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 (Decade Project Vol. 4)

#376 Post by movielocke » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:27 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Shrew wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:04 pm
Tokyo Inn was on Filmstruck (RIP), which is how I saw it.
I missed seeing it there, I guess. Maybe it will be back soon...
I hope so, it had a really great score, I think, most of them were presented silently.

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

#377 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:50 pm

Tokyo Inn was a "sound-band film" (a film with a musical soundtrack but no spoken dialog).

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

#378 Post by BenoitRouilly » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:27 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:50 pm
Tokyo Inn was a "sound-band film" (a film with a musical soundtrack but no spoken dialog).
No Benshi for this one?

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

#379 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:00 pm

By this point, Shochiku disliked benshis -- a lot. Sometimes benshis "cooperated" with musical soundtracks -- but I suspect this usually just had the score -- after all, it has LOTS of intertitles.

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the preacher
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Re: The 1930s List: Discussion and Suggestions

#380 Post by the preacher » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:47 am

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.
Certainly the best film without a single vote. At least Ophüls is well represented.
Flagrant omissions, just to name a few: Abel Gance (J'accuse!), George Marshall (Destry Rides Again), Léonide Moguy (Je t'attendrai), Humberto Mauro (Ganga Bruta), Fernando de Fuentes (El compadre Mendoza)...

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

#381 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Sat May 18, 2019 11:13 pm

I finally got around to watching My Dear Miss Aldrich. I don't know if it would have made my list even if I had watched it all those months ago––however, that's not to say I didn't like it. I liked the first two thirds very much, but the last section of the movie (once they start chasing after one another) just felt a little phoned in (and I finally understand some complaints about Walter Pidgeon as an actor). I'm willing to give it another watch, as I might appreciate it better now that I know where it's going, considering the effusive and precise praise Domino gave it way back. Maureen O'Sullivan's Miss Aldrich certainly is a unique character in classic Hollywood, and she's always enjoyable to watch. It's just a shame that lead balloon gags filled up back half (although Robert Greig was, as always, a delight to see). Perhaps it was the mood I was in, but it felt like a full two hours despite being 70 minutes.

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

#382 Post by nitin » Sun May 19, 2019 9:42 pm

Wouldn’t have made my list but I finally got around to rewatching The Devil is a Woman via Criterion’s new blu ray. The new restoration does wonders for the set design, cinematography and for Dietrich’s closeups. The entire mood of the whole film is bewitching and seductive even though the story and characterisations do not amount to all that much. The reading of the last few scenes will probably determine most people’s overall reaction to the film but they worked well enough for me.

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

#383 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Sun May 19, 2019 9:56 pm

It's funny––The Devil Is a Woman is the only von Sternberg-Dietrich film I hadn't seen at the time of the lists. However, I caught it on 35mm at Film Forum back in March and absolutely loved it (and the print was in near pristine condition!) It really is the culmination of the films they had been making, and somehow it managed to rival the grotesquely oversized (in a good way) Scarlet Empress while clearly having been made in more constrained circumstances. I think the story and characterization are perfect for what the film needs, in this darkest and most cruel of Sternberg's films. It would've made the top half of my list (as would Blonde Venus, which I revisited with great success).

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

#384 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:33 pm

I don’t know exactly where to put this, but I just saw a little film called Wer nimmt die Liebe ernst... (or Who Takes Love Seriously?) that absolutely stunned me with its comedic delivery and perfectly realised gags. The performances are so on point that one needs almost no dialogue or knowledge of the characters to fall in love with them, a testament to the immaculate conception of this visionary work. This may be the best silent film that’s not a silent film, for while some of the jokes use language or sound, their effectiveness relies almost entirely on visual means with the sound often working to amplify an already pitch perfect moment. The light and playful vibe is reminiscent of both the best comedic silents that came before and the sound screwballs that were yet to come, a sandwiched stepping stone of a movie that’s a product of its time using all the working tools at its disposal to their maximum potential. Unfortunately the copy I found on YouTube’s subs are so poorly times it’s unwatchable, but the film is available on backchannels for those with access. This would certainly place high within my own top 10 of the decade.

