Edward Anhalt

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Becket Review


Essential
Oscar trivia hounds probably know that Peter O'Toole is one of only four actors to receive Best Actor nods for playing the same character in two different films (we'll leave it to you and the Internet to figure out the other three). The first of these was for playing King Henry II in 1964's Becket. (The second would come when he reprised the role four years later in The Lion in Winter.) And while his performance is Oscar-worthy, it is only part of what makes the film a delectable slice of English history.

It's the mid-12th century and Normans have controlled England and its resident Saxons for two generations. The latest Norman leader, Henry II, has employed a Saxon, Thomas Becket (Richard Burton) to be his unofficial right-hand man. When he decides to make the title official, appointing Becket as chancellor, it only makes the already jealous Norman nobles and clergy angrier. When he goes even further and decides to quell an unruly church by appointing Becket as archbishop, it seems the nobles and clergy might revolt, but Henry finds that it is Becket, suddenly torn between his duty to King as chancellor and to God as archbishop, from whom he has the most to fear.

Continue reading: Becket Review

The Young Savages Review


Good
Despite its pedigreed cast list, The Young Savages, John Frankenheimer's first feature film, is a relatively tepid affair, though it hints at a grittiness and edge that films that would come 10 years later would start to exhibit. The story involves a small juvenile Italian gang that murders a blind Puerto Rican boy, but Burt Lancaster's prosecutor isn't so sure the case is cut and dried. Interesting ponderation on racial tension, but far from classic.

Jeremiah Johnson Review


Very Good
Robert Redford shines as a mid-1800s man fed up with society and who heads to wild Colorado to become a real-life mountain man. Ending up with an Indian wife that doesn't speak English and a kid who doesn't speak at all, Johnson seemingly has nothing but bad times, and ends up being hunted by Crow Indians. Marvel as Redford's beard grows like crazy, but his hair does not. A very entertaining film that doesn't flinch about how tough life was for the early settlers.

Girls! Girls! Girls! Review


Weak
Ridiculous, this Elvis Presley flick is just an excuse for the King to sing, whether he's holding court on shore or captaining his tuna boat (seriously) -- where the crew handle percussion on their thighs. Ultimately, he gets caught between two girls as he attempts to raise money to buy the boat. Will he go for the rich girl who's going incognito as a nobody, or the dull as nails Robin? Ah, skip it. Presley does have a few appropriately juicy moments of misogyny that are worth a look.
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