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LawrenceA

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Swithin, I don't know THE LIGHT THAT FAILED. I'll need to hunt that one down.

It's one I haven't seen either.

 

I go back and forth on STANLEY AND LIVINGSTONE...it feels like it's a great movie, but I am not entirely convinced. 

 

I realised I didn't include JUAREZ or any other Bette Davis films on my list for '39 (she had four big films that year). Her screen persona usually turns me off, so I automatically discount her films, which is probably unfair. I do like her pairings with Miriam Hopkins, but that's because Hopkins upstages her. 

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Swithin, I don't know THE LIGHT THAT FAILED. I'll need to hunt that one down.

 

Ronald Colman makes my top ten lead performance list of 1939 with The Light That Failed.  It's worth tracking down for sure.

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Screen%2Bshot%2B2015-12-19%2Bat%2B1.42.2

 

My list:


1. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (on my all-time top 20 classics)
2. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
3. LES MISERABLES
4. 42ND STREET
5. OF MICE AND MEN
6. SAN FRANCISCO
7. EN KVINNAS ANSIKTE
8. THE PUBLIC ENEMY
9. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS
10. A FAREWELL TO ARMS 

Notable Directors: Lewis Milestone; Busby Berkeley; Frank Capra; George Cukor; and Richard Boleslawski. 

 

Most Creative Studios: Warner Brothers; Paramount; Hal Roach; Walt Disney; and MGM.

 

Best Genres/Subgenres: the screwball comedy; the precode musical; and the literary adaptation.

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1930 - 1939

 

1.  Modern Times (1936)

2.  The Wizard of Oz (1939)

3.  A Night at the Opera (1935)

4.  Gone With the Wind (1939)

5.  Grand Illusion (1937)

6.  The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

7.  King Kong (1933)

8.  All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

9.  Westfront 1918 (1930)

10. Scarface: The Shame of a Nation (1932)

 

With the exception of Westfront 1918 I have seen all of these films in a movie theatre with a full audience.  It does mean something.

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1930 - 1939

 

 

With the exception of Westfront 1918 I have seen all of these films in a movie theatre with a full audience.  It does mean something.

 

 

You lucky sonuva...the theater experience does alter a film's impact. Growing up and living in a small town, I've had to rely on home video for classic, foreign and art house films. The little I lived in bigger cities (Jacksonville and Brooklyn), I never saw a movie at all.

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You lucky sonuva...the theater experience does alter a film's impact. Growing up and living in a small town, I've had to rely on home video for classic, foreign and art house films. The little I lived in bigger cities (Jacksonville and Brooklyn), I never saw a movie at all.

 

I saw all of the Marx Brothers films at a large 99¢ Revue cinema that was always packed and full of smoke ... and it wasn't from cigarettes either.  The laughter was thunderous.  Great fun.

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The Thirties

 

 

Ten Favorite Films

 

1. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

2. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN

3. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

4. THE ROARING TWENTIES

5. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

6. MODERN TIMES

7. FRANKENSTEIN

8. KING KONG

9. M

10. THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD

 

Ten Favorite Male Stars

 

1. Spencer Tracy

2. James Cagney

3. Edward G. Robinson

4. Clark Gable

5. Cary Grant

6. Paul Muni

7. Boris Karloff

8. Jean Gabin

9. Gary Cooper

10. Errol Flynn

 

Top Ten Female Stars

 

1. Myrna Loy

2. Claudette Colbert

3. Katharine Hepburn

4. Marlene Dietrich

5. Jean Arthur

6. Olivia de Havilland

7. Bette Davis

8. Sylvia Sidney

9. Greta Garbo

10. Joan Crawford

 

 

Top Ten Directors

 

1. Fritz Lang

2. Jean Renoir

3. Charles Chaplin

4. Frank Capra

5. James Whale

6. Howard Hawks

7. John Ford

8. Rene Clair

9. Busby Berkley

10. Ernst Lubitsch

 

 

My favorite genre of the 30's is a three-way tie. Horror really had it's first big commercial and artistic renaissance, with films like DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, THE MUMMY, THE OLD DARK HOUSE, WEREWOLF OF LONDON, and many more. The Gangster movie reached creative heights. And Comedy films were, imho, better here than they would be for the next 40 years, with the Marx Brothers, Chaplin, Fields, Laurel & Hardy, the screwball greats, etc.

