ALL MY SONS
1948, Universal, 94 min, Dir: Irving Reis

Edward G. Robinson gives one of his most affecting performances as successful businessman Joe Keller, grappling with guilt over having framed his business partner for a crime he committed. When his son (Burt Lancaster) becomes engaged to the convicted man’s daughter, the sins of the past come hurtling back. Reis and writer-producer Chester Erskine - aided by the noir-stained cinematography of Russell Metty - create a powerful (and inexplicably rare) version of Arthur Miller’s Tony Award-winning play.


THE STRANGER
1946, Park Circus/MGM, 95 min, USA, Dir: Orson Welles

Director Orson Welles’ suspenseful study of an escaped Nazi war criminal (played by Welles himself) living in a small Connecticut town, who is pursued by a federal agent (Edward G. Robinson) to a no-holds-barred climax. Loretta Young gives one of her finest screen performances as Welles’ unsuspecting wife. Ironically, this was Welles’ most successful film at the box office.


WRITTEN ON THE WIND
1956, Universal, 99 min, USA, Dir: Douglas Sirk

Commonly acknowledged as one of pantheon director Douglas Sirk’s most sublime masterworks, this tale of two friends - rich, alcoholic Robert Stack and poor, sensible Rock Hudson (who also works for him) - runs the gamut of emotions, examining the consequences of the pair’s mutual love for radiant Lauren Bacall. But Sirk doesn’t stop there as he subtly explores, through back story and character, the loneliness and spiritual degradation caused by unchecked materialism. He also manages to skillfully sidestep soap opera cliches while still delivering glossy, superior popular entertainment. Dorothy Malone won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as Stack’s promiscuous sister with a long-unrequited yen for Hudson.


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