Bogie56

Your Favourite Performances from 1930 to present are...

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Helen Hayes managed to get my vote for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress (see earlier post) for 1931.

Here are my choices of the 41 films I've seen from 1931 for…

 

Best Actress of 1931

 

1.  HELEN HAYES (Madelon Claudet), The Sin of Madelon Claudet*

2.  NORMA SHEARER (Jan Ashe), A Free Soul

3.  SYDNEY FOX (Marianne Madison), Bad Sister

4.  CLAUDETTE COLBERT (Sally Clark), His Woman

5.  BETTE DAVIS (Laura Madison), Bad Sister

 

6.  MARLENE DIETRICH (Mary/”X-27”), Dishonored

7.  SYLVIA SIDNEY (Roberta "Bert" Alden), An American Tragedy

8.  BARBARA STANWYCK (Nurse Lora Hart), Night Nurse

9.  SYLVIA SIDNEY (Rose Maurrant), Street Scene

10. JANIE MARESE (Lucienne ‘Lulu’ Pelletier), La Chienne

 

and

 

NORMA SHEARER (Amanda Chase Paynne), Private Lives

IRENE DUNNE (Sabra Cravat/"Sugar"), Cimarron

 
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Bogie, there are six titles in your actress list I haven't seen. Maybe that's one reason I have trouble coming up with my lists.

 

At the end of the week I was going to list all of the recommended films from 1931 that I have yet to see.  I am up to 15 so don't feel too bad.

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Bogie, I haven't seen BAD SISTER. Isn't this the one where Bette Davis actually plays the good sister? She also has a small role in WATERLOO BRIDGE as the hero's good sister, and in THREE ON A MATCH she's the nice normal girl of the three. Warner Brothers hadn't figured out how to cast her, had they?

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Bogie, I haven't seen BAD SISTER. Isn't this the one where Bette Davis actually plays the good sister? She also has a small role in WATERLOO BRIDGE as the hero's good sister, and in THREE ON A MATCH she's the nice normal girl of the three. Warner Brothers hadn't figured out how to cast her, had they?

 

Correct.   Warner didn't really know what to do with her until after her splash in the loan out Of Human Bondage in 1934.

 

Of the films she made before Bondage,  Cabin in the Cotton has an interesting Davis performance with Davis as a southern gal with the now famous but corny line:    Ah'd love t' kiss ya, but ah jes washed ma hayuh,".

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For some reason Bad Sister (1931) is one of those films that is very hard to come by now.  In fact I didn't see this one on tv but watched a 16mm film print years ago at a small cinema.

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For some reason Bad Sister (1931) is one of those films that is very hard to come by now.  In fact I didn't see this one on tv but watched a 16mm film print years ago at a small cinema.

It's currently on YT. A few copies.

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At the end of the week I was going to list all of the recommended films from 1931 that I have yet to see.  I am up to 15 so don't feel too bad.

That is a good idea.

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At the end of the week I was going to list all of the recommended films from 1931 that I have yet to see.  I am up to 15 so don't feel too bad.

 

Aside from films that I've never seen, there are those that I saw so long ago that I can no longer make a fair assessment of the performances. Thus, for example, Norma Shearer did not get in the running on my best actress lists for either The Divorcee in 1930 or Private Lives in 1931. I do remember being somewhat impressed by both her and Robert Montgomery in the latter film but it is such an ancient impression now that I felt I couldn't consider their performances.

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Aside from films that I've never seen, there are those that I saw so long ago that I can no longer make a fair assessment of the performances. Thus, for example, Norma Shearer did not get in the running on my best actress lists for either The Divorcee in 1930 or Private Lives in 1931. I do remember being somewhat impressed by both her and Robert Montgomery in the latter film but it is such an ancient impression now that I felt I couldn't consider their performances.

 

I'll fess up to having an eccentric hobby of having made note of these things in lists right after I've seen them for a very long time now.

When I see a film again though it is often quite a reassessment.

