1931-1940

Roy Del Ruth – The Maltese Falcon (1931)

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Synopsis:
Sam Spade is quite the womanizer. When his secretary tells him the new customer waiting outside his office is a knockout, he wastes no time before seeing her. It turns out she’s a knockout with money. And she wants to spend it on his services as a private detective. She has some story about wanting to protect her sister. Neither he nor his partner, Miles Archer, believes it. But with the money she’s paying, who cares? The job proves to be more dangerous than either of them expected. It involves not just the lovely dame with the dangerous lies, but also the sweaty Casper Gutman, the fey Joel Cairo, and the thuggish young Wilmer Cook. Three crooks, and all of them are looking for the statuette of a black bird they call the Maltese Falcon. Read More »

Ken G. Hall – Thoroughbred (1936)

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Thoroughbred (1936)
Tommy Dawson (Frank Leighton), would-be horse trainer, buys an emaciated stallion called Stormalong on a trip to New Zealand. When it loses its first race, the insecure Tommy vows to sell it, but Tommy’s fiancé Joan (Helen Twelvetrees), a much better judge of horses, rescues Stormalong. With Tommy’s mother, Ma Dawson (Nellie Ferguson), Joan turns Stormalong into the greatest racehorse in Australia. As the Melbourne Cup approaches, an international crime syndicate decides to kill Stormalong. Tommy has to foil the plot on race day. Read More »

W.S. Van Dyke – Night Court (1932)

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Quote:
Judge Moffett is as crooked as they come and the Board of Judicial Corruption is after him. So he hides out in the poor part of town. While there, she drops the bankbook that Moffett has listing his accounts and Mary returns it to him. But Moffett thinks Mary saw the book and he puts her away for six months on a trumped up charge. Mike is overcome with grief and when he comes to his senses, he talks to Mary who tells him about the book. This gets Mike beat up and put on a boat to South America, but he jumps ship and plots his revenge. Read More »

William Dieterle – The Secret Bride (1934)

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Plot: Before Ruth Vincent, daughter of a state governor, and state attorney general Robert Sheldon can announce their marriage, the governor is accused of bribe-taking. To avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, they decide to keep their marriage secret. The political intrigue becomes more involved, and no one is quite what they seem. Soon Sheldon and Ruth must decide between saving the governor’s career and an innocent person’s life. Written by Rod Crawford Read More »

Ferdinand Diehl – Die Sieben Raben AKA The Seven Ravens (1937)

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A peasant father sends his seven sons to fetch water for their sickly young sister but when he curses them for not returning soon enough, they turn into ravens and disappear. Many years later when the sister is grown up, she sets out in search of her brothers but that will be a long and dangerous journey.

This very gothic horror fantasy animation from the Third Reich is a masterpiece. It is based on one of the German fairytales by Grimm brothers and about 120 puppets were used during the production. Read More »

Gustav Ucicky – Flüchtlinge AKA Refugees (1933)

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Propaganda film detailing the plight of ethnic Germans, known as “Volga Germans”, in the Soviet province of Manchuria. Read More »

Louis J. Gasnier – Reefer Madness (1936)

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Quote:
Propaganda film that relates the story, as told by high school principal Dr. Carroll to parents at a PTA meeting, of the scourge of marijuana. The tale revolves around Mae and Jack, accomplices in the distribution of marijuana, who manage to entice the local high school kids to stop by Mae’s apartment to smoke reefer. The lives of all who are involved with this menace are inevitably shattered. One man becomes so addicted to the killer weed that the guilt over framing a teen for murder causes a judge to order him to be committed for life to a mental hospital! Dr. Carroll closes by advising us to not incur the same tragedy. Written by Rick Gregory {rag.apa@email.apa.org} Read More »