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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
The worst monsters live within us
The 1932 DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE demolishes so many preconceived notions people have about early sound movies, both in terms of technique and content, that this alone should make it required viewing for every film buff on the planet. Luckily, this is also a damned great film, a horror movie with brains, creative cinematography, and a sense of the tragic, all elevating it above "scarier" offerings with nothing but fun-house hollowness to recommend them. Aside from some cloying love dialogue in the Old Hollywood mode ("DAHLING, WITH ALL MY HEART" the ingenue love interest Muriel croons over and over again, to the point where it could be a condition to take a swig in a drinking game), this movie hasn't aged all that much, at least not in any way that hurts its potency.
With its overt erotic themes and eschewing the Jekyl/Hyde dual personality as a twist, this movie definitely isn't the book, but as I've said before, faithfulness to the text does not a great movie make and this unfaithful adaptation is one of the best horror films of all time. The key element this adaptation nails is that Jekyll is not all good and Hyde is not merely immorality personified. Rather, Jekyll is a warm, exuberant fellow who dedicates his free time to charity and openly questions "what isn't done," but he is also impatient, arrogant, and sensual to the point of distraction. Hyde is more amoral than immoral, but more about him later.
DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE is a rare classic horror movie that can still creep out modern audiences, though the source of the horror does not come from standard shock tactics. Director Rouben Mamoulian does not (and really, could not, even by the looser censorship of the pre-code era) rely on explicit violence to unnerve the audience. There are some violent scenes to be sure: Hyde threatens a man with broken glass to the face and beats an elderly man to death with his cane. This movie operates on the age-old idea that the things you don't see are scarier. That sounds like a cop-out, and a tired cliche, but it's true here.
Hyde's behavior towards the doomed prostitute Ivy is the most frightening part of the movie because this isn't bump in the night stuff, like vampires or ghouls. He stalks, threatens, beats, and rapes this poor woman, terrorizing her into becoming his sex slave. And we don't need to see Hyde whipping or raping Ivy on camera (which a modern filmmaker would probably do, just so we "get it")-- his open leering at and manhandling of her, or the way she shrinks from him or jumps whenever someone knocks on the door at their love-nest, make the point well enough. Hopkins' barely controlled terror and despair in her scenes with Hyde are heartbreaking to watch, and make me more uncomfortable than any amount of bloodletting ever could.
Some have criticized March's Hyde as being too over the top or goofy, but one of the things I find most interesting about this characterization is how likable he is at first. Grinning and cheering, he hops around like an excited, sugared-up little kid. He's ready for mischief on all these straight-laced Victorian stuffed shirts who have mocked Jekyll's experiments as insane or told him his natural physical desires were disgusting, seemingly even within the sanctified grounds of marriage.
But there's no morality to rein Hyde in, so his relatively harmless teasing and bad manners evolve into lethal disregard for other people. Hyde's make-up also evolves as the movie progresses, becoming grosser (his eyeball looks like it's about to fall out at one point) as he continues his free-fall into monstrosity (a bit reminiscent of THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GRAY). In his final scene, Hyde is no longer even articulate; he's a panting, grunting beast, no better than a very mad and very dangerous wild animal, and all his charisma has evaporated.
One of the creepiest elements yet might be the way Mamoulian invites the audience to identify with both the mannered Jekyll and the amoral Hyde. The first-person POV shots which appear throughout may seem like nothing more than indulgent bravado, but they (as well as the predominant mirror imagery) are meant to force the audience to admit they too have a beast within, no matter how polite they are to mama or how much they go to church. In the right circumstances, freed from the responsibility the law and moral guardians ask of us, we could all become like Hyde-- and that is a terrible thought. Stanley Kubrick would also make his audience identify with an amoral, vicious character to extremely controversial effect in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE forty years later, but Mamoulian took the plunge first.
No wonder this film and the Jekyll and Hyde story in general remain potent to the present day. The suggestion that the worst monsters lurk within ourselves is still disturbing. Mamoulian may not have made an accurate adaptation, but he is faithful to the themes of the story and does Stevenson proud. In fact, Stevenson's niece apparently called up Mamoulian to say how much she loved the film and that her only regret was that her uncle did not live long enough to see it. High praise, there.