 

However, after all that, I'll say not one film from the 1930s made my top 25 of all time list!

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1938

 

1. Port of Shadows

2. Sidewalks of London

3. The Lady Vanishes

4. Holiday

5. Test Pilot

6. Room Service

7. The Dawn Patrol

8. Spawn of the North

9. You Can't Take It with You

10. Algiers

11. The Adventures of Robin Hood

12. Bringing Up Baby

13. La Bete Humaine

14. The Cowboy and the Lady

15. Vivacious Lady

16. Carefree

17. The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

18. Of Human Hearts

19. Sinners in Paradise

20. Three Loves Has Nancy

21. Bluebeard's Eighth Wife

22. The Mad Miss Manton

23. Merrily We Live

24. Trade Winds

25. Charlie Chan in Honolulu

26. A Christmas Carol

27. Bank Holiday

28. Torchy Gets Her Man

29. En Kvinnas Ansikte (A Woman's Face)

30. If I Were King

31. The Shopworn Angel

32. Man-Proof

33. I Met My Love Again

34. A Slight Case of Murder

35. Always Goodbye

36. Blondes at Work

37. Santa Fe Stampede

38. Torchy Blane in Panama

39. The Divorce of Lady X

40. Jezebel

41. Angels with Dirty Faces

42. Blockade

43. The Texans

44. Four Men and a Prayer

45. The Devil's Party

46. Too Hot to Handle

47. Adventure in Sahara

48. A Yank at Oxford

49. Mystery House

50. The Adventures of Marco Polo

51. You and Me

52. The Renegade Ranger

53. The Invisible Menace

54. The Sisters

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...However, after all that, I'll say not one film from the 1930s made my top 25 of all time list!

Yeah, only one film (IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT) hit my top 20 list. Most of mine are in the 40s, with three of them from 1947. 

 

I think the movies were still finding themselves in the first half of the 30s after the transition to sound. Even a director whose work I admire like John Ford experienced growing pains. But by the time we reach 1939 and the 40s, things have crystallized. 

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I've been away for awhile, mostly in reaction to the spamming and login problems, hopefully now resolved.  Bogie told me about this thread and I thought I'd check it out.

 

Would it be cheating to refer back to Top Billed's "Decade favorites" thread to refresh my memory about my favorites?   And are there any ground rules I should know about?   It looks as it we're treating all films as eligible, rather than just the Hollywood product, and a Big Thumbs Up to that.

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I've been away for awhile, mostly in reaction to the spamming and login problems, hopefully now resolved.  Bogie told me about this thread and I thought I'd check it out.

 

Would it be cheating to refer back to Top Billed's "Decade favorites" thread to refresh my memory about my favorites?   And are there any ground rules I should know about?   It looks as it we're treating all films as eligible, rather than just the Hollywood product, and a Big Thumbs Up to that.

No rules, just lists of ten favorite films of the year. We've been trying to keep to one year a day. 1940 will be up tomorrow. You can list more per year or less, as you wish. Some people list favorite stars or performances each year, or thoughts on individual movies, how you first saw them, whatever. It's pretty loose.

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Most of us have been listing 10 favourites in order and also including runner ups for each year starting with 1930.  It is often the runner ups that not everyone has yet seen.

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I haven't put up any 1938 favorites but Frank's list reminds me of a few:

 

Too Hot too Handle is a hilarious film -- directed by the great Jack Conway. The film deals with rival newsreel companies trying to scoop each other and is incredibly timely -- outrageous even. Clark Gable's staging of a bombing scene in China is priceless as are his escapades in the Amazon. The whole cast is brilliant -- Myrna Loy, Walter Pidgeon, Walter Connolly, Leo Carillo.

 

The Sisters -- one of my favorite Bette Davis films. The San Francisco earthquake makes an appearance.

 

Bringing Up Baby -- Howard Hawks classic about a baby (Cary Grant) who can't find his "bone."

 

The Lady Vanishes -- a favorite Hitchcock, with music so crucial to the plot.

 

A Slight Case of Murder -- a fun Edward G. Robinson film. I love Ruth Donnelly in this film. Btw, Ms. Donnelly's uncle was the longtime Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey.

 

and, not on Frank's list but certainly on mine, one of the Fox musical classics:

Alexander's Ragtime Band

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I've been away for awhile, mostly in reaction to the spamming and login problems, hopefully now resolved.  Bogie told me about this thread and I thought I'd check it out.

