1931-1940

W.S. Van Dyke – San Francisco [Colourised] (1936)

San Francisco is a 1936 film directed by W.S. Van Dyke, written by Anita Loos, starring Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy and Jack Holt. It was nominated for six Oscars, of which it won one. The film tells the story of Mary Blake, who, out of poverty, starts singing at a local gambling hall. When she moves on, the owner of the gambling hall, Blackie, keeps following her. The confrontations between Mary and Blackie are suddenly put to a stop with the advent of the San Franscisco earthquake. Read More »

William A. Seiter – Chance at Heaven (1933)

Plot: Blackstone ‘Blacky’ Gorman, rising service station owner, is blessed with the devotion of supremely sweet and noble Marje Harris, but he meets coquettish and silly debutante Glory Franklyn and, between Glory’s charm and his social ambition, is snared into an upscale marriage that proves to have its downside. Written by Rod Crawford
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Fyodor Otsep – Mirages de Paris (1933)

A jolly French film, with a rich vein of satire, is at the little Acme Theatre on Union Square under the name of “Mirages de Paris.”

In this fast-moving fantasy of the unsophisticated student (Mlle. Francell) who escapes from a boarding school to become, after many trials and tribulations, the “toast of Paris,” Fedor Ozep has managed to combine much of the technic of his native Russia with the flair for the ridiculous supposed to belong to all true Parisians. Read More »

Fritz Lang – M [Universum, 80th Anniversary Edition] (1931)

Quote:
The horror of the faces: That is the overwhelming image that remains from a recent viewing of the restored version of “M,” Fritz Lang’s famous 1931 film about a child murderer in Germany. In my memory it was a film that centered on the killer, the creepy little Franz Becker, played by Peter Lorre. But Becker has relatively limited screen time, and only one consequential speech–although it’s a haunting one. Most of the film is devoted to the search for Becker, by both the police and the underworld, and many of these scenes are played in closeup. In searching for words to describe the faces of the actors, I fall hopelessly upon “piglike.” Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Quote:
Bob (Leslie Banks) and Jill Lawrence (Edna Best) are on a winter sports holiday with their teenage daughter. When their friend Louis Bernard is shot whilst dancing with Jill, he tells Bob of an assassination about to take place in London.

Fearing that their plot will be revealed, the assassins kidnap their daughter in order to keep the Lawrence’s quiet.
Bob and Jill return to London and take matters into their own hands.
In this movie we can beside Leslie Banks and Edna Best also see Peter Lorre. Read More »

Roberto Rossellini – Il tacchino prepotente (1939)

This is an anti-Fascist short Rossellini made in 1940.
Quote:
La vispa Teresa was rejected and, although Ferrara said that Il tacchino was distributed by Scalera under its working title, “La perfida Albione,” there were no press notices, and no one outside of Scalera is known to have seen it. According to Ferrara, Rossellini told him it was a satire in which “Perfidious Albion,” a big turkey representing England, goes around pecking at the hens representing the nations of Europe, until defied by a rooster representing Italy. “Rossellini detested it,” said Ferrara, “[though his] genius was such that he could achieve extraordinary effects out of nothing. He used to tell me, ‘It’s the only time that, through my weakness, I made a work of propaganda.’” Read More »

Victor Fleming – The Wizard of Oz [+Extras] (1939)

The third and definitive film adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s fantasy, this musical adventure is a genuine family classic that made Judy Garland a star for her heartfelt performance as Dorothy Gale, an orphaned young girl unhappy with her drab black-and-white existence on her aunt and uncle’s dusty Kansas farm.

Dorothy yearns to travel “over the rainbow” to a different world, and she gets her wish when a tornado whisks her and her little dog, Toto, to the Technicolorful land of Oz. Having offended the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), Dorothy is protected from the old crone’s wrath by the ruby slippers that she wears. Read More »