The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#176 Post by knives » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:03 am

I'm about halfway through Mandrake the Magician and it's making me genuinely curious if any of these sound serials are any good? Certainly the success of them in the silent era suggests they could be and it is interesting to see the nascent form of television in a theatrical setting more akin to how British television would develop. Nonetheless all the ones I've seen have been fairly hohum like this one where they're okay with expectations in check, but not something to get excited about.

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

#177 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:51 am

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Le Jour se lève (Carné 1939). I didn’t remember this well but my impression is again that I largely prefer Port of Shadows. There’s something about the framing device story that’s a little too stagey for my tastes. But the sense of hard, lonely working-class lives punctuated by romantic disillusionment still packs an existentialist punch. Great visuals too, whether in Trauner’s designs or the way the camera makes use of the apartment building François is holed up in.


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Bride of Frankenstein (Whale 1935). Fun in bits and pieces, and often gorgeously lit and shot. But the more playful tone means the sense of menace is taken out and some of this is completely silly, especially Pretorius and his miniature creatures.


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L’Atalante (Vigo 1934). Watching this again cements that it’s a film with a lot of charm but that never grabs me enough to make it a true favorite. Maybe it’s the fable aspect that I respond a bit less to, although I recognize it’s the mix of fantasy and realism that’s kind of the essence of the film. I noticed how much this feels like a silent, maybe in part because of much of the sound is obviously not direct, but also because of several “pure cinema” sequences. I really like the Boudu no. 2 character of le père Jules, really an endearing larger-than-life, densely characterized figure.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#178 Post by knives » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:09 am

I'm pretty sure Whale meant for it to be entirely silly. There's some emotion to the film as well, but it strikes me as mostly an urbane comedy to contrast with The Invisible Man's more rural sensibility.

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