 

Would it be cheating to refer back to Top Billed's "Decade favorites" thread to refresh my memory about my favorites?   And are there any ground rules I should know about?   It looks as it we're treating all films as eligible, rather than just the Hollywood product, and a Big Thumbs Up to that.

Andy, I also went back and re-read the Underrated (by decade) threads we did a few years ago. I noticed that some of my choices have changed...and as you astutely observed, we didn't really bring non-English language films into the previous discussion. So this is a way to build on that.

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...one of the Fox musical classics:

Alexander's Ragtime Band

I enjoy that film, too. The plot is predictable, but the music is fabulous.

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1939

 

1. Only Angels Have Wings

2. Destry Rides Again

3. Stagecoach

4. Gunga Din

5. The Hound of the Baskervilles

6. The Roaring Twenties

7. Son of Frankenstein

8. Frontier Marshal

9. The Rules of the Game

10. The Cat and the Canary

11. Gone with the Wind

12. Midnight

13. Ninotchka

14. Love Affair

15. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

16. The Man They Could Not Hang

17. Bachelor Mother

18. Charlie Chan in Reno

19. Charlie Chan at Treasure Island

20. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

21. The Return of Doctor X

22. Dark Victory

23. Five Came Back

24. Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence

25. Maisie

26. The Old Maid

27. Golden Boy

28. Union Pacific

29. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

30. Honeymoon in Bali

31. Jesse James

32. Each Dawn I Die

33. Another Thin Man

34. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

35. Day-Time Wife

36. Torchy Blane in Chinatown

37. Invisible Stripes

38. Dust Be My Destiny

39. Wuthering Heights

40. Drums Along the Mohawk

41. Torchy Runs for Mayor

42. Reno

43. Dodge City

44. At the Circus

45. The Spy in Black

46. Young Mr. Lincoln

47. The Rains Came

48. Beau Geste

49. Jamaica Inn

50. The Real Glory

51. Let Us Live

52. The Women

53. Idiot's Delight

54. The Phantom Creeps

55. The Gorilla

56. Charlie Chan in City in Darkness

57. Remember?

58. Allegheny Uprising

59. The Wizard of Oz

60. Lady of the Tropics

61. Blind Alley

62. They Made Me a Criminal

63. In Name Only

64. Tower of London

65. Buried Alive

66. Made for Each Other

67. The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

68. Goodbye, Mr. Chips

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Thanks to everyone for their helpful responses.   The inclusion of foreign films is helpful, though to be honest that wouldn't affect my choices all that much until World War II and afterwards.

 

And since I'm way behind, I'll take the top 12 of the decade as a whole, in slightly different order than I'd listed them in Top Billed's earlier thread.  This time I'm adding a tiny bit of commentary.

 

1. Libeled Lady

To me this is the greatest of all American comedies, second overall only to Fernandel's The Sheep Has Five Legs (1952)To be honest, it's in a virtual tie with Bombshell, but I'm now putting it at the top because it wears even better upon endlessly repeated viewings.  And if I needed a tiebreaker, it'd come down to one single line:  "That's arson!"

2. I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang

There are so few pre-codes that don't have predictable "happy endings", and this is the best of that small but precious lot.  "How do you live?"  -- "I STEAL."  The fact that it was based on a true story makes it all the more memorable.

3. So Big

Three Stanwycks may seem a bit much, but they're all richly deserving.  It's a bit of a weeper, but the way that "Missy" takes on roles from a teenager all the way to a weather-beaten middle age woman is nothing short of remarkable.  I can't even imagine any other actress being able to pull it off with such utter conviction and believability.

4. Stella Dallas

Even soap operas have their moments, and when I watch Stanwyck in Stella Dallas, taking every punch and thinking only of her daughter, it forced me to have a new sense of respect for this much-maligned genre.  How can even the most hardboiled cynic not be moved virtually to tears by the sight of her standing outside her daughter's wedding, wanting so desperately to be part of the celebration but knowing that her daughter wouldn't be able to handle it?

5. Red-Headed Woman

I still can't believe how this one ever made it past the censors, even the pre-code look the other way version.  To summarize:  Harlow wrecks one marriage after another; Harlow brings shame to one of the town's leading families;  Harlow blackmails her marks and laughs all the while doing it; Harlow's "punishment" consists of winding up at a French race course, the mistress of a Sugar Daddy, and with her chauffeur waiting for her on the side!

