The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions (Decade Project Vol. 4)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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movielocke
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#301 Post by movielocke » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:36 pm

(I will probably toss Who Killed Cock Robin for Sisters of Gion, and perhaps Merrily we Live for Redes, two films I somehow didn't include).

on my other orphans :

Dollar was the standout of the Ingrid Bergman eclipse, it's an overly serious zany screwball comedy functionally divided into a two sections, part one sets up the three affluent couples and their various interrelationships--Ingrid Bergman is the Austen like devilish master manipulator generating most of the conflict betwixt the crisscrossed friendships--and part two is at a ski resort where two individuals are introduced, a doctor, and the titular "Dollar" an "american" (swedish ex-pat returned home), who is basically a completely glorious auntie-mame, unsinkable molly brown type of brash and loud and irrepressible american.

Walk Cheerfully is a film that may have been a top ten contender if I had rewatched it, I remember just absolutely adoring it when I went through the Ozu set (which was actually my second time seeing it, but the first with a good translation), it was just vivacious and a little magical with wonderful performances, I strongly recommend watching it.

The Informer I went back and forth on whether to include this or Pilgrimage, as they are about the same position in Ford's oeuvre for me, but even though I just watched both back in October, it is Pilgrimage that is slipping out of my memory faster and The Informer that seems glued into place, I ranked Pilgrimage higher at the time. I'd be willing to swap it for Pilgrimage to un-orphan at least one of them. What I find most remarkable about The Informer is how it manages to be extremely critical of the titular action of breaking faith, but to be deeply compassionate towards that action, and present a world where we can comprehend the brutal economic forces and (lack of) education and hope that more or less force Gypo to do what he does. In many ways the film is building a case that solidarity and successful unions (or rebel armies as it so happens) are in constant danger of being undermined by poverty, and success is dependent not on adherence to the principles or ideology but requires continual intervention in the community and devotion to social improvement, so that the Gypos are rescued before they fall.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#302 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:50 pm

I would say Walk Cheerfully is Ozu's most purely cinematographically audacious film. It also mixes melodrama with a charming sort of good-natured goofiness. It's sort of a blend between Dragnet Girl and Lady and the Beard. If we were allowed more than 50 choices, this would easily make my list. ;-)

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knives
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#303 Post by knives » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:12 pm

Yes, it was me. I still haven't gotten to the trilogy, but Le schpountz is just a fun regional oddity and the only feature I can think of to pull off it's fool in Hollywood plot.

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sinemadelisikiz
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#304 Post by sinemadelisikiz » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:20 am

Image
I had 5 orphans, most of which were at the bottom of my list, so I can shuffle things around without much heartache. My highest ranked orphan was Kristian, a charming Czech screwball comedy from Martin Frič. On a night out at a fashionable nightclub, a woman named Zuzana encounters a mysterious man who flaunts his riches, woos her, and then vanishes without a word. The staff confirms that this is his monthly ritual (spend lavishly, seduce a beautiful woman, disappear!) and nobody knows anything about him except his name Kristian. But one clue gives him away, and she learns that he isn't exactly what he pretends to be. A fine comedy with a witty script about our constructed lives and the lives we actually have to live.

Other orphans:
Thru the Mirror - Basically Mickey in Wonderland. 30s are a great decade for animation and early Disney is a joy. Run, don't walk, to Swing You Sinners! though for my favorite short of the decade.
Tomatos Another Day - If you happen to watch a bunch of stagy early sound films in a row, this weird little short is even funnier. All the hallmarks are there: over-descriptive dialogue, unnatural movement, and diegetic sound so out of whack that a straw hat sounds like crunching bones. Tomatos plays like a winking critique from a couple of silent era visual stylists.
La Fin du Jour - Aging French actors living in a retirement home for their specific vocation and the histrionic shit they get up to. Part comedy, part melodrama.
La jeune fille au jardin - Proto-music video directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff. A shiny trifle aka my perfect #50.


