Angel Face

  • Directors: Otto Preminger
  • Producers: Otto Preminger
  • Writers: Story, Chester Erskine, Screenplay, Ben Hecht, Oscar Millard, Frank S Nugent
  • Genres: Drama, Film-Noir, Crime
  • Actors: Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, Mona Freeman, Herbert Marshall

One night, Beverly Hills ambulance driver Frank Jessup and his partner Bill are called to the cliffside estate of Charles and Catherine Tremayne. By the time they arrive, Catherine has already been treated for gas inhalation, which the police believe occurred accidentally, but which the wealthy Catherine suspects was deliberate. As he is leaving the house, Frank notices Catherine’s beautiful English stepdaughter Diane playing a melancholy piano piece and assures her that her stepmother will be fine. When Diane becomes hysterical, Frank slaps her face to calm her. Confused, she slaps him back, then apologizes. Later, after getting off work, Frank goes to a nearby diner, unaware that Diane is following him in her sports car. In the diner, Frank tries to call his girl friend, Mary Wilton, a hospital receptionist, but gets no answer. Diane then comes in and strikes up a flirtatious conversation with him. When Mary finally calls him, Frank turns down her dinner invitation, claiming that he is too tired. Frank takes Diane out, and over dinner, she tells him that her father is a well-respected novelist but has not finished a book since her mother’s death during the war. Diane then asks Frank, a former race car driver who dreams of owning his own garage, about Mary, and he reveals that Mary has been saving her money to help him. The next day, Diane invites Mary to lunch and, while pretending that she wants to contribute to Frank’s garage fund, lets her know that he spent the evening with her. Seeing through Diane’s tactics, Mary rejects her offer but admits that her faith in Frank is shaken. That night, Mary is about to go out with Frank when he lies again about his date with Diane.

To help Diane, Vance hires Fred Barrett, a renowned defense lawyer. Just before the trial is to start, Fred convinces Frank and Diane to marry so that he can propose that Diane’s suitcase was in Frank’s room because they were planning to elope. During the trial, Barrett skillfully deflates expert testimony regarding the car’s transmission and steering mechanism, which appears to have been tampered with, and paints Frank and Diane as innocent lovebirds. Frank and Diane are acquitted, but once back at the estate, Frank tells Diane he is divorcing her. Diane finally talks about the jealousy and loneliness she felt when her father married Catherine and the grief she suffered upon seeing their crushed bodies. Despite Diane’s remorse, Frank insists he is returning to Mary. After Diane bets Frank her sports car that Mary will not take him back, Frank goes to Mary, who rejects him in favor of Bill. Diane, meanwhile, visits Barrett’s office and insists on confessing to the murders, detailing how she asked an unsuspecting Frank to explain the car’s transmission. Reminding Diane about the double jeopardy rule, Barrett tears up the confession. Upon returning home, Diane finds Frank packing for Mexico and asks if she can go, too. Frank says no, but agrees to let her drive him to the bus station. After Frank gets in, Diane shifts into reverse, jams her foot on the gas pedal and sends the car over the cliff.

Scrooged

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Richard Donner, Art Linson
  • Writers: Mitch Glazer, and Michael O Donoghue, Charles Dickens
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, Michael J Pollard, Alfre Woodard

Francis “Frank” Xavier Cross (Bill Murray) is a conceited, cynical television programming executive. He has found great success and wealth but only by becoming coldhearted and cruel. In the opening scenes, he is seen working out in a room with a border that reads “Cross: (n) A thing they nail people to.”

His ruthless concentration on his career has cost him his true love, the warm-hearted Claire Phillips (Karen Allen). It has also alienated him from his family, having only an “at arm’s length” relationship with his brother James (John Murray), and ruined any chance of his having a happy and fulfilling life. Frank overworks his assistant Grace Cooley (Alfre Woodard), forcing her to constantly break plans with her family and neglect her mute son Calvin. When a disturbing TV commercial is criticized by staff member Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), Frank responds by firing him on Christmas Eve.

When Cross is given the task of heading up a live Christmas Eve broadcast of A Christmas Carol, his life begins to mirror the story he’s producing. The decomposing corpse of his mentor, media mogul Lew Hayward (John Forsythe)—who had died of a heart attack during a golf game—comes back to visit to tell him the error of his ways, and to announce the impending visitation of three Ghosts.

As he feels his body being burned, Frank finally sees the error of his ways and begs for a second chance. He awakens back in his office, right as the live broadcast is wrapping up. The reformed Frank rehires Loudermilk at a considerable salary increase, steps in front of the rolling studio cameras, and publicly wishes his viewers a Merry Christmas. Calvin urges him to add Tiny Tim’s phrase, “God bless us, everyone,” finally breaking free of his mute condition. Claire appears in the studio and Frank reconciles with her, sharing a romantic kiss as Grace and the other television workers start to sing “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”.

El Dorado

  • Directors: Howard Hawks
  • Producers: Howard Hawks
  • Writers: Harry Brown, Leigh Brackett
  • Genres: Western, Action, Adventure
  • Actors: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix

Cole Thornton (John Wayne), an infamous gunslinger, is hired by wealthy rancher Bart Jason (Ed Asner) to help him in a ranch war with the McDonald family. While making a stop at the town of El Dorado, the local sheriff and an old friend, J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum), approaches him and gives him more sensitive details about the mission of his which Jason had deliberately left out, including the possibility of having to face Harrah in combat. Unwilling to do this, Thornton agrees to quit, though the possibility of a clash between the two is briefly hinted at with the arrival of saloon owner Maudie (Charlene Holt), who is in love with Thornton (and was for a time also the romantic interest of Harrah’s).

