The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

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"The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946)

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). 172 minutes. Directed by William Wyler. Starring Frederic March (as Al Stephenson), Myrna Loy (as Milly Stephenson), Dana Andrews (as Fred Derry), Teresa Wright (as Peggy Stephenson), Virginia Mayo (as Marie Derry), Harold Russell (as Homer Parrish), Cathy O’Donnell (as Wilma Cameron), Gladys George (as Hortense Derry), Roman Bohnen (as Pat Derry), Hoagy Carmichael (as Butch Engle), Ray Collins (as Mr. Milton), Minna Gombell (as Mrs. Parrish), Walter Baldwin (as Mr. Parrish), Dorothy Adams (as Mrs. Cameron), Don Beddoe (as Mr. Cameron), and Michael Hall (as Rob Stephenson). Cinematography by Gregg Toland. Music by Hugo Friedhofer and Emil Newman.

The Best Years of Our Lives tells the story of three servicemen returning to their Midwestern hometown after World War II and the difficulty with which they adjust to life as civilians, family members, and husbands or boyfriends. It is notably rather frank about the challenges involved in their re-immersion into domestic life, presenting … Read the rest

The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

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"The Great Ziegfeld" featured image. Detail from original movie poster.

The Great Ziegfeld (1936). 185 minutes.  Directed by Robert Z. Leonard.  Starring William Powell (as Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.), Luise Rainer (as Anna Held), Myrna Loy (as Billie Burke), and Frank Morgan (as Billings).

If you enjoy the movies of the 1930s, it would be wrong for you not to see The Great Ziegfeld at some point.  It is bloated, to be sure, and many of its historical and biographical details are inaccurate, but it was financially one of the most successful films of its decade, and among its many honors, it was the first musical for which a performer won an Academy Award (Luise Rainer for Best Actress; the movie also won for Best Picture).  It features many phenomenal musical numbers, including the famous “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody,” in which performers dance and sing on a slowly turning wedding cake-like set.  The “Pretty Girl” sequence alone reportedly cost $220,000 to make at the time (close to $3.75 … Read the rest