1931-1940

George Fitzmaurice – Suzy (1936)

Synopsis:
When American showgirl Suzy (Jean Harlow) finds herself in London without work, she plans to leave her career behind and find a rich husband. Instead, she falls for brilliant but broke inventor Terry (Franchot Tone), who is developing an airplane stabilizer. When Terry is mistakenly shot by a spy, Suzy fears she will be blamed and flees to Paris, where she returns to a life of singing and marries flyboy Andre (Cary Grant). But things get complicated when Suzy learns that Terry has survived. Read More »

Richard Wallace – Wedding Present (1936)

Synopsis:
Charlie Mason and Rusty Fleming are great reporters on a Chicgo tabloid and romantically involved as well. Despite their skills in obtaining great scoops, they are often irresponsible and immature causing their city editor to resign over their shenanigans. The publisher promotes Charlie to the job based on the premise that only a slacker would be able crack down on other underachievers. His pomposity soon alienates most of his co-workers and causes Rusty to move to New York. Charlie resigns and along with gangster friend Smiles Benson tries to win Rusty back before she marries a stuffy society author. Read More »

Henry King – Little Old New York (1940)

Quote:
In the 1800s, American inventor Robert Fulton (Richard Greene) travels from Europe to New York intent on building a steamboat that will revolutionize river travel between waterfront boroughs, but instead gets a rude welcome from a vicious shipyard boss at a local tavern owned by salty beauty Pat O’Day (Alice Faye). Pat takes a shine to Fulton and offers to help him out, but her jealous boyfriend — sailor Charles Brownne (Fred MacMurray) — fears the new vessel will put him out of work. Read More »

Raoul Walsh – Big Brown Eyes (1936)

Synopsis:
Dan Barr is a flatfoot on the trail of jewel robbers. Eve Fallon is his girl of 5 years. We meet them spitting and sparring, but never doubting they’re in love. Eve is a manicurist, with an eye for news. Soon after we meet her, she’s out of the beauty salon and into the news-room as an ace reporter. With Eve’s help, Dan nabs one of the jewel gang members, Cortig, whose stray bullet killed a baby in the park. A spooked witness and a slick lawyer get Cortig off. Disgusted with the lack of justice, Dan quits the force to find his own justice. Eve, likewise, quits the paper and returns to her job as manicurist. While giving a manicure, Eve unwittingly discovers that a prominent local citizen is the jewel gang’s leader. All the while, Dan is hot on the trail. Their trails merge and the case is solved. Read More »

Pierre Chenal – Crime et châtiment aka Crime and Punishment (1935)

Pierre Blanchar plays the murderer Raskolnikov, and Harry Baur is the police inspector on his trail…

Quote:
Crime et châtiment is one of the overlooked masterpieces of 1930s French cinema, an early and almost faultless adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s celebrated 1866 novel Crime and Punishment. One of the reasons for the film’s comparative obscurity is that it was released in the same year as Josef von Sternberg’s better known American adaptation which starred Peter Lorre and Edward Arnold. The French version appears to have been heavily influenced by an earlier silent adaptation Raskolnikow (1923) from the renowned German filmmaker Robert Wiene, whose best-known work – Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari (1920) – is powerfully evoked in this film’s staging of the pivotal murder scene. Read More »

Veit Harlan – Verwehte Spuren AKA Covered Tracks (1938)

Séraphine and her mother arrive in Paris to visit the 1867 World Exhibition. In an overcrowded city they must be accommodated in separate hotels. During the night the mother, who wasn’t feeling very well, gets suddenly worse. When next morning Séraphine goes to meet her every trace of her presence has disappeared and everybody denies having ever met her. The bewildered young woman must find someone who believes her. Read More »

Hiroshi Shimizu – Nanatsu no umi: Kohen Teiso-hen AKA Seven Seas: Frigidity Chapter (1932)

“Seven Seas, the first of Shimizu’s great silent films of the 30s, was scripted by Kogo Noda, Ozu’s close associate, from a novel by Itsuma Maki (a pen name of the noted writer, Umitaro Hasegawa). The film is a lengthy work interweaving characters from different backgrounds and social strata in a narrative centered around the experiences of its heroine, Yumie Sone. Over two hours long, Seven Seas was released theatrically in two parts, with the first part entitled “Virginity Chapter” coming out in December 1931, while the second part, “Frigidity Chapter,” followed in March 1932. Read More »