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  • Quadrille

    Quadrille

    ★★½

    The French did things so differently. It is literally impossible to imagine this film being made in Hollywood or Britain in the 1930s. Everyone is shagging around, being unfaithful, betraying their friends, making a mockery of marriage. There is even a suicide attempt thrown into the mix - and I thought The Apartment was the first comedy to feature someone trying to kill themselves over love.

    It is almost certainly a play transposed to the screen since everything takes place…

  • In This Our Life

    In This Our Life

    ★★★★

    The first film in my Olivia de Havilland season to mark her passing (What a Dame - 104! Gawd bless 'er and may she rest in peace) is actually very much Bette Davis' movie. It's a corking melodrama from John Huston, liberally doused with Max Steiner's sonorous chords, and is all about bad sister Bette being frightfully mean to good sister Olivia. Let's face it, we will go for a Bad Bette any day. Nobody even comments on the fact…

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  • Ball of Fire

    Ball of Fire

    ★★★★★

    To some dear readers there may be an element of sacrilege in the following query, but what makes this a Howard Hawks film? This is a Billy Wilder film. The story originated with him and the script (from him and Charles Brackett) is filled with obvious Wilderisms, toying with the English language and sexual mores in his uniquely mischievous Viennese fashion. As one of the exchanges between professor and gangster goes:
    'You don't mind if we talk, do you?'
    'Just…

  • Murder, My Sweet

    Murder, My Sweet

    ★★★★½

    Film noir is generally seen as a post-war innovation, mirroring the more jaded, cynical outlook that the world possessed after the cataclysmic conflict. Mr Raymond Chandler would have every right to disagree. In 1944, not only did he co-script what for me is one of the finest (and noirest) films ever made, Double Indemnity, but he also provided the source material (the novel Farewell, My Lovely) for this marvellous movie from the perennially underrated Edward Dmytryk.

    Dick Powell transformed his…