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Here are my choices of the 41 films I've seen from 1931 for…

 

Best Actor of 1931

 

1.  PETER LORRE (Franz Becker/"The Murderer"), M

2.  CHARLES CHAPLIN ("A Tramp"), City Lights

3.  FREDRIC MARCH (Dr. Henry “Harry” Jekyll/”Mr. Hyde”), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

4.  LIONEL BARRYMORE (Stephen Ashe), A Free Soul

5.  WALLACE BEERY (Andy Purcell/“Champ”), The Champ

 

6.  MICHEL SIMON (Maurice Legrand), La Chienne

7.  THE MARX BROTHERS: Groucho (Groucho), Chico (Chico), Harpo (Harpo) & Zeppo (Zeppo), Monkey Business

8.  JAMES CAGNEY (Tom Powers), The Public Enemy

9.  EDWARD G. ROBINSON (Caesar Enrico "Rico" Bandello),  Little Caesar

10.  PAT O'BRIEN (Hildegard "Hildy" Johnson), The Front Page

 

and

 

JACKIE COOPER (Dink Purcell), The Champ

CLARK GABLE (Ace Wilfong), A Free Soul

RAYMOND CORDY (Louis), A Nous La Liberte

HENRI MARCHAND (Emile), A Nous La Liberte

BELA LUGOSI (Count Dracula/’Nosferatu’), Dracula

JACKIE COOPER (Skippy Skinner), Skippy

PHILLIPS HOLMES (Clyde Griffiths/"Carl Graham"/"Clifford Golden"/"Bellhop #7”), An American Tragedy

RONALD COLMAN (Dr. Martin Arrowsmith), Arrowsmith

RONALD COLMAN (Barrington Hunt), The Unholy Garden

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There are a couple of Wallace Beery performances that I enjoy. But any of those sentimental screen scenes in which he is all teary eyed, acting bashful or awkward while rubbing his face and nose (maybe blowing into a hankie, too, for good measure) have me running for a bucket.

 

Memory tells me that there were a number of those scenes in The Champ (am I wrong?), though there are some later Beery vehicles (those with Margaret O'Brien in the '40s, for example) that will have me flying to the television to switch the channel. Then I run for the bucket.

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Here are the films from 1931 that I am now looking forward to seeing for the first time ...

 
Blonde Crazy with Polly Walters
Cracked Nuts with Edna May Oliver
Don't Bet on Women with Roland Young
Five and Ten with Marion Davies
Five Star Final with Edward G. Robinson, Aline MacMahon and Polly Walters
The Guardsman with Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontaine
The Mad Genius with John Barrymore
The Maltese Falcon with Dudley Digges, Owen Matieson, Dwight Frye, Una Merkel and Thelma Todd
Murder by the Clock with Irving Pichel
Possessed with Joan Crawford
Safe In Hell with Dorothy Mackail and Nina Mae McKinney
Smart Money with James Cagney
Susan Lenox: Her Rise and Fall with Greta Garbo
Waterloo Bridge with Mae Clarke
Svengali with John Barrymore, Carmel Myers and Donald Crisp
 
And I would like to see The Smiling Lieutenant again to watch for George Barbier and Miriam Hopkins.
 
Thankfully I have recordings of most of these.
 
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Here are the films from 1931 that I am now looking forward to seeing for the first time ...

 
Blonde Crazy with Polly Walters
Cracked Nuts with Edna May Oliver
Don't Bet on Women with Roland Young
Five and Ten with Marion Davies
Five Star Final with Edward G. Robinson, Aline MacMahon and Polly Walters
The Guardsman with Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontaine
The Mad Genius with John Barrymore
The Maltese Falcon with Dudley Digges, Owen Matieson, Dwight Frye, Una Merkel and Thelma Todd
Murder by the Clock with Irving Pichel
Possessed with Joan Crawford
Safe In Hell with Dorothy Mackail and Nina Mae McKinney
Smart Money with James Cagney
Susan Lenox: Her Rise and Fall with Greta Garbo
Waterloo Bridge with Mae Clarke
Svengali with John Barrymore, Carmel Myers and Donald Crisp
 
And I would like to see The Smiling Lieutenant again to watch for George Barbier and Miriam Hopkins.
 
