Richard Brooks – The Catered Affair (1956)

 Richard Brooks   The Catered Affair (1956)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Richard Brooks   The Catered Affair (1956)

Plot:

Aggie Hurley (Bette Davis) is making up for a lifetime of making do. Her daughter Jane (Debbie Reynolds) is going to have a lavish wedding – even if Jane wants a simple ceremony. And even if Aggie’s husband Tom (Ernest Borgnine) must give up his dream of owning his own taxi to finance the extravaganza. Borgnine, winner of 1955’s Best Actor Oscar® for Marty (like The Catered Affair originally written for TV by Paddy Chayefsky), etches another superb working-class portrait. And Davis, renowned for playing larger-than-life characters, proves masterly at capturing the life-sized intensity of Aggie. Together, they create a gem of “shirtsleeved intimacy and gamy humor” (Time) as real as a shabby Bronx apartment. Barry Fitzgerald and Rod Taylor also star. From Warner Brothers! Continue reading

Richard Brooks – The Happy Ending (1969)

wewmyI Richard Brooks   The Happy Ending (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Richard Brooks   The Happy Ending (1969)

From IMDB’s user comments:

THE HAPPY ENDING might not seem special today, and may well seem very dated in some ways, but we must remember this is the pre-DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE era. I’m sure the film seemed pioneering in its day, questioning the role of the traditional housewife and demanding that women are entitled to the same satisfaction and autonomy that men expected. Writer-director Richard Brooks often dealt with social issues and political themes–that he took on women’s issues is no surprise. The film is especially an acting tour-de-force: Jean Simmons as the unsatisfied woman; John Forsythe as the non-understanding but well-meaning husband; Teresa Wright as Simmons’ mother; Dick Shawn and Tina Louise as a miserable couple; Shirley Jones as the woman who survived by having affairs with married men; Lloyd Bridges as a married man with Jones as his mistress; Bobby Darin as a lost and lonely gigolo looking for that one big score. I was also impressed by the film’s structure–with two parallel stories a year apart and various flashbacks all presented in such a way that the details of the relationship’s coming apart are given to us a little at a time, and we are gradually brought to the point where we understand WHY the present state has become what it is. Continue reading

Richard Brooks – Bite the Bullet (1975)

bitethebullet Richard Brooks   Bite the Bullet (1975)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Richard Brooks   Bite the Bullet (1975)

Description
A great mid-1970s cast holds fort in this Western tale of a test of endurance in a 1900s wasteland. A railroad company sponsors a unique competition: a grueling Denver-to-Kansas City horse race that tests the motivation and determination of a motley collection of competitors. The rivals come to respect each other as they endure one beautifully photographed hardship after another. The film features riveting performances by Gene Hackman, James Coburn, and Candice Bergen, among others. Continue reading

Richard Brooks – The Brothers Karamazov (1958)

 Richard Brooks   The Brothers Karamazov (1958)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Richard Brooks   The Brothers Karamazov (1958)

Ryevsk, Russia, 1870. Tensions abound in the Karamazov family. Fyodor is a wealthy libertine who holds his purse strings tightly. His four grown sons include Dmitri, the eldest, an elegant officer, always broke and at odds with his father, betrothed to Katya, herself lovely and rich. The other brothers include a sterile aesthete, a factotum who is a bastard, and a monk. Family tensions erupt when Dmitri falls in love with one of his father’s mistresses, the coquette Grushenka. Two brothers see Dmitri’s jealousy of their father as an opportunity to inherit sooner. Acts of violence lead to the story’s conclusion: trials of honor, conscience, forgiveness, and redemption. Continue reading

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