La bête humaine (1938)
The human beast is pretty tame
While Jean Gabin is breathtaking in the lead and Simone Simon plays a multi-faceted femme fatale, LA BETE HUMAINE leaves much to be desired. A flatness pervades even the most passionate scenes-- and not in an understated, documentary way, but in a "my soda just went stale" sort of way. Scenes just plod along; character developments often feel jarring. By the end, despite Gabin's wonderful expressiveness, I was not struck by the tragedy as I felt I should have been.
Still, minor Renoir is better than minor most everyone else. The photography is often striking.
The Spiral Staircase (1946)
"No room for imperfection"
No ghosts, no jump scares, just pure suspense, stylishly executed. THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE may not be well-known to the general film-going public, but its influence resounds throughout the gothic thrillers and women-in-distress movies that would follow. Shot in moody chiaroscuro, the move follows a young housekeeper struck mute by a traumatic experience. A serial killer is menacing the town, killing handicapped women and she fears she will be next.
The suspense enters the scene from the very beginning. While there is little mystery as to who the killer is (I don't know if that is so because it's obvious or if it's because a 21st century viewer might be too familiar with the movies that followed this one), somehow figuring out the bad guy's identity ahead of time actually increases the tension. You want that poor girl as far from danger as possible.
I would recommend this one if you want a classy, elegant thriller for a cold October night.
Panic Room (2002)
Overlong but still entertaining
PANIC ROOM is a fun suspense-thriller with some great characters and surprising moments. The single setting is utilized well. Fincher's editing and cinematography really elevate the material as well, immersing the viewer in the setting. I will say the movie is WAY too long for what it is, but I think it gets panned more than it deserves just because it isn't FIGHT CLUB. This isn't art-- it's popcorn entertainment, perfect for a cold October night.
The House on 56th Street (1933)
Kay Francis is the reason to watch this otherwise standard drama
I didn't think THE HOUSE ON 56TH STREET was anything remarkable. The story is choppy and far too brief-- it needed far more development to feel believable, even for a melodramatic soap opera such as this. However, I did think Kay Francis did an excellent job with her chorus girl turned socialite turned con-woman character. She had a wonderfully expressive face. You can see why she was one of the most popular stars of her era.
Otherwise, this feels like a more crime-ish take on the STELLA DALLAS story. Still, I have to admit I liked the fatalistic irony of the ending. But the rest of the movie is way too rushed for it to really hit the viewer in the gut like it should.
Kenjû zankoku monogatari (1964)
Exceptional heist noir
CRUEL GUN STORY is very reminiscent of Kubrick's THE KILLING: a group of motley criminals plan to rob a horse race track (or in this case, a truck transporting money from one). They believe this will be an easy pay day, the perfect crime. Unfortunately, human folly and bad luck get in the way.
While this idea has been done before, CRUEL GUN STORY is a great take on the classic tropes with its very human characters and chilly style. The action scenes are thrilling and the undercurrent of weary humanity puts this among the best of late-stage classic noir.
If Cocteau made a horror movie
While not as great as ROSEMARY'S BABY, REPULSION is still a neat little mind-bender of a psychological thriller. I love Deneuve's performance and the surreal, cramped atmosphere of that apartment. Some of the imagery brings to mind Cocteau movies like LA BELLE ET LA BETE and ORPHEUS. Parts of the film had me deeply unnerved and on the edge of my seat.
Only the first 100 minutes are the great material everyone's describing
I loved the first 100 minutes of HEREDITARY. Psychological anguish brilliantly acted by a superb cast. Visuals that feel like Wes Anderson gone wrong. An atmosphere of dread and despair that recalls the great psychological horror classics like ROSEMARY'S BABY.
And then, we get to the "twist." And what a lame twist it is. The moment Collette starts climbing the walls like Spiderman and gliding about like a Scooby-Doo ghost, the atmosphere was broken.
HEREDITARY is most compelling when the horror comes from the awful tragedy of the young girl's death or the emotional hell the family goes through in the aftermath, blaming one another. I spent much of the movie terrified the mother would break down completely and kill her own son.
The twist is such a conventional letdown. It felt so, so boilerplate, something you'd get from THE CONJURING.
The only reason this isn't lower than a 7/10 from me is because the first half was just so great. Too bad it couldn't make the landing...
