1930s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
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1930s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#1 Post by swo17 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:39 pm

VOTING CLOSED. RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE.

If you are reading this sentence, you are eligible to participate in our forum’s latest decades lists project exploring the films of the 1930s. If you know anyone adventurous enough--on or off the forum--that you think would also enjoy participating, feel free to invite them as well.

Please PM me your lists of the top 50 films from the decade towards the end of the project. You may feel that you could compile a list of 50 favorite films from this period much earlier than the deadline, but it’s still highly recommended that you engage in the discussions here. Don’t keep your favorites a secret, and always be open to suggestions from others!


THE RULES

1) Each individual list is to comprise no more or less than 50 films, ranked in your order of preference (with no ties). If you haven't yet seen 50 films from the decade that you think are genuinely great, please take advantage of the resources listed below and participate in the ongoing discussions to find films that you can be proud to put on your list.
2) Any feature film, documentary, experimental film, or short film--sound or silent--released in the 1930s is eligible.
3) The date given on IMDb is the relevant date for determining eligibility, even when it's clearly wrong (unless a special case is made in the next section). If the film is not on IMDb and you say it was released during the 1930s, I'll take your word for it.
4) Two-part films released separately (e.g. Eisenstein's Ivans) count as one film. Each entry in a trilogy (e.g. Ray's Apus) counts as a separate film.

We might occasionally need to make an exception to rules 3 and 4. If you are seriously considering including a film on your list that you have a question about in this regard, bring it up in the Lists Project thread and we’ll iron it out.


ELIGIBILITY - SPECIAL CASES

Queen Kelly is not eligible, even though IMDb currently gives it a release date in the '30s, since we included it in the 1920s list.

¡Qué viva México! is eligible for the '30s. (IMDb has separate listings in the '30s and '70s.)

Les misérables (Bernard), a film in three parts, is eligible and counts as one film.

These films by Joseph Cornell (available in the Unseen Cinema set, and mostly not listed on IMDb) are all eligible: The Children’s Jury, Thimble Theater, Carousel: Animal Opera, Jack’s Dream, Children’s Party, Cotillion, The Midnight Party. For completeness' sake, obviously Rose Hobart is also eligible.

For any other film that isn't listed on IMDb, that is in the Unseen Cinema or any other set with a range of release dates that encompasses multiple decades, the earliest date cited should be considered the release date. For example, Glen Falls Sequence (1937-46) is eligible for the 1930s list.

RESOURCES

Past Forum Discussions
Discussion from the Forum’s Prior 1930s Project
Defending of Sad Pandas from the Forum’s Prior 1930s Project
French Cinema from 1930 to 1939
German Films on DVD
The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture 1927-1968
Sissies, Pansies, Fairies, and Other Exotic Fruits

Forum Discussions of Filmmakers Active During the 1930s
Frank Borzage / Tod Browning / Luis Buñuel / Frank Capra / Marcel Carné / Charles Chaplin / George Cukor / Aleksandr Dovzhenko / Carl Theodor Dreyer / Julien Duvivier / Jean Epstein / Robert Flaherty / John Ford / Karl Freund / Jean Grémillon / Howard Hawks / Alfred Hitchcock / Fritz Lang / Lewis Milestone / Kenji Mizoguchi / Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau / Mikio Naruse / Max Ophuls / Yasujiro Ozu / Michael Powell / Jean Renoir / Robert Siodmak / Josef von Sternberg / George Stevens / Gustav Ucicky / King Vidor / Raoul Walsh / William A. Wellman / James Whale / Fred Zinnemann

External Resources
A list of films from the 1930s appearing on They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They’s Top 1000 list or Doubling the Canon list


FORUM MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS
Is there a film you love that you fear is under most people's radar? Choose it as a spotlight title and everyone will suddenly be obligated under penalty of not anything actually to make every effort to watch it. In exchange, please pay others the courtesy of seeking out the films that they have chosen to list here. Feel free to feature more than one title here, but not too many more, so it's manageable for everyone to see them all. Also, if a film is not commercially available and you know of a place to stream it or are willing to host a copy somewhere, you can provide a link to that location here.

L'idee (Berthold Bartosch) (knives) link
Un Grand Amour de Beethoven (Abel Gance) (tojoed) Image DVD
The Last Flight (William Dieterle) (myrnaloyisdope) Warner Archive DVD
Son of Frankenstein (Rowland Lee) (Gregory) Universal DVD (Frankenstein Legacy Collection or Frankenstein Double Feature)
Ruggles of Red Gap (Leo McCarey) (Gregory) Universal Vault Series DVD
Marius (Alexander Korda) (domino harvey) Kino DVD (Fanny Trilogy)
Study No. 7 (Oskar Fischinger) (swo17) Center for Visual Music DVD (Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films)
Stolen Death (Nyrki Tapiovaara) (knives) link 1/2 English subs
Poil de carotte (Julien Duvivier) (swo17) link
It's a Gift (Norman Z. McLeod) (matrixschmatrix) Universal W.C. Fields Collection DVD
Sant Tukaram (Vishnupant Govind Damle & Sheikh Fattelal) (A) link 1/2
Anna und Elisabeth (Frank Wisbar) (Tommaso) link
Tange Sazen and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (Sadao Yamanaka) (swo17) link
Drôle de drame/Bizarre, Bizarre (Marcel Carné) (swo17) OOP R1 HVE DVD or R2 Editions Montparnasse DVD
Der Kongress tanzt (Erik Charell) (Tommaso) link 1/2
The Good Fairy (William Wyler) (swo17) Kino DVD
Misère au Borinage (Ivens & Stock) (Wu.Qinghua) R2 Joris Ivens boxes from Netherlands or Germany, also YouTube
New Woman (Chusheng Cai) (Wu.Qinghua) Internet Archive (no English subs) English translation of intertitles
Afraid to Talk (Edward Cahn) (Cold Bishop) link (Pass: rar)
Law and Order (Edward Cahn) (Cold Bishop) link (Pass: rar)
Der Student von Prag (Arthur Robison) (swo17) link 1/2
Razzia in St. Pauli (Werner Hochbaum) (lubitsch) link
Fährmann Maria (Frank Wisbar) (lubitsch) link 1/2
Morgen beginnt das Leben (Werner Hochbaum) (lubitsch) link 1/2
Ich bei Tag und Du bei Nacht (Ludwig Berger) (lubitsch) link 1/2

English subs for lubitsch's spotlight titles can be found at subscene.com.

AWAITING FURTHER SUGGESTIONS


DESPERATELY SEEKING SO AND SO
Is there a film you’re dying to see but you’ve exhausted all possible avenues for finding it and still come up short? List it here and perhaps some kind soul will be able to direct you to a copy by PM. Please limit listings here to only a few films that you’re most desperate to see.

Cold Bishop is seeking:
Working Girls (Dorothy Arzner)
Radio Patrol (Edward Cahn)

domino harvey is seeking:
Die große Liebe (The Great Love) (Preminger)

knives is seeking:
Juha (Nyrki Tapiovaara)

myrnaloyisdope is seeking:
The Fashion Side of Hollywood (Josef von Sternberg)

swo17 is seeking:
Mor'vran/The Sea of Ravens (Jean Epstein)

tojoed is seeking:
Un carnet de bal (Duvivier)

Tommaso is seeking:
My lips betray (John G. Blystone, 1933)
My weakness (David Butler, 1933)
Let's live tonight (Victor Schertzinger, 1934)
Invitation to the waltz (Paul Merzbach, 1935)
Castelli in aria (Augusto Genina, 1938)

AWAITING FURTHER SUGGESTIONS


Resources compiled by swo17, Tomasso

***Please PM me if you have any suggestions for additions to/deletions from this first post.***
Last edited by swo17 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:27 am, edited 78 times in total.

