The Pied Piper
(1942)★ ★ ★ - Okay
If you've seen The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) you know about Monty Woolley, who seemed born to lead that film but too limited to make a career playing anything but an arrogant, selfish, cranky jerk. Released the same year, this character is the same, but the context is very different. Here, he's trying to flee France as Germany invades, cutting short his fishing trip. On the difficult road back to England, he must face the inconvenience of war and help some stray children along the way. It oddly manages to stay just to the gentle side to where you can call it a heartwarming family film despite the evil that nazis do. Woolley was nominated for an Oscar (and the film for Best Picture), and it left me wondering how many other ways he could apply this character. Also starring Otto Preminger and Anne Baxter, who's come up a lot on my TV lately.The Razor's Edge
(1946)★ ★ ½
A feast of movie stars - Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne and Anne Baxter - in this long, but absorbing romance. There are some dry scenes of soul searching, but the epic scope allows for characters to make big dramatic turns as the story plays out. Tierney gets to play her Scarlett O'Hara, but with a darker 'Leave Her to Heaven' tone, but the big moments belong to Baxter (who won an Oscar). She's almost overpowering, right on the edge of camp. Her best moment is actually when the camera finds her again after a major event and she looks like a different person.The Earl of Chicago
I like Robert Montgomery a lot, but he's poorly cast as a Chicago gangster who discovers he's inherited a title and a great deal of land in England. I see the potential, but the script never decides how to let events play out, bringing in new twists that have little to do with this premise. Edward Arnold is the saving grace as an ex-con lawyer now under Montgomery's care.