Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thirty Thirties

A pretty bland comedy starring Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray who have found one another and don’t realize until it’s almost too late that they’ll need to sacrifice a few wishes for the sake of love. Oh, and another movie where Ralph Bellamy gets shafted.

While I felt that both Carole Lombard and John Barrymore gave great performances, I was not a fan of Twentieth Century is not my favorite for wither of them. The histrionics, as well as the length of the film were quite wearying. 

This is a great film full of the usual coincidences found in 30's film with the added benefit of Gavin Gordon’s super effeminate eyebrows. American Madness stands out due to the ever wonderful acting of Walter Huston and Pat O’Brien is a treat.
Gene Raymond’s at it again! After his wife, played by Fay Wray, becomes a successful lawyer and his career remains stagnate, they separate. When Raymond is accused of murder, Wray literally comes to his defense and saves the day. But then she quits her job so she can help him become an architect Sigh. Who knows what kind of mess he'll get into again!

Typical fair for the 30’s modern girl, Brides follows three shop girls and the romantic misadventures that lead to both happiness and tragedy. Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery are both beautiful in the film despite the inexplicable change in hair color for Crawford towards the end. Random.

Joe E. Brown is a hilariously inappropriate babysitter for playboy William Collier Jr..

Two attorney’s that were once married face off again in the courtroom. This film is special in that Miriam Jordan doesn’t feel compelled to sacrifice her career for marriage- no matter how many fits Neil Hamilton throws. Guess he's no Gene Raymond!

Oooh! This is the film that made me question whether I liked Edward Arnold or not. He plays such a bully to a surprisingly Swedish Walter Brennan who is quite meek. Eventually, I realized Arnold was just a great actor who could be both cruel and angelic.

It’s no Thin Man but Myrna Loy and William Powell are no less magnetizing in this drama about involving an extramarital affair, blackmail and murder.

Ruth Chatterton is perfect playing the ever-busy CEO of her Automobile company that enjoys seducing and then turning away her underlings. However, she meets her match in Jim Thorne played by George Brent. In total 30’s fashion, Chatterton’s character gives authority over to Thorne so she can stay at home and raise future babies. Sigh. Somebody's been hanging around Gene Raymond.
A moving story based on the semi-autobiography of Ernest Hemingway; Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes light up this screen with their tragic love story.

This movie is a must see! Different for it’s time, it’s comprised of eight different vignettes directed by seven different directors and featuring a wide array of stars including Charles Laughton and Gary Cooper. My favorites are: China Shop, Road Hogs, and The Clerk.

The Marx Brothers are stowaway’s on a ship headed for America. While trying to avoid the ship’s crew they come to the attention of rival gangsters. Hilarity ensues. It’s the Marx Brothers so...duh. 

The worst Joan Crawford film I have seen! Seriously, it was painful to watch. John Mack Brown despite his future Western associations plays a cowhand with a horrible southern accent. However, Cliff Edwards as Froggy is quite comical.

Pat O’Brien and Fred McHugh are a couple of promoters with nothing to promote but a mounting hotel bill. Seeing a chance to win some money, they enter a contest for “America's Prettiest Girl” with a composite photo of all the famous stars and debutantes of the day. When reporters come knocking in pursuit of the girl in the photo, O’Brien and Mcugh find luck from an unlikely source- their oft ignored hotel maid played by Marion Davies. Turns out she isn’t so homely outside her uniform.

Robert Taylor pesters Jean Harlow into love with his ample charm and the unexpected help of his family and brother Reginald Owen who happens to be Harlow’s fiancé in the film.

Robert Montgomery doing what he does best, drinking and poking fun but with the added benefit of Frank Morgan, Robert Benchley and Billie Burke in the cast.

Spooky house mystery starring Joan Blondell as the ever wise-cracking nurse and George Brent as an inexperienced detective. That’s enough for me!

My second favorite of Norma Shearer’s, Private Lives is a fantastically wonderful play written and often performed by the magical Noel Coward. Shearer and Montgomery are pure delight as they take off on the rocky roller coaster that is their relationship...again. If you enjoy witty repartee mixed with calamity then strap yourself in, it’s a bumpy but enjoyable ride.

Tired of being the innocent face for “Ippsie-Wippsie Washclothes” Ginger Rogers decides to rebel. To appease her, her publicity team picks a guy from her fan mail in order to create a romance. However, Norman Foster soon proves he’s not someone to be trifled with.

Jean Harlow plays a frighteningly determined gold digger and possible masochist. Be on the look out for a young Charles Boyer before his stardom exploded.

The scene where Melvyn Douglas and Raymond Walburn get totally soused and let Edith Fellows fall to the floor is the best reason to watch this film.

 I absolutely disliked Katharine Hepburn in this film. Acting like a man and trying to hide her girlish naivete, Hepburn is simply put, annoying. The movie seems to move as slow as molasses and Cary Grant plays no saint. In fact, he’s quite frightening at moments.

This is a moving saga about a woman who raises her four children after killing their father in self-defense. Be on the look out for a very young Robert Taylor.

Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell use femme fatale tactics to slyly slip subpoenas to their targets. Need I say more?
 Mary Astor really knew how to play a bitch. Watch her make Virginia Bruce squirm.

In a somewhat unbelievable turn of events, Robert Taylor manages to be the cause of Irene Dunne’s husband’s death, make her fall in love with him, blind her, and then successfully study to become the best ocular specialist in town enabling Dunne to see once again. And I thought the CSI shows moved quickly!

My first Dorothy Mackaill film. What a beauty! The Reckless Hour is a steamy pre-code centered around a young woman’s pregnancy out of wedlock. 

When an unscrupulous broker meets a murderous end, Inspector Piper receives the unsolicited aid of a wily schoolteacher who successfully helps him solve the crime. I love Edna May Oliver and Robert Armstrong in this film!

Not theThin Man but William Powell and Myrna Loy are just as wonderfully hilarious. Watch Powell fail to woo an indifferent Loy.

Tonight on TCM!
The Gay Sisters (1942) A New York aristocrat marries for the money to save the family mansion.
Dir: Irving Rapper Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Geraldine Fitzgerald.

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