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Critic's Choice (TCM Spotlight)
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Critic's Choice Introduction

This month we have rounded up our own circle of critics to choose movies from the TCM library they would most like to share with viewers. In addition to selecting two films and explaining his/her reasons, each critic will tell host Robert Osborne what made them want to review films, how they got started and the state of films today vs. the Golden Age of Cinema.

Leonard Maltin, one of the world's most visible critics in print and on television, has published Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide for decades and discoveries to be made." The crime drama Penthouse (1933) features "clever dialogue and plotting" and a "fresh and funny" performance from budding star Myrna Loy. Skyscraper Souls (1932), "one of those little-known 1930s gems," is a melodrama starring Warren William as a ruthless empire-builder who erects a 100-story building in Manhattan.

A.O. Scott, chief film critic of The New York Times, has also written for such publications as Newsday and Slate. His programming picks are two "B" movies of the 1950s that later enjoyed critical reevaluation. Budd Boetticher's Ride Lonesome (1959), starring Randolph Scott, "has that kind of spare, harsh, mythic resonance that some of the best Westerns do." Newspaperman Scott loves Samuel Fuller's Park Row (1952), a drama of heroic journalism in the New York City of the 1880s, because the movie captures the "rough, hard-boiled realism and nobility of spirit" of the old-time press corps.

Peter Travers has been reviewing films for Rolling Stone magazine since 1989 and also hosts Popcorn, an ABC-TV celebrity-interview show. He chooses Almost Famous (2000, TCM premiere), writer-director Cameron Crowe's autobiographical tale of a young writer who gets a chance to work for--surprise! - Rolling Stone. Naturally the movie reminds Travers of his own youthful experiences: "It's the best feeling in the world to see your dreams come true." He is fascinated by Orson Welles' The Lady from Shanghai (1948) because of its rather perverse subtext with the writer-director having his glamorous wife, Rita Hayworth, play "one of the most rotten characters in the history of cinema."

Here are the other critics who will participate in the month-long festival, and the venues for which they have done the majority of their work: David Ansen, Newsweek; Robert Bianco, USA Today; Richard Corliss, Time; David Denby, The New Yorker; Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times; David Edelstein, New York Magazine; Susan Granger, SSG Syndicate; Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle; Lou Lumenick, New York Post; Kim Morgan, MSN Movies; Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal; Tom Shales, The Washington Post; and Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times.

by Roger Fristoe

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