1931-1940

Luis Buñuel – Las Hurdes AKA Land Without Bread (1933)

Quote:
Although it is often described as a documentary, Land Without Bread is actually an early parody — some would say a Surrealist parody — of documentary filmmaking. The film focuses on the Las Hurdes region of Spain, the mountainous area around the town La Alberca, and the intense poverty of its occupants. Buñuel, who made the film after reading an ethnographic study (Las Jurdes: étude de géographie humaine (1927)) by Maurice Legendre, took a Surrealist approach to the notion of the anthropological expedition. The result was a travelogue in which a disinterested narrator provides unverifiable, gratuitous, and wildly exaggerated descriptions of the human misery of Las Hurdes. Read More »

Jack Cutting & Clyde Geronimi – Ugly Duckling (1939)

Quote:
A newborn cygnet searches for a family that will accept him. Read More »

Wilfred Jackson – The Ugly Duckling (1931)

Quote:
A black duckling is rejected by its mother, a hen, but manages to prove his worth when a tornado threatens the hen’s chicks. Read More »

John G. Adolfi – A Successful Calamity (1932)

Plot: Henry Wilton is an elderly millionaire saddled with his selfish young second wife Emmy ‘Sweetie’ Wilton and a pair of spoiled grown children (Peggy and Eddie). To test his family’s mettle, Henry pretends to have gone broke. Just as he suspected they would, his children rally to their father’s side and change their ways: Peggy forsakes the fortune hunter George Struthers for the nice young man she’s really in love with, the polo coach Larry Rivers; while Eddie applies for a demanding job and performs admirably. Only Sweetie seems to desert Henry. Written by Robert Read More »

Leo McCarey – Duck Soup [+commentary] (1933)

Quote:
The small state of Freedonia is in a financial mess, borrowing a huge sum of cash from wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale. She insists on replacing the current president with crazy Rufus T. Firefly and mayhem erupts. To make matters worse, the neighboring state sends inept spies Chicolini and Pinky to obtain top secret information, creating even more chaos. Read More »

Leontine Sagan & Carl Froelich – Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

J. [email protected] wrote:
The original play “Gestern und Morgen” had its premiere in 1930 and was an immediate success. This prompted Carl Froelich to adapt the play for film. Both leading actress of the play Hertha Thiele (her first film) and the original director of the play Leontine Sagan (also her first film) were invited to join. The direction was split into direction of the cast and mise-en-scene by Leontine Sagan and overall direction by Carl Froelich; this means that Froelich was responsible for the overall quality of the film (in German: Künstleriche Oberleitung). Read More »

Erich Engels – Sherlock Holmes – Die graue Dame (1937)

A bizarre cash-in, Die Graue Dame is a quasi-Holmes picture based on a theatrical play entirely unrelated to the works of Doyle and released shortly after the Bruno Güttner-starring Der Hund von Baskerville (1937). Here, young Jimmy Ward – played by Hermann Speelmans (1906-1960), who’d featured in the vile Nazi propaganda feature Hitlerjunge Quex: ein Film vom Opfergeist der Deutschen Jugend (1933), an immorality tale designed to drum up recruitment into the Hitler Youth – infiltrates a criminal gang, only to reveal at the last moment that he is, in fact, none other than an undercover Sherlock Holmes. One can only presume that the ‘John’ – who, according to the credits list, acts as Holmes’ ‘servant’ – was intended to be none other than the hapless Dr Watson. ~Alan Barnes, Sherlock Holmes on Screen Read More »