Skip to main content

Film Review: Julie (1956)

Julie is an edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller featuring Doris Day in one of her few dramatic roles. Day plays the title character of Julie Benton, a woman who is trapped in a volatile marriage to a insanely jealous man, Lyle Benton (played by Louis Jourdan). The first half of the film is about Julie's harrowing escape from her husband. Having being threatened that she would be murdered if she ever tried to leave him, Julie risks her life to get away. The second half of the film sees Julie return to her former career as a flight attendant, only to find herself on a plane with her homicidal husband as a passenger. As he reaches his breaking point and shoots the flight crew, there's no one left to land the plane except for Julie. The climax of this strange but thrilling movie was a precursor to Karen Black's iconic performance in Airport 1975 (who also plays a flight attendant who has to land a plane in the middle of crisis). It's a shame that Day didn't make more dramatic films. Here, she demonstrates tremendous range by showcasing her ability to play multiple levels in a single scene. Director Andrew L. Stone seems to be aware of the power of his leading lady, opting for closeups on her as much as possible. Day is such a strong actor, she's able to fill each silent beat with clear emotions, often with a slight shift of expression. The only stumble in the film is the casting of Louis Jourdan as the menacing husband. While he and Day certainly shared an intensity in their scenes, his performance could not match Day's layered, nuanced acting. She outshines him in every scene. While watching Julie, I wondered how much of an influence this film was on subsequent and similar films such as Sleeping with the Enemy or the recent remake of The Invisible Man (starring Elisabeth Moss in a role echoing Day's). Nevertheless, this fantastic film noir thriller from 1956 offers up a terrific and sometimes terrifying ride. At the very least, it will give you a new appreciation for flight attendants. 

David-Matthew Barnes



Popular posts from this blog

Film Review: The Menu (2022)

I hope you bring your appetite to this deliciously devilish film. The Menu , a dark horror comedy film directed by Mark Mylod, delivers every course it serves. Stylistic and aesthetically exquisite, this movie will be celebrated not only for its mesmerizing visuals but for it's clever script, expert direction, and nuanced performances from a cast of ultra talented actors, including a wonderful Judith Light (will someone please put this wonderful woman in more films?). The creepy premise feels simple: a group of self-obsessed strangers find themselves sharing a terrifying experience. They're the guest at a posh, elite private restaurant located on a secluded island in the middle of nowhere (or, so it seems). The first half of the film is a slow move, keeping the audience (and the characters) in one location: the dining room and adjacent kitchen of the restaurant. Mylod takes a chance by keeping us here for so long, but it's a risk that works because, as an audience member, I

Film Review: Halloween Ends (2022)

Halloween Ends is not a perfect film but it offers audience members a wild cinematic ride. The Halloween film franchise is loved by a very devoted fanbase (myself included; the original Halloween is my all-time favorite horror film). With that said, no matter what artistic choices director David Gordon Green made for this supposed final entry in the Michael Myers vs. Laurie Strode cannon, there was bound to be unhappy skeptics and intense scrutiny. Here, Green makes bold choices. Instead of following the prescribed playbook for all things slasher film, Green takes us deep into what feels like a dark character study, exploring the psychology of the hunted and the hunter. It's one major downfall is this: the plot feels like a hodgepodge of never fully realized story ideas and this weakness almost derails the film (it's predecessor Halloween Kills was dreadful and ranks as the worst Halloween film made - my opinion). Yet. Green knows these characters, their lore and legacy. He

Film Review: The Midnight Story (1957)

This dramatic film noir from 1957 is a fun watch. The plot is pretty layered, allowing for a few nice twists along the way. The story centers around a San Francisco traffic cop intent on solving the murder of a priest who was a father figure to him. He goes undercover, falls in love with a female cousin of the suspect, and comes up with a strategy to get a confession. Thanks to the screenwriters (John Robinson and Edwin Blum), the film is more character-driven, rather than relying on action. The character development is rich here, demonstrated in the writers choice to give the cast of characters complicated lives, including those of the police officers involved in the murder case. The acting is top-notch, including one of Tony Curtis’ best performances. Marisa Pavan and Gilbert Roland also shine in their roles, each bringing an intensity and beautiful desperation to the screen. Filmed on location in San Francisco, director Joseph Pevney keeps the story moving forward at a great pace. A