Showing posts with label 1930's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1930's. Show all posts

Friday, August 26, 2022

Classic Watch: The Women (1939)




Watched:  08/24/2022
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Second?
Director:  George Cukor

I'd previously watched The Women (1939), but always felt I should probably have watched with Jamie, who I knew would find it at least *interesting*.  And, this time that's what we did.

Look, I am not the person to give you the definitive take on The Women, and there's plenty of literature out there on the movie.  I can only assume the original play came from a place as it would have been holding up a mirror of a story to New York society women who attended Broadway shows, and would have been called out as fraudulent as a play, and then as a movie if there weren't some basis in the facts of how society folk seem to not have anything better to do than get divorced and married (I mean, really the primary pre-occupation of most tabloids).  

But the movie also humanizes some of the characters - not everyone is going through the motions of being a society wife.  And, of course, there are those angling to up their position from perfume counter girl to the better life.  

The cast is a phenomenal who's who of the period, with Crawford on the edge of her Box Office Poison years pre Mildred Pierce.  Shearer herself would retire out of movies in 3 years (don't worry - she was fine), but you get to see them alongside Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, Paulette Goddard, Ruth Hussey and more.  






Sunday, August 21, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)




Watched:  08/19/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Alfred Werker

Well.  What's not to like, really?  

If you like Holmes books, this is... close-ish.  Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are kind of the model for on-screen Holmes and Watson.  There's a great villain in Moriarty.  And a young Ida Lupino is charming as hell at the center of it all.  

What's amazing is how undated the film feels some 80 years later.  You can imagine all of this as the plot and performances in a modern Sherlock retelling,  And maybe that's because they made 14 of these movies in the span of less than a decade - not quite a serial, but certainly a series that left enough of an impact that this was how it was done until the 21st Century decided "what if Holmes was not at all like Holmes?" in two separate series of movies and a TV show.

I won't say the movie was flawless, but it was very, very *fun*, which is what I'm looking for in my Holmes reading or adaptations.  Give me a Holmes and Watson on the case, and a mystery I can't solve on my own, and I'll come back for more.

It will *surely* annoy Jamie that now that I know there are 13 more of these, I'm gonna watch them.  But she knew what I was about when she married me, so.





Saturday, January 1, 2022

Last Film of 2021: Another Thin Man (1939)




Watched:  12/31/2021
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1930's
Director:  WS Van Dyke

Technically, I finished this movie at 12:30 AM on 01/01/2022, but I'm calling it as my last movie of 2021.  I make up the rules here, so deal with it.  

TCM started a Thin Man marathon at 7:00 PM Central on New Year's Eve, and we watched the first two movies in parts between episodes of Queer Eye's Austin season which debuted on 12/31, and is worth it's own post.  But once Jamie went to bed, I was free to hang with my pals, Nick and Nora.  

Another Thin Man (1939) needs no write-up from me.  Or at least isn't getting one on New Years Day, but it's a very fun movie.  I definitely suggest watching the Thin Man films in order, just to follow the progress of the series, but any time with William Powell and Myrna Loy is a good time in my book.


Saturday, October 30, 2021

Hallow-Wax Watch: Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)




Watched:  10/30/2021
Format:  I am not sure?  DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Michael Curtiz

So, this movie, Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), is the one that the 1953 Vincent Price film, House of Wax, is based upon.   The plots are somewhat similar, certainly the set pieces and locations.  I think this movie, in turn, is based on a story and stageplay.  

Two fascinating things here, tho:  
1)  I've never watched a whole film in the two strip technicolor process.  It's weird as hell.  Perfect for horror, I think, but I imagine this gives me an idea how some color-blind people see the world, but in a weird inverse.  This is all reds and greens.
2)  It's mid-career work by Michael Curtiz!  Maybe one of the most versatile directors I can name, it's interesting to see him doing 30's horror and doing it so well

This movie differs in many ways from House of Wax, including a very 1930's woman reporter who is really the catalyst for most of the action, and I adored her (played by Glenda Farrell).  The great beauty that the crazed sculptor pursues is no less than Fay Wray, so... understandable, despite your murderous, psychopathic ways, sir.

The movie refuses to take itself too seriously, but does a great job of a grand guignol-type horror but with a fast-talking news woman anchoring the whole thing.  

I'd love to re-watch this one at some point, especially with other folks.  It has some terrific stuff the 1950's one eschewed for a more solid plot, but this one is equally entertaining in its own, incredibly 1930's pulpy fun way.  

