Mankiewicz's best film is "Julius Caesar": his theatrical style is perfectly
suited to supporting a Shakespeare production with top actors.
Dragonwyck: every time I see an oleander plant I think of Vincent Price
trying to poison Gene Tierney with one in this film. Oleanders are the standard
highway side tree in California: there are over half a million along the LA
freeways. They really are poisonous, and no fooling - do NOT get close to one! They
should have planted "Russian Olives" instead, like we do in Michigan.
Somewhere in the Night: I'd like to see this thriller again. It starts out
fascinatingly, with John Hodiak having that perfect film noir gambit, amnesia.
But then it gets duller and duller...
All About Eve: another skillful application of Mankiewicz's theatricality.
Fun, with lots of good performances.
Suddenly, Last Summer. Montgomery Clift is very good here, but the film seems
overblown. Have also seen Richard Eyre's one-set, 1993 "filmed stage play"
version of the Tennesse Williams Southern Gothic shocker, which is very well
acted (Maggie Smith as Violet Venable, Richard E. Grant, etc). Both films seem
more grotesque than meaningful, but they stick in the memory, too.
Guys and Dolls: Have never been able to sit down and watch this all the way
through. The opening stylized city sets and "Fugue for Tinhorns" number is
terrific. (I've got the horse right here / his name is Paul Revere... Can do, can
do!) But Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando just do not equal my cup of tea, if
you should understand what I'm getting at, as Damon Runyon would put it. Brando
was terrific as Marc Antony in "Julius Caesar".
A Letter to Three Wives, People Will Talk: dull.
Sleuth: the absolute pits. I suffered through both the original Broadway
stage show, and the movie. Both are diatribes against the traditional classical
detective novel, which I love.