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John Howard Reid

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Publisher:  Lulu ISBN-10:  1411635248 Type: 


Copyright:  December 19, 2005 ISBN-13:  9781411635241

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New Film Books

John Howard Reid has written three books dealing specifically with American movies of the 1940s. The other two are titled "Memorable Films of the Forties" and "Popular Pictures of the Hollywood 1940s". However, I consider this book to be the best of the three. NOTE: The cover of the ebook editions has been changed to a rare and wonderful color photo of MARILYN MONROE.


Like other books in this series, "Hollywood Gold" provides a great deal of information on movies that are currently available as DVD releases.

Of course, there’s no need for Reid to direct our attention to movies like "The Ghost of Frankenstein", "Humoresque", "The Killers", "Letter from an Unknown Woman", "Nightmare Alley", "The Paradine Case", "Passage to Marseilles", "The Postman Always Rings Twice", "The Scarlet Claw", "Second Chorus", "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", "Tales of Manhattan", "The Thin Man Goes Home", "13 Rue Madeleine", "We’re Not Married" and "Where the Sidewalk Ends", as most of us have already added these DVDs to our collections.

But, on the other hand, it’s nice to find out a great deal more about these movies and also be able to easily identify players and find out background and release details without having to trawl through online sites that not only take their toll in time and frustration, but often leave the information seeker empty-handed.

I like to be able to hold a book in my hands, flip through the pages and read whatever items catch my fancy. I also enjoy looking at all the old cinema posters. Boy, do they bring memories!


Gregory Peck (Anthony Keane), Charles Laughton (Lord Horfield), Charles Coburn (Sir Simon Flaquer, the lawyer), Ann Todd (Gay Keane), Ethel Barrymore (Lady Sophie Horfield), Louis Jourdan (Andre Latour), Alida Valli (Maddalena Paradine), Leo G. Carroll (Sir Joseph Farrell), Joan Tetzel (Judy Flaquer), Isobel Elsom (keeper at inn), Alfred Hitchcock (man carrying cello), John Goldsworthy (Lakin), Lester Matthews (Inspector Ambrose), Pat Aherne (Sergeant Leggett), Colin Hunter, John Williams.

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK. Screenplay: David O. Selznick. Based on an adaptation by James Bridie and Alma Reville of the 1932 novel by Robert Hichens. Photography: Lee Garmes. Film editor: Hal C. Kern. Production designer: J. McMillan Johnson. Costumes: Travis Banton. Music: Franz Waxman. Uncredited script consultant: Ben Hecht. Art director: Thomas Morahan. Set decorators: Joseph B. Platt, Emile Kuri. Associate film editor: John Faure. Special effects: Clarence Slifer. Script supervisor: Lydia Schiller. Hair styles: Larry Germain. Make-up: Fred Ahern. Sound recording: James G. Stewart. Western Electric Sound System. Producer: David O. Selznick.

Copyright 27 December 1947 by Vanguard Films, Inc. A David O. Selznick Production, released through the Selznick Releasing Organisation. New York opening at the Radio City Music Hall: 8 January 1948. U.S. release: 31 December 1947. U.K. release through British Lion: 7 March 1949. Australian release through British Empire Films: 12 August 1948. Running times: 132 minutes (USA), 110 minutes (UK), 118 minutes (Aust).

SYNOPSIS: Barrister falls in love with his client, — an alleged murderess.

NOTES: Ethel Barrymore was nominated for an Academy Award for Supporting Actress, losing to Celeste Holm in Gentleman’s Agreement.

Negative cost: $4 million. Initial worldwide rentals gross: considerably less than $1 million.


COMMENT: Too long. Romantic scenes between Peck and Todd are dullsville. Todd (who appears through courtesy of J. Arthur Rank) is more attractively photographed and costumed than in her British films, but she is still unengaging when her material consists of such obvious and dull padding as here. Barrymore is wasted in a tiny, unrewarding role and Coburn is not that much better served by the script, which is the film’s chief drawback being overweighted with dialogue and having a story that is not only thoroughly predictable (a particular disadvantage for a mystery thriller) but that is also stretched rather thin over an incredibly long running time. Also the central character as written by producer Selznick and acted by Greg Peck is an unbelievable stock figure. Louis Jourdan and particularly Valli manage rather better and Laughton has a grand time, even if his material, particularly in his domestic scenes is rather lame. The film is beautifully photographed and most attractively set, with the director taking full advantage of the fine art direction. With considerable trimming, something might be made of the film, but as it is, despite its lavish craftsmanship, it’s disappointing entertainment.

P.S. The above review is based on the complete U.S. print. I’d love to see the British version. If the scissors have been taken to Ann Todd’s role it would be a vast improvement. It would also eliminate a lot of Peck’s dull scenes. True, he’s supposed to be an absolute fool, but the lack of mental acuity he exhibits in the Valli scenes is quite sufficient to stamp him as a colorless, unimaginative stick-in-the-mud without the added proofs of his domestic tepidness. Fortunately, Valli and Jourdan are both thoroughly convincing, whilst Laughton is delightfully overbearing and makes the most of his juicy lines. Though he has little to say, John Williams is present in many of the courtroom shots as a junior counsel. Leo G. Carroll as always takes to the silk as to the Old Bailey born.

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