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Your Favourite Performances from 1930 to present are...


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In further response to Larry's question of my lists, when compiling my list for the purpose of this thread, I only include movies that I have seen recently enough to remember or are so deeply imbedded in my memory I feel as if I have seen it only yesterday.  From that I decide my top ten movies in the thread that was popular before I joined.  The performances from the lead actors I don't need to look up.  But I usually have to look up the precise spelling of names in the supporting categories.

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Here are my choices of the 47 films I've seen from 1934 for…

 

Best Supporting Actor of 1934

 

1.  ERIK RHODES (Rudolpho Tonetti), The Gay Divorcee

2.  PETER LORRE (Abbott), The Man Who Knew Too Much

3.  WALTER CONNOLLY (Oliver Webb), Twentieth Century

4.  EDMUND BREON (Cardona, ‘the Playwright, as playwrights go’), The  Private Life of Don Juan

5.  NOAH BEERY (General Woolsey), David Harum

 

6.  RAYMOND WALBURN (Colonel Pettigrew), Broadway Bill

7.  ROSCOE KARNS (Oscar Shapeley), It Happened One Night

8.  CHARLES "CHIC" SALE (Benjamin "Ben" Gunn), Treasure Island

9.  WALTER CONNOLLY (Alexander Andrews), It Happened One Night

10. WALTER CONNOLLY (J.L. Higgins), Broadway Bill

 

and...

 

NIGEL BRUCE (Squire Trelawney), Treasure Island

OWEN NARES (Antonio Martinez, ‘an Actor, as actors go) The Private Life of Don Juan

SAM JAFFE (Grand Duke Peter), The Scarlet Empress

CHARLES MCNAUGHTON ("Black Dog"), Treasure Island

ROSCOE KARNS (Owen O'Malley), Twentieth Century

EDWARD EVERETT HORTON (Egbert "Pinky" Fitzgerald), The Gay Divorcee

ERIC BLORE ("the Waiter’), The Gay Divorcee

LOUIS CALHERN (De Villefort, Jr.), The Count of Monte Cristo

REGINALD DENNY (Harry Griffiths), Of Human Bondage

LOUIS CALHERN (Ottaviano), The Affairs of Cellini

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Ah, Erik Rhodes as the bird brained, heavily Italian accented Tonetti, the co-respondent in The Gay Divorcee. Rhodes was brought from the 1932 Broadway and 1933 London stage versions, called simply The Gay Divorce, for the RKO musical adaption, with Fred and Ginger, to reprise his role.

 

gay-divorcee-horton-tonetti.jpg?w=415&h=

 

"You can trust Tonetti," Rhodes proudly says as a reassurance that it is safe to leave him alone with a woman, "He prefers spaghetti."

 

He also confirms with that statement, of course, that he is a total idiot.

 

It's a beautiful comedy performance and I see, Bogie, by your selection of him as the best supporting actor of the year that you presumably agree with that assessment. Rhodes would be invited back by RKO, of course, memorably, the following year when Fred and Ginger appeared in Top Hat.

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I know it is only Tuesday, but now that Bogie has listed choices for all four categories I feel that I better stat listing movies that have been recommended that I have not seen which interest me as I think I may have to make another to-see list later in the week.

 

wrong -he has not but all the more reason for me to list my to-see list now !

 

As mentioned in the conversation about genre between me, Bogie, and Kay, this is not necessarily a list of films I have not seen overall, but just movies that I think I would enjoy:

 

This list is from memory.  People may not have mentioned these:

 

 

 

 

1934 Movies To-See:

 

Broadway Bill

David Harum

The Affairs of Cellini

Cleopatra

The Age of Innocence

The Girl From Missouri

The House of Rothchild

The Man Who Reclaimed His Head

La Signoia De Tutti

 

 

Edited for incorrect time line of Bogie's picks.