 

I repeat:  How in the  h e l l   did Red-Headed Woman not get thrown into a bonfire?
 

6. Bombshell

I had this as #1 previously, but it doesn't wear quite as well as Libeled Lady after 5 or 6 viewings, even though it's still very close.  The highlight here is the look on Harlow's face when she stumbles across the collection of character actors in the studio whom she'd thought had been a family of New England swells.  I still crack up every time I think of C. Aubrey Smith complaining that Lewis Stone is now getting all of the roles that he used to get.  And then there's Lee Tracy, and what more can anyone say about this human hummingbird of perpetual motion? 

7. Heroes For Sale

Next to I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang, this Barthelmess film is my favorite "political" pre-code, only slightly marked down for its somewhat strange (though uplifting, I'm sure) final note, with our hero having been betrayed and persecuted over and over by big shots and Red Squads, and yet in the face of it all maintains hope for the future.

8. Baby Face

The plot is fairly conventional, and the ending a rather unbelievable sellout to the censors, but God, does Stanwyck ever play her part to perfection. Although I have to say that the highlight for me was the prelude in the coal town with her pimping father, rather than the rest of the film set in New York.  But then there's Theresa Harris, with one of the few roles for African American women that didn't involve yassuhs and nomams and little else.  She was a perfect complement to Stanwyck's Lily.

9. Rain

Crawford hated this movie, but IMO it's up there with Mildred Pierce and Sudden Fear, which to me is saying a lot.  Like Red-Headed Woman, this is another movie that it's hard to imagine having slipped past the gatekeepers, given its devastating portrait of ministerial hypocrisy as played to perfection by Walter Huston

10. A Man to Remember

Like So Big, this is one of the more memorable films of "ordinary" people who in fact are as extraordinary as anyone. 

11. 42nd Street / Footlight Parade

Has there ever been another movie with so much great music and so many memorable lines?

 

--- "Get a load of Minnie the Mountaineer"

---"That's Anytime Annie--the only time she ever said no, she didn't hear the question."

---"Must have been tough on your mother, not having any children."

12. Bringing Up Baby

I'm in the camp that maintains that Hepburn was at her best with Grant rather than Tracy, and other than those two Harlow movies above, this is my favorite screwball of the era.  Grant had the perfect comic touch to complement Hepburn's classic scatterbrain, and I only wish they'd been paired a lot more often.

 

One more I'd add to the list that I hadn't watched before:  Vigil In The Night., which is in the category of So Big and A Man to Remember, and beautifully portrayed by Carole Lombard, who was far more than a screwball actress.  If Lombard had never played in another movie, her entire career would have been noteworthy for his film alone.

 

OOOPS....

 

For some reason I repeated my earlier omission of foreign films, so I have to add a few of them without commentary before calling it a night.  At some point I'll combine them into an overall ranking.

 

M

 

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

 

Port of Shadows

 

La Bandera

 

Gueule d'Amour

 

Grand Illusion

 

Threepenny Opera

 

La Bete Humaine

 

Le Jour Se Leve

 

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Frank...GOODBYE MR. CHIPS all the way at the bottom? You disliked it that much? Also, I don't know FRONTIER MARSHALL; one more to look for.

 

 

 

 

Andy, welcome! Great list, and I like the commentary. I haven't heard of HEROES FOR SALE, and if it's comparable to I AM A FUGITIVE...I should like it.

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Andy--

 

I'm glad you mentioned RAIN, which I also like a lot. Again, we have Lewis Milestone giving us a very poetic film about a very un-poetic subject. 

 

LIBELED LADY is another fave of mine.

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Frank...GOODBYE MR. CHIPS all the way at the bottom? You disliked it that much? 

 

After seeing the superb early 50s British film THE BROWNING VERSION with Michael Redgrave in a similar role, one can't help but think of GOODBYE MR. CHIPS as a well-meaning high school play. Seriously. :)

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Frank...GOODBYE MR. CHIPS all the way at the bottom? You disliked it that much? Also, I don't know FRONTIER MARSHALL; one more to look for.

 

:D Yeah, it's one of the my most disliked films of all.  I can't get into a British boarding school for boys flick.  I only like the Greer Garson segment in the film.  That's about it.