Saturday, October 23, 2021

PODCAST: "Son of Frankenstein" (1939) and "Son of Dracula" (1943) - Halloween 2021 - Horror Sequels w/ SimonUK and Ryan



Watched:  09/06/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  a whole lot
Decade:  1930's and 1940's
Director:  Rowland V. Lee and Robert Siodmak (I KNOW)



We check in on the boys and see what the kids are up to! One back in the old family villa and the other heading to Louisiana for some jambalaya, we assume. Two franchises rise yet again, stitched together from ideas new and old as we look at the third in the series for each, and sink their teeth into familiar tropes as well as all new stories and characters!




Music:
Son of Dracula Theme - Hans J. Salter Orchestra
Son of Frankenstein Theme - Frank Skinner


Halloween 2021



Saturday, October 16, 2021

Halloween Watch Party: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)




Watched:  10/15/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1930's
Director:  James Whale

My friends, I have watched this movie so many times and talked about it so much, I am sure you are sick of it.  But we had a grand old time watching it together for a Watch Party!

So, annual viewing of Bride of Frankenstein, complete!




Saturday, October 9, 2021

Halloween Interaction Watch: Frankenstein (1932)




Watched:  10/08/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1930's
Director:  James Whale

My friend, I am not writing up Frankenstein again.  Here's all the stuff about Frankenstein on this blog.

Here's SimonUK and me talking about the film during last year's Halloween podcast.


Saturday, October 2, 2021

Halloween Watch Party: Dracula (1931)

 


Watched:  10/01/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing: Unknown!
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Todd Browning

My friends, I have written and spoken more on Dracula than makes sense.  It was super fun talking with people over the movie on Friday night, tho.  Hope everyone had a spooky good time!

Halloween Watch: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1932)




Watched:  10/01/2021
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Unknown.  Third?
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Rouben Mamoulian

Because this movie was released via Paramount versus Universal, it hasn't quite got the same visibility as the Universal Horror films over the past 90 years.  You don't see Hyde cavorting with Creatch or Drac.  He's a bad fit if Frankenstein or the Wolfman are looking for a scrap.  But he's still crucial to the movement of horror films, pushing special effects and getting top performances out of the cast (and it looks AMAZING.  The sets in this thing...).  

Based upon a novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, Paramount took the production seriously, and it wound up nominated for Academy Awards, and March took home the statue for Best Actor.  And - I'll argue - he deserves it.  And he film deserves accolades for design and effects alongside the Universal films, even if nothing about this movie goes in for gigantic gothic sets.  Plus, there's some fascinating POV work in the film, putting us in Jekyll's place seemingly to make a point.  

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Retro Space Opera Watch: Flash Gordon (1936) - listed as "Rocketship" on Amazon



Watched:  02/14/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  First all the way through
Decade:  1930's
Directors:  Frederick StephaniRay Taylor 

So, this was a truncated film that cut together the story from the famed Flash Gordon serial from 1936 into a single film.  For whatever reason, it was called Rocketship on Amazon Prime.  

And, frankly, I really can't recommend it enough.  

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Musical Watch: Swing Time (1936)



Watched:  02/17/2021
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  George Stevens

What with the freeze on here in Austin, Jamie requested we watch something we didn't have to follow closely and wouldn't be depressing.  Well, I happened to have recorded Swing Time (1936), a famed Fred Astaire/ Ginger Rogers collaboration.  

We did NOT have to pay much attention to the movie to follow the film.

just a couple of Hollywood hoofers



Uh, look.  I just don't have the time, energy or headspace to give the movie proper consideration.  It has a cute, very 1930's plot about plucky underdogs finding their way to the big time and glamour through dance.  Unfortunately - the big show stopper number they give Astaire to show off his talents is a minstrel number in black face, and... you know... sometimes dealing with the racism of our forebears is a real fucking bummer.  Like, you're just going about your business and cheering on the two lovebirds of the picture, and then Astaire turns around and starts slathering on blackface, and you're like "COME ON, MOVIE."  

Anyway - already exhausted and not wanting to deal with nonsense, it was not welcome and kind of threw me off from the admittedly lovely final dance sequence ending.  The movie is a good, light-hearted musical romance.  I very much enjoyed the lead and supporting characters, and it was fun.  Oh, and, yes, I hope you like the song "The Way You Look Tonight", because this movie loves it.