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Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#2 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:41 pm

Thanks, swo.

I only want to add a few directors not mentioned in your list, probably because they don't have a dedicated discussion thread (didn't check), but which I personally deem to be VERY important for this round of the listmaking:

Ludwig Berger
Geza von Bolvary
Paul Czinner
Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Willi Forst
Werner Hochbaum
Gerhard Lamprecht
Ernst Lubitsch
Gustav Machaty
Rouben Mamoulian
Max Ophuls
G.W. Pabst
Leni Riefenstahl
Reinhold Schünzel
Wilhelm Thiele
Gustav Ucicky
Dziga Vertov
James Whale
Frank Wysbar

Never heard of some of the guys? Wait for my ramblings in the coming months... :D

And while I'm at it (could have occured to me to ask here earlier): I'm desperately seeking the following films, all starring the same actress...

My lips betray (John G. Blystone, 1933)
My weakness (David Butler, 1933)
Let's live tonight (Victor Schertzinger, 1934)
Invitation to the waltz (Paul Merzbach, 1935)
Castelli in aria (Augusto Genina, 1938)

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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#3 Post by swo17 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:18 pm

Dovzhenko and Whale were hiding pretty well but I found them and added them to my list. Shockingly, I couldn't find dedicated threads for any of the others you mention. I look forward to your ramblings.

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Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#4 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:35 pm

Well, I just found:

Max Ophuls
Gustav Ucicky

Couldn't find Lubitsch and Pabst either, but as to German films and filmmakers,this very old thread might be useful. It even contains some sort of viewing guide written by Lubitsch :-)

Everyone else mentioned has been discussed here and there, often in the context of individual films and their respective releases (or absence of such).
Last edited by Tommaso on Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#5 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:39 pm

Has anyone seen the releases of Kameradschaft, Westfront 1918, and Madchen in Uniform on amazon.de? I really want to see those, but I'd rather not sink $60 only to find out there are better versions, or that they're not English friendly or something.

(Is that an appropriate question to ask here?)

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Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#6 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:46 pm

There are no better releases, and none of them is English friendly. The two Pabst releases are somewhat substandard, "Mädchen in Uniform" however is pretty good, and the film is a must-see. We had a discussion about it a long time ago here. Top 20 material if you ask me, and my first recommendation in this round of the listmaking.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#7 Post by knives » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:50 pm

This site has Kameradschaft for about the same price as amazon and their international shipping is extremely cheap, about $3.00 if the lack of subs hasn't already turned you off. They're also very quick with things coming to the US. My west coast shipment arrived in about four days.

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lubitsch
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:20 pm

Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#8 Post by lubitsch » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:17 pm

Tommaso wrote:It even contains some sort of viewing guide written by Lubitsch :-)
There's not much point in throwing it into the trash basket having written it to 90%, so here it is. Use it or just scroll ahead.

Let‘s start with the monumental US industry, each and every one of the mentioned films is floating around on the net and found with more or less effort, most are available on DVD.

