Category Archives: 1930s

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

Lost Horizon (1937)

LostHorizonPosterI might have been able to tolerate Lost Horizon‘s uptoian feel good mumbo jumbo about how everybody is really polite to everyone else and how all the Tibetan natives were forced to learn English (say, this is paradise, isn’t it?) by some pushy Catholic priest, if it all wasn’t just so freaking boring.

Director Frank Capra let that whole “slow down the pace” ideal of his paradise seep into his filmmaking here because this one edges ever so slowly from leisurely to glacial to La Brea Tar Pit paced.

It took him the first half hour alone to establish that the plane carrying star Ronald Coleman and his supporting cast was being hijacked to paradise. (If this place is so great, why do you have to commit an act of air piracy to get people to join up?) Continue reading

The Old Maid (1939)

Old Maid PosterObviously, this movie might be classified as a chick flick since it deals with subject matter that only a woman could enjoy. At least a woman from 1885 that is. I frankly think that most modern women who see this Bette Davis flick would think she was a doormat for no good reason. The guys who see this movie are obviously just trying to suck up to their girlfriends or probably have no use for girlfriends.

This one came out in 1939 so I suppose it was possible that some unwed mother could have had to lie about her baby’s origins for her whole life just so that her baby could have the advantages of being a rich adopted kid instead of a poor bastard. But this movie piled on the drama beyond that and the result was that I never quite figured out the purpose for most of Bette Davis’ actions. Oh I understood it was because she loved her daughter very much and wanted only the best for her, I just never got why that required her to become a dried up, crabby old maid. Continue reading