horn

Athanael, come blow your horn.

Director Raoul Walsh was not particularly known for producing lighter cinematic fare. Though his five decade-long filmography ranges from comedies to dramas to Westerns, Walsh is primarily remembered as the director of a string of successful, heavily male-driven flicks in the 1940s, beginning with a trio of Humphrey Bogart-led movies including The Roaring Twenties (1939), They Drive by Night (1940),…

parker-caged

Women in Prison: Caged (1950)

After watching season one of Netflix’s popular series Orange is the New Black, I was excited when the opportunity arose to review 1950’s Caged, a similar story of a naive young woman who is imprisoned after collaborating in a crime. Certainly there are many parallels between the two stories. Each was written by a woman…

her cardboard lover

Norma Shearer’s Final Bow: Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

The 1942 production Her Cardboard Lover may be a minor comedy by definition, but it remains an important artifact for one simple reason: it is star Norma Shearer’s last film. At the age of 42, Shearer decided to end her nearly two-decade long career after the mediocre public reception of this film. Audiences were more interested in dramatic,…

andy hardy

Remembering Mickey Rooney.

Labeling Mickey Rooney a “legend” of the screen feels something of an understatement. Though he reached the height of his fame relatively early in his career, Rooney maintained an acting career for almost nine decades–an unparalleled record that is unlikely to be matched any time soon. He began performing when he was still in diapers, and…

winner take all

Cagney Fights the World: Winner Take All (1932)

Although he was the star of multiple hit films, James Cagney was known as “the thorn in Jack Warner’s side.” He repeatedly went on strikes, demanding higher and higher salaries. In John McCabe’s biography of Cagney, he explains that during the filming of Winner Take All, singer Dick Powell was making $4,000/week, whereas the much more…