Thankfully I have recordings of most of these.

 

 

Svengali-14.jpg

 

"Not only will you see me as Svengali, but you WILL (!!!) return to this thread to name me best actor! You WILL (!!!) like this post, too!"

 

"I'd ask you for a liverwurst and onion sandwich, too, but that might be pushing it."

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Special Award for the Most Alive Performance of 1931:

 

Colin Clive, FRANKENSTEIN

 

giphy.gif

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Has the 1931 Maltese Falcon played on TCM?  Amazon wants a small fortune for the dvd.

I've seen Satan Met a Lady (1936) in the cinema but didn't care for it much.

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Has the 1931 Maltese Falcon played on TCM?  Amazon wants a small fortune for the dvd.

I've seen Satan Met a Lady (1936) in the cinema but didn't care for it much.

 

Yes,  the 31 version as well as the Davis 36 version have played on TCM in the last 2 or so years.

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Out of the titles you've listed, I haven't seen:

 

AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY

BAD SISTER

CRACKED NUTS

DISHONORED

DON'T BET ON WOMEN

FIVE AND TEN

HIS WOMAN

LA CHIENNE

MALTESE FALCON

PLATINUM BLONDE

SAFE IN HELL

STAR WITNESS

STREET SCENE

SVENGALI

THE UNHOLY GARDEN

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A note about some of the less familiar titles which I have seen:

 

THE GUARDSMAN is based on a Ferenc Molnar play about a man who tests his wife's fidelity by dressing up as another man. Lunt and Fontanne made their stage reputations playing this kind of artificial comedy.

 

WATERLOO BRIDGE in 1931 is much grittier than the glossy MGM remake. Mae Clarke plays a showgirl who has already drifted into prostitution before she meets the young soldier. In the remake Vivien Leigh plays a ballet dancer cruelly driven out of the ballet company by Maria Ouspenskaya, and she never considers prostitution until after she believes her fiance is dead. The 1931 version is more stagebound, without the MGM production values.

 

FIVE STAR FINAL concerns a tabloid raking up an old scandal and the disaster this brings to the people involved.

 

SAFE IN HELL is a classic pre-Code, like BABY FACE. William Wellman's direction is full of youthful energy. It's hard not to like a film that starts with the camera traveling up a shapely leg as a blonde dame, cigarette hanging out of her mouth, answers the ringing telephone, "Yeah?" Wellman's son has said that his father was never happier than when making 18 films in nine years at Warner Brothers. Dorothy Mackaill looks like a major star in a very challenging role. The African-American characters played by Nina Mae McKinney and Clarence Muse are treated with more respect than is common at the time.

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A note about some of the less familiar titles which I have seen:

 

THE GUARDSMAN is based on a Ferenc Molnar play about a man who tests his wife's fidelity by dressing up as another man. Lunt and Fontanne made their stage reputations playing this kind of artificial comedy.

 

WATERLOO BRIDGE in 1931 is much grittier than the glossy MGM remake. Mae Clarke plays a showgirl who has already drifted into prostitution before she meets the young soldier. In the remake Vivien Leigh plays a ballet dancer cruelly driven out of the ballet company by Maria Ouspenskaya, and she never considers prostitution until after she believes her fiance is dead. The 1931 version is more stagebound, without the MGM production values.

 

FIVE STAR FINAL concerns a tabloid raking up an old scandal and the disaster this brings to the people involved.

 

SAFE IN HELL is a classic pre-Code, like BABY FACE. William Wellman's direction is full of youthful energy. It's hard not to like a film that starts with the camera traveling up a shapely leg as a blonde dame, cigarette hanging out of her mouth, answers the ringing telephone, "Yeah?" Wellman's son has said that his father was never happier than when making 18 films in nine years at Warner Brothers. Dorothy Mackaill looks like a major star in a very challenging role. The African-American characters played by Nina Mae McKinney and Clarence Muse are treated with more respect than is common at the time.

