MISS SADIE THOMPSON
1953, Sony Repertory, 91 min, USA, Dir: Curtis Bernhardt

After she’s forced to leave Hawaii when her Honolulu singing job goes kaput, hard-luck dame Sadie Thompson (Rita Hayworth) is stranded on the isle of Samoa, which is home to a U.S. Army base. She’s befriended by well-meaning, lovable GI hunk Aldo Ray as well as his soldier pals (including a young Charles Bronson). But dirty-minded lay minister and self-righteous gadabout Jose Ferrer, laying over with his wife on a trip, believes she is nothing more than a common prostitute and is offended by her presence. He takes it upon himself to make Sadie’s life a living hell until he can get her deported back to the States. Although Rita’s singing voice was dubbed by Jo Ann Greer, you would never know it during the musical numbers - she is positively dynamite performing "Hear No Evil," "The Heat Is On," and "Blue Pacific Blues." Originally shot in 3-D, this is a terrific color remake of W. Somerset Maugham’s classic tale “Miss Thompson,” first filmed in 1932 as RAIN by director Lewis Milestone with Joan Crawford.


KISS ME KATE
1953, Warner Bros., 109 min, USA, Dir: George Sidney

This adaptation of the Broadway hit is often cited as one of the best 3-D films of the 1950s. As divorced actors reuniting for a musical production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel get to sing some "wunderbar" Cole Porter songs, along with the great Ann Miller (“Too Darn Hot”). As you’d expect of a Golden Age MGM musical, the dancing is as marvelous as the Oscar-nominated score, with choreography by Hermes Pan (and ace hoofer/future director Bob Fosse in the role of Hortensio).


LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN
1948, Paramount, 86 min, USA, Dir: Max Ophüls

Was there ever a more swooningly romantic film than Max Ophüls’ American masterpiece? This is a love story that sidesteps all the sentimental Hollywood contrivances too often afflicting movie romances of the era. Shy young Lisa (Joan Fontaine) grows into womanhood while nurturing a lifelong love-from-afar for debonair composer and worldly lothario Stefan Brand (Louis Jourdan), who lives upstairs in her building. Even after she enjoys a brief tryst with Brand, Lisa’s dreams seem destined to evaporate into thin air. Ophüls’ device of Brand, finally learning of Lisa’s deep feelings from a letter to him as he readies for a duel at dawn, bookends the narrative with a tragic anguish that is extremely moving.


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