The Secret of Santa Vittoria

The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969) PG-13
Stanley Kramer directed this movie based on Robert Crichton’s bestseller. The story takes place during World War II in a small town in northern Italy. The fascists are no longer in power, but the Germans are about to invade the town.

The town’s drunken clown of a mayor, Bombolini, must find a way to hide the town’s one million bottles of wine. A college student, former soldier and the whole town help carry out his plan. The Nazi captain suspects he’s being cheated but cannot prove anything.

Anthony Quinn, Anna Magnani, Virna Lisi, Hardy Kruger and Sergio Franchi star in this comedy with serious overtones. Read more about the movie on TCM.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
The title of this movie put me off of it for years. It is neither a “chick flick” nor a “girly film.” It is one of the best Barbara Stanwyck films ever and probably the best film Van Heflin ever made. It also costars Kirk Douglas in his first film, and oddly enough he plays a lovesick alcoholic wimp, but he does it very well.

This film shows how fear and guilt can twist and destroy a person. Stanwyck is strong, powerful, and successful, but is tied her weak husband due to a terrible incident in their past. She owns and controls a huge factory in Iverstown and with Douglas controls the town and the police. When Heflin returns to Iverstown, he becomes both a threat to Stanwyck and a strong attraction as she believes he may be manipulated to remove her husband.

If you haven’t seen this movie before, try it, and if you have seen it, watch it again as it seems to get better each time I see it.

Join us! This film will be shown at Indian Prairie next Friday – November 6. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. -- movie starts at 7:20.


Taken (2008) PG-13
Fast-paced action thriller that touches on a topic that is frightening for any parent. Liam Neeson plays a former government agent whose teenage daughter is abducted while in Paris with a friend. He relies on his old skills to try to rescue his daughter and seek revenge on the criminals who kidnapped her.

Flash of Genius

Flash of Genius (2008) PG-13
Greg Kinnear gives a superior performance as Bob Kearns, an electrical engineering professor who fights Ford Motors for stealing his patented invention, the intermittent windshield wiper. This good family man with a sense of right and wrong wants justice at any cost. His family and their story will rip your heart out.

It's more than a David and Goliath story and this "sleeper" of a movie will get you talking afterward!

Read about this true story in articles from the New Yorker (1993) and the Los Angeles Times (2008).

The Third Man

The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man is a British thriller of the post-war era, a clever and original mystery tale and I love it. Based on Graham Greene's script, it stars Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a naive American trying to track down an old college friend named Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in post World War II Vienna. Two aspects of this film make a must see: its dramatic photography of a divided Vienna, ravaged by war, and the film's musical score – provided by a solo instrument – a zither. The jaunty but haunting musical score stays with you long after the film's viewing.

It was recently voted the best British film of all time.

A Face in the Crowd

A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Andy Griffith’s film debut was as Lonesome Rhodes, a manipulative drifter who is put on the radio and soon becomes a national sensation. When the power hungry Rhodes finally goes too far, his manager and former lover must decide to support him or expose him. With Patricia Neal, Lee Remick, Anthony Franciosa, and Walter Matthau.

Check out TCM to view reproductions of lobby cards (promotional posters that appeared in theaters in 1957).

Charlie Wilson’s War

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) R
Tom Hanks stars in this movie based on a true story. In the 1980s, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was making headlines but the American Congress was not concerned. A few people, including a hard-drinking congressman, a wealthy Texas socialite, and a rebel CIA agent, decide to help the rebels fight the Soviets.

Mike Nichols directs Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman in this complex political story of wheeling and dealing. Nobody is perfect in this movie and the clandestine help provided by the main characters will leave you wondering what would have happened if they had not succeeded.


Duplicity (2009) PG-13
Starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, Duplicity can be confusing to follow because it alternates between past and present. It’s an interesting movie, building up to the best part of the film – the last 20 minutes. The ending bolsters the whole movie.

Roberts and Owen are former CIA and MI-6 operatives who work for rival beauty care companies. They plan to con their companies to make millions.

