Hollywood Novels

It is a sad truth in life that you can’t watch movies all the time. Believe me, I know, I’ve tried. So, is there an alternative? I’ve tried to maintain my dedication to the ideal of ”Cinema is my religion and the theater is my church” (a line I borrowed from Victor Hugo. He was […]

Dangerous Friends, A Memoir by Peter Viertel

White Hunter, Black Heart, a novel by Peter Viertel Decision Before Dawn, a film directed by Anatol Litvak White Hunter, Black Heart, a film directed by Clint Eastwood Peter Viertel was the kind writer Hollywood enjoyed in the 1930s and 1940s. Expats, mostly Jews, who had fled Hitler and were welcomed in Tinsel Town and […]

The English: Lost In A Wilderness

Film Title

The English


A woman seeks revenge for the death of her son


Emily Blunt
Chaske Spencer
Stephen Rhea
Tom Hughes
Steve Wall

The gross silliness of Heaven’s Gate reminded me to always cast critical eye on even Westerns. They should not get a go-bye simply because I love Westerns, that’d just be goofy. Although goofy is in vogue these days, it’s best to subscribe to the old values. So, when Amazon Prime offers a Western staring Emily […]

The Big Knife

A hundred years ago the gentleman detective in the form of Philo Vance was extremely popular. The crimes he solved tended to be artificial and complex. The hard-boiled detective in the form of Sam Spade and the Continental Op were a reaction to this artificiality. Raymond Chandler wrote The Simple Art of Murder in reaction). […]

Memorable Movie Reflections: The Marx Brothers

Hooray for Captain Spaulding, The African explorer. He brought his name undying fame and that is why we say, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray. Yes, hooray for Captain Spaulding upon his return from the last trip to Africa, complete with entourage (Yes my friends, an entourage is required, even for the terminal mediocrity of today. The intrepid […]

Memorable Movie Scenes: Part 11

Movie: The Grapes Of Wrath Charles Dickens saw it clearly. ”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” In 1933 a group of businessmen unhappy with FDR’s policies enlisted the aid of retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler […]

Duel In The Sun (1946)

Film Title

Duel in the Sun


A hot Pearl Chavez is torn between two very different brothers


King Vidor Otto Brower William Dieterle


Jennifer Jones as Pearl Chavez
Joseph Cotten as Jesse McCanles
Gregory Peck as Lewton "Lewt" McCanles
Lionel Barrymore as Senator Jackson McCanles
Herbert Marshall as Scott Chavez
Lillian Gish as Laura Belle McCanles
Walter Huston as Jubal Crabbe, The Sinkiller
Charles Bickford as Sam Pierce
Harry Carey as Lem Smoot
Charles Dingle as Sheriff Hardy
Sidney Blackmer as The "Lover" of Mrs. Chavez
Butterfly McQueen as Vashti
Otto Kruger as Mr. Langford

David O. Selznick wanted another big blockbuster like Gone With the Wind. He had room for plenty more Oscars on the ego shelf where his awards were available for all to ”ooh and aah” and offer praise like, ”You did a hell of a job on that one, Mister Selznick”. There for all to see, […]

The Fountainhead (1949)

Film Title

The Fountainhead


Gary Cooper stars in the Ayn Rand blockbuster novel


King Vidor


Gary Cooper
Patricia Neal
Raymond Massey
Robert Douglass
Kent Smith
Moroni Olsen

Lines and shadows, shadows and lines. The Fountainhead is all sharp angles defined by shadows defined by shadows so sharp they could cut through the self-servicing philosophy of the artless Rand on the airless moon. Only one director could have made sense of this!!! King Vidor of Galveston Texas. He cut through the angles when […]

That’ll Be The Day

In his entertaining and insightful piece, Stop this Sketch. It’s Silly, Dave Franklin states Ethan Edwards “drops the ball” at the end of The Searchers. “That’ll be the day.” The Searchers was directed by the great John Ford (a director not much admired by some here at Ruthless. If you have seen the footage of […]

The Late Show (1977)

Film Title

The Late Show


A P.I.’s search for a missing cat turns up a lot more than a missing pussy


Robert Benton


Art Carney
Lily Tomlin
Bill Macy
Eugene Roche
Joanna Cassidy

For those who do not know, the 11:30 spot on KNXT (CBS here in the LA market back in the 60s) was filled with old movies five nights of the week. I saw many of the greats from the 40s and 50s on this, The Late Show. I watched the Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, […]