Fire Over England

Director: William K. Howard
Country/ Year: USA 1937

Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh meet onscreen for the first time. Greater than their love for each other is that for their virgin Queen and country, both beleaguered by the Spanish Armada.

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Three Came Home

Director: Jean Negulesco
Country/ Year: USA 1950

The ambitioned adaptation of Agnes Newton Keith’s memoirs as prisoner of war defeats its time-bound impetus due to the complex impersonations by Claudette Colbert and Sessue Hayakawa.

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Salt of the Earth

Director: Herbert J. Biberman
Country/ Year: USA 1954

Blacklisted as subversive, the existence of the neo-realistic tale of mining worker’s strike was about as harsh as that of the multilayered characters. Their desperate fight against mistreatment still grips.

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The Jackie Robinson Story

Director: Alfred E. Green
Country/ Year: USA 1950

Baseball legend Robinson plays himself as the first african american to break the color lines to the mayor league. Alas, he’s a better player on the field than in a film which modulates his struggle.

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I Cover the Waterfront

Director: James Cruze
Country/ Year: USA 1933

“Away from the city that hurts and knocks I’m standing alone by the desolate docks.” So it is, as in the jazz standard and title song, sparked by Max Miller’s eponymous novel about harbor hardship.

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Hell’s House

Director: Howard Higgin
Country/ Year: USA 1932

Tensed up instead of intense: that’s the sentence for the maudlin plea to the public conscience of the ear, that imprisons orphaned kids, either in poverty or reform school. Still, Bette Davis shines out.

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The Bigamist

Director: Ida Lupino
Country/ Year: USA 1953

Despite being empathically staged by Lupino, the mix of strained social drama and petty romance is overcharged with its reactionary handled themes of family ideals, emotional claims and conceit.

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Penny Serenade

Director: George Stevens
Country/ Year: USA 1941

Irene Dunne and Cary Grant as foster parents struggling with financial difficulties are about the only thing in tune in the same old soapy song about the blessing of conservative family values.

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Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman

Director: Stuart Heisler
Country/ Year: USA 1947

Susan Hayward’s unabated performance as a fading nightclub singer with two weaknesses – lover Ken and drink – raises the level of the shaky social drama far over that of a moral message movie.

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They Made Me a Criminal

Director: Busby Berkeley
Country/ Year: USA 1939

“Johnnie be good”, goes the lection of the uptight crime tale about a young champion who gets framed for murder. Dead end? No, just the Dead End Kids and some highly moralistic values.

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