Category Archives: 1930s

Evelyn Prentice (1934)

Evelyn Prentice follows that time-honored tradition of having a comedy team appear in a dramatic vehicle where the most drama you get is in just how bad they are when they are trying to be deadly serious. This domestic/courtroom melodrama is certainly deadly in every aspect of its execution right down to the irritating little kid who gets trotted out whenever they want to make a point about how much the dad is neglecting his family or how mommy should own up to killing the guy she started running around with just because dad was neglecting the family. Continue reading

Dracula (1931)

Were this any other horror movie where the characters stood around and unconvincingly spewed forth lines and plot points while periodically swiping haplessly at oversized rubber bats suspended on wires as visible as in any Godzilla movie, I would complain about problems involving bad acting, unimaginative direction, a barely explained villain, and an actor playing the villain with such laughably exaggerated gestures and mannerisms that you wonder if he thought this was a Mel Brooks comedy and file it away as just another low budget terror flick that had neither the talent nor the inclination to be anything else. Continue reading

Double Wedding (1937)

This is one of the gimpier offerings from William Powell and Myrna Loy, a pair known for their sophisticated brand of comedy that triumphed in such fare as The Thin Man and Libeled Lady. Double Wedding is one of those zany screwball comedies where a wacky guy and an uptight gal have to overcome their natural inclinations to be wacky and uptight before they can admit what we all knew going into things: that they’re really, truly, madly, deeply, in love. Continue reading

Dangerous (1935)

Bette Davis is just fine in the role of Joyce Heath, the talented and self-destructive actress who is brought back from the brink by the creepily-obsessive adulation of architect Don Bellows (Franchot Tone). The problem is the herky-jerky and sporadic treatment of the problems that Joyce suffers from, notably alcoholism. She seems to be a heavy drinker just so that she can say she’s a down and out has-been, like it was something to aspire to! Continue reading

Easy Living (1937)

EasyLivingCoverThis is another one of those screwball comedies made in the 1930s where regular folk are thrown into the strange and kooky world of rich folk. I never tire of seeing the filthy rich act like boobs while falling in love with lower class types. This time the results are very satisfying chiefly because of the witty, if mechanical, script from Preston Sturges and the peppy efforts of Jean Arthur.

Ray Milland is also along for the ride as her love interest and watching the young Milland makes you cringe when you remember that thirty years later he would end up in such fare as X – The Man With X-Ray Eyes and Frogs. Cringe because of how long it would take him to get around to making cool movies! Continue reading

The Black Room (1935)

The Black Room PosterThe Black Room is a slight, but effective little horror film that gives us the pleasure of seeing Boris Karloff as twin noblemen. When there are twins in the movies, one of two things will happen. Either both are really evil (like twins in real life) or there is one that’s evil and one that’s a pretty good guy. When you have one of each, it allows lots of cool stuff to go on, usually involving the bad twin impersonating the good twin so that he can do twice the bad things in half the time. Continue reading

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

SonOfFrankensteinCoverThis second sequel to Frankenstein marks the series’ lengthy descent into the mediocrity (even Boris Karloff’s makeup isn’t as good!) that would eventually force the Monster to do battle with the likes of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Though it isn’t readily apparent in this movie (chiefly because it’s camouflaged by a good cast), the seeds of everything that went wrong with the series were sown here – that being the reduction of the Monster from a tormented beast who is only seeking acceptance in an inhospitable world to a generic movie monster called Frankenstein. Continue reading

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride of Frankenstein PosterWidely considered as superior to its predecessor, Bride of Frankenstein is one of those movies that is probably as great as many will tell you and is not nearly the dreary, serious meditation on the folly of playing God you may have been lead to believe nor is it an old and creaky monster movie that modern audiences will yawn during. In fact, watching this, I was reminded of the Re-Animator movies, what with the off-hand treatment of the Monster and the various shenanigans he gets into along the way. Continue reading

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein PosterLike for so many of us, Henry Frankenstein’s college years were a time of turmoil and self-discovery. He was way too advanced to stay in school and wanted the university to provide him with a steady stream of corpses so that he could continue playing God. The school refused, saying that they preferred to suck people dry over the course of a lifetime through their student loan program instead. So Henry put a flyer up at the student union looking for a hunchback to join his band and got an off-campus apartment with a windmill. If you substituted “kegs” for “corpses,” that pretty much describes my freshman year! Continue reading

Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

OnlyAngelsHaveWingsPoster2Cary Grant plays Geoff “Pop” Carter and if you find yourself trying to stifle a giggle when you first see him and he’s decked out like some sort of jungle Indiana Jones with his wide brimmed hat, safari clothes, and six shooter strapped to his hip, don’t worry. It isn’t long before he slaps on his flying leathers and starts looking like the hard driving, risk taking, mail jockey whose hair is just as oiled up as the propeller on old #4 he truly is. Continue reading