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

#385 Post by Tommaso » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:57 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:33 pm
This may be the best silent film that’s not a silent film, for while some of the jokes use language or sound, their effectiveness relies almost entirely on visual means with the sound often working to amplify an already pitch perfect moment. The light and playful vibe is reminiscent of both the best comedic silents that came before and the sound screwballs that were yet to come, a sandwiched stepping stone of a movie that’s a product of its time using all the working tools at its disposal to their maximum potential.
I couldn't agree more. It should also be mentioned that the film is highly erotically charged with a stunning Jenny Jugo in a decidedly 'pre-code' (wrong term for a Weimar film probably) but very light and playful manner that is quite unlike Hollywood's femme fatales from the same era. Script by Henry Koster (Hermann Kosterlitz), btw, so that might explain why the film's comedy is so effective.

Anyway, if you're looking for silent films that are not silents, I'd also again recommend Pal Fejös' beautiful and touching Sonnenstrahl (1933), which although it has a far more serious subject matter also contains long passages of entirely visual/sonic gags, and which in its general depiction of young love and somewhat hard-earned optimism is also perhaps not dissimilar to Wer nimmt die Liebe ernst...

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

#386 Post by senseabove » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:06 pm

Anyone have any strong feelings about Anatole Litvak's Confessions of a Nazi Spy?

It's playing in the Stanford Theater's 1939 season, and I'm curious about it as the first American anti-Nazi film, but I've already seen the paired A feature and, while I like Wuthering Heights well enough, it's not enough to get me down there unless the B picture's worth the trip.

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

#387 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:11 pm

I’ve seen it, and I remember nothing about it except it’s either this or Man Hunt that has Sanders in a Nazi uppercut

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

#388 Post by knives » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:15 pm

It's okay, but as Dom just proved not that memorable.

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

#389 Post by movielocke » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:16 am

Confessions of a nazi spy is fine, but the stories about the films production are fascinating, if there’s any component to the screening with a panel or intv with a scholar it’d be good to check out for that.

The existence of the film prompted pro fascist senators to create a new thing: the House of Unamerican Activities Committee—Because the probfascists decided aight unseen that Hollywood en masse had way overstepped their bounds by one studio criticizing nazis (who are definitely not un-American! duh!) but the committee’s mandate to enthusiastically hunt anti-nazis was suddenly put on hold after Pearl Harbor. Hmmm

But the pro fascists revived their little committee in the late forties as enthusiastic as ever.

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

#390 Post by senseabove » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:50 pm

Thanks! Seems like no one can muster a challenge to my impression that what's interesting about the movie isn't the movie itself, so I'll probably save myself the trip.

Taking recommendations on the other deeper cuts on the Tue/Wed or Thur/Fri double-bills that I shouldn't miss... In particular, I'm wondering about Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Each Dawn I Die, and a little bit about the Calling Dr. Kildare/Second Fiddle double.

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

#391 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:46 am

I think the Rains Came is the clear best film being shown on those days. Goodbye, Mister Chips has bad teaching advice and Greer Garson as a MPDG decades before Kiki Dunst and Each Dawn I Die is a somewhat more violent than usual jailhouse WB pic-- I wouldn't go out of my way for either, but wouldn't discourage seeing them. I can't imagine hating yourself enough to pay to see a Dr Kildare movie on the big screen (and how is it top-lining over a Sonja Henie movie??)

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

#392 Post by senseabove » Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:50 am

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:46 am
I think the Rains Came is the clear best film being shown on those days. Goodbye, Mister Chips has bad teaching advice and Greer Garson as a MPDG decades before Kiki Dunst and Each Dawn I Die is a somewhat more violent than usual jailhouse WB pic-- I wouldn't go out of my way for either, but wouldn't discourage seeing them. I can't imagine hating yourself enough to pay to see a Dr Kildare movie on the big screen (and how is it top-lining over a Sonja Henie movie??)
Your praise for The Rains Came elsewhere on here definitely knocked it to the top of the list, especially since I already have an affection for Clarence Brown...

Thanks for the opinions on the others. Admittedly, the draw at at the Stanford is often that you're not likely to get a chance to see it on the big screen again, unless they play it again—I wonder how many times that Dr. Kildare movie has
played on the big screen since 1939. (Turns out the Stanford showed it previously in 1994, I've learned since typing that last night but not hitting post...)

As for which is A and which B, it is indeed sometimes baffling... Half the time I think they're showing the more interesting/popular movie twice so more people get two chances to see it and the other half I think they're showing it at 7:30 so the time is more likely to work for more folks. In the end, I'm usually just grateful they're showing unusual deep cuts or kicking myself for skipping them when they suddenly crop up in various places, which is why I ask... If it's worth seeing, the Stanford's the place to see it.

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