 

Frontier Marshal is pretty much My Darling Clementine before My Darling Clementine.  It's rather entertaining.

 

An excellent job by you and everyone else of ranking their favorites.

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The 1930s

 

1. M

2. The Invisible Man

3. Only Angels Have Wings

4. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

5. Destry Rides Again

6. The 39 Steps

7. Tabu: A Story of the South Seas

8. Peter Ibbetson

9. Port of Shadows

10. King Kong

11. Morocco

12. Sidewalks of London

13. The Mummy

14. You Only Live Once

15. Mad Love

16. Vampyr

17. The Smiling Lieutenant

18. Frankenstein

19. Make Way for Tomorrow

20. Scarface

21. Love Me Tonight

22. Stagecoach

23. Gunga Din

24. The Thin Man

25. It Happened One Night

26. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

27. The Lady Vanishes

28. The Hound of the Baskervilles

29. Modern Times

30. The Devil-Doll

31. The Informer

32. Baby Face

33. The Awful Truth

34. The Roaring Twenties

35. The Blue Angel

36. The Bride of Frankenstein

37. The Old Dark House

38. The Most Dangerous Game

39. Young and Innocent

40. Sabotage

41. The Hurricane

42. Dracula

43. Holiday

44. Pilgrimage

45. Libeled Lady

46. My Man Godfrey

47. Test Pilot

48. The Prisoner of Shark Island

49. Flesh

50. Robin Hood of El Dorado

 

Based off my top 100 films for the decade:

 

Favorite Director

 

1. John Ford

2. Alfred Hitchcock

3. Fritz Lang

4. James Whale

5. Leo McCarey

6. Howard Hawks

7. Henry Hathaway

8. Karl Freund

9. Josef von Sternberg

10. Rouben Mamoulian

11. Ernest B. Schoedsack

12. Tod Browning

13. Frank Capra

14. Gregory La Cava

15. Raoul Walsh

 

I'm surprised Jean Renoir didn't make the cut, but he's a favorite of mine for the decade.

 

Actors

 

1. Cary Grant

2. Boris Karloff

3. William Powell

4. Peter Lorre

5. Gary Cooper

6. Charles Laughton

7. Basil Rathbone

8. Spencer Tracy

9. Maurice Chevalier

10. Henry Fonda

11. Clark Gable

12. Adolphe Menjou

13. Jean Gabin

14. Lionel Barrymore

15. James Stewart

16. Bela Lugosi

17. Humphrey Bogart

18. Claude Rains

19. Victor McLaglen

20. Marx Brothers

 

Stunned that Edward G. Robinson didn't score well enough to make the cut.  He's easily one of my favorites for the decade. I also like Robert Montgomery, Will Rogers, Errol Flynn, and James Cagney.  I'd say William Powell is my very favorite of the decade, subjectively.

 

Actress

 

1. Myrna Loy

2. Marlene Dietrich

3. Sylvia Sidney

4. Gloria Stuart

5. Fay Wray

6. Miriam Hopkins

7. Claudette Colbert

8. Katharine Hepburn

9. Jean Arthur

10. Madeleine Carroll

11. Carole Lombard

12. Vivien Leigh

13. Paulette Goddard

14. Dorothy Lamour

15. Maureen O'Sullivan

 

Absolutely shocked that Barbara Stanwyck did not make the cut using a point system with my top 100 films.  She's certainly in my top five for the decade.  Myrna is probably at the top, though.  Also love Carole and Jean.  Others I like who are not on my objective list are Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford.

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After seeing the superb early 50s British film THE BROWNING VERSION with Michael Redgrave in a similar role, one can't help but think of GOODBYE MR. CHIPS as a well-meaning high school play. Seriously. :)

 

I so want to love Goodbye Mr. Chips -- two of my favorite actors; a great subject -- but there's something about it. Maybe it just chugs along in too linear a fashion. But I do enjoy it.

 

I also enjoy The Browning version (I love Rattigan). But that wife is too too flat a character!

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I so want to love Goodbye Mr. Chips -- two of my favorite actors; a great subject -- but there's something about it. Maybe it just chugs along in too linear a fashion. But I do enjoy it.

 

I also enjoy The Browning version (I love Rattigan). But that wife is too too flat a character!

Interestingly, in addition to writing the stage play and screenplay for THE BROWNING VERSION, Rattigan also wrote the screenplay for the 1969 remake of GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS. 

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