Posts Tagged ‘gary merrill’

Decision Before Dawn

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Released - December, 1951 

Directed By - Anatole Litvak

Starring – Richard Basehart (Lt. Dick Rennick), Gary Merrill (Col. Devlin), Oskar Werner (Cpl. Karl “Happy” Maurer), Hildegard Knef (Hildegard “Hilde” Neff).

Description – An exciting and realistic story of war…of German prisoners sent back behind their own lines as agents of the Allies!

A terriffic World War II espionage story about the American Army’s usage of potentially unreliable German prisioners of war to help gather military intelligence near the end of the war.

Two of these German P.O.W.’s are sent to obtain crucial information regarding the remaining Germain strongholds and the units defending them. ‘Tiger,’ a former thief who’s loyalty is with whichever side appears to be winning, and ‘Happy,’ a young German idealist who volunteers for the mission after witnessing the killing of his friend by fellow prisoners.

In the world of military espionage, loyalty and sacrifice go hand-in-hand.

NOTABLE: This motion picture was nominated for two Academy Awards; Best Picture, and Best Film Editing.

The movie was shot in post-war Germany lending to the authentic look and feel of the film.

The Frogmen

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Released – September, 1951 

Directed By - Lloyd Bacon

Starring – Richard Widmark (Lt. Cmdr. John Lawrence), Dana Andrews (Chief Jake Flannigan), Gary Merrill (Lt. Cmdr. Pete Vincent), Jeffrey Hunter (“Pappy” Creighton).

Description – Uncle Sam’s underwater commandos!

This film is based on actual U.S. frogman operations against Japanese forces during World War II. It was the first movie of its kind and became an instant hit.

After the death of their former commander, a Navy Underwater Demolition Team is put in the charge of strict disciplanarian Lt. Cmdr. John Lawrence. The men are distrustful of their new commander and matters only get worse.

Questionable decisions and what seems to be a reluctance to participate in a dangerous mission cause the men to believe their new commander may be a coward. A continued series of perilous missions places the safety of the frogman directly in the hands of Cmdr. Lawrence who turns out to be anything but what the men had feared.

NOTABLE: This film was nominated for two Oscars; Best Writing, Motion Picture Story, and Best Cinematography, Black and White.

The United States frogman forces were later to become the Navy Seals.

All female roles in the film were written out as a result of the belief that the working conditions were too “riotous” for women.

All About Eve Provides An Instant Cinema Classic

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

October, 1950 – All About Eve, written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, opened to a thundering chorus of positive reviews. With a stunning cast led by Bette Davis and including Anne Baxter, scene stealing George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, and Hugh Marlowe, All About Eve is destined to be considered one of the greatest films of Hollywood’s Golden Era. 

The film is a fascinating recreation of ruthless ambition in the movie industry; selfishness, backstabbing and blackmailing at their very best. All About Eve was adapted from an original story ‘The Wisdom of Eve’ by Mary Orr who’s writing was inspired by an anecdote related to her regarding the true-life experience of actress Elisabeth Bergner.

A thoroughly engrossing and entertaining melodrama All About Eve is best described by a quote from Bette Davis’ character Margo Channing, “Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumby night”.

All About Eve

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Released – October, 1950 

Directed By - Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Starring – Bette Davis (Margo Channing), Anne Baxter (Eve Harrington), George Sanders (Addison Dewitt), Celeste Holm (Karen Richards), Gary Merrill (Bill Simpson), Hugh Marlowe (Lloyd Richards), Thelma Ritter (Birdie).

Description – It’s all about women…and their men!

A classic behind-the-scenes look into the world of New York theater.  Ambition and betrayal are the order of the day as aspiring actress Eve Harrington worms her way into the life of aging star Margo Channing.

Hired by Margo as her personnal assistant, Eve soon begins to work her underhanded scheming to take advantage of Margo, her husband, and her friends in an effort to make herself a top Broadway star.  There are no limits to what Eve is capable of, including blackmail.

NOTABLE: Universally praised, All About Eve received fourteen Academy Award nominations winnning six.  Oscars won include Best Picture, Best Director (Mankiewicz), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (George Sanders), Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Black and White, Best Sound, Recording.  The other nominations were Best Actress in a Leading Role (Davis and Baxter), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Holm and Ritter), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Music.

In 1990 this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

In 2007 the movie was ranked #28 on the American Film Institutes list of the 100 Best American Movies of All Time.

In 2003 the character of Eve Harrington was ranked #23 on AFI’s list of 50 Best Villains of American Cinema.

Contrary to popular belief, the role of Margo Channing was not based on Tallulah Bankhead.

Bette Davis credited this role with saving her career.  When speaking of Director Mankiewicz in a later interview she stated, “He resurrected me from the dead.”

Previously considered only suited for comedy, Marilyn Monroe had one of her first dramatic roles in this film.

Personal Comment:  Easily one of the greatest Hollywood film classics of any era.  A great screenplay, great directing, great dialogue, and a great cast.  This film should be mandatory viewing for all film makers.

A must-see film!

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Released – July, 1950 

Directed By - Otto Preminger

Starring – Dana Andrews (Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon), Gene Tierney (Morgon Taylor-Paine), Gary Merrill (Tommy Scalise), Bert Freed (Det. Sgt. Paul Klein), Karl Malden (Det. Lt. Thomas).

Description – Showing the darker side of police, this is the story of metropolitan police detective Mark Dixon who harbors an excessive hatred for criminals as a result of his father having being one. 

Having already been demoted as a result of his violent tactics, thing go from bad to worse when Dixon accidently kills a murder suspect.  He attempts to cover things up and place the blame for the murder on a racketeer he hates, but circumstances instead point the finger at the father of the women he loves.

Another classic of this genre that is excellently done. What lies at the end of the sidewalk? Why the sewer of course.

NOTABLE: This story was originally dramatized in January 1949 on the radio show Suspense.

This was the fourth, and last film directed by Otto Preminger for Twentieth Century Fox in the 1940s.