THE LAST OF SHEILA
1973, Warner Bros., 120 min, USA, Dir: Herbert Ross

The ultimate puzzle movie, this underrated gem will keep you guessing until the very end - and maybe even after that! Producer James Coburn throws a party on his yacht for his friends and enemies: a struggling screenwriter (Richard Benjamin) and his rich wife (Joan Hackett), a down-at-his-heels former A-list director (James Mason), a fading starlet (Raquel Welch), her gigolo boyfriend (Ian McShane) and an acid-tongued agent (Dyan Cannon). But murder is afoot.


A STAR IS BORN
1954, Warner Bros., 170 min, USA, Dir: George Cukor

Alcoholic failing star Norman Maine (James Mason) discovers and marries rising matinee idol songbird Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland) in director George Cukor’s emotionally incandescent remake of William Wellman’s 1937 version. Fueled by Garland’s terrifying vulnerability, Cukor’s flawless direction, a superb script by Moss Hart and production design by Gene Allen (MY FAIR LADY) that brilliantly evokes Hollywood wealth and power, A STAR IS BORN is an amazing synthesis of on-screen drama, music and behind-the-scenes myth.


THE VERDICT
1982, 20th Century Fox, 129 min, USA, Dir: Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet (PRINCE OF THE CITY, DOG DAY AFTERNOON) directs Paul Newman as Frank Galvin, a washed-up alcoholic Boston lawyer who is tossed a malpractice case by a successful colleague (Jack Warden). Ready to settle out of court until he realizes the full impact of what has happened to his client’s family, he stubbornly digs in, taking on the Catholic archdiocese, which runs the offending hospital, and its condescending shark of a lawyer (James Mason). Behind the scenes, Galvin tries to navigate the rough terrain of his romance with younger Laura (Charlotte Rampling). Nominated for five Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Newman), Supporting Actor (Mason), Director (Lumet), Screenplay (David Mamet). "The performances, the dialogue and the plot all work together like a rare machine." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


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