I thought WATERLOO BRIDGE and FIVE STAR FINAL were both terrific. I haven't seen the Vivien Leigh version, but I thought Mae Clarke was really good, and I wish she'd had a better career. FIVE STAR FINAL has been recommended by a lot of people on here.

 

THE GUARDSMAN I watched since it was an Oscar nominee, but I didn't care for it at all. It has its defenders, though, so maybe you'll feel differently. I felt the stars had little screen charisma, despite their vaunted stage reputations, and the story was tired even in '31.

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Well, as everyone probably knows La Chienne is the Jean Renoir film that was remade as Scarlet Street (1945).  If not mistaken this was scheduled to be on TCM in the last year but pulled close to the air date.  And it wasn't pulled for a memorial tribute.  I saw it at the NFT in London.  Quite good as 1931 films go.

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1931 MOVIES I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO SEE NOW:

 

In  alphabetical order:

 

AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY

BAD SISTER

CRACKED NUTS

DISHONORED

LE CHIENNE

MURDER BY THE CLOCK

SAFE IN HELL

SUSAN LENNOX: HER RISE AND FALL

THE UNHOLY GARDEN

 

 

 

This list represents what I would like to see, not what I have, nor movies that aren't high on my list to try to find if I do not have them.

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Well, as everyone probably knows La Chienne is the Jean Renoir film that was remade as Scarlet Street (1945).  If not mistaken this was scheduled to be on TCM in the last year but pulled close to the air date.  And it wasn't pulled for a memorial tribute.  I saw it at the NFT in London.  Quite good as 1931 films go.

 

Yes, as one of the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die, I was very much looking forward to La Chienne airing on TCM. Hopefully it will sometime in the future.

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I thought WATERLOO BRIDGE and FIVE STAR FINAL were both terrific. I haven't seen the Vivien Leigh version, but I thought Mae Clarke was really good, and I wish she'd had a better career. FIVE STAR FINAL has been recommended by a lot of people on here.

 

THE GUARDSMAN I watched since it was an Oscar nominee, but I didn't care for it at all. It has its defenders, though, so maybe you'll feel differently. I felt the stars had little screen charisma, despite their vaunted stage reputations, and the story was tired even in '31.

"He IS the Kwisatz Haderach!!"

 

The Vivien Leigh/Robert Taylor WATERLOO BRIDGE is a fine romantic re-telling of the story. Leigh is outstanding, Robert Taylor gives his best performance so far, Lucile Watson is strong and sympathetic as his mother, and Maria Ouspenskaya is a villain you want to hiss. Mervyn LeRoy is a much underrated director, given the energy of his films at Warner and the high polish of his early MGM films, like this one. His movies will eventually get longer and stodgier, unfortunately.

 

I'm enjoying the year by year unfolding. A few years ago filmlover did a wonderful set of posts about 1939 day by day, letting us see how one newspaper reported on the films of that year. In 1931 Miriam Hopkins is a bigger star than Bette Davis, which must have been galling for Hopkins later on. Wonder what's going to happen in 1932?

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THE GUARDSMAN I watched since it was an Oscar nominee, but I didn't care for it at all. It has its defenders, though, so maybe you'll feel differently. I felt the stars had little screen charisma, despite their vaunted stage reputations, and the story was tired even in '31.

 

I was surprised that I enjoyed THE GUARDSMAN as much as I did. I was particularly taken with Lynn Fontanne's performance, and even thought she was quite a sophisticated dish. I loved the subtlety of her facial reaction in the film's final scene. That's why I had her close to the top of my lists of best actresses of 1931.

 

Lynn Fontanne also delivered one of my all time favourite show biz comments. When asked why she and hubby Alfred Lunt never made a second film she replied, "We can be bought but we can't be bored." Love it, love it, love it.

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