Jean Negulesco – Alice in Movieland (1940)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
In a U.S. town that could be anywhere, 18-year-old Alice Purdee wins a free trip to Hollywood. With the assistance of a cheerful porter, she takes the night train and dreams about her arrival. Instead of instant success, she meets disappointment after disappointment, and she needs the unexpected encouragement of her grandmother and an aging, former star whom she meets at a talent night. Finally she gets a call to be an extra, and she’s so hopeful that the regulars decide to make a fool of her. Is this the end of Alice’s dream? Not if the porter has anything to say about it.
— IMDb. Continue reading

Jean Negulesco – The Gift of Love (1958)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

The Gift of Love is a remake of 1946’s Sentimental Journey, with Lauren Bacall in the role originated by Maureen O’Hara. Upon learning that she hasn’t long to live, Bacall, the devoted wife of Robert Stack, adopts young Evelyn Rudie so that her husband will never be lonely. After his wife’s death, however, the pragmatic Stack grows weary of little Evelyn, who prefers a “fantasy world” to real life. Stack returns the girl to the orphanage, whereupon Bacall’s spirit intervenes to set things right. The material was maudlin back in 1946, and even more so in 1958; still, it’s nice to see that Lauren Bacall could play a sweet, benign role when given the opportunity.
Continue reading

Jean Negulesco – The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:

Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre make a marvelous team in this exhilarating and atmospheric Film-Noir that Daily Variety hailed as “one of the most brilliant crime dramas yet filmed.” When the body of Dimitrios Makropoulos (Zachary Scott) washes ashore in Istanbul, there is cause for celebration all across Europe. The devious sociopath has left as his legacy an array of crimes including blackmail, thievery, murder and high treason. Interested in chronicling the dead man’s unscrupulous exploits, mystery writer Cornelius Leyden (Lorre) takes up his trail, aided by a mysterious man named Peters (Greenstreet). But as Leyden zeroes in on the truth about Dimitrios, he finds that his new associate has an ulterior motive in helping him – with Leyden as the unwitting accomplice! As suspenseful and riveting as the Eric Ambler novel on which it is based, The Mask of Dimitrios is “an exceptional picture” (Los Angeles Times) that delivers nonstop, pulse-quickening excitement! Continue reading

Jean Negulesco – Humoresque (1946)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot Synopsis [AMG]
st’s novel Humoresque is the lachrymose tale of a famed Jewish-American violinist who forgets all about his friends and family in his rise to fame. Screenwriters Clifford Odets and Zachary Gold refashioned this timeworn material into a first-class, big-budget soap opera, completely dominated by the high-octane talents of Joan Crawford and John Garfield. A gifted musician, Garfield rises from the slums to the upper echelons of society, thanks to the patronage of wealthy, alcoholic Crawford. Virtually ignored by her husband Paul Cavanaugh, Crawford adopts Garfield as her lover as well as her protégé. He is only mildly offended by the setup; she, on the other hand, becomes jealous and possessive. Continue reading

Jean Negulesco – Three Strangers (1946)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot Synopsis from allmovie.com by Hal Erickson

On the eve of the Chinese New Year, three strangers make a pact before a small statue of the Chinese goddess of Destiny. The strangers are Crystal Shackleford (Geraldine Fitzgerald), married to a wealthy philanderer; Jerome Artbutny (Sidney Greenstreet), an outwardly respectable judge; and Johnny West (Peter Lorre), a seedy sneak thief. The threesome agree to purchase a sweepstakes ticket and share whatever winnings might accrue. Alas, the pact brings little more than misfortune for all concerned. Jerome steals funds from a client, then kills Crystal (with the goddess statue!) when she refuses to hand over her sweepstakes winnings. Johnny and his girlfriend Icy (Joan Lorring) decide to abandon their life of crime, but when it is revealed that the ticket is a winner, he sets fire to it to avoid having his name tied to the crime. If it seems strange that Peter Lorre ends up the romantic lead in Three Strangers, remember that the film’s director, Jean Negulesco, thought Lorre was the finest actor who ever lived–and as a result, he fought tooth and nail with Warner Bros. to cast Lorre in this film. Continue reading