In the meantime, however, the McDonalds learn of Thornton’s presence in town. Fearing that he might come for them, Kevin McDonald (R. G. Armstrong) puts his youngest son, Luke, on guard. When Thornton passes by on his way back from visiting Jason to tell him that he is not going to work for him, Luke (Johnny Crawford), who has fallen asleep, wakes and fires a wild warning shot, whereupon Thornton reflexively shoots him. Luke is still alive when Thornton comes to him, but he refuses treatment upon the belief that a gut-shot man wouldn’t have a chance anyway, and commits suicide when Thornton is not looking. Thornton brings Luke’s body to the McDonald farm and offers an explanation, but the only McDonald daughter, Joey (Michele Carey), impulsively rides off before Thornton can finish and subsequently ambushes him. Her shot is not fatal, but the bullet lodges next to Thornton’s spine and in time begins to trouble him by occasionally pressing against the spinal cord, causing temporary paralysis of his right side each time. The local doctor (Paul Fix) is unable to remove the bullet and, after healing up, Thornton departs El Dorado for a new job.

About half a year later, Thornton runs into another gunslinger for hire named Nelse McLeod (Christopher George) and a young greenhorn nicknamed Mississippi (James Caan), who has come for revenge against one of McLeod’s men. Thornton learns that McLeod has been hired by Jason for the very same job Thornton had turned down months ago, and Harrah has turned into a drunk after an unhappy love affair. Thornton returns to El Dorado, where he, Mississippi, and deputy sheriff Bull (Arthur Hunnicutt) try their best both to protect the McDonalds from Jason’s scheming and restore the drunken Harrah to his old self.

Out of the Past

  • Directors: Jacques Tourneur
  • Producers: Warren Duff
  • Writers: Daniel Mainwaring
  • Genres: Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas

Jeff Bailey (Mitchum) seems to be a mundane gas station owner in Bridgeport, California. He is dating local girl Ann Miller (Virginia Huston) and lives a quiet life, but is secretive about his past. A stranger passing through recognizes Jeff. Later, he returns and tells Jeff that Whit Sterling has been looking for him. Jeff agrees to meet him.

Before he leaves, Jeff begins to tell Ann about his mysterious past. His real name is Jeff Markham. He and partner Jack Fisher (Steve Brodie) worked as private investigators in New York. They took on a job for a rich gambler, Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas). The movie then flashes back to that time.

Sterling hires Jeff to find his girlfriend, Kathie Moffat (Greer). She had run away after shooting Sterling and stealing $40,000 from him. He wants her and the money returned. Jeff talks to Kathie’s former maid, Eunice (Theresa Harris). He learns that she had packed for warm weather, was vaccinated, and left for Florida. Jeff knows that vaccinations aren’t needed for Florida, but they are for Mexico. He tracks the luggage to Mexico City and learns that she had been there. From there, the trail leads to Acapulco.

After Jeff’s funeral Ann asks his assistant,The Kid, if Jeff was really going away with Kathie. The Kid indicates that he was. Ann drives off with Jim, who’s always loved her. The Kid lied because he knew that’s what Jeff would have wanted. Ann would never marry Jim if she thought Jeff really loved her and hadn’t lied to her.

The Night of the Hunter

  • Directors: Charles Laughton
  • Producers: Paul Gregory
  • Writers: Davis Grubb, James Agee, Charles Laughton
  • Genres: Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish

The film is set in West Virginia, along the Ohio River. The story takes place in the 1930s.

Ben Harper (Graves) is sentenced to hang for his part in a robbery in which two men were killed. Before he is caught he hides the stolen money, trusting only his children John (Chapin) and Pearl (Bruce)—about ten and five years old, respectively—with the money’s location. Harry Powell (Mitchum), a serial killer and self-appointed preacher with the word “LOVE” tattooed on the knuckles of his right hand and “HATE” on the knuckles of his left, shares a prison cell with Harper. He tries to get Harper to tell him the hiding place before his execution, but the only clue he gets is a Biblical quotation Harper mutters in his sleep: “And a child shall lead them.”

Convinced that Harper told his children the secret, Powell woos and marries Harper’s widow, Willa (Winters). Willa is unaware of Powell’s motives and is convinced that her marriage will lead to her salvation. Powell questions the children about the money whenever they are alone, but they distrust him and reveal nothing. John especially is suspicious and protective of his sister. One night Willa overhears her husband questioning the children and she realizes the truth. As she lies in bed that night in their attic bedroom with rafters reminiscent of the interior of a church, Powell leans over her and slits her throat.

Powell disposes her body in the lake. Powell finally learns the money’s location from Pearl by threatening John, but the children escape with the money and find sanctuary with Rachel Cooper (Gish). Powell eventually finds them, but Rachel sees through his false persona. After a climactic standoff between Rachel and Powell where she protects the children with a shotgun but sings hymns through the night with Powell, he is arrested by the police.