Rouben Mamoulian – City Streets (1931)


Nan, a racketeer’s daughter, is in love with The Kid, a shooting gallery showman. Despite Nan’s prodding, The Kid has no ambitions about joining the rackets and making enough money to support Nan in the lifestyle she’s accustomed to. Her attitude changes after her father implicates her in a murder and she’s sent to prison. During her incarceration, her father convinces The Kid to join the gang in order to help free Nan. When Nan is released, she wants nothing more to do with the mob and tries to get The Kid to quit, but she may be too late. Continue reading

Rouben Mamoulian – Queen Christina (1933)

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Greta Garbo Appears as Queen Christina of Sweden in Her First Film in More Than Eighteen Months.
Soon after entering the Astor Theatre last night for the presentation of Greta Garbo’s first picture in eighteen months, the spectators were transported by the evanescent shadows from the snow of New York in 1933 to the snows of Sweden in 1650. The current offering, known as “Queen Christina,” is a skillful blend of history and fiction in which the Nordic star, looking as alluring as ever, gives a performance which merits nothing but the highest praise. She appears every inch a queen. Continue reading

Rouben Mamoulian – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [+Commentary] (1931)


The film, made prior to the full enforcement of the Hays code, is remembered today for its strong sexual content, embodied mostly in the character of the prostitute, Ivy, played by Miriam Hopkins.

The secret of the astonishing transformation scenes was not revealed until decades later (Mamoulian himself revealed it in a volume of interviews with Hollywood directors published under the title The Celluloid Muse).
Hyde enjoys the rain.
Hyde enjoys the rain.

A series of rotating filters matching the make-up was used on the lenses, enabling the make-up to be gradually exposed or made invisible, depending upon the scene.

Wally Westmore’s make-up for Hyde, simian and hairy with tusks influenced greatly the popular image of Hyde in media and comic books (the American Classics Illustrated edition of Jekyll and Hyde clearly based its design of Hyde on the Fredric March movie, although it is more toned down); in part this reflected the novella’s implication of Hyde as embodying repressed evil and hence being semi-evolved or simian in appearance. Continue reading

Rouben Mamoulian – Love Me Tonight (1932)


“DVDSavant” wrote:
Parisian tailor Maurice Courtelin (Maurice Chevalier) goes to the chateau of the Duke d’Artelines (C. Aubrey Smith) to collect a debt owed by a spendthrift nephew, the Viscount Gilbert de Varèze (Charlie Ruggles), Maurice passes as a Count and interacts with other members of the household, including the nervous bookworm the Count de Savignac (Charles Butterworth) and the near-nymphomaniac Countess Valentine (Myrna Loy). But he falls madly in love with Princess Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald) and slowly wins her to his side. Now, how does Maurice explain to her that he’s nothing but a tailor? Continue reading