Charlie Chaplin has two films, City Lights and Modern Times, to offer. Laurel & Hardy have a long string of shorts and features like Way out west or The Music Box throughout the decade while Harold Lloyd remained popular with films like The Milky Way, but there were also genuine sound comedians. The Marx Brothers have a long run of films with Duck Soup and Night at the Opera being the most famous ones, while Mae West rocketed to stardom with Belle of the Nineties and She done him wrong. W.C. Fields needed the sound film to fully expand his talents in films like Million Dollar Legs, It’s a Gift and You can’t cheat an honest Man as well as some remarkable comic shorth like The Dentist.
But comics aren’t the only silent era survivors, Josef von Sternberg directed a series of Dietrich films like Morocco, Shanghai Express, Scarlet Empress and Devil is a Woman, his other films like Crime and Punishment are however quite forgotten and more difficult to find. F.W Murnau provided world cinema with City Girl and Tabu before his untimely death. Frank Borzage‘s early output like Liliom or Bad Girl is accessible thanks to the big Fox box and Farewell to Arms is available in a good PD edition, but other films of him like No greater Glory, Man’s Castle or History is made at Night have less luck, only Desire as a Dietrich film has made it to regular DVD. King Vidor struggled valiantly throughout the decade with films like The Champ, Street Scene or Stella Dallas or the famous Our daily Bread and slightly more forgotten titles like The Citadel or The Wedding Night. Ernst Lubitsch on the contrary rolled merrily along with operettas like The Smiling Lieutenant or The Merry Widow and stylish comedies like Trouble in Paradise and Design for Living rebounding from a mid 30s slump with Ninotchka. Cecil B. DeMille decided to play the „monumental epic“ card after some failures, Sign of the Cross, Cleopatra, The Plainsman or Union Pacific are the results. John Ford finally got a bit surer in his directing style, Arrowsmith, Pilgrimage, The Lost Patrol or Judge Priest hinted at things to come, he had quite an critical success with The Informer before beginning in 1939 a remarkable run with Young Mr. Lincoln and naturally Stagecoach the most famous of the 1939 westerns which also included his Drums along the Mohawk, Jesse James and Destry rides again. Another silent legend represents the progressively more important emigre influx, Fritz Lang called attention to himself with Fury and You only live once. Schoedsack & Cooper switched to fictional filmmaking with the unforgettable King Kong as well as The Most Dangerous Game. Similarily W. S. Van Dyke continued to film exotic stories like Tarzan and the unusual Eskimo. Raoul Walsh on the other hand had considerable problems after participating in the early 30s superwestern trend (e.g. Cimarron) with his The Big Trail and except for Me and my Gal he only reappeared back at the top in 1939 with The Roaring Twenties.
Among those who had a breakthrough in early sound films Lewis Milestone is known for his legendary All Quiet on the Western Front, but Of Mice and Men, Rain, The General died at Dawn or Hallelujah I’m a Bum are also easily available as is the PD Front Page. Rouben Mamoulian had a pretty impressive run with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Queen Christina and Love Me Tonight though many of his films languish in obscurity, some despite a DVD release like We live again, the technicolor pioneer film Becky Sharp suffers from PD status.
The genre film blossomed now, the horror cycle saw Tod Browning make Dracula, Mark of the Vampire, The Devil-Doll and Freaks, while James Whale turned out Frankenstein, The Old dark House, The Invisible Man and Bride of Frankenstein (as well as some lesser known but remarkable films like Waterloo Bridge, Show Boat or The Great Garrick) not to forget Karl Freund’s The Mummy and Mad Love as well as Edgar Ulmer’s Black Cat, other efforts include White Zombie, Island of Lost Souls, The Raven or Son of Frankenstein. The gangster film kicked in with Little Caesar by Mervyn LeRoy followed by William Wellman‘s Public Enemy, both director‘s proved a sure hand for rough social dramas, LeRoy scoring big with the bleak I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, the moralistic Five Star Final and the powerful They won’t forget which ended up inexplicably in the Warner Archive line while Wellman supplied Wild Boys of the Road or Heroes for Sale but also turned out later in the decade A Star is born and Nothing Sacred capping it with Beau Geste. Lloyd Bacon provided a melo gangster film with Marked Woman while parodying the genre next year with A Slight Case of Murder. William Keighley’s G-Men and Bullets or Ballots are representative of the thematic shift in the genre towards police detectives, while Each Dawn I die was a late classic example. Archie Mayo threw The Petrified Forest and Black Legion in the ring. Generally the early 30s are full of snappy little films take e.g. Roy del Ruth who made The Maltese Falcon, Blonde Crazy, Lady Killer and Employees Entrance or LeRoy’s Hard to handle or Three on a Match and Alfred Green’s notorious Baby Face.
The musical got very bold with Busby Berkeley’s crazy choreographies, 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933 and Footlight Parade are the best known films. The other 30s phenomenon were Rogers & Astaire dancing at RKO especially in Top Hat and Swing Time.
The comedy blossomed especially from 1934 on also in the hands of lesser directors, notice the famous The Thin Man series, Bachelor Mother, Vivacious Lady, The Young in Heart, It's a wonderful World, Topper, Theodora goes wild or Libeled Lady. The trend allowed instable talents like Gregory LaCava to turn out classics like My Man Godfrey and Stage Door after his earlier the Half-Naked Truth had shown promise. Mitchell Leisen also focused on the genre with Hands across the Table, Easy Living and Midnight. Leo McCarey tried his hand with pretty much every comic figure of importance, but had special success with Ruggles of Red Gap, Love Affair and The Awful Truth (and something completely different and unique for this decade, the tragic Make Way for Tomorrow). The opposite genre, the melodrama, found its leading director in John Stahl with Back Street, Imitation of Life and Magnificent Obsession.
In the mid30s some new directors finally got a big break. Frank Capra had made fine films like American Madness, Lady for a Day or The bitter Tea of General Yen but his career took off with It happened one Night followed by Mr. Deeds, Lost Horizon, You can’t take it with you and Mr. Smith goes to Washington. After promising early films like 20000 Years in Sing Sing Michael Curtiz emerged as Warner‘s top director with the Flynn vehicles Captain Blood, Dodge City and Adventures of Robin Hood, but also horror films like The Walking Dead, dramas like Four Daughters or gangster films like Kid Galahad and Angels with Dirty Faces. William Dieterle found another spot at Warner after his breakthrough with A Midsummer Night's Dream with his biopics like The Story of Louis Pasteur, The Life of Emile Zola and Juarez, his best known film is The Hunchback of Notredame, but his early The Last Flight and Jewel Robbery are also worth a look. After smaller films like Dawn Patrol (remade to greater effect in 1938) and Tiger Shark Howard Hawks emerged with Scarface as a major director and mixed comedies like Twentieth Century and Bringing up Baby with adventure films like Ceiling Zero and Only Angels have Wings. Henry Hathaway also churned out adventure films after his success with Lives of a Bengal Lancer and the early Technicolor Trail of the Lonesome Pine, but notice also the unusual melodrama Peter Ibbetson. On the other spectre of cultural prestige worked George Cukor who starting with Dinner at Eight signed literary classics like Little Women, David Copperfield, Romeo and Juliet or Camille but also other comedies like Holiday and The Women or the eccentric Sylvia Scarlet. George Stevens also specialized in films with a more American touch like Alice Adams or Annie Oakley and closed the decade with the adventurous Gunga Din. The ultimate prestige director became William Wyler after early efforts like Counsellor at Law he scored with These Three, Dodsworth, Dead End, Jezebel and Wuthering Heights a series of successes.
Stars got vehicles tailored - often at the expense of creativity. Greta Garbo fared well with vehicles like Anna Karenina, Mata Hari or Grand Hotel and Bette Davis evolved into a superstar (Of Human Bondage, Old Maid, Dark Victory). MGM tried to handle Jean Harlow (Red Dust, Red Headed Woman, Bombshell), Clark Gable (China Seas, Manhattan Melodrama, Test Pilot) or Spencer Tracy (Captains Courageous), Warner mostly mishandled Kay Francis (One Way Passage) and this goes up (or rather down?) to Deanna Durbin (Three Smart Girls) or even Shirley Temple. Beyond star vehicles there were the usual superproductions (mostly of literary classics and mostly by MGM) like Hell's Angels, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Count of Monte Cristo, Treasure Island, The Great Ziegfeld, The Prince and the Pauper, Cavalcade, Mutiny on the Bounty, Marie Antoinette, Les Miserables, The Good Earth, The Barretts of Wimpole Street with the two 1939 biggies the Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind finishing the decade in grand style. San Francisco started a little desaster movie series also including In Old Chicago, The Hurricane or The Rains came.
Ambitious films like The Power and the Glory or Hecht‘s The Scoundrel got rarer as the decade marched on and the last female Hollywood director Dorothy Arzner whose Craig‘s Wife is worth a look neared the end of her career while representing another “minority” Paul Robeson struggled along (Emperor Jones). There are always unclassifiable films so I put On Borrowed Time, the Borzagesque Zoo in Budapest and Night must fall here.
Serial storytelling also played a role, most famous are The Hound of Baskerville and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes kicking in a string of films. The Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto series also started in the 30s. The most famous genuine serial is Flash Gordon.
The Animation film legend is obviously Snow White far ahead of the Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels. Walt Disney also pretty much dominated the decade with his Silly Symphonies like Three Little Pigs, Flowers and Trees and The Old Mill or Mickey films like The Band Concert. The Looney Tunes only came late into the game with films like Porky in Wackyland, while the Fleischer brothers turned out Betty Boop, Superman and Popeye films. The most famous documentaries are Pare Lorentz' The Plow that broke the plains and the River, experimental cinema sees Joseph Cornell's Rose Hobart, Watson & Webber's Lot in Sodom, Weinberg's Autumn Fire and Leyda's Bronx Morning.


