Abel Gance – Lucrezia Borgia (1935)

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517GTJCZK1L.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Episodes from the life of Lucrecia Borgia’s. Spoiled and willful, she has many love affairs and tries to resist her ruthless and scheming brother César Borgia’s plans to marry her off for political advantage.

Episodic and hard to follow to those not familiar with Italian geography and with the political situation of the time. Nice sets and costumes but the 16 millimeter print I saw did not show them well.

The kind of movie the French New Wave rebelled against Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) is the first feature-length talking (sound) version of the Tarzan series. [Tarzan films stretch into the silent film era back to 1918.] The Tarzan saga was based upon the original ‘Lord of the Jungle’ characters created by novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Tar-zan character (called various titles through the years, including John Clayton, Lord Bloomstoke (Greystoke)), first appeared in late 1912 in All-Story Magazine. Many actors have portrayed Tarzan, both on screen and on television, including Elmo Lincoln, Gene Pollar, P. Dempsey Tabler, James Pierce, Frank Merrill, Larry “Buster” Crabbe, Herman Brix (Bruce Bennett), Johnny Weissmuller, Lex Barker, Gordon Scott, Denny Miller, Jock Mahoney, Mike Henry, Ron Ely, Miles O’Keefe, Joe Lara, Wolf Larson, Christopher Lambert, and Casper Van Dien. Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – Guilty Hands (1931)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Starring: Lionel Barrymore, Madge Evans, Kay Francis, C. Aubrey Smith, Polly Moran, Alan Mowbry

Richard Grant (Barrymore) is a successful lawyer who believes that his many years of dealing with crime has taught him how to commit the perfect murder. He’s working for shady cad Gordon Rich (Mowbry) who informs Grant before a dinner party that he intends to marry his daughter, Barbara (Evans). Grant seethes with anger and, after dinner, kills Rich. It’s almost the perfect crime, but Rich’s troubled mistress Marjorie (Francis), becomes suspicious of Grant. Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – Marie Antoinette (1938)

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/6779/xgpfmwfd0r99fpw9.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

With a seven-figure budget and veteran director W.S. Van Dyke at the helm, MARIE ANTOINETTE is one of the most opulent period dramas produced in the golden era of Hollywood. The film chronicles the life of the 18th-century queen, following her emotional transformation from childhood as a young Austrian princess to her last days in the court of Louis XVI before the French Revolution. Led by the talents of Norma Shearer as Marie, John Barrymore as Louis XVI, and Tyrone Power as Marie’s childhood friend and aspiring lover, Count Axel de Fersen, the film exposes the power plays and chicaneries of the French court, painting the Duke d’Orleans as the villainous source of Marie’s public relations tragedy. With the extravagance of the court matched vociferously by the extravagance of the production, a romantic score by Henry Stothart, and a strong performance from Shearer, MARIE ANTOINETTE is a quality period drama. Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – The Feminine Touch (1941)

http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/7408/femininetouchsheetmusic.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Disgusted by having to pass “pinhead” football heroes in order for his college to soar to football victory, Professor John Hathaway (Don Ameche) takes his leave of Digby College. With his wife Julie (Rosalind Russell) in tow, Hathaway sets out to conquer Manhattan’s literary circles, his scholarly manuscript on the subject of “jealousy” tucked under his arm in the romantic comedy The Feminine Touch (1941). Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – Penthouse (1933)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
By now, Myrna Loy’s enduring portrayal of Nora Charles in the Thin Man series has pushed the fact that she was hardly an overnight success into the recesses of movie history. Loy served one of the lengthier movie star apprenticeships, appearing in over 70 films before she caught on with the public (for a more recent example of eventual-star stamina, check out Jack Nicholson’s pre-Easy Rider [1969] resume.) Given Loy’s immense gifts as a comic actress, and her obvious sex appeal, it’s surprising it took her so long. However, until she appeared in the mob comedy-melodrama, Penthouse (1933), she was typecast either as a “bad girl” or as a multi-cultural exotic with a non-specific accent. Some producers even tried to pass her off as Asian! Continue reading