I promise I'll get to the orphaned films I already have in my kevyip (including the other Czech films that I wasn't able to get to yet!), but I'd love to see some of the harder to find films too. If anyone has a beat on domino's beloved My Dear Miss Aldrich, please drop me a PM as I am sadly backchannel illiterate!

nitin
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#305 Post by nitin » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:56 am

Minkin, I also voted for Pygmalion and Queen Christina.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#306 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:55 am

Also voted for Pygmalion. ;-)

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domino harvey
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#307 Post by domino harvey » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:38 pm

theflirtydozen wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:49 pm
domino harvey wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:34 pm
There's a few spots at the bottom of my list I could live with reordering/changing. So. I will pledge to watch and consider voting for one orphaned film for each member who speaks out for it specifically, as long as it's not like five hours long. Keep in mind I may have already seen your orphan. I ask for nothing in return.
Domino, I'll check out My Dear Miss Aldrich in a swap for Skeleton on Horseback AKA The White Disease (Hugo Haas, 1937). There's a trailer up on youtube from the Czech National Film Archive (no subs) for this anti-fascist parable set in a fictional European fascistic nation ravaged by a plague affecting only people over 30. The lone doctor with the knowledge of the only cure demands for peace, which is met with resistance from a high-profile arms manufacturer and the Marshal leading the country.
Since you're the only one who took me up on this, I dutifully sought out Bílá nemoc, but sadly it didn't work for me. I was worried at outset that this was going to be another Louis Pasteur story with skeptics keeping down a cure, but it quickly became a rather tiresome different kind of artificial oppression in the constant back and forth of warmongers and the doctor. Allow me to summarize 90% of the film:

Doctor: I will cure you if you stop supporting war as a broad, non-specific concept.
Sick Warmonger: No.

I don't have a lot of patience for allegorical films that insist on hitting you over the head with a fire extinguisher instead of playing a defter hand, and so I thought this somehow got even worse in the last ten minutes. Sorry theflirtydozen!

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#308 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:04 pm

Is this White Disease a Capek adaptation?

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theflirtydozen
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#309 Post by theflirtydozen » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:42 pm

Michael, yes it is a Čapek adaptation of the play of the same name from the same year, 1937.
domino harvey wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:38 pm
Since you're the only one who took me up on this, I dutifully sought out Bílá nemoc, but sadly it didn't work for me. I was worried at outset that this was going to be another Louis Pasteur story with skeptics keeping down a cure, but it quickly became a rather tiresome different kind of artificial oppression in the constant back and forth of warmongers and the doctor. Allow me to summarize 90% of the film:

Doctor: I will cure you if you stop supporting war as a broad, non-specific concept.
Sick Warmonger: No.

I don't have a lot of patience for allegorical films that insist on hitting you over the head with a fire extinguisher instead of playing a defter hand, and so I thought this somehow got even worse in the last ten minutes. Sorry theflirtydozen!
Sad to hear it didn't work for you, but major props for following through nonetheless. I've obtained a copy of My Dear Miss Aldrich and hope to return the favor over the weekend. To be fair, I believe Galen makes some more specific requests than just a ban on supporting war in a non-specific way.
SpoilerShow
For example, when the head of the war plant contracts the disease and tries to trick Galen into curing him, Galen specifically calls for him to cease all arms production in exchange. Or when the Marshal at the end finally contracts the disease, the country is already in the middle of a war after attacking their smaller neighboring nation. Dr. Galen's terms for the Marshal here are for the live war to come to a halt. I also think Galen has a well-defined motivation for his demands, specifically the scene at the arms production factory shortly after an industrial accident and how he recounts to his fellow doctor from the neighboring nation his time working in a previous war.
Otherwise, I can definitely see your critiques, and understand how it wouldn't fall in someone else's wheelhouse. I was mainly struck by the literal depiction of clinging to fascism and war vs. peace and health, especially by the older generation (as these are the only people contracting the plague). Saw this shortly after Gabriel Over the White House and thought they acted as good foils to each other.

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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#310 Post by bamwc2 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:37 pm

Here are my orphans:

Captain Blood (Michael Curtiz, 1935) 14
Another Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1939) 15
After the Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1936) 27
The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Sidney Franklin, 1934) 34
Mad About Music (Norman Taurog, 1938) 39
Legong: Dance of the Virgins (Henri de la Falaise, 1935) 50

I prefer the Thin Man sequels to the original, but am not surprised that I'm the only one that feels that way. Legong is a batshit crazy choice, and I'm disappointed, but not shocked that Barretts and Mad about Music didn't receive any more love. However, I'm absolutely flabbergasted that no one else voted for Captain Blood. It's just about the perfect action adventure film. I love it so much.

