Mary Ellen Bute & Ted Nemeth – Tarantella (1940)

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Quote:
This new medium of expression is the Absolute Film. Here the artist creates a world of color, form, movement and sound in which the elements are in a state of controllable flux, the two materials (visual and aural) being subject to any conceivable interrelation and modification. – Mary Ellen Bute Continue reading

John Ford – Arrowsmith (1931)

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Quote:
Promising medical student Martin Arrowsmith turns down a chance to do research at the McGurk Institute with Professor Max Gottlieb because he wants to marry his sweetheart Leora Tozer. The newlyweds have a tough time on the rural doctoring circuit in Minnesota, but through the encouragement of touring lecturer Gustav Sondelius Martin finds his way back to the Institute in New York with Gottlieb. After a couple years, he’s “scooped” on a major find by Louis Pasteur, but then takes a dangerous trip to the Caribbean to do experimental serum trials on a runaway plague. Continue reading

Mario Peixoto – Limite AKA Limit (1931)

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Quote:
An astonishing creation, Limite is the only feature by the Brazilian director and author Mário Peixoto, made when he was just twenty-two years old. Inspired by a haunting André Kertész photograph on the cover of a French magazine, this avant-garde silent master­piece centers on a man and two women lost at sea, their pasts unfolding through flashbacks propelled by the music of Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, and others. An early work of independent Latin American filmmaking, Limite was famously difficult to see for most of the twentieth century. It is a pioneering achievement that continues to captivate with its timeless visual poetry. Continue reading

Lewis Seiler – You Can’t Get Away with Murder (1939)

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Synopsis:
Humphrey Bogart plays mobster Frank Wilson, the heavy headlining this crime thriller that sprung from the pen of Sing-Sing’s warden himself! Based on the play “Chalked Out” by Warden Lewis E. Lawes and Jonathan Finn, You Can’t Get Away With Murder tells the grim tale of a young punk taken in by the glamorous gangster life, only to find himself sent away to the federal pen with a man’s fate resting in his hands and a murderer dogging his every step. Young Johnnie Stone (original “Dead End Kid” Billy Halop) hooks up with hoodlum Wilson only to help Wilson frame his sister’s (Gale Page) straight and narrow fiancé Fred (Harvey Stephens) for Murder One. All three men soon find themselves sent to the “Big House” – two serving a stretch for robbery, the third for Death Row. Can Johnnie come clean in time to save Fred, with Frank watching his every move? Continue reading

Jean Epstein – Les berceaux (1931)

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Here is the text for the poem by Sully Prudhomme that the song is based on:

Le long du Quai, les grands vaisseaux,
Que la houle incline en silence,
Ne prennent pas garde aux berceaux,
Que la main des femmes balance.

Mais viendra le jour des adieux,
Car il faut que les femmes pleurent,
Et que les hommes curieux
Tentent les horizons qui leurrent!
Continue reading

Henry Koster – Das häßliche Mädchen AKA The Ugly Girl (1933)

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Quote:
“Das hässliche Mädchen” (The ugly girl) of the title is young Lotte (Dolly Haas), who is hired as a secretary by an insurance company precisely for her supposed ugliness, as the director (Otto Wallburg) hopes to avoid amorous affairs in his company this way. But as these things go, not only does one of his employees, Fritz (Max Hansen), fall for her, but unsurprisngly the ugly duckling soon transforms into a lovely lady. Fritz realises a little too late that he’s in love with Lotte, however, and meanwhile establishes an affair with the company director’s girlfriend. And obviously, this leads to all sorts of problems and funny situations… Continue reading