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

Monday, January 23, 2023

Screwball Watch: Libeled Lady (1936)




Watched:  01/23/2023
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Jack Conway

You can do worse than a movie with Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow.  But our male leads are Spencer Tracy and William Powell.  So.  

A newspaper accidentally runs a badly sourced story about a rich young woman (Loy), claiming she carried on with a married man, but it's not accurate.  Tracy is attempting to marry Harlow, but the emergency (threats of libel and slander suits) pulls him away from his own wedding.  Looking to find a way to get the $5 million lawsuit dropped, he employs scoundrel William Powell to set Loy up for a fall in front of cameras and make her lawsuit moot.  

There's nothing I don't like about the movie.  It's brilliantly conceived, acted and it's hysterical, careening from one sequence to another.  It's top tier talent making the most of a great set-up.  





Monday, December 19, 2022

VidCast - PodCast 226: "The Thin Man" (1934) - a Day-Drinking the Holidays PodCast with JAL and Ryan


Watched:  12/18/2022
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  W.S. Van Dyke 



Join JAL and Ryan as we get into the gin, watch a bona fide cinema classic, ponder what makes it great, and toast the hell out of each other. It's a festive good time as we talk classic mystery, the fading of memory around even the best of stars, and Ryan probably overplays his hand discussing Myrna Loy.


Video PodCast




Audio Streaming PodCast



Playlist Holidays 2022



Noir Playlist

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Halloween Double Feature: "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein" (1931), (1935)




Watched:  10/30 and 31/ 2022
Format:  Criterion
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  James Whale

This is now my movie Halloween tradition.  If I haven't already watched them elsewhere, watch Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein to wrap up the spooky season and before my thoughts turn to sweet potatoes and turkey.  

I don't necessarily always watch with zero distractions - these are movies I've seen over a dozen times each.  I can put them on and do other things and look up for key scenes.  

Anyway, here's a podcast Simon and I did on the films.  

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Black Cat (1934)




Watched:  10/14/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  third?
Director:  Edgar G. Ulmer

The Black Cat (1934) imho is a Universal Horror A-Lister that rides the Halloween movie bench because of the lack of "monsters" within the film.  But it speaks much more to where some great horror would come from over the years than, say, Frankenstein, which is it's own genre.  You can feel the echoes of this film in many a future Corman and Hammer movies about deranged dudes with a beef and essentially borrowing from the general world view of Edgar Allen Poe.  

Starring both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, with amazing set design, cinematography, and performances from our leads - both vying for who is the more watchable weirdo - it's a really fun, thrilling watch.  It's also a glimpse into what was possible in a Pre-Code horror/ thriller world with content I'm not sure would have been in a movie by 1941.  But then you look at RKO horror, and, man, who knows?  But it's a movie with mostly uncomfortable thoughts more than anything on screen.  

Karloff's character is clearly way past sociopathic, having sold out his own people during WWI and returned to Austria - having woo'd and won Lugosi's wife (who believed Bela dead).  Bela has finally left prison after being captured during the war and wants revenge - and his daughter if she's there.  A dopey American couple gets mixed up in it all, and unfortunately for them, the woman is the quite fetching Jacqueline Wells (better known as Julie Bishop).  And because everyone here is a psycho, she becomes the MacGuffin.  

Look, this movie has Bauhaus architecture, Satanic cults, hypnosis drugs that go nowhere, and an unfounded and unexplained fear of kitties.  And cat murder that goes uncommented upon.  It's absolutely wild.  And not just for Karloff's extremely comfortable-looking wardrobe of dressing gowns and silky robes.  

The runtime is like 70 minutes, so it moves along at a rocket clip, so it never gets boring and I highly recommend seeing it if you've never checked it out.  If nothing else, it's a lot of weird, spooky fun.

   



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.