Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953)

It's a week after Bastille Day and we're having a heatwave. What better reasons to watch Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (1953)? Jacques Tati's delightful satire of vacationing at the French seashore is nearly silent, making it ideal for those who don't like subtitles. The dearth of dialog is more than compensated for by the music, Tati's […]

Hobson’s Choice (1954)

The later career of David Lean–typified by monumental epics like Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago–is of little interest to me. Instead, I’m a great fan of Lean’s earlier gems. Brief Encounter is one of my very favorite movies by any director and I’ve always been fond of Summertime and Blithe Spirit. Hobson’s Choice, another […]

Bigger Than Life (1956)

Bigger Than Life is a terrific combination of three film types that flourished in the repressed cinema of the 1950s: the thriller, the suburban melodrama, and the “message movie.” However, a description of its fairly simple premise—James Mason is a teacher addicted to cortisone used to treat a chronic illness—makes it sound less than compelling. […]

The Marjorie Rambeau Effect, Part 1

During the history of the Academy Awards, the maximum number of nominees permitted in various categories has changed. Also, rules about how many films a single person can be nominated for has changed as well. In fact, the actual categories themselves have come and gone from year to year. Until the 1950s there was no […]