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Tommaso
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#311 Post by Tommaso » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:51 pm

"The Barretts of Wimpole Street" is probably my favourite Norma Shearer film apart from the most obvious choice, "The Divorcee". But not even that one managed to make my list, as the 30s are obviously such a great decade for filmmaking and there were so many marvellous films to choose from. Give me a hundred films to vote for and "Barretts" would probably be included, and not just for Norma Shearer's but perhaps even more so for Laughton's performance. Just for the record: there's also a German TV version from the 1960s starring Anton Walbrook / Adolf Wohlbrück in that role which I find at least as good. But I guess that one is even less known than this Sidney Franklin film.

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Rayon Vert
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#312 Post by Rayon Vert » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:38 pm

bamwc2 wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:37 pm
However, I'm absolutely flabbergasted that no one else voted for Captain Blood. It's just about the perfect action adventure film. I love it so much.
I liked it a lot, but it came in at no. 52 on my list.

I'm deducing that, to my disappointment, FrauBlucher, the author of the best seafaring film thread, didn't submit a list here, given his appreciation for both this film and Mutiny on the Bounty.

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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#313 Post by TMDaines » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:24 am

These were my orphans, but expect the latter ones to drop off my list as I watch more films.

Il signor Max (Mario Camerini, 1937) 12
Resurrectio (Alessandro Blasetti, 1931) 21
Fanny (Marc Allégret, 1932) 23
Bachelor Mother (Garson Kanin, 1939) 26
T'amerò sempre (Mario Camerini, 1933) 27
In Name Only (John Cromwell, 1939) 33
Alice Adams (George Stevens, 1935) 39
Platinum Blonde (Frank Capra, 1931) 44
A Christmas Carol (Edwin Marin, 1938) 47
Dark Victory (Edmund Goulding, 1939) 50

I'll come back to defend a couple of the others, but most of them are fairly straightforward: if you like Marius, watch Fanny! Someone else wrote about Resurrectio already.

I'll probably watch the following by the deadline:

Terra madre (Alessandro Blasetti, 1931) 30
Mutiny on the Bounty (Frank Lloyd, 1935) 12
Little Caesar (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931) 46
The Petrified Forest (Archie Mayo, 1936) 36
Die verkaufte Braut (Max Ophüls, 1932) 21

If anyone wants to shout for these, I could watch a couple of the below by the deadline:

Brand in der Oper (Carl Froelich, 1930) 34
Der Mörder Dimitri Karamasoff (Fyodor Otsep, 1931) 48
Zauber der Boheme (Géza von Bolváry, 1937) 31
Katharina, die Letzte (Henry Koster, 1936) 32
Tredowata (Juliusz Gardan, 1936) 18
Tonka Sibenice (Karl Anton, 1930) 49
So endete eine Liebe (Karl Hartl, 1934) 10
Ritt in die Freiheit (Karl Hartl, 1937) 47
Walzerkrieg (Ludwig Berger, 1933) 29
Komedie om geld (Max Ophüls, 1936) 33
Ariane (Paul Czinner, 1931) 7
Ein blonder Traum (Paul Martin, 1932) 10
Das Mädchen Irene (Reinhold Schünzel, 1936) 33
Der Fall Dreyfus (Richard Oswald, 1930) 43
Razzia in St. Pauli (Werner Hochbaum, 1932) 30[/quote]

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#314 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:09 am

I just want to say, TMDaines, if you haven't seen Heat Lightning already, you might consider watching it as well as The Petrified Forest––they're strikingly similar, but I personally feel that The Petrified Forest's primary virtue is making obvious how good Heat Lightning is!

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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#315 Post by TMDaines » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:09 pm

HinkyDinkyTruesmith wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:09 am
I just want to say, TMDaines, if you haven't seen Heat Lightning already, you might consider watching it as well as The Petrified Forest––they're strikingly similar, but I personally feel that The Petrified Forest's primary virtue is making obvious how good Heat Lightning is!
I've prioritised the other one as I have just bought it on Blu-ray in the Ultimate Gangsters Blu-ray box (or whatever the American release is called)!

