM]