BABY DOLL
1956, Warner Bros., 114 min, USA, Dir: Elia Kazan

Director Elia Kazan’s controversial film starring Carroll Baker in a ground-breaking performance as a thumb-sucking child bride in the deep South. Karl Malden stars as Archie Lee Meighan, her middle-aged husband, a cotton gin owner who eagerly awaits his bride’s 20th birthday when they will finally consummate their marriage. But rival cotton business man Silva Vaccaro (Eli Wallach in his film debut) suspects Archie of burning down his gin and takes an erotic form of Sicilian vengeance in this gothic tale of pride and perversity. Tennessee Williams wrote his first original screenplay for BABY DOLL, using some elements from two of his earlier one-act plays. The film garnered four Oscar nominations, including one for Carroll Baker (Best Actress) and one for Tennessee Williams (Best Writing, Best Screenplay adapted for script), but the explosive film was condemned by the Legion of Decency upon its release. Rip Torn also makes his film debut in an un-credited role.


THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
1960, Park Circus/MGM, 128 min, USA, Dir: John Sturges

Excellent, Americanized version of the Akira Kurosawa classic THE SEVEN SAMURAI, helmed by noted action auteur John Sturges (THE GREAT ESCAPE, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK), with charismatic Steve McQueen making his first star turn alongside Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz as gunmen hired to safeguard a Mexican farm village from marauding bandit chieftain Eli Wallach. With an instantly memorable Elmer Bernstein score, which inspired everything from future Westerns to cigarette commercials (!) for decades to come.


THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (Extended Version)
(IL BUONO, IL BRUTTO, IL CATTIVO)
1966, MGM/Park Circus, 179 min, Italy, Spain, West Germany, Dir: Sergio Leone

From the opening whistle and whipcrack theme, to the final images of a vast cemetery stretching almost to infinity, THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY is surely one of the bloodiest, funniest and most wickedly entertaining portraits of human corruption ever made. Leone’s surreal masterpiece of the American West during the last days of the Civil War follows a trio of equally violent and unrepentant gunslingers (Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef) who engage in a jawdropping series of double- and triple-crosses to get their hands on a fortune in stolen Confederate gold.


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