Next is the French film industry which hummed throughout the decade.
Obviously Jean Renoir is the most famous director with La Grande Illusion, La Regle du Jeu, Une Partie de Campagne, La Bete Humaine, Boudu, Toni, La Marseillaise, Les Bas-fonds and Le Crime du Mr. Lange. La Chienne or La Nuit de Carrefour need subtitled DVDs, but subs are around for almost all of his films of this era.
Rene Clair's early trio La Million, Sous les toits de Paris and A nous la Liberte is easily available, for Le Quatorze Juillet and Le dernier Milliardaire at least subs exist. Jean Vigo's small output with L'Atalante and Zero de Conduite is also no problem, while Raymond Bernard was saved by Criterion, but beyond Les Miserables and Les Croix du Bois there's also a English subbed DVD of Les Otages. The more experimental L'Age d'or by Luis Bunuel and Le sang d'un Poete by Jean Cocteau are also easily accessible as are films by animation legend Ladislaw Starewicz, his Fetiche is on the DVD short film collection, while Le Roman du Renard has a French DVD with English subs. Alexandre Alexeieff's Une Nuit sur le Mont Chauve is also available from multiple sources not the least one being a DVD devoted to the director. Berthold Bartosch' L'Idee is also a pretty unique animation film and easily found on the net.
Marcel Pagnol's Fanny Trilogie is out on DVD and there are some French DVD with English subtitles like Le Schpountz or Merlusse, unfortunately La Femme du Boulanger was only released once on tape with subs. Sacha Guitry has a Criterion Eclipse set devoted to him with Le Roman d'un Tricheur, but there's also a larger french set with English subs that features all films from 1936-38. Finally Marcel Carné's moody trio of Le Quai des brumes, Hotel du Nord and Le Jour se leve is as easily available as is the funny Drole du Drame, his early Jenny is around in a subbed copy.
Jacques Feyder had a sojourn in Hollywood in the early 30s making Daybreak, but is most known for his films of the mid 30s of which Le Grand Jeu and La Kermesse heroique are available on subbed DVDs while for Pension Mimosas there are no subtitles made yet. Fritz Lang's Liliom is a bonus on the State Fair DVD. Louise Brooks afficionados shouldn't forget Prix de Beaute by Augusto Genina, while Josephine Baker fans might be interested in Zouzou and Billy Wilder fans in his debut Mauvaise Graine (there's the nice animation La joie du Vivre as bonus). Abel Gance' Beethoven film was released on DVD and there are subs for his J'accuse. G.W. Pabst's Don Quixote is also out in a subbed DVD and there are subs for his neglected 30s French oeuvre with L'Atlantide, Du haut en bas, Le Drame de Shanghai, Mademoiselle Docteur and Jeunes Filles en Detresse. Anatole Litvak's Mayerling also is available thanks to Criterion's Arthouse line. There was also a BFI tape of Jacques Deval's Club de Femmes.
Beyond the auteurs things look more bleak on DVD, but there exist subtitles for a few films which are very much worth exploring and in need of a proper English friendly DVD release. The great Julien Duvivier is badly off as DVDs go except for Pepe le Moko and the spectacular Au bonheur des Dames which was also released with English subs. There are subtitles for Poil de carotte (as well as an old US tape), La Tete d'un homme, Maria Chapdelaine, La Bandera, Golgotha, La Belle Equipe, Le Golem, La Fin du Jour and La Charette Fantome, only the outstanding Un Carnet de Bal and the funny Hallo Berlin ici Paris are in dire need of them. Jean Gremillon is elusive in every decade, subs are there for Gueule d'amour and La Petite Lise, but his third great film of the decade, L'etrange Monsieur Victor still has none. Paul Fejös made a Hungarian French film Marie Legende Hongroise which is a must see and also a Fantomas adaptation. Jean Benoit-Levy & Marie Epstein made the touching La Maternelle and Dmitri Kirsanoff the curious Rapt. Entree des Artistes de Marc Allegret also merits attention as do L'Homme de Nulle Part and Le Dernier Tournant by Pierre Chenal, the latter an early The Postman always rings twice version, subtitles exist for all these films. The old warhorse Maurice Tourneur also has three subbed films with Obsession, Justin de Marseille and Samson while Marcel L'Herbier struggled along in commercial cinema, maybe his Mystere de la Chambre Jaune is best known today.Also worth a look is Christian-Jaque's Les Disparus de Saint-Agil, a pretty unique crime drama at a school with Erich von Stroheim. Pierre Prevert directed the grotesque comedy L'affaire est dans le sac.
For the German emigres Max Ophüls and Robert Siodmak France proved a stepping stone for greater things, but Divine, La Tendre Ennemie, Yoshiwara, Werther and Sans Lendemain are all subbed, while with Siodmak only Pieges and Mollenard got subs. Fedor Otsep made the moody Amok recently subbed, too.

The German film saw a stunning run from 1930-1933 before declining obviously during the Third Reich. None of the major film countries of the 30s is as badly represented on DVDs (even in Germany itself), even the once notoriously unaccessible Japanese output is more widely represented and despite massive fan-subtitling, quite a few classics still await their subs.
Essentially a handful of films on DVD has to come represent the output of the whole decade. These are M and Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse by Fritz Lang, Der blaue Engel by Josef von Sternberg, The Three Penny Opera by G.W. Pabst, People on Sunday by Robert Siodmak and Leni Riefenstahl's films The Blue Light, Triumph of the Will and Olympia as well as Arnold Fanck's Storm over Montblanc and SOS Iceberg with her plus Dreyer's French-German film Vampyr.
Already the top Weimar classics Mädchen in Uniform by Leontine Sagan, Westfront 1918 and Kameradschaft by Pabst, Kuhle Wampe with a script from Brecht and Liebelei by Max Ophüls didn't make it beyond the tape stage, subs are floating around for all of these films. However there's a limited DVD box Deutsche Tonfilmklassiker apparently intended for the Goethe Institute around the world which contained 10 films and had English subtitles, therefore you should be able to find the essential early sound operettas Der Kongreß tanzt, Die Drei von der Tankstelle and Reinhold Schünzel's Amphitryon, Luis Trenker's western-like Der Kaiser von Kalifornien, Douglas Sirk's La Habanera (also on DVD from Kino) and the only turkey in the set and Ophüls probably worst film, Lachende Erben. Edition Filmmuseum released Ludwig II and especially Curt Goetz' Napoleon ist an allem schuld. There's also a DVD with Oskar Fischinger films. Piel Jutzi's 1931 version of Berlin Alexanderplatz is a bonus on the Fassbinder Criterion set. Hitler Youth Quex is out from IHF.
However it's worth to dig in the internet for the rest which can be classified in various ways. There are first the Weimar sound film operettas which feature prominently in the Tonfilmklassiker box and for a good reason since they are a major contribution of the early German sound film. The wittily self reflexive Ich bei Tag und Du bei Nacht, the melancholic Das Lied ist aus, the realistic Ein blonder Traum, the joyfully silly Walzerkrieg and Ich und die Kaiserin have already subs. A special case is the first film opera adaptation, Max Ophüls Die verkaufte Braut. There are a few subbed comedies starring Willi Forst or Heinz Rühmann like Einbrecher, Der Herr auf Bestellung, Der brave Sünder, Bomben in Monte Carlo, Saison in Kairo, So ein Mädel vergißt man nicht and especially Die Koffer des Herrn OF for the Weimar era while the classic Der zerbrochene Krug and especially the ultra popular “It happened one Night”-influenced Glückskinder and the no less liked Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war represent Third Reich comedy aptly. There are many, many interesting dramas in the Weimar years, Robert Siodmak made Abschied, Voruntersuchung and especially the sensitive Brennendes Geheimnis. Werner Hochbaum made a stunning trio with Razzia in St. Pauli, Morgen beginnt das Leben and Schleppzug M 17. Fedor Otsep continued his visit with Der Mörder Dmitri Karamasoff. Paul Czinner made with his wife Elisabeth Bergner the chamber dramas Ariane and Der träumende Mund. While these directors went into exile, others came to the surface continuing Weimar traditions deep into the 30s, Reinhold Schünzel's comedies are one example, in the dramatic department Frank Wysbar excelled with the mystic classics Anna und Elisabeth and especially Fährmann Maria. Arthur Robison turned out a very moody remake of Der Student von Prag, while Douglas Sirk warmed up with all the other melodramas like Das Mädchen vom Moorhof, Stützen der Gesellschaft, Schlußakkord and Zu neuen Ufern. With Veit Harlan another talent took the torch directing Der Herrscher and especially Reise nach Tilsit.
These films all have subs, but a lot haven't, should be nevertheless mentioned. Robert Siodmak's Der Mann der seinen Mörder sucht survives in a extremely cut version which makes the film even crazier than it already would have been, together with Zwei Herzen im Dreivierteltakt , Ihre Majestät Liebe, Helmut Käutner's Kitty und die Weltkonferenz and a wave of Reinhold Schünzel films (Land der Liebe, Die englische Heirat and most of all Viktor und Viktoria) it's the prime candidate for subs. Luis Trenker's action mountain dramas like Berge in Flammen, Der Rebell, Der verlorene Sohn and Der Berg ruft are noticeable. The children classic Emil und die Detektive, the antiwar dramas Die andere Seite and especially Niemandsland, the submarine classic Morgenrot, Willi Forst's Mazurka and finally a batch of Veit Harlan films like Die Kreutzersonate, Jugend, Verwehte Spuren and Das unsterbliche Herz are the most famous unsubbed dramas. Some films with more of an underground reputation are the realist Das Leben kann so schön sein, the 30s versions of Der Tiger von Eschnapur and Das Indische Grabmal, Werner Hochbaum's Man spricht über Jacqueline and Ein Mädchen geht an Land, Carl Junghans' Altes Herz geht auf Reise and Reinhold Schünzel's Das Mädchen Irene.
The small Austrian film industry can be treated here because the country ceased to exist and merged with Germany 1938. The most famous director is of cause Willi Forst and Maskerade and Burgtheater are the only film for which subtitles exist at the moment (plus the German classic Bel Ami), Leise flehen meine Lieder needs them badly. Paul Fejös made the remarkable Sonnenstrahl there, subs recently finished. Gustav Machaty visited for the noirish Nocturno but it lacks subtitles as well as the Austrian films of Werner Hochbaum who made them when Austria was a kind of haven for refugees most noticeable are Vorstadtvariete, Schatten der Vergangenheit and a co-production with Switzerland the psychedelic Die ewige Maske.


