Basil Dearden – Cage of Gold (1950)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Cage of Gold was a rare non-comic effort from Britain’s Ealing Studios. Jean Simmons stars as Judith, who awakens the morning after her wedding to discover that her new husband has deserted her. Later on, she is told that her husband is dead. After a period of mourning, Judith remarries–only to be subjected to blackmail by husband number one. It’s all a racket, of course, but Judith doesn’t go to the police until it’s almost too late. Featured in the cast of Cage of Gold as a slimy smuggler is Herbert Lom, who later gained worldwide fame as Inspector Dreyfus in the “Pink Panther” comedies. Continue reading

Jacques Tati – Jour de fête [Full Colour] (1949)

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In Jacques Tati’s charming – and essentially plotless – pre-Hulot first feature, Tati is Francois, a contented and happy postman in a small, unhurried French village. Francois is at ease with his job and leisurely performs his duties, peddling away on his rounds upon his beloved bicycle. Things perk up when a traveling carnival arrives in town. One of the attractions at the carnival is a film depicting the United States Postal Service’s fast and efficient postal delivery system. The narrator in the film exhorts, “Rapidite, rapidite.” Francois takes up the call, and attempts to Americanize his work style. Continue reading

Michael Curtiz – Young Man with a Horn (1950)

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Aimless youth Rick Martin learns he has a gift for music and falls in love with the trumpet. Legendary trumpeter Art Hazzard takes Rick under his wing and teaches him all he knows about playing. To the exclusion of anything else in life, Rick becomes a star trumpeter, but his volatile personality and desire to play jazz rather than the restricted tunes of the bands he works for lands him in trouble. Continue reading

Vladimir Polkovnikov & Leonid Amalrik – Pavlinij Hvost AKA A Peacock’s Tail (1946)

Synopsis: On the motives of K. Chukovskogo’s same fairy tale. It tells us about an envious bear who demanded from doctor Ajbolit to sew to him a peacock tail and went for a walk to the wood. The peacock tail gives out to hunters where the bear is. Continue reading

Vincent Sherman – The Damned Don’t Cry [+Extras] (1950)

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The Damned Don’t Cry – It’s a man’s world. And Ethel Whitehead learns there’s only one way for a woman to survive in it: be as tempting as a cupcake and as tough as a 75-cent steak. In the first of three collaborations with director Vincent Sherman, Joan Crawford brings hard-boiled glamour and simmering passion to the role of Ethel, who moves from the wrong side of the tracks to a mobster’s mansion to high society one man at a time. Some of those men love her. Some use her. And one a high-rolling racketeer abuses her. When the racketeer murders his rival in Ethel’s swanky living room, she flees a sure murder rap right back to the poverty she thought she had escaped. And this time there may not be a man to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Continue reading