1931-1940

Robert Siodmak – Pièges AKA Personal Column (1939)

When 11 young Parisian women mysteriously disappear, the police recruit Adrienne Charpentier, the friend of the latest victim, to investigate. The only thing which seems to link the disappearances is that each of the victims replied to a small ad in the newspapers. In answering a number of ads herself, Adrienne meets some suspicious individuals, but they all turn out to be innocent. Then she meets a cabaret performer, Robert Fleury, who instantly falls in love with her. Soon after marrying Fleury, she discovers damning evidence that inculpates him as the murderer of the missing women… Read More »

Yasujirô Shimazu – Joriku dai-ippo AKA First Steps Ashore (1932)

Quote:
Fascinating remake of Sternberg’s “Docks of New York.” The geometric and pictorial aspects, as in the case of many Japanese films, and especially those of this time period, fascinate as much as the story. The push/pull, attraction/repulsion dynamic of the romance between the lowly ship stoker and the “fallen woman” he rescues from drowning gives a charge to the claustrophobic confines of their scenes together. The fight scenes between the men fascinated me also: a chaotic melange of sprawling limbs, bodies leaping over one another, sharp jabs and uppercuts. Read More »

Jacques Feyder – La Kermesse héroïque AKA Carnival in Flanders (1935)

When the village of Boom, in Flanders, learns a Spanish Duke and his troops plan to pass the night, the 4-man army deserts and the Mayor plays dead; so the Mayor’s wife organizes the townswomen to greet the invaders and preserve the peace with womanly wiles. Read More »

Jacques Feyder – Knight Without Armour (1937)

Because he can pass as a Russian, A.J. Fothergill is recruited to spy on the revolutionary movement in Russia in 1913. He becomes imprisoned in Siberia, as a revolutionary, until the 1917 uprisings. Amid the turmoil of the civil war between the red and white armies, he tries to flee Russia along with the beautiful Countess Alexandra. Read More »

Muzhi Yuan – Ma lu tian shi AKA Street Angel (1937)

In old Shanghai, two sisters, a prostitute and a singer, tried to escape from the local scoundrels with the help of a trumpet player and a newspaper seller. Read More »

Busby Berkeley – Babes in Arms (1939)

Quote:
Mickey Moran (Mickey Rooney) and Patsy Barton (Judy Garland), the children of vaudeville performers, spring into action when their homes and their lives are put in danger. Vaudeville is dead, and the group of performers, led by Mickey’s parents, Joe and Florrie Moran (Charles Winninger and Grace Hayes) who have made comfortable homes on Long Island, now must go back on tour in the sticks to try and scrounge up some money. Naturally, the kids of show biz performers want to help, but they’re shot down by their rigid parents who don’t see any need in updating their tired old acts. Read More »

Frank Borzage – Green Light (1937)

A brilliant young surgeon takes the blame for a colleague when a botched surgery causes a patient’s death and buries himself at a wilderness research facility. Read More »