The once unknown Japanese film industry of the 30s steadily gains more attraction especially the golden years between 1933-1937.
Yasujiro Ozu is obviously pretty well represented on DVD. Criterion released in the Eclipse line I was born but, Tokyo Chorus and Passing Fancy and in the main line The Only Son and Floating Weeds, many other titles were released by Panorama (An Inn in Tokyo, Dragnet Girl, A Mother must be loved, What did the Lady forget) and will appear now in superior BFI editions. At the moment only the early A Woman of Tokyo, Where are the Dreams of Youth, I flunked but, My Wife that Night, Walk cheerfully and The Lady and the Beard are unreleased, but around in subbed versions.
Kenji Mizoguchi has two Eclipse titles with Sisters of the Gion and Naniwa Elegy as well as Orizuru Osen and Taki no shiraito in the Japanese Talking Silents series, all his other extant 30s films like Oyuki the Virgin, Straits of Love and Hate or Poppies are subtitled as is Story of Late Chrysanthemum which will be released by Artificial Eye. Sadao Yamanaka's Humanity and Paper Balloons has a MoC release, for his only two other surviving films Tange Sazen and Priest of Darkness subtitles exist. Hiroshi Shimizu also sees the light of DVD releases, Criterion took a on an Eclipse set (originally a Shochiku release that also had English subs), so Mr. Thank you, The Masseurs and a Woman and Japanese Girls at the Harbor are easily available, while the second Shochiku set contains Children in the Wind and Four Seasons of Children, it's English subbed and can be bought on ebay. A Star Athlete and Forget Love for now also float around in subbed copies. Mikio Naruse's entire surviving silent output has now an Eclipse set, but there's massive fan subtitling going on in his case and twelve of his 30s films are available and just to give you an example what I mean with floating around you can find them here. Among them the famous Wife be like a Rose. There are a few 30s films more on DVD with subtitles in the Talking Silents line among them Daisuke Ito's Jirokichi the Rat. Also there's one of the few surviving left wing films of the early 30s, Shigeyoshi Suzuki's What made her do it on a DVD with English subs.
Less known masters Yasujiro Shimazu (Our Neighbor Miss Yae, The Fiance Trio) and Heinosuke Gosho (The Dancing Girl of Izu, Burden of Life, Madame and Wife and Woman in the Mist) have the named films also subtitled and Tomu Uchida's Tsuchi is also a fine closing point to this decade despite its battered survival status.


The Soviet industry started out lively but went into a heavy decline from 1934 onward with formal experimentation being phased out.
We all know about Alexander Nevsky, Sergei Eisenstein's solo entry. Alexander Dovzhenko's poetic Earth is easily obtained, his other films lesser known films of the decade like Ivan, Aerograd and Shchors are all around with (mediocre) English subs thanks to an unofficial DVD set. Ruscico is a good starting point for further explorations like Aleksandr Medvedkin's bizarre comedy Happiness (his New Moscow is floating around), the acclaimed Lev Kuleshov film The Great Consoler, the very popular Gorky Trilogy by Mark Donskoi or Wassilissa the Weaver by Alexander Rou. The huge popular success Chapayev was also released in a subtitled DVD and there are US DVDs for Vsevolod Pudovkin's Deserter, Boris Barnet's Okraina and Dsiga Vertov's Three Songs of Lenin. Edition Filmmuseum complements the Vertov viewing with Entuziazm while we all hope that Barnet's By the Bluest of Seas will finally see the light from them though subs for the French DVD are around as well as for a TV recording of his film Thaw. And not to make the same mistake twice: the German DVD of Kozintsev/Trauberg's Odna has English subtitles while Joris Ivens' Komsomolsk is available in the box.
Grigori Aleksandrov's 30s comedies like Jolly Fellows or Circus were released on tape as was Mikhail Kalatosov's stunning docu Salt for Svanetia (his Nail in the Boots is floating around). Many other films are floating around in subbed versions and worth exploring. Among them are Nikolai Ekk's Road to Life a film comparable to Boys Town, an early version of The Quiet Don, Pudovkin's A Simple Case, Mikhail Romm's aggressively satiric Pyshka, the funny Lieutenant Kije, Petrov's realistic Thunderstorm and Abram Room's A Severe Young Man, all these films retain a liveliness that will be crushed in the next years. Subs for the other 30s trilogy, the Maxim films by Kozintsev/Trauberg are also done.
Genre afficionados might be quite interested in the animation film The New Gulliver by Aleksandr Ptushko and the Sci-fi films Loss of Feeling and Cosmic Journey, these also exist subbed.
The later bombastic, schematic propaganda films have mostly no subs and few interest today, films like Lenin in October, Peter the First, The Man with the Gun, Baltic Deputy or Komsomolsk have receded far into the background, The Party Card is a rare subtitled (and nasty) example of Stalinist propaganda, but there are also a few films like the Thirteen by Romm or We from Kronstadt which are not bad and could use subs as could the earlier Counterplan being a model for the later social realism movies.


The British film industry had a few commercial successes but few truly great directors during this decade. There's at least no language barrier and a plethora of DVDs.
Obviously Alfred Hitchcock dominates the reception, we all know the six thrillers The 39 Steps, The Lady vanishes, Sabotage, Secret Agent, The Man who knew too much and Young and Innocent but he made also films like Murder or Rich and Strange, all are easily found.
Anthony Asquith had a rough time but scored big towards the end of the decade with Pygmalion. William Cameron Menzies directed the monumental sci-fi epic Things to Come while the Korda brothers produced spectacular films en masse after the huge success of The Private Life of Henry VIII, there's an Eclipse set which also contains the well done Rembrandt while Zoltan's efforts like The Four Feathers , Elephant Boy and The Drum are also well documented, Robert Stevenson's King Solomon's Mines also belongs to this group of colonial adventures. In a similar vein is the popular adventure classic The Scarlet Pimpernel and it fits the picture that late in the 30s Hollywood joined the party producing films like Goodbye Mr. Chips and The Citadel there, Jacques Feyder visited with Marlene Dietrich for Knight without Armour , Rene Clair made The Ghost goes West while Boris Karloff made The Man who changed his mind. Will Hay is supposed to be the most popular comedian with Oh Mr. Porter and Ask a Policeman while Jessie Matthews starred in Evergreen and First a Girl and fittingly The Mikado is honored as a Criterion.
Genuine directing talent is rare, Michael Powell emerged after zillions of quote quickies as a major director with The Edge of the World continuing with The Spy in Black, Carol Reed still was involved in smaller films of which Bank Holiday should be noted. Unusual films like Borderline by Kenneth MacPherson or the nutty Robber Symphony are rare but they are out on DVD, Paul Robeson starred in quite a few British films of this decade beyond Borderline you'll find some on the Criterion set. The Man who could work Miracles was another H.G. Wells adaptation, while Vivien Leigh starred in some popular films like the all star costumer Fire over England, the spy drama Dark Journey or Sidewalks of London.
However there's still the documentary to save the day with Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran not necessarily a representative effort, but a remarkable one. The most famous of all the documentaries is obviously Night Mail, but there are many other remarkable films like Coal Face, Song of Ceylon, Industrial Britain or Housing Problems which can be explored on all these wonderful BFI editions. Humphrey Jennings' first major film Spare Time belongs here, too. Even some experimental film could blossom in the shadow of the docus and Len Lye made important films like A Colour Box, Rainbow Dance and Trade Tattoo while Norman McLaren got his start with films like Love on the Wings.


