films seen
average score
USA - 83 years old
R.I.P. (1899 - 1983)
more info

A man who directed some undeniable classics, though most are a bit too schmaltzy and cheesy. He's certainly not the worst of the classic directors, but I can't see him as anything more than a precursor to mindless Hollywood pulp.


My Fair Lady

1964 / 170m - USA
Romance, Musical
My Fair Lady poster

One of the few big musicals I hadn't seen yet. It's not my favorite genre, so the 3-hour runtime was the main reason I'd been avoiding it. But musical are pretty solid Christmas fodder, so I figured this was a good time to give it a try. I'm glad to say it wasn't as bad as I'd feared, though it's far from a perfect film.

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Eliza Doolittle is a poor girl who sells flowers on the street. Her life changes when she meets an elite professor who vows he can turn Eliza into a lady in less than 6 months time. She accepts the challenge and moves in with the professor. While progress is slow, Eliza isn't willing to let this opportunity slip by.

There's a surprising amount of comedy here I didn't expect. The characters are quite crude, which is actually pretty entertaining, and the plot is also rather amusing. The only thing holding this film back is the extravagant runtime. If they'd cut back the entire final hour to 5 minutes, this would've been a much better film.

Born Yesterday

1950 / 103m - USA
Comedy, Romance
Born Yesterday poster

A romcom that isn't very funny, nor very romantic. Instead, prepare for a rather feminist story about a squeaky-voiced girl who likes being dumb, but blossoms into a fully fledged individual after being challenged by a new guy in her life. Subtle this ain't, then again, back then subtlety probably wasn't the way to go with this message.

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Harry Brock is a bullish businessman. His girlfriend Billy is much younger and only cares about monetary gains, not minding she's being treated like a trophy wife. When Harry hires a man to educate her, she starts to see what she's been missing in life and decides to turn things around.

The film is based on a Broadway production and the writer of the dialogues is featured heavily on some posters, so don't expect a visual feast. All the yapping isn't very funny and gets annoying really fast. The plot has potential, but doesn't make much of an impact nowadays. A relic, but not the worst romcom of its time, even when it fails its primary genres.

Adam's Rib

1949 / 101m - USA
Comedy, Romance
Adam's Rib poster

An old-fashioned romcom that loves to riff on the classic woman-man contradictions. Adam's Rib isn't particularly subtle about it (as if the title wasn't obvious enough) and it shouldn't be a big surprise that the situational comedy is pretty predictable. Then again, the film doesn't pretend to be anything more than basic genre work.

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Adam and Amanda are two lawyers who are married to each other. They have a small scuffle about a case where a woman shot her man, the day after they discover that they're each assigned to opposing clients. Neither of them is willing to back down from the case, which is going to put a strain on their marriage.

Cukor leans heavily on the performances of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, but they fail to carry their characters beyond the stereotypical. Neither does Judy Holliday, but at least she's actually funny. The plot is pretty bland, and I'm not a big fan of situational comedy to begin with, but it's not the worst of its kind, thanks to do decent pacing and relatively short runtime.


1944 / 114m - USA
Mystery, Crime
Gaslight poster

I'm certainly hitting a lot of Cukor films lately. This one reminded me a little of Hitchcock's work, though it was slightly more atmospheric. It's a mix of mystery and classic noir, but these films are simply too stuffy for me to thoroughly enjoy. Certainly when the film is almost 2 hours long.

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When Paula's aunt dies, she leaves London, as nothing is keeping her there. A few years later, she meets Anthony, a man who immediately falls for Paula's charms. They move back to London, into Paula's aunt's house. Strange things start happening there and Paula feels like she's going mad.

The mystery isn't all that exciting and the performances are pretty wooden. The cinematography is slightly above average though and Cukor plays around a bit with Paula's mania, but it's not exactly riveting material. These films work notably better when they remain below the 80-minutes mark.

Let's Make Love

1960 / 119m - USA
Comedy, Musical
Let's Make Love poster

Les Girls

1957 / 114m - USA
Comedy, Musical
Les Girls poster

A Star Is Born

1954 / 181m -
Romance, Musical
A Star Is Born poster

A classic Judy Garland musical. It's certainly an epic undertaking, even though the plot can't support the 180-minute runtime. The result is a lot of stuffing and an endless struggle to end the film on a proper note. It's no surprise they ended up cutting 27 minutes for the regular release, a version I wish I'd seen.

