MY TIP TOP TOP TEN FAVORITE FILMS OF THE 1930’s

 

HARLOW BOOK COVER

Hi – I started off my sixth month of blogging by telling you my favorite films made in the 1930’s. I don’t know if you had a chance to go through it because it was lot of information. But if you did, thank you, and you could compare your list to mine. ( How crazy off am I? ) To do this list, I pulled out my old Pyramid publishing book which I bought back in 1978. I skimmed through it to make sure I wasn’t missing anything and came up with my final tally. Below are my ten tip top top ten favorite films for each year of the 1930’s.

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( 1930 )

1930 ( THE DIVORCEE ) “THE DIVORCEE” (  Robert Z. Leonard  )

My film viewing is very limited for 1930, but from what I’ve seen, I really like this Norma Shearer film. Her trust broken by her husband’s infidelity she goes for payback by doing the same thing. Somehow…it doesn’t work out quite the way she thought it would. Movies were beginning to talk. Lets see what women are saying.

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You’d think my favorite films would be the rat-a-tat-tat of gangster films, or horror movies that move a little slow and stagey for me. No, my favorite film for 1931 would have to be:

( 1931 )

1931 - ( FIVE STAR FINAL )

    “FIVE STAR FINAL” (  Mervyn LeRoy  )

The social media technology might’ve changed, but I can’t tell you just how topical this old movie feels; selling newspapers no matter what the human cost of the story is. Edward G. Robinson’s up to his neck in printer’s ink until he can’ts stands no more. Rooting him on, the great Aline MacMahon. Not just reporting the news, but creating it.

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I know there are great gaps in my movie-watching for 1932. I love how fun “Thirteen Women” is, and the thought-provoking and unsettling “Freaks” is a must-see. The sex appeal of “Red Dust” is off the hook but if I have to pick a favorite…I’m really going to have to go with…

( 1932 )

THREE ON A MATCH ( II )

  “THREE ON A MATCH” (  Mervyn LeRoy  )

It’s a delirious downward spiral into drugs and depravity. Dvorak is wonderful in this, going down like Icarus. Her final plunge is heart-stopping.

 

 

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( 1933 )

1933 - ( BOMBSHELL )

         “BOMBSHELL” (  Victor Fleming  )

Peace, peace; her career’s kingdom for some peace. I don’t know if art imitates life, but Harlow is a game girl in this fast-paced, screwball, free-wheeling comedy. She gets to put her thumb in the eye of a couple of entities: family and celebrity. Harlow goes toe-to-toe with the manic energy of Lee Tracy, and bounces off a good supporting cast who…support her. Oh how I WISH TCM would show “Bombshell” at their next film festival. It would be a laugh riot. Please, check out my blog post about Harlow and this film.

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( 1934 )

1934 - ( HEAT LIGHTNING )

       “HEAT LIGHTNING” (  Mervyn LeRoy  )

“So don’t you think I’m the same woman that used to eat out of your hands because I’m not. I’m a whole lot wiser and just you put that into that head of yours!!”

Ahh Aline. So strong. So vulnerable. This is a great woman’s picture. Oh no, not in that treacly weepy way that term is meant, but we see all manner of Woman portrayed in this desert drama. How will Aline deal with her past when it reaches out to her? Check it out. You’ll see. My detailed review? HERE.

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( 1935 )

1935 - ( SHE )

                   “SHE” (  Irving Pichel  )

I like the adventure and journey of it. I like what a woman in love would do. I like that time means nothing withOUT the one you love. A nice fantasy adventure. And a woman’s in power.

 

 

 

 

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( 1936 )

1936 ( LIBELED LADY )

         “LIBELED LADY” (  Jack Conway  )

We’ve got four pros here, at top form in Comedy. Surprising to me was the teamwork of Tracy and Powell. They played off each other expertly. This is just a plain funny movie of a newspaper sending out their best reporter to entrap an heiress who is suing them. Read all about it, read all about it —> here.

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I like the gutsy grit of “Marked Woman.”  And “Stage Door” has Hepburn & Rogers leading the charge…sublime. But this one right here…this one is my Martini movie. It sparkles. It’s perfect:

( 1937 )

1937 - ( THE AWFUL TRUTH )

     “THE AWFUL TRUTH”  (  Leo McCarey  )

Forgive me, but this movie hits the “G” spot. I guess it’s my cinematic barometer. If a person does not laugh or like this film, well…l mean what’s not to like: the love story, the comedy, the leads, the lines, the easy pace. The disaster scenes in “The Good Earth” “In Old Chicago” and “Hurricane” are pretty state of the art. But come on: Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, in perfect synch…State of the ART. Leo McCarey won an Academy Award for this classic comedy.

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( 1938 )

1938 - ( HOLIDAY )

          “HOLIDAY” (  George Cukor  )

Is this a dramedy? I dunno. But I love the serious tones of this one. It almost feels subversive. Who doesn’t want to make money. Grant has the idea to play now and work hard later. He’s got a fiancee who doesn’t takes him seriously about his cock-eyed plan. But her sister does. She’s battling a similar fate, being an outcast within her own family. Kate…marches to the beat of a slightly different drummer. Her reward…Cary Grant.

 

 

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( 1939 )

1939 - ( THE WOMEN )

“THE WOMEN” (   GEORGE CUKOR   )

Oh boy, what can I say about “The Women” that hasn’t been said in 76-years? The idea of using an all woman cast is brilliant. I realize it doesn’t show women in the best light with the back-biting, gossiping and bickering. But it’s all in good fun. The lines still bite and the performances are stellar.

If you’re curious as to my tip top ten favorite movies of the 1940…you can check—> here.

(  H O M E  )

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4 thoughts on “MY TIP TOP TOP TEN FAVORITE FILMS OF THE 1930’s

  1. Love your choices! “Bombshell” has my favorite Franchot Tone line ever (the one that begins, “Your hair is like a field of silver daisies….” but I won’t spoil the way it ends). I just came to “Heat Lighting” a couple of years ago at Film Forum and went out and bought the Warner Archive Disk. “Holiday” is my favorite Cukor/Hepburn collaboration and the first movie where Cary Grant – wonderful as he is in “The Awful Truth”, which is itself in my top 10 comedies ever – fully comes into his own as an actor. Can’t go with you on “Libeled Lady,” which to me has to yield to other 1936 treats and especially to “Swing Time” (which is to be shown in its entirety at my funeral). Oh – and I bought “Hollywood in the Thirties” – along with its 20s and 40s companions – out of my carefully saved allowance in the summer of 1969. Still have it, still cherish it. Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    • L0L! I thought Grant and Hepburn were particularly poignant in “Holiday.” This movie just has such a different “feeling” to me; can’t quite verbalize it. “Swing Time” – were Fred & Ginger sublime. But why…oh WHY do I wait for Helen Broderick to tell Astaire’s pal: “You better pull a ham sandwich outta that hat!” with her wonderful deadpan delivery. ( At your funeral? I hear ya!! ) That end capper in “Bombshell” is breathtaking as the film fades out. I’m going to write about “Heat Lightning” next week. And I also have the 20’s and 40’s Hollywood books. A treasure. Thank you for your comments and reading, Celia. ( Psst! Not that you’re not super busy, but if you ever want to write an essay for my blog… )

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