Canyon Passage ( 1946 ) 14k
A mule train owner is torn between his love for two women and his loyalty to his best friend, a shifty gambler. Dana Andrews, Susan Hayward, Brian Donlevy, Ward Bond. Universal Pictures. Directed by Jacques Tourneur.
That Ward Bond. He can be a really good "good guy" when he wants to and a really bad "bad guy" when it is called for. In Canyon Passage he was a brute. Dana Andrews has his deadpan face in place but managed to convey enough emotion to make you root for him to get his gal. Susan Hayward was looking pretty but the real star of the show was Umpqua national forest which was looking simply stunning thanks to Edward Cronjager's brilliant Technicolor cinematography. An engrossing - and highly underrated - western.
The Doctor Takes a Wife ( 1940 ) 18k
A best-selling author of a book for spinsters and a medical professor pretend to be married in order to benefit both of their careers. Loretta Young, Ray Milland, Reginald Gardiner, Gail Patrick, Edmund Gwenn. Columbia Pictures. Directed by Alexander Hall.
Throughout their careers, Young and Milland were excellent in comedic roles but they were in their daffiest prime for The Doctor Takes a Wife. A strong supporting cast and a very witty script by George Seaton and Ken Englund make this a delightful romp into screwball territory. Ray Milland's dash between the two apartments is a highlight of the film.
The Wizard of Oz ( 1939 ) 24k
After receiving a bump on her head, a young girl dreams that her farmhouse blows away into the land of Oz and lands on a wicked witch. Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan, Jack Haley. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Directed by Victor Fleming.
It has been some years since we've seen The Wizard of Oz, and watching it again ( having forgotten a lot of the film ) made us realize just why this movie is so popular. Every once in awhile MGM would make a picture that has all of the right elements and they all come together beautifully...The Wizard of Oz was one of those rarities. Even more amazing than the casting/story/filmography is how good the special effects are! CGI just can't compare to the reality of a really good make-up job. Oddly enough, even on Blu-ray no strings show.
Mrs. Mike ( 1949 ) 18k
A Bostonian teenager falls in love with a Royal Canadian Mountie, marries him, and then finds that life in the wilderness is not what she expected. Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes, Angela Clarke, Will Wright, J.M Kerrigan. Republic Pictures. Directed by Louis King.
Benedict and Nancy Freedman's autobiographical romantic novel of their life and adventures in northern Canada was enjoyed by over 50 million readers and translated into 17 different languages. At the time of its publication it was the most widely read novel since "Gone with the Wind", so it is surprising that a little production company managed to snatch the rights to such a popular book and even more surprising that they turned it into such a good film. Mrs. Mike holds up well over repeat viewings and, although it is a simple story, it one that is told well and manages to capture the audiences undivided attention.
Saskatchewan ( 1954 ) 14k
A Mountie tries to convince the Cree Indians not to join with an approaching tribe of Sioux warriors, who intend on making war with the Mounties. Alan Ladd, Shelley Winters, Jay Silverheels, Richard Long. Universal Pictures. Directed by Raoul Walsh.
Alan Ladd recycled his deer-pelt frontier coat for this late-1800s adventure romp in western Canada. Although he looked great in the duds, his character lacked the "hero-punch" that Shane had and quite frankly, Sergeant O'Rourke fell flat. Winters was pretty good as the brazen hussy who seduces Dudley Doright right into getting himself into a pokey, but other than that the only thing this film had going for it was the beautiful location scenery of Banff National Park. Saskatchewan was also released under the title O'Rourke of the Royal Mounted.