I've seen other Astaire movies, but few Ginger Rogers films, and she really was perfect for the screen for what they were doing.  Lovely, all the grace you read about, and perfectly paired with Astaire.  

and she knew how to wear a gown


And, hey, she was pretty funny, too, in her own right.  

Anyway - its' worth watching at some point from an historical and entertainment persepctive, but be aware of the "oh god, this is super racist" 10 minutes or so that I would more than understand would be a solid reason not to watch the film.



Sunday, October 4, 2020

PODCAST: "Frankenstein" (1931) "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) and "Curse of Frankenstein" (1957) - Halloween 2020 w/ SimonUK and Ryan

 


Watched:  09/18 (Curse), 09/19 (Frank), 09/20 (Bride of)
Format:  Amazon Streaming, BluRay
Viewing:  Third, Unknown, Unknown
Decade:  1950's, 1930's
Director:  Terence Fisher, James Whale


It's the story of a scientist with a dream and the friends he made along the way! We stitch together three films for one monstrously excellent discussion about one of pop culture's favorite go-to's, the mad scientist and his shambling pal(s). From the shocking arrival of the 1931 film by Universal to the mid-50's experiments by Hammer to bring the story to life, we chat what makes the story work from any angle, and why we're still watching 90 years later.




Music
Frankenstein Main Theme (1931) - Giuseppe Becce
Bride of Frankenstein Suite (1935) - Franz Waxman


Halloween 2020
Halloween and Horror

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

PODCAST! "Dracula" (1931) and "Horror of Dracula" (1958) - Halloween 2020 w/ SimonUK and Ryan



Watched:  09/11/2020 and 09/12/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown and Unknown
Decade:  1930's and 1950's
Director:  Tod Browning and Terence Fisher



It's Halloween! This year SimonUK and Ryan are taking on the classics of horror from not just one - but two studios! We're starting with a monster that really sucks - our dear old pal, The Count! Join us as we talk two great takes on Dracula - from Universal and Hammer Studios, respectively - that cemented the character in the collective imagination and which still continue to thrill! Let's talk creepy castles, alluring monsters and rubber bats! 

Horror of Dracula Main Theme
- James Bernard
Swan Lake - Act II (excerpt) - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 


Halloween 2020 Playlist
All the Halloween and Horror

Thursday, July 9, 2020

PODCAST: 110 - "King Kong" 1933, 1976, 2005 & "KIng Kong Lives" (1985) and "Kong: Skull Island" (2017)



King Kong  (1976)
watched:  06/03/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing: No idea
Director:  John Guillermin

Kong Lives (1985)
watched 06/08/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  third?
Director: John Guillermin

Kong: Skull Island (2017)
watched: 06/12/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  second?
Director:  Jordan Vogt-Roberts

King Kong (2005)
watched:  06/13/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  third
Director:  Peter Jackson

King Kong (1933)
Watched:  06/23/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  no idea
Director:  Merian C. Cooper


For more ways to listen



It's King Kong-a-Palooza as we take on 5 movies about one big monkey. Stuart joins in as we talk about the modern mythology of King Kong, what the story tells us, and what it tells us about ourselves that we retell the story every few decades. We reflect on man, ape, mysterious islands, mystery in general, and fame as we ponder the various takes. Join us as we discuss 1933, 1976, 2005 "King Kong" installments, as well as "King Kong Lives" and the recent entry "Kong: Skull Island".





Music:
King Kong Main Theme (1933) - by Max Steiner
King Kong Opening Theme (1976) - by John Barry



Friday, July 3, 2020

Screwball Watch: My Man Godfrey (1936)


Watched:  06/28/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Gregory La Cava

This movie got a scad of Oscar nominations and was very big upon its release.  It's a comedy about class, wealth, those who have money and those who don't in a contemporary picture released in the thick of the Great Depression.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Accidental Quarantine Watch: Jezebel (1938)



Watched:  05/18/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  William Wyler

Y'all should know by now I like me some Bette Davis, and one of her early-career films you hear name-dropped a bit is Jezebel (1938).  In all honesty, all I knew about the movie before hitting Play was that it starred Davis, was a period piece of some sort, a melodrama of some sort, and featured cinematography was by Ernest Haller.   I figured on a big studio budget as Davis was, by 1938, a force.  But I didn't think much else about the production.