The Phantom of the Opera (1962)
Gets a lot of hate it doesn't deserve
Considering their successful and wildly lucrative takes on DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN, it only makes sense that Hammer would eventually get around to tackling THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Their version is often derided by Hammer fans and POTO purists alike-- too dull, not romantic enough, not horrific enough, etc. While it isn't the equal of the best of the DRACULA or FRANKENSTEIN series, it is still an enjoyable mystery-thriller, even if its flaws keep it from being wholly satisfying.
For one thing, Herbert Lom is a unique Phantom. True, he lacks menace, having a hunchback assistant do all his dirty work for him, but he is appropriately tormented and tragic, and he sells the character's complete obsession with his art. The rest of the cast is great too: the young lovers are actually likable and interesting for once, and Michael Gough is delightfully hateful as the true villain of the piece, the aristocratic plagiarist extraordinaire Lord D'Arcy.
The atmosphere is another plus. While there isn't much gore or blood (though there is a nasty eye-stabbing scene), the gross, infected atmosphere alone would give you the creeps. Everything in this Victorian London seems to be crawling with vermin and bacteria. It's a perfect contrast to the seemingly beautiful and elegant world of D'Arcy, a pleasant facade hiding corruption and lechery.
Unfortunately, the ending is wretched. There is no proper confrontation between the Phantom and D'Arcy. The Phantom's death feels tacked on and unnecessary, mainly because his sacrifice feels needless and arbitrary. This movie probably has the worst staged unmasking as well-- say what you will about the hunky, sunburned Gerard Butler Phantom, at least the unmasking was staged with the dramatic flair appropriate to the occasion.
Nevertheless, this is still a good movie, tightly paced and creepy where it needs to be. Like any Phantom worth its salt. there is a tragic bent as well.
The Night Visitor (1971)
Something was missing
With its intriguing premise, an illustrious cast of actors, and a truly creepy score from the great Henry Mancini, THE NIGHT VISITOR should have been at least a minor classic of the thriller genre. Unfortunately, an underdeveloped story takes it down a few notches. I think the supporting characters could have used a bit more development than they get, for instance. However, the wintry atmosphere creates a lovely desolate tone and it is fun to watch the cat and mouse game between Max von Sydow and Trevor Howard.
Dark Shadows (2012)
Bad script saved by fleeting moments
I feel even a six rating might be too high for what is essentially an uninspired, not that clever comedy. However, I was never bored and some of the jokes did make me laugh (often in spite of myself), so I cannot claim it's flaming trash.
The big problem is the script. It lacks focus. The opening is heavy on exposition and low on establishing characters-- and by establishing characters, I mean presenting Barnabas Collins as anything other than a poor sap subject to the cruelties of the plot. The love subplot is so underdeveloped that the filmmakers could have cut it with no problem. The family bonds are given lip service rather than exhibited through character action, dialogue, or ANYTHING.
Can't really recommend it, yet it's not as rank as its reputation would suggest. Some of the jokes are funny and you can tell Depp is trying to do something with the material here.
A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)
I really wish I had a contrarian opinion, but.......
For the first time ever, I was bored by a Chaplin movie. It was so hard to get invested in this flimsy plot, especially when between the two lovers, Sophia Loren seems to be the only one actually trying. Marlon Brando is lifeless and rote as the straightlaced man who falls for his unwanted stowaway. I don't think I have ever seen him give such a dull performance, even when phoning it in for SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE.
That the movie is old-fashioned even by 1960s standards hardly matters. If a movie is good, it's good, whether it was made years too late or not. However, this one just clomps along, with only Loren and a few lively supporting performances to give it any life at all.
The Little Giant (1933)
Tough guy in tails
THE LITTLE GIANT didn't change cinema nor is it particularly innovative, but it is a fun little comedy that deserves more accolades from classic movie geeks. Edward G. Robinson plays a retired gangster who decides to break into high society. He mingles with snobs who sneer at his rough manners and ignorance of social niceties, yet secretly covet his millions behind his back.
Robinson was a very versatile performer and he goes great with the comic elements of his role. Mary Astor is a bit wasted as the disgraced society woman who loves him, barely given much screen time to explore her character. The supporting cast is in fine form on the whole.