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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#316 Post by the preacher » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:34 pm

Hey, TMD, you voted Il signor Max and T'amerò sempre, I voted Gli uomini che mascalzoni (and Darò un milione was considered). You voted Resurrectio, I voted Terra madre. You voted Fanny, I voted Marius. :P

Tredowata and Tonka are babies of mine. If you are fond of passionate melodramas then The Leper is your film. If you are looking for (expressionist) visuals, then try Tonka of the Gallows. Both films also have social commentary.

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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#317 Post by movielocke » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:23 pm

TMDaines wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:24 am


I'll come back to defend a couple of the others, but most of them are fairly straightforward: if you like Marius, watch Fanny!
I went back and reread my thoughts from all three films and I'm going to try to get both Fanny and Cesar on my resubmitted list if I can. I had them in the 50s -60s range on the initial compilation, but I think I wasn't valuing them as highly as I should have.

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movielocke
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#318 Post by movielocke » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:36 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:22 am
But Captains Courageous? Lady for a Day?? Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife??? Little Caesar is MIA yet again after the pre code list miss
Lady for a Day I never loved, Captains Courageous I did love when I saw it, but not well enough to comparatively evaluate it to stick it in with 49 other films I feel much more confident and strongly about, It's probably in the 70s-80s range for me, Bluebeard's Eighth Wife has been on my too-watch list for almost as long as I've been watching old movies, just never gotten around to it.

I've had the first Warners Gangster set for at least twelve years now, which is probably the last time I watched Little Caesar, I wanted to rewatch the entire set (especially as its possibly one of the rotting batches of DVDs WB put out), but just ran out of time. Scarface has always been my favorite, moreso than any of the WB gangster titles, but I'd love to watch them all again with fresher eyes. Little Caesar never did it much for me, I preferred Public Enemy, but I really don't remember Little Caesar all that well.
Rayon Vert wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:00 pm
No love for Mutiny on the Bounty??
Another one I last watched 15-18 years ago, and remember loving it, but as above with Captains Courageous, I'm not confident enough in hazy memories to really get it into the top fifty.

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domino harvey
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#319 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:56 pm

movielocke, I think you'd prob hate Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, at least based on some of your other posts. Progressive it is not. Hilarious it is, though

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Tommaso
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#320 Post by Tommaso » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:23 pm

TMDaines wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:24 am

If anyone wants to shout for these, I could watch a couple of the below by the deadline:

Brand in der Oper (Carl Froelich, 1930) 34
Der Mörder Dimitri Karamasoff (Fyodor Otsep, 1931) 48
Zauber der Boheme (Géza von Bolváry, 1937) 31
Katharina, die Letzte (Henry Koster, 1936) 32
Tredowata (Juliusz Gardan, 1936) 18
Tonka Sibenice (Karl Anton, 1930) 49
So endete eine Liebe (Karl Hartl, 1934) 10
Ritt in die Freiheit (Karl Hartl, 1937) 47
Walzerkrieg (Ludwig Berger, 1933) 29
Komedie om geld (Max Ophüls, 1936) 33
Ariane (Paul Czinner, 1931) 7
Ein blonder Traum (Paul Martin, 1932) 10
Das Mädchen Irene (Reinhold Schünzel, 1936) 33
Der Fall Dreyfus (Richard Oswald, 1930) 43
Razzia in St. Pauli (Werner Hochbaum, 1932) 30

As many of them are on my list, or probably on the list of a good friend of mine who sadly posts here even less than I do these days, and because I consider all of them great even though I couldn't put them on my list, I'd give a shout for all of these! All of them are difficult to see and underrated films from the German/Austrian production of the 1930s. No chance to see them apart from the backchannels, and that's the main reason why I didn't try to 'jazz them up' here.

However, I would like to give brief but special recommendations for the following ones (and they all come with subtitles by yours truly...):

Zauber der Boheme: one of Bolvary's most stylish films; a rather loose adaptation of the Puccini opera starring the marvellous real-life singer-couple of Jan Kiepura and Martha Eggerth in the leading roles. Gorgeous musical performances not just of music by Puccini, but also some newly composed tunes by the great Robert Stolz. If you like the films of Ophuls or Forst, this one is easily on the same level.