The sixth big industry is the Czechoslovakian one, it started with artistic and ambitious films in the decade and maintained throughout commercial power. It also has the advantage that there are dozens of English subtitled Czech DVDs you can buy.
The most famous film is obviously by a wide margin Gustav Machaty's Ecstasy (notice that the German Edition Filmmuseum has a superior picture but features the recut post war German version), unfortunately highly acclaimed film of his, From Sunday to Monday isn't released on DVD yet though it exists in a subbed version on the net. The same bad luck have Karl Anton's intense Tonka of the Gallows and Carl Junghans German-Czech co production Such is Life but these silents should be searched for on the net the same goes for some early experimentation, most famous are Alexander Hammid's Aimless Walk and The Prague Castle. There exist however DVDs for Josef Rovensky's Reka, Martin Fric's bizarre comedy Hej-rup and Vladislav Vancura's Marijka Nevernice and Pred Maturitou all poetic and inventive films, Vancura's On the sunny Side needs subtitles. Later in the decade Hugo Haas made a political parable with The White Disease and Otakar Vavra started a long, long career (he's still alive) with the bitter Virginity and continued with the acclaimed The Guild of the Kutna Hora Virgins, his drama Turbina is 1939 per imdb though in fact rather 1941.
Beyond that there are zillions of comedies on DVD pretty much all films of the legendary Vlasta Burian, but also Hugo Haas and Oldrich Novy should be mentioned, for example Kristian is a cleverly constructed comedy. Most of the films were directed by Karel Lamac and Martin Fric who had an epic 40 year career, they also feature female stars like Adina Mandlova or Lida Baarova.


Then finally there are the smaller producing countries.

While the Chinese film industry can't compete with the big six countries it nevertheless had a Golden Age - ironically during the same years as the Japanese film.
The San Francisco film Festival released the best known film Shen Nu with a book on its star Ruan Ling-yu and repeated the feat with The Peach Girl and a book on its male star. Koch released a handful of DVDs of the most famous classic Chinese films among them Street Angel, Song at Midnight - a Phantom of the Opera version, The Big Road, Daybreak and Crossroads. The rest floats around in copies from Video CDs, nevertheless Little Toys, New Woman and Song of the Fishermen deserve some attention. One classic is still unsubtitled and that's Spring Silkworms.
Mexico's film industry started to build momentum and there exist a few English subtitled DVDs. The most famous is Fernando de Fuentes Revolution trilogy with Vamonos con Pancho Villa, El Compadre Mendoza and Prisoner 13. The same man is however also responsible for the notorious ranchera genre with Alla en el Rancho Grande, while La Mujer del puerto is the defning Mexican melodrama. Beyond these DVDs there are subtitles for Santa, the first Mexican sound film and Dos Monjes.
Brazil contributed films by Humberto Mauro especially Ganga Bruta and Sangue Mineiro though the most famous film is the experimental Limite by Mario Peixoto, no DVDs just subs so you have to search around. India's single contribution is Sant Tukaram available in mediocre DVDs as is so often the case with this country. Spain's most famous film is naturally Bunuel's harsh documentary Land without Bread, beyond this only La aldea maldita has any reputation and subs. Hungary's popular classic is Hippolyt a lakaj available in a subbed DVD, Cancao a Lisboa holds an equally legendary position within the Portugisian film history. The most famous Polish films are in fact Yiddish ones like Dybbuk. For the Netherlands Joris Ivens submits a strong trio of films with Borinage, The New Land and Philips Radio all in the DVD box, for Max Ophüls' Komoedie om Geld subtitles are around. The once proud Swedish film industry has only to offer Ingrid Bergman films with Intermezzo and A Woman's Face being the most famous, both were remaked in the USA. The Finnish director Nyrko Tapiovaara was a promising talent with Juha and Varastettu kuolema before he died in the Winter War, his films have yet to be subbed, surprisingly instead the melodrama director Teuvo Tulio got two DVD boxes with English subtitles devoted to him so you can check his 30s films like Song of the Scarlet Flower. Norway has Fant to contribute in a subbed DVD.
Finally the Italian film industry offers us the MoC DVD of La Signora di Tutti, Alessandro Blasetti's 1860 in a subbed Italian DVD and the propagandistic Scipione l'Africano also was released by IHF. Beyond this there are subtitles for a few early interesting films like Resurrectio by Blasetti, Rafaele Matarazzo's poetic Treno Popolare and Mario Camerini's Gli uomini che mascalzone. With Camerini there are also subs for later films like Signor Max and Grandi Magazzini but despite a sharp rise in production the second half of the decade is terra incognita and looks pretty bland.
Last edited by lubitsch on Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:52 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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knives
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#9 Post by knives » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:29 pm

I'll have to read your guide soon Lubitsch, I'm sure it will be invaluable. Before I forget though if we are doing swapsies again I'd like to throw Berthold Bartosch's L'idee as mine. It's a great piece of animation that is as indebted to the Soviets as Rene Laloux and Terry Gilliam are to it. It's possibly my favorite of these last testaments to the silent era.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#10 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:57 pm

I am very much seeking Preminger's first film, his only in German, 1931's Die große Liebe (The Great Love)

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Tommaso
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#11 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:09 pm

knives wrote:I'll have to read your guide soon Lubitsch, I'm sure it will be invaluable. Before I forget though if we are doing swapsies again I'd like to throw Berthold Bartosch's L'idee as mine. It's a great piece of animation that is as indebted to the Soviets as Rene Laloux and Terry Gilliam are to it. It's possibly my favorite of these last testaments to the silent era.
I quite like this swapsie thing, never heard about it before, though. Not sure at which point I will throw my own (can I at least have two of them, please), but I'll try to find L'idee.

Thanks for the viewing guide, Lubitsch. Very helpful, as usual. And from what I hear you can almost be certain that Berger's magnificent "Ich bei Tag und du bei Nacht" will be subbed in time before the end of this voting period.

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zedz
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#12 Post by zedz » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:22 pm

Thanks for the round-up, Lubitsch. Medvedkin's Happiness, which is a must-see for this list, whether you end up wanting to include it or not, is readily available as an extra on Icarus' edition of Marker's The Last Bolshevik (similarly essential viewing for a much later list).

Shimizu's Four Seasons of Children is another must-see (possible top ten for me). There's always the hope that Criterion will get around to porting that second Japanese box, but it's well worth the extra cost in the meantime.

