Category Archives: Friday Flickers

Friday Flickers: Mrs. Miniver

In 1942, MGM released Mrs. Miniver, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pigeon. The movie was a great boost to morale and helped strengthen America’s commitment to defeating the genocidal fascists of Germany and Japan. The film emphasizes chin-up devotion to duty: Mr. Miniver, an architect, sails to Dunkirk, Mrs. Miniver confronts a wounded German pilot, […]

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Friday Flickers: Three Notable Films About Terrorism

Faye Dunaway once told me that to play a role she had to commit to the character with all her heart and soul. She needed, she explained, to love the character. In terms of performance this means the actor has to empathize and identify with the fictional character. The danger lies in a character who […]

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Ball of Fire

My apologies. Posting has been spotty for the past week because I’ve been away. World events speed by in a chaotic blur. The only constant in my ill-disciplined imagination is the glory of Hollywood’s golden age. It’s not just glamour that allows us to escape the rising tide of global evil, but far more important […]

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Christmas in Connecticut

I know the feeling. The yearning, almost physical, to curl up on the couch and marinate in a good, old fashioned Christmas movie. Seraphic Secret recommends Christmas in Connecticut, 1945, starring the great Barbara Stanwyck, as America’s most celebrated food writer who, in fact, can’t boil an egg. Things get complicated when she’s forced to […]

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Kol Nidre

The hazzan, cantor, as movie star. None greater than Moishe Osher, here in a still from Edgar Ulmer’s Yankel der Shmid, The Singing Blacksmith, 1938. Tonight, begins Shabbat and Yom Kippur. This is a clip from the Yiddish film Overture to Glory, 1939 starring the great hazzan, Moishe Oysher, as a cantor—typecastng at its best—from […]

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Friday Flickers: My Darling Clementine

Henry Fonda had a bad day yesterday. Let’s rewind to the Henry Fonda of the silver screen, the supremely gifted actor who frequently exemplified what was noble and virtuous in the American character. Here are my two favorite scenes from My Darling Clementine, 1946. Fonda, as Wyatt Earp, is the new marshall in Tombstone. As […]

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Friday Flickers: His Girl Friday

Ask any film enthusiast for the greatest American movie ever made and invariably Citizen Kane, 1941, is named. I’m not here to run down Citizen Kane, a pretty good movie, though it is a bit long, and a bit heavy-handed. I am here to make a case for His Girl Friday as the greatest American […]

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Swing Time

Astaire and Rogers, poetry in motion. Swing Time, 1936 might be the best of the nine RKO Astaire-Rogers musicals. The plot is paper thin—Astaire plays a gambler and dancer who must earn $25,000 in order to win a bride—but the dance numbers, choreographed by Astaire and Hermes Pan, are luminous. “Waltz in Swing Time” is […]

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Friday Flickers: Swing Time

This clip from Swing Time 1936, in which Fred saves Ginger’s job, is a perfect illustration of why Astaire and Rogers revolutionized dance in movies. Elegant, explosive—watch the amazing shifts in tempo—and deeply romantic, their dance numbers are, Astaire insisted on this, seamlessly integrated into the plot line of their films. Astaire also wisely demanded […]

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Friday Flickers: Sadie McKee

Earlier this week we published a profile of Hollywood star Esther Ralston. So beautiful was Esther, she was dubbed The American Venus, after the film of the same name in which she starred. Sadly, Esther had a weakness for bad men and her career was seriously derailed by three failed marriages to: an emotionally unstable […]

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Friday Flickers: Bombshell

Bombshell, (1933) starring Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan, Una Merkel and Franchot Tone. Harlow plays Harlow. That’s what this film is all about. Jean Harlow, spitting world-weary wisecracks and fed-up with Hollywood’s merry-go-round insanity, is Lola Burns, a Hollywood sexpot. Her father and brother are always looking for handouts, and the studio publicity flack […]

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Friday Flickers: Gun Crazy

By 1950, the Hollywood studio system was in steep decline. Television was flattening the landscape, and because stars were no longer under contract to the studios, the star system—invented by L.B. Mayer—was all but dead. It was a bad time for American movies. The last great film genre was also quickly fading. Film noir, black […]

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Friday Flickers: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

It’s perfect material for the movies: The struggle between good and evil. Man’s dual nature. The conflict between earthly desires and heavenly aspirations. There’s a good girl and, naturally, a bad girl; all neatly folded into a narrative that wrestles with questions of free will and man’s place in G-d’s universe. There’s also kinky Victorian […]

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Friday Flickers: The Lady Eve

Preston Sturges (1898 – 1959) was probably the greatest writer, director, producer—emphasis on writer—Hollywood ever produced. Sturges, in a series of brilliant comedies, refined the screwball comedy to an almost perfect sheen. As the great critic and painter Manny Farber suggested, Sturges is the Mark Twain of Hollywood. His characters are pragmatic Americans who, at […]

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Friday Flickers: The Awful Truth

Seraphic Secret is introducing a new feature: Friday Flickers, in which we present clips from some of our favorite movies along with personal commentary. We hope that you will run out and rent or purchase our Friday Flicker recommendations. We guarantee that your life will be enriched beyond measure. Do not despair, Friday Footwear is […]

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