Katharina die Letzte: Remade by Hollywood as "The Girl Downstairs" (and also featuring Franciska Gaal in the main role), this Austrian original by Hermann Kosterlitz (later known as Henry Koster) is one of the most touching Austrian films from this period. A love story between a simple servant girl and a rich young man, yes, and sure we've seen something like this in other films. But not as deeply heartfelt, unashamedly romantic and pitch-perfectly written as this one. This drove me to tears even on the second viewing...

Ein blonder Traum: well, what shall I say about this one that I haven't said before elsewhere? I of course put "Der Kongress tanzt" at the top of my list, and I also rated "Die drei von der Tankstelle" higher due to its historical importance, but there's simply no other Lilian Harvey film that I LOVE more than this one. A truly wonderful story about a penniless girl who dreams of becoming a star in Hollywood only to realise that she's far better off with the two Willies (Fritsch and Forst) in a disused railway carriage in the outskirts of depression era Berlin. Lots of references to silent film history in a spectacular dream sequence, to contemporary Weimar social situations (although very much filtered through the UFA lens..), and also containing some of the best songs you'll ever encounter in any UFA sound film operetta of that time, thanks to the great Werner Heymann. I find it hard to imagine that anyone can listen to Lilian singing "Irgendwo auf der Welt" without being deeply moved...

And if you need any further indication of how much I love this film, and if you allow me this shameless bit of self-promotion: this is the only film I've ever recorded a custom audiocommentary for. You can hear my ramblings - without the film - at Herr Schreck's House of Commentary; but if you know where to look for it, there's also now a newly re-cut custom version with more than six previously unseen minutes which restores this marvel of a film to almost its original length, and which also contains the commentary as an extra. Well... if you can, please go and see it, because this film simply doesn't deserve to be orphaned :)

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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#321 Post by swo17 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:58 pm

I'm just noticing that Sans lendemain/There's No Tomorrow by Max Ophüls is presently a 1939 film per IMDb. This film received no votes during the first round of voting for this 1930s list, though it did receive 3 votes during the last 1940s list. I'm thinking we call this a 1930s film and anyone who might want to add it to their 1930s list can do so during the current Round 2. However, I realize this is kind of last minute, so if anyone takes issue with this proposed treatment, please let me know.

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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#322 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:59 pm

swo17 wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:58 pm
I'm just noticing that Sans lendemain/There's No Tomorrow by Max Ophüls is presently a 1939 film per IMDb. This film received no votes during the first round of voting for this 1930s list, though it did receive 3 votes during the last 1940s list. I'm thinking we call this a 1930s film and anyone who might want to add it to their 1930s list can do so during the current Round 2. However, I realize this is kind of last minute, so if anyone takes issue with this proposed treatment, please let me know.
Yeah I had mentioned in my write-up that it got released in December 39 in Algiers. It came close to making my list.

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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#323 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:49 pm

TMDaines wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:24 am
These were my orphans, but expect the latter ones to drop off my list as I watch more films.
[...]
Dark Victory (Edmund Goulding, 1939) 50
I'm sad to see that you plan on dropping Dark Victory, because I just finished watching it and was quite thrilled by it! An unfortunate accent on Bogey, and one of the stiffest performances I've seen in a while from Ronny Reagan aside, I thought it was a superb member of the disease melodrama, the woman's picture, and the family melodrama. It matches its earnestness about its sentimental, perhaps ridiculously optimistic narrative and viewpoint with an extreme elegance in filmmaking. Bette Davis is wonderful in it, shamelessly gorgeous despite her impending death, and it had one of the most absolutely affecting final shots in film that I can remember.

Otherwise, I watched Crime Without Passion––did anyone else have this on their list, or was it a complete shut-out? A remarkable stylish and at times even avant-garde cynical thriller, written and directed by Ben Hecht (and Charles MacArthur), it might slip onto my list as well. While the first half is more visually striking, the second half plays like a police procedural from the point of view of the criminal. Quite good stuff.

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Minkin
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#324 Post by Minkin » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:12 am

OK, I've been meaning to respond to people and post an update and such, so here that goes.