The best money you'll spend on this leg of the list project, if you haven't already got it, might be the incredible Unseen Cinema set, which presents an embarrassment of riches of experimental, amateur and pure and simple WTF filmmaking from the period. The Kino Avant-Garde sets and American Film Archives sets are also rich with 30s treasures.

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Saturnome
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#13 Post by Saturnome » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:24 pm

All right. I have a lot of work to do. I'm almost at beginner level for American films of the late 30s. It's even worse for the musicals, I think Top Hat, which I've seen a few weeks ago, is my starting point. What should I seek first?

I thought about developing a little guide for 1930s cartoons, that's the only thing I'm good at. Lubitsch already mentioned the big names, but anyway. If I'm missing anything, say it loud!
Fleischer Cartoons:
- The very early sound Fleischer is the best. Look for the shorts with Bimbo (which would become Betty Boop's sidekick). There's the famous Bimbo's Initiation from 1931 of course, but please take a look at Swing, you Sinners!(1930). I think it's Fleischer at it's most surrealist. The ending is absolutely terrifying.
- The best of Betty Boop is also the earliest ones. Check out those with Cab Calloway: Minnie the Moocher, Snow White, The Old Man of the Mountain. The post Hays code Betty Boop is worthless, unless I'm missing some hidden gem.
- Popeye, of course, it's his best years. There's always the great technicolor specials like Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor, but I tend to prefer stuff like Sock-a-Bye, Baby(1934), with Popeye randomly punching a bunch of musicians.
- Gulliver's Travels. I don't like it much, but at least it's feature length. Don't bother with the Blu-Ray release, it's a mess.

Disney:
Heh...Who knows? I grew up without ever seeing them, so maybe this can help.
- The Silly Symphonies. My absolute favorite is Music Land (1935), I think it's pure genius. Fast-paced and funny, too. That's two things you won't find in most Silly Symphonies, but unlike other sweet, sugary series from the decade (like Fleischer's Color Classics), there's often more to look at. You can't look over the pretty The Old Mill either, the most technically advanced cartoon of the era (with the 1939 version of The Ugly Duckling). The Tortoise and the Hare is another funny one, it's almost a Looney Tunes. I guess I don't need to tell about Three Little Pigs or Flower and Trees.
- Mickey Mouse. I don't mind much his early 30s shorts (unlike the late 1920s), it's almost all the same, stuff dances and Minnie at the piano. But when he's teamed up with Donald and Goofy it's really great. Mickey's Service Station is perhaps my favorite, and Lonesome Ghosts and Clock Cleaners are the most well known. As for Mickey in solo, don't even dare to miss Brave Little Tailor.
- Donald Duck. Though I couldn't name one in particular, his best shorts are right here. But maybe he's at his funniest in a Mickey Mouse cartoon in fact, The Band Concert (Mickey's first color film).
- There's that thing called Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, too.

Warner:
Or course there's the famous Porky in Wackyland by Bob Clampett, which take the "Looney" in "Looney Tunes" seriously. Check out Tex Avery's work there (Daffy Duck in Hollywood or the first few Daffy Duck) and Frank Tashlin, who is probably the one who started to speed up Warner's shorts, starting with Porky's Romance. Though it may be a question of tastes, I'm not a big fan of earlier Warner shorts and their empty characters, though somehow I really like Lady, Play Your Mandolin! by Rudolph Ising with all it's debauchery. I'm surely missing a few great shorts, but all I can think of was made in later decades.

Other:
Charley Bowers made a few stop-mo shorts in the 1930s, It's a Bird! and Believe it or Don't. They're not even on IMDb so I don't know what's the rule.
Erm, what else... I don't know, but Jitterbug Follies features Milton Gross' comic strip characters and I like it. I'm probably forgetting something...
If you would like something more experimental, Mary Ellen Bute is the only name coming up to my mind right now. I think most of her work is made of optical effects and not animation, but some like Synchromy No. 4 is animated.

Outside of America:

Germany:
The great abstract filmmaker, Oskar Fischinger, started his "Studie" series in the early 30s. They're pure, visual representation of music through motion of abstract figures. Except a few ones (Studie Nr. 7, Studie Nr. 6, on DVD) they're hard to come by, I haven't seem them all. Other films from Fischinger to look out for are Kreise (Circles), Komposition in Blau (my favorite), Allegretto (my favorite... too..uh) and An optical poem made in America for MGM.

Soviet Union:
I'm unfamiliar with this period of animation in Soviet Union, but check this out. The Returned Sun, 1936. Great fun, weird, folk-inspired tale and impressive camera movements.
There's also the legendary could-have-been-the-first-cel-animated-film-ever Skazka o pope i o rabotnike ego Balde by Mikhail Tsekhanovskiy. Please please please take a look at this link. It's the only part of the film that survived (apparently it was almost complete when abandoned then destroyed in a fire), dated 1934 and you have never seen anything as weird as this. Dmitri Shostakovich made the music.

United Kingdom:
- Len Lye. He was mentioned in the 1920s discussion with Tuslava, but he is in first place a great pioneer of abstract film making, he is the one who started painting directly on film. Kaleidoscope or A Colour Box are both great. For something less abstract, Rainbow Dance and N or NW are great ads for the British General Post Office. Rainbow Dance is MTV 80s clips before it's time.
- Norman McLaren made a few films too, I don't remember much about them though. His greatest films are yet to come.

Japan:
I don't know if there's anything worthy of a top 50, but Noburo Ofuji's paper animation is quite nice, and so are Yasuji Murata's animated folk tales (done in unusual, for animation of this decade, realist drawings). Kenzo Masaoka started making shorts in this decade, but he truly became great during the 40s.
Kon Ichikawa also made a short cartoon (or more, probably, though I only know about one that survived) in the 30s, but I haven't seen it. Anybody?

Netherlands:
Der stora Philipsrevyn 1938 by George Pal. Are probably a few others too, but I'm currently looking for his 1930s films without much success.

France:
- Alexander Alexeieff and Claire Parker's Une Nuit sur le Mont Chauve, made in 1933, in the first film ever made using a pinscreen. It's an impressive film, full of dark imagery, despire the fact I've never seen it in a clean print. Recommended!
- La Joie de vivre (Anthony Gross, Hector Hoppin, 1934) is a nice musical short gone art-deco/surrealist.
- L'Idée (Berthold Bartosch, 1932) is surprisingly long (25m) and with a strong expressionist influence, it's preachy but it's nice and very unique. It features a score by Arthur Honegger using the Ondes Martenot.
- Will any cartoons actually make up my list? Well, Le Roman de Renard, without a single doubt will make it, and may even crack the top 5. Yep.
Ladislas Starewich made a lot of great shorts in the 1930s, the most well known being Fétiche Mascotte (a lot of people calling it simply "Fétiche" though I don't know why, there's a few other Fétiche shorts) but Le Roman de Renard, a feature-length animated film, is his masterpiece. It could be one of the greatest film ever made for kids (and adults too)! The fox is a great character that's pretty unique for this era of film making and the visuals effects are incredible (Characters breathing, motion-blur, camera movements). I even love the voices, cartoon dubbing certainly wasn't a common thing in France back then but they got it perfect. Truly one of the greatest. Too bad the French DVD (with english subtitles, but I haven't looked at them) is so green.

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Tommaso
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#14 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:37 pm

Saturnome wrote: It's even worse for the musicals, I think Top Hat, which I've seen a few weeks ago, is my starting point. What should I seek first?
Only talking about the American ones: Lubitsch's "Monte Carlo" and "The Smiling Lieutenant", Mamoulian's "Love me tonight", and from Astaire/Rogers quite definitely "The gay divorcee", "Swing Time" and "Shall we dance". Perhaps a bit of Busby Berkeley, too.

