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Thank You TCM, for all the wonderful Early Thirties Movies


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Yes indeed ! I wish they could show more Fox Film Corporation movies, before the takeover by 20th Century in 1935. I realize that some films are probably lost or in poor condition. However, TCM has more respect for the viewer's desire to see really old movies than the Fox Movie Channel which might put a premiere on their schedule every six months. It's repetition month after month.

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i love 30's films too. in fact the movies of the 1920's-40's are about all i watch on TCM. i have no complaints about the production values of early-30's films, except in cases of unrestored/ public domain movies with bad voice reproduction. i think the production style is part of the charm.

 

yeah, whoever owns (whats left of) the early Fox films is sitting on some pretty worthwhile gems starring some big name actors. i have managed to acquire a few early talkie titles over the years from 3rd party sources, movies that as far as i can tell have never aired on FMC, and the quality was pretty good (for unrestored bootleg copies). i wish someone cared enough to properly release them, maybe doing something similar to the Warner Archives.

 

 

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Its really not fair to judge the early 30's films against the later work. The early stuff was just the beginning, a learning and development time, without it you wouldn't have the later stuff. I think its fascinating how much the film industry progressed in such a short time. And I do find some interesting moments and performances in the early films. That's what history is all about and I applaud TCM for showing it as much as possible.

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>Per mrroberts:

>Its really not fair to judge the early 30's films against the later work. The early stuff was just the beginning, a learning and development time, without it you wouldn't have the later stuff. I think its fascinating how much the film industry progressed in such a short time. And I do find some interesting moments and performances in the early films.

 

By the early thirties there had been about twenty years of filmmaking, and the essential grammar of it had been developed. You also had most of the great directors either established or beginning their careers, including D. W. Griffith, C. B. DeMille, Ford, LeRoy, Milestone, Hitchcock, Eisenstein, Murnau, Lang, and a host of others. They had also done some of their best work, films which still rank as the best ever made, including Ben Hur, Metropolis, Battleship Potemkin, Flesh and the Devil, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse--the list is extensive.

 

The lack of production values in many early thirties movies is due to the cheapness of the filmmaking, not the lack of development in filmmaking itself. I've often heard the remark made that a lot of the vitality in films was destroyed due to the clunkiness of early sound equipment, which tied down actors and cameras. But I don't buy it. Look at All Quiet on the Western Front, The Front Page, Anna Christie, Frankenstein, or 42nd Street as examples. It is clear that good filmmakers weren't hampered by early sound technology. What I think happened is that studio bosses, stunned by success of the new sound pictures, thought that all you had to do was put talking people in front of a camera, and you could rake in the bucks hand-over-fist. This being so, they thought, why waste money on anything else?

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The lack of production values in many early thirties movies is due to the cheapness of the filmmaking, not the lack of development in filmmaking itself. I've often heard the remark made that a lot of the vitality in films was destroyed due to the clunkiness of early sound equipment, which tied down actors and cameras. But I don't buy it.

 

That may have been true in 1928 and much of 1929, when the industry was feeling its way through talking pictures and much of the equipment was indeed clunky, but by late '29 technical advances had been rapid and were copied or adapted by virtually all the top-tier studios. By early 1930, any problem with "talkies" likely occurred at the receiving or distribution end, as many theaters -- especially those outside major metro areas with relatively little resources -- couldn't procure first-rate sound systems. (And there were still a few holdouts to sound, particularly in rural markets.)

 

Is the pace of many early talkies absurdly slow? Yes, but that was part of the learning process. At the start, many in the business erroneously assumed that adapting plays or musicals as they had been presented on stage would be sufficient, not realizing the language of filmmaking was something else entirely, and that merely adapting a play, while adding closeups and such to add variety to the viewer, wouldn't be enough.

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Well said! May I also add something about the sets & costumes of the thirties' films, which made visible social statements as well as the dialogue styles. Not just in the films that depicted rather high social standings but the gangster & "poor working girls" ones as well. They are nice windows into the culture of the time.

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clearskies wrote:

 

May I also add something about the sets & costumes of the thirties' films, which made visible social statements as well as the dialogue styles. Not just in the films that depicted rather high social standings but the gangster & "poor working girls" ones as well. They are nice windows into the culture of the time.

 

Couldn't agree more, and this is especially true of those "torn from the headlines" movies like Heroes For Sale, I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, Wild Boys of the Road, Paid, and Baby Face. Those films are worth a thousand textbooks, and AFAIC as a group they're infinitely more compelling than the bland and heavily censored fare that followed the Production Code crackdown.

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