Check out the Washington Post review of the film. Visit The Huffington Post to see what other newspapers and magazines said about the movie.


Ray (2004) PG-13
Featuring an Academy Award winning performance by Jamie Foxx, Ray details the life of Ray Charles from childhood to adulthood. It tracks his success and his journey to becoming one of the greatest musical performers of all time. It’s amazing to see what someone who is blind can achieve.

Learn more about Ray Charles at the library. Visit NPR’s site to listen to a review and to watch clips from the movie.

Spotlight: 1939

Spotlight: 19391939 – the most celebrated year in American film history – produced more outstanding films than any other 12-month period. It was impossible for the Academy to nominate or honor all the rich, outstanding films of the year.

Some of the movies that came out that year: Gone With the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Wuthering Heights, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Stagecoach, Destry Rides Again, Dark Victory, Ninotchka, Beau Geste, Gunga Din, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Of Mice and Men and many others.

Quite a list, isn’t it?

TCM commemorates the 70th anniversary of Hollywood's greatest year with "39 examples of the great filmmaking that abounded in this golden era." Visit their website for more on 39 movies from 1939.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific (1939)
This epic starring Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck, and Robert Preston tells the story of the building of the Union Pacific railroad which met the Central Pacific in Promontory, Utah, in 1869. There is plenty of hard-hitting action and some very impressive special effects (which garnered the film an Academy Award nomination). McCrea is the troubleshooter for Union Pacific and sees to it the company succeeds despite the efforts of Preston and his cohorts to sabotage the railroad.

It’s also a romantic triangle between McCrea, Stanwyck, and Preston. Preston loves Stanwyck but she loves McCrea. However, she agrees to marry Preston to save McCrea’s life.

Union Pacific is not the best movie I ever saw, but I enjoyed it more than any other movie I’ve seen this year. Somehow this movie has been overlooked, probably because it came out in 1939, which is certainly the most celebrated year in American film history.

Check back on Friday for a more about the movies of 1939.

Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge! (2001) PG-13
The opening scene of this movie is a frenetic, whirling burst of lights, colors, and music! But try and stick with it because it is one luscious movie!

As the story goes, Christian, an impoverished writer, comes to Paris and falls in with Toulouse-Lautrec and the Bohemians of Montmartre, which leads us all to a merry romp at the Moulin Rouge. Christian meets Satine, the club's star and a beautiful courtesan. When he falls head-over-heels in love with her, a dangerous love triangle begins!

Ewan McGregor is terrific as Christian, Nicole Kidman is perfect as Satine, and they sing and dance! Visit to find more about the movie, the stars, and the music.

The Village Barbershop

The Village Barbershop (2008) R
Art Leroldi (John Ratzenberger, Cliff from Cheers) is a widowed barber who loses his business partner and is in danger of losing his business. Into his world comes a determined young woman named Gloria, a registered beautician, and better yet, someone who can do Art's bookkeeping.

Slowly the cranky barber opens up to Gloria, and new lady love, and the possibility of operating a moneymaking business. A familiar story, but one told in a straightforward and refreshing way. A feel good movie.

He’s Just Not That Into You

He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) PG-13
A smart, hilarious film starring an ensemble cast. He’s Just Not That Into You features interconnected stories showing relationships and misconceptions – from blind dates and extramarital affairs to long-term commitments and marriage.

Check out the video "10 Chick Flick Cliches You Won't Find in He's Just Not That Into You" and watch the trailer below to get a taste of the movie.

The Wrestler

The Wrestler (2008) R
See Mickey Rourke’s Oscar nominated performance as Randy “The Ram” Robinson. He does a great job in his portrayal of Ram. The movie shows what goes on behind the scenes in the world of wrestling. Marisa Tomei (also Oscar nominated for her supporting role) plays a stripper mom with a heart. Good performances; good movie.

Also check out the reviews from Roger Ebert and The New York Times.