Of Mice and Men. Like so many middlebrow “classics” of the Thirties and Forties, John Steinbeck’s best-known novel plays better than it reads. Lewis Milestone’s handsomely photographed 1939 film version, adapted by Steinbeck himself from the stage version he wrote two years earlier (with the unacknowledged assistance of George S. Kaufman), is an unexpectedly impressive piece of work. Burgess Meredith is perfect as George–he never gave a better performance–and though you’ll have to brush aside countless half-remembered parodies to see how good Lon Chaney, Jr., is as George, it’s worth the effort. The music is by Aaron Copland, and it’s every bit as powerful as his better-known scores for Our Town and The Heiress (TT).