The rise of gangster films and monster movies.
( Garbo in “Mata Hari.” Men lose their mind and give up secrets to her. Exotic. )
DRACULA – ( Tod Browning )
Atmospheric. The Vampire does his thing. His bite is worse than his, hell there’s nothing worse than his bite. Bela Lugosi is the ultimate screen vampire.
FIVE STAR FINAL – ( Mervyn LeRoy )
Selling newspapers also means selling one’s soul. Just like today. Isn’t it comforting to know things haven’t changed. Ack!
“FRANKENSTEIN” – ( James Whale )
A scientist creates a creature from the body parts of the dead. Does Science give him the right to play God? This movie is in the world of the fantastic. I can’t imagine being in the audience the first time they saw Frankenstein’s monster. Gruesome. ( Hail to the Kings of make up! )
A FREE SOUL – ( Clarence Brown )
Father and daughter are both addicts. One is addicted to alcohol, the other to bad boy Gable. Yeah, I could see how those’d be problems. Barrymore wins an Oscar for his turn as a drunken lawyer trying to gain his self-respect back. And perhaps lead by example.
LITTLE CAESAR – ( Mervyn LeRoy )
Et tu Brute. Yes. Eddie G. snarls his way to the top as a crime boss in “Little Caesar.” What became the end of Rico…was the beginning of the glorious career of Eddie G.. Gangster, Norwegian farmer ( Our Vines Have Tender Grapes ), insurance agent (Double Indemnity), sadistic mobster ( Key Largo ) Edward G. Robinson could pretty much do it all. ( That biblical picture he did with DeMille…that’s another story. )
PLATINUM BLONDE – ( Frank Capra )
Robert Williams died before the film was released but I believe he had the makings of a star with his easy breezy natural style. He’s a fish out of water here as a reporter who gains access to the rareified world of platnium blondes and the hoi polloi by way of Harlow. Harlow? Yeah, Harlow. Loretta Young is his fellow reporter, who has a newsflash. She loves him. Harlow’s the bombshell…but I’m starting to notice Loretta Young too in the 30’s.
PUBLIC ENEMY – ( William Wellman )
Cagney’s rise and fall as a big-shot bootlegger. I wanted to use that iconic image to let you know just who this guy is. Get me? Cagney is a tour de force as an object lesson in crime-does-not-pay. He hit the screen running and did not stop for the next thirty years.
( H O M E )