First: thanks to everybody who voted for Pygmalion (like Michael Kerpan) + Domino (Ruggles), theflirtydozen (Doctor X + maybe a Mikado save), and nitin (Queen Christina) Also an extra thanks to Tommaso (I had no idea the backchannels had a subbed copy of Der Verlorene Sohn - now nobody has an excuse not to watch it!) - also for posting the subs, as I didn't realize those existed either.

@theflirtydozen - Hej-rup! (Martin Frič, 1934) sounds fantastic and I'd watch it if I had access to it. As promised - The Invisible Man will be saved from the orphanage.

@sinemadelisikiz - I watched Tomatos Another Day and found it great. It may or may not make it onto my final list.

@bamwc2 - I'll try to get to Legong: Dance of the Virgins before the deadline, hopefully.
==================================================================================
Strike Me Pink (Norman Taurog, 1936)
Eddie Cantor + Ethel Merman in a musical-comedy that was written for Harold Lloyd and has touches of Looney Tunes thrown in. It has all you could want from a Lloyd/Keaton film: hapless fellow with a penchant for inventions, plenty of physical comedy, and an extended chase finale. I loved the cartoon elements in this film - such as the bodyguard who keeps showing up in random places (like Droopy in Northwest Hounded Police) + Cantor overpowering an assassin - by having read further in a self-help book than the assailant! It also really shows off The Pike amusement park - making great use of the coaster for the final chase sequence (throwing in quite a bit of terrifying stunt work as well). OK, so the musical numbers aren't very good - most being a poorman's Busby Berkeley - with the chorus girls stomping out their routine. Though Merman's 1st song is lit + framed very well. Excepting these musical segments, this could easily work as a silent film. Its just a wonderful film that feels either like it would be one of Lloyd's best, or something from Tex Avery. This is a new favorite and hopefully someone else might watch it as well in the meantime.

===============================================
Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1939) + Blotto (1930) are going to be dropped from my list - as I need to make room for some of these other choices that I've discovered lately. For posterity sake, I'll post my orphans that I didn't mention in my previous post (I'm not going to vote for these in round two unless somebody takes an interest in any of them - but I'd prefer you save the ones from my previous list):

Topper (1937) - Actually, I'll keep this one for round 2
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
Evergreen (1934) - Also really surprised nobody else voted for this one.
The Challenge (1938)
The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)
Dante’s Inferno (1935)
Berlin-Alexanderplatz – Die Geschichte Franz Biberkopfs (1931)



I will try to watch any short films that get posted here with Youtube links before the deadline. If you have a short film with a Youtube link you want me to see - post here or PM me.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#325 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:14 am

I rewatched Sirk/Sierck's Zu Neuen Ufern, which I had watched when writing my thesis on his work, but, amazingly, had forgotten pretty much everything about it except some vague visual sensations. I had a bit of recall when actually rewatching it, but, I really wonder if I'd been paying attention at all...

Anyway, I feel much more confident in my understanding of Sirk's style since writing my thesis, and it certainly aided this viewing. While I don't like it as much as Schlussakkord, nor most of his American features, it's certainly an impressive and extremely coherent melodrama, which threatens Brechtianism but falls just short of that ideal in the same way that Brecht himself falls short––as a theatre professor of mine once said, the problem with Brecht is that he's too good a storyteller. He wants to keep you at a distance but the story is too well-told. Well, that's what happens here, although like many of the critics of Sirk's so-called Brechtianism, I question the degree to which he actually wants to distance the audience. ZNU encourages audience identification with Gloria almost always*, and plays much like All That Heaven Allows, in that we constantly see her subjected to painful sacrifice and bitter disappointment for others. The most powerful moments involve kindnesses of some kind––the way that Gloria and her prisonmate continually try to bail the other out of punishment, or when the prison matron admits that perhaps she has grown hard, or Gloria's prisonmate giving her her mirror as a wedding present, or even the cabaret owner giving Gloria one last night and ten shillings to perform even though he plans on getting rid of her. The anti-capitalist critique is thoroughly woven into the narrative, but in a delicate manner. As Sirk says in Sirk on Sirk, it must begin with the audience.

*Indeed, Sirk's work seems to me as the true precursor for Steven Spielberg's work: visually dynamic with a motivated-camera, always tracking its actors, prioritizing the story, no matter how schlocky, first. Spielberg at times lapses in Capra-esque transparency, but, still.

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