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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#15 Post by Saturnome » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:40 pm

Oh, looks like I'm not such a desperate case, I have seen Love Me Tonight, I forgot about it. Nothing else though, and I'll definitively check the Busby Berkeley films too.

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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#16 Post by swo17 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:41 pm

Depending on how liberally you define the term, don't like 95% of films from the 1930s qualify as musicals? (Don't actually answer this question.)

Seriously though, great contributions so far, everyone! I couldn't have asked for a better start to this thread.
Tommaso wrote:I quite like this swapsie thing, never heard about it before, though. Not sure at which point I will throw my own (can I at least have two of them, please)
Suggest one (or more) at any point you like, though try to keep it to the absolute essentials that you fear will be neglected if you don't mention them. Remember, you're informally forcing everyone to watch all of your picks, so don't wear out your welcome. I'm not going to put a limit on how many you can choose but I feel like any more than five would be pushing it.

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zedz
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#17 Post by zedz » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:01 am

Also key to the swapsie concept is that it's reciprocal: by offering one up, you're agreeing to watch the nominated swapsie of anybody who takes you up on yours, if you can track it down, so if you're reluctant to follow the whims of strangers' tastes, this is not the lucky dip for you.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#18 Post by domino harvey » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:04 am

Worth remembering too that the actual rate of success with Swapsies (both in list placement and in actually achieving reciprocity) is pretty low of late-- I'm actually not sure it ever really worked beyond its first implementation in the 80s List

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Cold Bishop
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#19 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:25 am

Except for Dr. Amicus and Matt (who both vanished from the project), I watched everyone's during the last go-round. Didn't comment on Point Blank or Last Seduction (and to be fair, both were disqualified from my list). Maybe swo17 can keep track of whenever anyone mentions seeing one, and putting there name next to the title, like such:

L'âge d'or (Luis Buñuel, 1930) R1 Kino (Cold Bishop) Seen by: hddvdreviews, kevyip1, Barmy

...you know, put the squeeze on them.

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swo17
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#20 Post by swo17 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:48 am

I dunno, toward the end of the '20s list, with my top 50 already firmly set and nothing much left to watch, I asked everyone for something like a swapsie and three of the recommendations that came from that ended up on my list (one at #13). I think it can work fine on the honor system, and I don't think there needs to be any pressure either for people to comment on all of the swapsies they view. Call it whatever you want--it's just a way for anyone who wants to to recommend an obscure film in a prominent place, with everyone encouraged to seek out as many of them as they can. I personally intend to watch everything that gets nominated as a swapsie, without worrying to check up on whether the favor has been reciprocated. Maybe "Forum Member Highlights" or something is a better name for it, though it doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#21 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:10 am

So, I watched my first movie specifically for this project- Young Mr. Lincoln.

I was a bit underwhelmed. It's a very enjoyable movie, especially after the first scene or so (where the score so overwhelmed the action that Fonda's performance came off as milksoppy rather than ingratiatingly humble) and there were at least two really remarkable sequences- the dance and Fonda stopping the lynch mob- but it does turn weirdly into a proto-Columbo episode at the end. It's fun, but it feels like the gradually deepening portrait of Lincoln got sidetracked, and I would have liked it to skip forward a few more times rather than stay in place for forty-five minutes.

On the other hand, I'd much rather watch this than a movie with a more normal bio-pic structure, and I'm not entirely sure that's not what it would have turned into. I think I was expecting something with a more epic scope, particularly after the strange humble power Fonda's Lincoln manages when stopping the lynching (and this being Ford's movie directly after Stagecoach.) It's hard to think of the movie for what it is rather than what I wished it would be.

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Cold Bishop
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#22 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:18 am

I remember going into Young Mr. Lincoln not expecting to like it all, and being bowled over. And this is before reading that famous Cahiers piece that articulates (well, perhaps "articulate" is the wrong word) the film's relationship to Lincoln so well.

It's filled with so many lovely, poetic Ford moment: Lincoln's walk with Ann Rutledge, and its sudden flash-forward. Lincoln walking out of the courthouse and into his presidency. The walk towards the storm at the end. It's perhaps one of the great films about walking!

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Shrew
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#23 Post by Shrew » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:05 am

Young Mr. Lincoln really annoyed me in its courtroom scenes and setup, and unfortunately that's what sticks out the most despite a vague memory of really liking the rest of it. I think at first it's Ford's broad bucolic humor--which I've never been fond of--coming in and mussing the courtroom into a guffaws and accents peanut gallery.

Then the film gets away from Lincoln for so long to set up this big moral quandry between the two brothers accused of murder. That's fine, but what really irks me is that all that time spent on those two and their moral stubbornness is thrown out the window because Lincoln does a bit of detective work. The joke about Columbo is pretty dead-on, and it annoys me because Lincoln isn't really doing much lawyering here of any sort, yet that's what everyone congratulates him on, including Douglass. I'm not sure what I expected (some sort of Atticus Finch speech?) to resolve the conflict, but after all that moral handwringing it feels cheap to end it in some "It was... him!" bit.

I feel like these are some silly nits I should just brush away though, as there is a great deal more to this film. I need to watch it again and hopefully they won't itch so much.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#24 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:34 am

Cold Bishop wrote:I remember going into Young Mr. Lincoln not expecting to like it all, and being bowled over. And this is before reading that famous Cahiers piece that articulates (well, perhaps "articulate" is the wrong word) the film's relationship to Lincoln so well.

It's filled with so many lovely, poetic Ford moment: Lincoln's walk with Ann Rutledge, and its sudden flash-forward. Lincoln walking out of the courthouse and into his presidency. The walk towards the storm at the end. It's perhaps one of the great films about walking!
Can you link the Cahiers piece?

I definitely felt a number of gorgeous moments, I just felt like they didn't quite add up to anything. I actually quite enjoyed the courtroom sequence (hey, Columbo is fun!) but it felt totally inappropriate for a movie about Lincoln- I think I agree with Shrew that it felt like a cheat that rather than winning the case through a bravura display of speechmaking or accepting a difficult moral choice or something along those lines, Lincoln just pulls a murderer out of his hat. It's a cheat, and unlike the cheat at the end of Stagecoach (when Wayne escapes what seems to be his inevitable fate) it feels cheap, rather than a Last Laugh-style 'oh screw it, we all know where this is going so let's have a happy ending anyway'. Speaking and making hard decisions are part of the myth of Lincoln (and witty comments, too, so I didn't mind the jokey atmosphere in the courtroom) but Sherlock Holmes-esque feats of ratiocination aren't.

That cut to the Lincoln monument, though, that almost made up for it- it helps that Fonda's makeup means he actually looks a lot like the real Lincoln, so you don't have the disorienting effect cutting to the real figure usually does in biopics.

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Cold Bishop
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Re: 1930s List Discussion and Suggestions

#25 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:54 am

It's available in both "Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader" and "Auteurs and Authorship: A Film Readers". It is perhaps the key piece of Cahiers' ideologically Marxist approach to film in the 70s, so take that as either a recommendation or disclaimer depending on your tolerance for that sort of thing. But in a nutshell, at least as far as it interests me, is the way it shows that Ford's romanticized approach to Lincoln barely conceals the fact that he's a deceitful, even monstrous, figure in the film. It's the tension between these extremes which makes Ford's mythologizing so interesting.

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