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Esther is a girl with a golden voice, but looks that don't really stand out. Norman Maine, an actor on his way back and struggling with an alcohol addiction, discovers Esther and does everything in his power to get her a job at the film studio. While her star is rising, Norman is going through some rough times.

The musical numbers aren't too great, the performances are a bit overdone (especially with the amount of drama present) and there are way too many "film in film" scenes to drive up the runtime. I think I might've enjoyed a 90-minute cut a lot better, this was just excruciating.

The Philadelphia Story

1940 / 112m - USA
Comedy, Romance
The Philadelphia Story poster

It took me a while before I realized this was the blueprint for High Society, one of the more decent classics I've seen so far. The story isn't all that unique of course (two guys fighting over a girl), but after some of the details were revealed it was obvious I was watching more or less the same film.

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High Society was decent because of its charming cast. Sinatra, Crosby and to a lesser extent Kelly made the constant banter amusing and fun to follow. Grant, Stewart and Hepburn on the other hand are completely unfit for the task. Wooden performances, uncomfortable dialogues and complete lack of charm sink this film.

Though director Cukor also bears some of the responsibility, as the direction feels flat and lifeless. In the end I couldn't care less about these characters. The comedy doesn't shine through, the film looks way too functional and at 110 minutes it's at least half an hour too long. Not good, they made the right choice remaking this one.

Gone with the Wind poster

The Women

1939 / 133m - USA
Comedy, Romance
The Women poster

In less than a decade, we went from moody and expressive silents to films where characters are just yapping away at each other for two hours straight. The Woman is branded a comedy but it isn't overtly funny, it's just a bunch of women trying to get their romantic affairs in order, delivered with a certain lightness.

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The film zones in on a couple of Manhatten women, Mary Haines in particular. She is happily married, or at least that's what she believes. Her world shatters when she finds out about her husband's infidelity. For the time she condones Crystal, the new woman her husband is keeping, but the status quo is fragile.

There are some big names attached to this project, so it's no surprise this film had little trouble keeping its classic status. It is built around annoying stereotypes though (these women never shut up and are shallow as hell), and the dialogues aren't funny at all. What remains is very little, apart from a lighter mood, making it a tiny bit easier to get through.

Dinner at Eight

1933 / 111m - USA
Dinner at Eight poster

A stage play put to film. Now, I'm a sucker for soundtracks and sound design, but when they first put sound on film, it resulted in a major setback. Rather than focus on the cinematic elements, films were dragged down by an endless barrage of boring conversations. Point in case: Dinner at Eight.

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The Jordans are throwing a dinner party because some wealthy lords from England are visiting their city. And so they invite over a bunch of people to throw a good old-fashioned party. Of course, everyone there has their reason for joining, and not everyone attends with the best of intentions.

It's a standard farce, the kind of play where everything happens in one or two rooms and various characters keep entering through doors. The conversations are boring, the performances are middling and the runtime is excessive. This is the exact opposite of what I want to see in a film, the only thing saving it from utter direness is the light tone.

One Hour with You

1932 / 78m - USA
Romance, Musical
One Hour with You poster

Romance, comedy, and some musical elements. And yet, the film isn't funny, the romance is icky at best and the musical elements are as dire as I'd feared. The advent of sound moved cinema away from some of its core strengths, in return we got a lot of films that were little more than recorded theater plays.

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Andre Bertier is a Parisian doctor who is married to Colette. They are a very happy couple, but Bertier is a charming man. Many women hope to be treated by the good doctor, but he is faithful and respectful to his wife. Things get a bit trickier when Colette sends her friend Mitzi to visit her husband.

There's a lot of talking, some doubty performances, and a few musical moments. The romance is anything but romantic, the comedy is little more than a lighthearted mood and the rhymes are pretty basic. It's a short film though, so it doesn't go on endlessly, but that's not much of a positive when nothing else stands out.