The film is brief and well-paced, never overstaying its welcome. The situations are amusing, heightened by the fine performances. And as always with movies from the early 1930s, there are some deliciously outrageous things you wouldn't be seeing on-screen again until the 1960s, such as one of Robinson's cronies mentioning he hasn't seen something so crazy since he "was on cocaine."
Enjoyable movie undercut by poorly-conceived plot twists
I haven't seen GET OUT yet, so I cannot make comparisons, but I find I have similar problems with US as a lot of disappointed fans of the 2017 horror hit do.
US fires on all cylinders when it's being an exceptional horror-thriller. The home invasion scenes and the dark comedy are brilliant. The characters are enjoyable and the dialogue between them is well-written. Much of the movie felt like a 1980s family comedy like THE GREAT OUTDOORS turned into a nightmare, actually. It was quirky but enjoyable.
However, once the twists and explanations for the bumps in the night come in, the movie starts losing my interest. I think the filmmakers try to overexplain too much and too often. Keeping the dopplegangers' identities more mysterious seems a better option than opening the whole can of worms of their existence and their rather convoluted plan to get revenge on the upper world.
I also agree with the high-rated review which argues that the last twist regarding the mother's identity undermines so much of the movie. It felt like it wanted to shock just for a cheap gasp, not because it was a logical conclusion.
See No Evil (1971)
I kept waiting for her to fight back
While a woman with a disability in peril is a concept at least as old as the 1940s with THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE, such thrillers can be pure magic with an inspired script, evocative atmosphere, and tense camerawork. SEE NO EVIL has two of these things, which keeps it in second-tier thriller territory, I'm sorry to say, but it is still a decent time-waster elevated by Mia Farrow's convincing portrayal of blindness and some well-chosen camera angles which keep the sighted viewer just as in the dark as the heroine.
The problem is the story. The first half is promising. We get touching character moments with the vulnerable Farrow struggling to accept her disability and her family's well-meaning but awkward attempts to make the transition as easy as possible. We get glimpses of the faceless killer. The suspense is strong. The scene where Farrow goes about her routine, not knowing her family has been slaughtered, is pretty spooky stuff and very well done.
Unfortunately, the second half is plodding, with Farrow screaming and running in the mud, and never really getting a chance to fight back against the people menacing her. In these reviews, I see a lot of comparisons to WAIT UNTIL DARK (another movie about a blind woman in peril) and BLACK CHRISTMAS (another proto-slasher), but the strongest thing those two movies have that SEE NO EVIL lacks is an active heroine. The heroines in WUD and BC are terrified and vulnerable, but they fight back and get a lot more to do than just scream and cry for help. WUD in particular allows its heroine an arc-- even though the excellent set-up of SEE NO EVIL gives the script an opportunity to allow Farrow's character to grow, she never does.
It's a shame, because the movie has potential. While there are too many good things for me to dismiss it entirely, I can't call it a classic and would only recommend it to fans of Mia Farrow, who really is quite amazing here.
Edge of your seat thriller elevated by a great performance from Jane Fonda
The 1970s was a phenomenal decade for thrillers and KLUTE is among the best of the lot! I admire the cinematography, score, and story, but it truly is Jane Fonda's movie. She is almost unrecognizable as the call girl Bree, surely one of cinema's most underrated heroines. Sympathetic, complicated, tough and yet vulnerable-- this was definitely the role of a lifetime for Fonda!
Blue Blazes (1936)
Some good spots during Keaton's 1930s career
The 1930s and very early 1940s are considered a kind of nadir to Buster Keaton's career. The Columbia shorts are universally despised. The MGM talkies are either demonized or tolerated. The Educational shorts have a shoddy reputation too, but to be honest, some of them are gems, such as BLUE BLAZES.
BLUE BLAZES has flashes of Keaton's eccentric physical comedy and a minimum of the lame "wit" which plagued many of his MGM talkies. Also, he actually gets to play a heroic character-- bumbling yes, but he does save the day through cunning and a little bit of luck, which is nice, given that the 1930s seemed to interpret his screen type as "moron" rather than "bumbling but resourceful."
Wait Until Dark (1982)
"This is a doll even grown-ups would like to have!"