Given the year, I assume this was Warner Bros. pre-emptive answer to Gone With the Wind, which would arrive soon after and took so long in all phases of production, Warner Bros. had an opportunity to catch up and did so by adapting a screenplay with very similar themes.  Maybe I'm wrong, but the parallels of a romance about a spitfire of a girl in the antebellum south longing after a man she can't have and playing with a bit of a cad and it all ending badly has a certain echo to it.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Oz Watch: The Wizard of Oz (1939)



Watched:  04/11/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  Ha ha ha ha
Decade:  1930's
Director: Victor Fleming

It's hard to think of a film more universal in the American imagination than The Wizard of Oz (1939).  Watching the film is as much a right of passage as Kindergarten, organized sports or name-your-item for a good chunk of America, and has been for 80 years.

We refer to it in popular culture and literature, make allusion to the film (for surely the books would now be mostly forgotten without the movie) as often as Biblical reference, Superman, and, maybe Star Wars.  It's weirdly universal for a fantasy movie about a girl who has no idea what's going on, her three goofy friends and a witch who just wants a new pair of shoes.  The songs are all familiar as Christmas carols.  People on the street will automatically know Dorothy, rainbows, little dogs, tin men, flying monkeys...

And the weird thing is how the movie really doesn't get old.  And it holds up.

It's a technical marvel, and even in 2020 and an era with CG and everything in color, that door opening on Oz still works.  It doesn't matter how many times you've seen it.  Flying monkeys remain flying monkeys, and Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West remains a revelation.  As is Frank Morgan in about 20 different roles.

But the kaleidoscope vision of the movie, the dialog that has become part of the American venacular (ex: "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain", "we're not in Kansas anymore", "and your little dog, too!"), is just now part and parcel of how we've taken the movie in and refract it back out onto the world.  Similar stories may get lots of nods - Alice in Wonderland, for example - but it's hard to say the movie is more popular than the book, and perhaps it's Englishness and sheer nonsense has kept it from having exactly the same impact.  As familiar a film as Gone with the Wind has aged(... poorly) it's simply not considered something everyone should have to see at least once.  Star Wars stands a chance of retaining the same level of cultural integration if Disney doesn't accidentally kill the golden goose and gives it another 40 years.

I have seen the movie run up against Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and it is pretty crazy.  But I really do think it's a coincidence.  And, of course, we can endlessly debate whether or not Baum meant the story as an allegory for the Gold Standard v Silver Standard v Greenbacks that the liberty the studios took with the story kind of annihilates.  Still: Flying monkeys!

Anyway, it's The Wizard of Oz, and it's a sort of singular thing that is, really, everyone's favorite movie about hallucinations induced by head trauma.  But I will fight anyone who says anything negative about this movie.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Bette Watch: Dark Victory (1939)



Watched:  12/29/2019
Format:  Criterion Channel
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's

Look, it's possible Bette Davis is one of 5 or so finest actors to have graced the screen, at least in Hollywood films.  Yeah, she is "of the era" on some things, but - man, even in not-great films she's a power house, and then in something that plays to her range and strengths?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Holiday Watch: The Thin Man (1934)


Watched:  12/26/2019
Format:  BluRay (Warner Archive)
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1930's

I finally got around to watching my new Thin Man (1934) bluray from Warner Archive.  I won't talk about the movie's plot, because I've done that a few times.  Also, it's one of the most famous movies that ever was, so if you don't know about it or haven't seen it - well, you're bad at movies.  No, I'm not kidding or taking that back.

So why did I buy this movie?  Again?  Well, I'd heard the transfer and restoration were really good - and even if you enjoy the hell out of The Thin Man, sometimes the print or transfer could look a bit rough.  The movie is 85 years old.  That's gonna happen.  But, dang, this BluRay looked phenomenal.  And who doesn't want to see Myrna Loy kinda glow even more?  See her in even more detail?

We could or should have easily covered this movie for our "Holiday Adjacent" podcasts, but did not.  Maybe next year?  It'd be fun to talk about this movie for a long time while Day Drinking.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Hallow-Watch: "Frankenstein" (1931) and "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935)


Watched:  F - 10/30/2019, BoF - 10/31/2019
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Ha ha ha...
Decade:  1930's

Every Halloween I now watch both of these films.  They're literally two of my favorite movies - the sort of which I'd include if there was a Signal Watch Five Film Marathon in which to partake. 

Next year we're scheduled to talk about them during Halloween, so I want to hold off til then to say much more - and I have plenty of prior posts on these two films. 

Here's to James Whale and Gods and Monsters.