1931-1940

Gregory La Cava – Gabriel Over the White House (1933)

Newly inaugurated President Judson Hammond is content to live out the next four years exercising a hands-off approach and leaving the problems of Depression America to local authorities. But after a miraculous recovery from an auto accident, Hammond is ready to take on every social ill and neither Congress, gangsters nor the nations of the world will stop him. Read More »

Harry Lachman – La belle marinière (1932)

A film thought to be lost until 5 reels (out of 9) were found in the UCLA archives. It was derived from an eponymous play by Marcel Achard which allowed to reconstruct he synopsis. Jean Gabin is the captain of the Cormorant, a horse-drawn barge, living happily along the canals with his sister Mique and Sylvestre (Pierre Blanchar), his fellow mariner and friend. The film starts with Gabin rescuing a young lady named Marinette (Madeleine Renaud) who had fallen in the canal for unsaid reason. Gabin soon also falls (for her), they get married and the boat is renamed ‘la Belle Marinière’ (the handsome she-mariner). During the wedding party returns Sylvestre (a handsome he-mariner) who had been away for the necessities of the script. He will now be the object of a growing interest from Marinette which results in the expected confict between the two men. Read More »

Luis Trenker – Der Berg ruft! AKA The Mountain Calls (1938)

Synopsis:
The Italian mountaineer Carel wants to be the first man to stand on the top of the Matterhorn. Since the climb is very difficult, he agrees to try it together with the British mountaineer Whymper. But due to an intrigue this agreement is dropped and the two men try it on the same day with two different teams and then disaster strikes. Read More »

Victor von Plessen – Kopfjäger von Borneo aka Headhunters of Borneo (1936)

Baron Victor von Plessen’s “Kopfjäger von Borneo” (1936) is a magnificent early ethnographic film. A painter, ornithologist and ethnographer, von Plessen (1900-1980) apparently was an independent spirit of independent financial means. There is absolutely no indication for the fact that this was produced in Third Reich Germany, but this might nevertheless account for the relative obscurity into which this film has sadly fallen. Read More »

Henri Decoin – Battement de coeur AKA Beating Heart (1940) (HD)

Director Henri Decoin and actress Danielle Darrieux made many fine films together (Le Domino vert, Abus de confiance, La Vérité sur Bébé Donge), but few are as charming and funny as the romantic comedy Battement de coeur. Thanks to its prestigious cast, witty dialogue and abundance of comic situations, this fifth Decoin-Darrieux offering is a delight. It was also the last film they made together before their divorce the following year, although they remained friends afterwards and worked together on four subsequent films. Read More »

Mansaku Itami – Akanishi Kakita aka Capricious Young Man (1936)

Synopsis
A samurai is ordered by his lord to go to Edo and investigate the truth behind the rumor of a rebellion against him. After collecting enough information to prove a conspiracy, the samurai needs to devise some way of leaving Edo without creating suspicion and comes up with a cockeyed plan. Based on the short story by Shiga Naoya. Read More »

Arcady Boytler & Raphael J. Sevilla – La Mujer del puerto AKA Woman of the Port (1934)

Synopsis:
Rosario (Palma) becomes a prostitute after losing her father and discovering her boyfriend had a liaison with another woman. In Veracruz, Rosario lives above a sordid cabaret “selling her love to the men coming from the sea.” One night, sailor Alberto (Soler) rescues Rosario from the dirty hands of a drunk man. They get along and go to Rosario’s room. After making love, they begin to talk and Rosario discovers they’re siblings…
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