(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

NIGHTMARE ALLEY is described by its makers as a new adaptation of the book by William Lindsay Gresham, not a remake of the 1947 classic film noir version. The production design by Tamara Deverell, the art direction by Brandt Gordon, and the set decoration by Shane Vieau are stunning. The carnival grounds are a world all their own thanks to these artists' work, and scenes of Stanton Carlisle's old home are reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. The costume design by Bonnie Cashin is also note-worthy, with a lot of work on the accuracy of the styles for the precise year, and specifically with Molly's bright red dress making her figure stand out from the blue-gray background of the train station. This film has a star-studded cast, with Bradley Cooper as Carlisle and Cate Blanchett as Dr. Lilith Ritter, and supporting actors Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, and David Strathairn. (This is the ninth movie on which director Guillermo del Toro and actor Ron Perlman have worked together.)

Released theatrically 12/17/21; available on various streaming services and on DVD. Rating: +3 (-4 to +4), or 9/10.

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					Mark R. Leeper
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