The 1967 WAIT UNTIL DARK is one of my favorite movies and as is the case with anything I enjoy, I have to go-all-in with reading about it. After falling in love with the movie, I snapped up a copy of the play and wanted to see a production. There are plenty of amateur productions on YouTube of varying quality, but this televised version with Katharine Ross and Stacy Keach intrigued me. I finally found a copy online, albeit ripped from a VHS recording.
As far as filmed theater goes, this is solid. Sometimes there are close ups for effect, but we generally see all the action onstage. Lighting is exceptional, particularly during the climax, and the music, while not as memorable as what Mancini did in the '67 movie, is slasher-like and appropriate. I also have to give a shout-out to the way this version portrays the famous "jump scare": instead of having Roat leap onto Susy, he emerges from the shadows suddenly, which is no less startling than a jump, which runs the risk of coming off as cheesy.
The supporting cast is adequate, with leads Katharine Ross and Stacy Keach getting much of the best material. Ross is a tough, almost stoic Susy, very understated in her approach to the character. She is the opposite of Keach. Keach is rather dynamic as Roat, going from merely uncanny to outright batty in the last scene. He's the Roat the 80s needed, I guess: coked up to the nines! Some might say he's too over the top, but I think the theatricality works for a villain who views himself as an actor and director, much like the psycho-rapist Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE views himself as a musician.
To be honest, I prefer the '67 movie to the play. The movie actually changes a lot of dialogue, making it snappier (I really miss the "topsy-turvy" speech in the blackout scene), and alters so many minor details as to leave it with a rather different feel than the original script (Susy taking out the lights herself in a terrified bought of resourcefulness, for instance, rather than having Gloria there to help her). I have to admit I also miss the movie's scenes of the crooks plotting in their Volkswagen outside the apartment. I always felt those scenes actually added to the suspense in showing their gradual frustration with Susy's dawning intelligence of the situation, as well as showing the in-fighting among themselves.
Even the casting of the delicate-looking Audrey Hepburn adds a lot to the terror value of the movie version, something I never quite got with the more stoic Ross. Ross is good, but Hepburn's characterization seems fuller to me and much more vulnerable. I was never as scared for Ross, who never seems as traumatized as Hepburn is by the car accident which blinded her or as insecure in her marriage. As a result, this version is far less scary.
Regardless of my preference, this forgotten version deserves at least a wider audience, as it has its charms (for me, namely Keach going bonkers), and gives those deprived of the chance to see the play live an opportunity to look at a professional rendition. Unlike playwright Frederick Knott's DIAL M FOR MURDER, WAIT UNTIL DARK has not had several televised performances over the years, so this is about all we're ever likely to get in that regard.
The Enchanted Cottage (1924)
"Who cares what other people think they see?"
I haven't seen the more famous remake, but the original silent movie is a delight.
Richard Barthelmess was quite the prolific actor during the 1910s and 1920s. He's often remembered as kind, heroic characters, but here he plays a thoughtless, bitter WWI veteran whose injuries have left him disabled. He is transformed (inside and out) by love from and for a lonely young woman whose plain looks belie her compassion. May Macavoy plays the woman and is tender in her role.
Both make a pair of moving screen lovers. The film is a little slow and sometimes a bit heavy on sentimentality, but charming and sweet regardless. I even teared up towards the end!
A King in New York (1957)
Not even near Chaplin's worst
Now, I've yet to see A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG, but out of Chaplin's full-length talkies, I didn't find A KING IN NEW YORK terrible by any stretch. In fact-- and I might lose cinephile points for admitting it-- I'd take this over the more prestigious LIMELIGHT any day! It's less self-indulgent and self-loving, and the satire of American media culture still mostly works.
Why does this get so much hate? Maybe it's the film's roughness. It's clearly set-bound and those sets do look cheap most of the time. But money can't buy inspiration, and I think this movie has more than enough inspiration to make up for its lesser production values. Many of the vignettes are delightful and the bittersweet edges (the subplot with Shadov's estranged queen, the character arc of the philosophical young boy) lend this film a great deal of memorability.
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
"Let's say a prayer..."
I saw the last few minutes of ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES when I was a kid and it's haunted me ever since.
The entire movie is a fine gangster film with a spiritual edge. It isn't just money or glory at stake, but souls. Cagney and O'Brien have great chemistry as the two friends who ended up at opposite ends of the spectrum so to speak. Director Curtiz endows the movie with an understated style and good pacing.
