ALICE ADAMS
1935, Warner Bros., 99 min, USA, Dir: George Stevens

George Stevens left the world of B-movie comedies for A-list prestige fare with this heartfelt adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel. Katharine Hepburn gives one of her most subtle performances as an ambitious young woman seeking to escape her small-town background; although the character is superficially unappealing, Hepburn and Stevens allow the viewer to empathize with her in all her complexity. Solid supporting work from Fred MacMurray is an additional asset in this impeccably mounted drama. Co-starring Hattie McDaniel (GONE WITH THE WIND), who nearly steals the film.


THE CAINE MUTINY
1954, Sony Repertory, 124 min, USA, Dir: Edward Dmytryk

A superb ensemble cast, including Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Fred MacMurray and Van Johnson, leads this classic adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel. Bogart is Captain Queeg, a paranoid authoritarian whose men (led by Johnson and MacMurray) stage a mutiny in the last days of WWII. Ferrer is the brilliant military lawyer who takes on the case once the ship returns to port. Lee Marvin is on hand as a crewman and E.G. Marshall is a withering prosecutor at the court-martial.


TRUE CONFESSION
1937, Universal, 85 min, USA, Dir: Wesley Ruggles

Director Wesley Ruggles helmed this rarely screened screwball comedy. Pathological liar Carole Lombard tries to boost the career of her scrupulously honest (and thus unsuccessful) lawyer husband (Fred MacMurray) by confessing to a murder so he can defend her. John Barrymore is an egotistical opportunist who tries to blackmail her, with hilarious results. “Lombard is in full command of her daffy talent, dominating a number of long, virtuoso takes. One scene with slow-burning cop Edgar Kennedy is like a master class in comic timing.” – Dan Callahan, Slant Magazine


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