1933, Universal, 70 min, USA, Dir: James Whale

Universal horror specialist James Whale proves equally adept at romantic comedy in this stylish pre-Code gem. Paul Lukas stars as a butler in service to prince Nils Asther, who is mistaken for his boss by Elissa Landi – a charade the prince happily furthers when he takes a liking to the young woman himself.

1962, Janus Films, 117 min, France/Italy, Dir: Henri Verneuil

Hotheaded punk Alain Delon hooks up with smooth career criminal Jean Gabin to knock over a gambling casino in Cannes with a cool billion francs in the vault. The tense scenes of Delon creeping like a cat through the casino’s ventilation system are almost as good as those in RIFIFI - and Gabin brings a beautifully weary finesse to his role as the mastermind of the heist.

1935, Warner Bros., 99 min, USA, Dir: George Stevens

George Stevens left the world of B-movie comedies for A-list prestige fare with this heartfelt adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel. Katharine Hepburn gives one of her most subtle performances as an ambitious young woman seeking to escape her small-town background; although the character is superficially unappealing, Hepburn and Stevens allow the viewer to empathize with her in all her complexity. Solid supporting work from Fred MacMurray is an additional asset in this impeccably mounted drama. Co-starring Hattie McDaniel (GONE WITH THE WIND), who nearly steals the film.

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