Much has been made of the last scene. While some think Rocky really did get "yellow," I think that destroys the sense of catharsis. From the look on Fr. Jerry's face, one gets the sense that he knows his friend has been redeemed. Only by giving up his own glamorous legacy does Rocky receive grace.
It improves on repeated viewings
The first time I saw A WOMAN OF PARIS, the hype killed it. I found the direction stylish but the plot creaky. Only in re-watching it years later have I come to better appreciate just what this film does differently from other movies of the period, particularly in the realm of character psychology.
Unlike your typical late 1910s/early 1920s Hollywood melodrama, A WOMAN OF PARIS shakes up its characters: the alleged romantic hero is a weakling, the saintly old mother has both bigotry and even blood-lust in her heart, the amoral rogue is charming and warm despite his cynicism, and the "fallen woman" protagonist has far more dimensions than one might expect. The underplaying used to bring these characters to life sells the naturalism and authenticity of these characters.
The film is often billed as a straight drama, but Chaplin inserts several humorous scenes throughout, mainly dealing with the wild parties of the Parisian elite or the catty behavior of Marie's friends. I particularly love the scene where Marie tries to make a point to her lover Pierre by throwing his gift of pearls to her out a window. When a wandering tramp picks them up, she rushes outside to retrieve them, breaking a heel on her shoe in the process. Pierre's reaction is hilarious, the comic high point of the movie before the tragedy hits with full force in the third act to come.
I still think parts of the story creak a little and some fleshing out could have helped, particularly in the first scenes. We never know why the young lovers' parents oppose their union-- they appear to be part of the same class and cultural background, and this is before Marie becomes "tainted goods," so it seems a bit strange that they should object. Also, Marie's leaving Jean during that fateful night seems unmotivated. Perhaps some scenes are missing, but I have not heard of this being the case.
Nevertheless, this is an exquisite movie. The direction is assured, the treatment of morality far more nuanced than most Hollywood movies would feature in the years to come.
The Frozen North (1922)
The darkest of Keaton's comedies
If you want to know how weird THE FROZEN NORTH is, just know Buster Keaton plays a villain in this who thieves, murders, bullies, and possibly even commits rape-- wow. A spoof on William S. Hart and Erich von Stroheim, THE FROZEN NORTH stands unique among Keaton's films. While he was no stranger to surreal flourishes and dark comedy, this one pushes it past his usual limits. While some knowledge of the films he's parodying would enrich one's enjoyment of this short, Keaton's dreamlike narrative and stark visuals more than make up for any confusion.
Freebie and the Bean (1974)
Arkin and Caan are the movie
The story is pretty weak and yeah, there are definitely some non-PC things in here that might bother most modern viewers, but the sole reason to watch FREEBIE AND THE BEAN is the chemistry between Alan Arkin and James Caan. The two play a mismatched, violent, incompetent pair of cops whose incessant arguing is nevertheless tempered by strong affection. They are so much fun to watch, even in scenes where they're doing nothing-- which isn't often in this borderline slapstick comedy of a film.
I think I have a new favorite Tarantino movie
As someone who likes but has never really loved Tarantino's style, I was blown away by this movie. It's more than a nostalgic trip back to 1960s Hollywood; it's a weird statement on movies and escapism themselves. It is every bit the fairy tale the title ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD implies, with its second chances and bizarre happy ending, though even these are tempered with little reminders of painful realities.
Those looking for hard plot will be disappointed. This is a very laid back movie, just following the daily lives of a handful of characters in 1969 LA. Cinephiles and those fond of the 1960s will likely get the most out of it-- if you walk in not having some familiarity with the Tate murders or the Manson family, you might get a bit lost.
The lack of plot hardly matters, as the characters are fun to watch. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are both hilarious and touching in their roles. Margot Robbie was a fabulous Sharon Tate and I'm honestly a bit bummed her role wasn't larger. That scene with her in the movie theater was just classic.
The long run-time initially daunted me-- part of my problem with so many mainstream Hollywood movies these days is that they're often too long (especially superhero movies), but the three hours here flew right by. I was enjoying myself so much that I was loathe to leave these characters once the credits rolled at last.