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Karen Bacellar

Karen Bacellar is a writer/director based in New York. Two of her short films, Act Like Me and Evelyn Victorious are on the festival circuit. She holds an MA in Film Studies from University College London and a BFA in Film & TV Production from NYU Tisch. She also likes to imagine herself as the reincarnation of Vivien Leigh...but only on Sundays.

‘Le Silence de la Mer,’ silence and sight in Melville’s occupation era film

Le Silence de la Mer 1

Le Silence de la Mer Written and Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville Starring Howard Vernon, Nicole Stéphane, and Jean-Marie Robain France, 88 min – 1949 “I have great respect for those who love their country.” Based on the 1942 novel by Vercors, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Silence de la Mer (The Silence ...

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‘The Mummy’s Curse,’ not Universal’s best monster movie effort, but worth a watch

The Mummy's Curse

Universal’s mummy series plateaus with 1944’s The Mummy’s Curse, except in its depiction of Princess Ananka's resurrection.

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‘The Lady Eve,’ Sturges on con artists and romance

The Lady Eve

The Lady Eve is all about the game of romance. Jean has a great monologue at the beginning of the film that really shows this game in action. While sitting at a dinner table, she narrates as various women approach Charles, in an attempt to gain his attention (“Every Jane in the room is giving him the thermometer and he feels they’re just a waste of time”). She studies Charles. What makes him tick? Is he self-conscious? What kind of woman would he like? All of this is for the purpose of conning him, which she does rather well. It also shows how love (and ultimately marriage) can be a façade.

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‘The Woman in Green,’ a classic Sherlock Holmes film

The Woman in Green

The Woman in Green begins with a mystery that Scotland Yard cannot solve. Several women have turned up murdered around London, all with a finger severed off. Stumped by who the killer could be, Inspector Gregson (Matthew Boulton) calls on Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) to solve the case. Holmes and Watson soon discover that the deaths are far more than the work of a lone serial killer, but part of a diabolical plot involving hypnotism and the ever evil, Professor Moriarty (Henry Daniell).

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‘Strangler of the Swamp,’ PRC’s best film

Strangler of the Swamp noose

Strangler of the Swamp Written by Frank Wisbar and Harold Erickson Directed by Frank Wisbar USA, 1946 “Old legends – strange tales – never die in the lonely swampland. Villages and hamlets lie remote and almost forgotten. Small ferryboats glide between the shores, and the ferryman is a very important ...

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‘That Night In Rio,’ Hollywood, Romance, and Carmen Miranda

That Night In Rio Carmen

Romance and harmless conflict run amuck in Irving Cummings’s That Night In Rio. The film follows American entertainer, Larry Martin (Don Ameche), as he impersonates his doppelganger, Baron Manuel Duarte. Once Manuel’s wife, Baroness Cecilia Duarte (Alice Faye) discovers the impersonation, she begins to want her husband to be as loving as the one portrayed by Larry. That Night In Rio also features several song and dance numbers from Carmen Miranda, at the time deemed “The Brazilian Bombshell.”

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‘Cover Girl,’ Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth’s Breakout Film

Cover Girl Rita and Gene

Cover Girl Directed by Charles Vidor Written by Virginia Van Upp Starring Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, and Lee Bowman USA, 107 min.    At the beginning of Charles Vidor’s Cover Girl, Vanity Magazine holds a contest to find an unknown, fresh-faced model to place on the cover. Wanting to jump ...

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A Matter of Life and Death,’ WWII romance, popular psychology, and patriotism

A Matter of Life and Death

‘A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway  To Heaven)’  Written & Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger Starring David Niven, Kim Hunter, and Roger Livesey UK, 104 min – 1946.   “A weak mind isn’t strong enough to hurt itself. Stupidity has saved many a man from going mad.” ...

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‘White Heat’ does not delve deep into psychology

White Heat

‘White Heat’   Directed by Raoul Walsh   Written by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts   Starring James Cagney, Virginia, Edmond O’Brien   USA, 114 min – 1949.   “Made it, Ma! Top of the world! Raoul Walsh’s White Heat stars James Cagney as yet another gangster (Cagney being known ...

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‘Letter From An Unknown Woman’ illustrates the futility of childhood romantic fantasies

Letter From An Unknown Woman

Letter From An Unknown Woman Directed by Max Ophüls Starring Louis Jordan and Joan Fontaine USA, 86 min – 1948. “Have you ever shuffled faces like cards, hoping to find one that lies somewhere, just over the edge of your memory?”  In 1900s Vienna, a former concert pianist and notorious ...

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