Doug Johnson is a freelance writer and graphic designer.

Author Archives: Doug Johnson

'Who Is Harry Kellerman…': Barbara Harris Almost Makes One Care

Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? starring Dustin Hoffman. Long-titled movie 'Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?': Messy filmmaking with one single bright spot To call Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He […]

'To Each His Own' Movie: Oscar Winner Olivia de Havilland in Classic Tearjerker

To Each His Own with Olivia de Havilland and John Lund. 'To Each His Own' movie review: Best Actress Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland stars in Mother Love tearjerker Olivia de Havilland, who had starred in the 1941 melodrama Hold Back the Dawn, returns to the wartime milieu in To […]

'Hold Back the Dawn': Olivia de Havilland Steals Spotlight in Refugee Drama

Hold Back the Dawn: Olivia de Havilland with co-stars Charles Boyer and Paulette Goddard. 'Hold Back the Dawn' 1941 movie: Olivia de Havilland steals show as small-town teacher in love Olivia de Havilland shines in Mitchell Leisen's melodrama Hold Back the Dawn, a sort of opening bracket for the director's […]

'The Goddess' Review: Kim Stanley Does Tragedy

The Goddess with Kim Stanley Paddy Chayefsky evokes a cynical Tennessee Williams in his screenplay for The Goddess, a Hollywood cautionary tale directed by veteran John Cromwell. Episodic in progression – the film is broken into three pulpy chapters – The Goddess serves as a spotlight for a daring Kim […]

'Hatter's Castle': Deborah Kerr & James Mason Minor British Classic

Hatter's Castle with James Mason and Deborah Kerr. A 1942 adaptation of A.J. Cronin's first novel, Hatter's Castle, strips away multiple characters and subplots, thus streamlining the film into melodrama. The material, however, is still ripe for social commentary: James Brodie (Robert Newton) is a successful hatter, but a tyrant; […]

'The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond': Bryce Dallas Howard & Chris Evans in Tennessee Williams Tale

'The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond' movie review A new production of a little-known, decades-old screenplay from a celebrated – indeed, legendary – writer invites cautious response. After all, if a work is dynamic and exceptional, how could it remain undeveloped for many years? The answer is pleasingly complicated when […]

'Remember the Night': Barbara Stanwyck & Fred MacMurray + Love's 'Corruption' in Christmas Classic

Remember the Night with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. Directed by Mitchell Leisen from a screenplay by Preston Sturges, the Christmas-set Remember the Night (1940) marked the first time the two stars worked together. Three other Barbara Stanwyck-Fred MacMurray pairings would follow: Billy Wilder's un-Christmasy film noir Double Indemnity (1944), […]

'Somers Town' Movie: 'Minor' But Worthwhile Effort Stars Tribeca & London Film Critics Winner

Somers Town with Thomas Turgoose and Piotr Jagiello. Set in the titular London suburb, Shane Meadows' black-and-white drama Somers Town chronicles the unlikely friendship between homeless Midlands runaway Thomas Turgoose (previously seen in Meadows' This Is England) and Polish immigrant Piotr Jagiello. The low-budget production was nominated for four British Independent […]

'A Cottage on Dartmoor': Anthony Asquith Surprising 'Brilliant Thriller'

A Cottage on Dartmoor / Escape from Dartmoor with Uno Henning. Very little in a career overview of filmmaker Anthony Asquith prepares a viewer for the brilliant thriller A Cottage on Dartmoor, released by Kino (website), which he both wrote (from a story by Herbert Price) and directed. Asquith's wonderful […]

'Crips and Bloods: Made in America': Gang Violence in the United States

Crips and Bloods: Made in America. In the 1980s and into the first half of the 1990s, gang violence in American urban centers grabbed nightly news headlines with a distant sensationalism that appears almost quaint in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. Perhaps because threats emerging beyond the borders […]

'Sitting Pretty': Clifton Webb 'Gay' Babysitter Subverts 'Nanny Genre'

Sitting Pretty with Clifton Webb. In the late 1940s, the bucolic suburb of Hummingbird Hill is shaken in its tranquil complacency by the scandalous actions of two middle-aged, unmarried men. Each of these elitist, academic bachelors threaten the norm of twin beds, parlor games, and ladies who lunch. One escapes his overbearing mother […]

'The Masseurs and a Woman' Hiroshi Shimizu Non-Traditional Societal Roles

The Masseurs and a Woman. The usual 1930s Japanese film preoccupations with societal roles are explored in writer-director Hiroshi Shimizu's moving Anma to onna / The Masseurs and a Woman (1938). Whereas contemporaries such as Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi frequently examined the effects of a changing world upon traditional […]