Edited by GregoryPeckfan
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Best Supporting Actor of 1934

 

3.  WALTER CONNOLLY (Oliver Webb), Twentieth Century

 

9.  WALTER CONNOLLY (Alexander Andrews), It Happened One Night

10. WALTER CONNOLLY (J.L. Higgins), Broadway Bill

 

walter-connolly-2-sized.jpg

 

Like some others, I had picked Walter Connolly for several films that he made in 1934.  According to the imdb his film career really only spanned 7 years (1932-1939).  He died quite young in 1940 of a stroke.

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Here are the films you've named that I haven't seen:

 

The Age of Innocence 

Anne of Green Gables

Babes in Toyland

Broadway Bill

Captain Hates the Sea

The Case of the Howling Dog

Catherine the Great

The Cat's Paw

Count of Monte Cristo

Crime Without Passion

Dames

David Harum

Evelyn Prentice

Fog Over Frisco

Four Frightened People

Gambling Lady

The Gay Bride

The Girl from Missouri

The Goddess

Heat Lightning

Hide-Out

Jew Suss

Jimmy the Gent

La Signora Di Tutti

Little Man, What Now?

Mandalay

Maria Chapdelaine

The Merry Widow

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch

No Greater Glory

The Old Fashioned Way

Private Life of Don Juan

The Richest Girl in the World

Riptide

Sadie McKee

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Sing As We Go

Six of a Kind

Stingaree

Treasure Island

We Live Again

 

I'll add to it if necessary after Bogie lists his last 2 categories. 

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DAMES has some of Busby Berkeley's giddiest, most surreal musical numbers. Not to be missed.

 

HEAT LIGHTNING is another early Mervyn LeRoy film that has much more energy than the stodgier, longer films he made in the 1950s. It has some resemblances to THE PETRIFIED FOREST, which hadn't been filmed yet. Aline MacMahon, having fallen for a guy (Preston Foster) who turned out to be a criminal, now runs a filling station in the desert. She tries to look after her younger sister (Ann Dvorak), who's in love with a fellow Aline thinks is no good. Meanwhile, two dizzy, man-crazy dames (Ruth Donnelly and Glenda Farrell) who've just gotten Reno divorces stop for the night with their chauffeur. And--you guessed it--Preston Foster turns up again. Aline in overalls looks extremely butch early in the film and then transforms into all woman when her ex-beau returns. It's interesting to see her in a leading role, and one that calls for serious drama. All this, and Jane Darwell as a tourist who stops for gas.

 

 

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Here are my choices of the 47 films I've seen from 1934 for…

 

Best Actress of 1934

 

1.  CLAUDETTE COLBERT (Ellie Andrews), It Happened One Night

2.  BETTE DAVIS (Mildred Rogers), Of Human Bondage

3.  CAROLE LOMBARD ("Lily Garland"/Mildred Plotka), Twentieth Century

4.  ISA MIRANDA (Gabriela “Gaby” Doriot), La Signora Di Tutti

5.  MYRNA LOY (Nora Charles), The Thin Man

 

6.  CONSTANCE BENNETT (the Duchess of Florence), The Affairs of Cellini

7.  CLAUDETTE COLBERT (Cleopatra), Cleopatra

8.  GRACE MOORE (Mary Barrett), One Night of Love

9.  DITA PARLO (Juliette), L'Atalante

10. GINGER ROGERS (Mimi Glossop/"Mrs. Green"), The Gay Divorcee

 

and ...

 

MARLENE DIETRICH (Princess Sophia Augusta Frederica, later Czarina Catherine the Great), The Scarlet Empress

NORMA SHEARER (Elizabeth  Barrett), The Barretts of Wimpole Street

ANNE SHIRLEY (Anne Shirley), Anne of Green Gables

ELISABETH BERGNER (Empress Catherine of Russia), Catherine the Great

MYRNA LOY (Eleanor), Manhattan Melodrama

MYRNA LOY (Alice Higgins/"Princess"), Broadway Bill

MERLE OBERON (Antonita,"a dancer of passionate temperment"), The Private Life of Don Juan

MAUREEN O’SULLIVAN (Jane Parker), Tarzan and His Mate

FAY WRAY (Rene), The Clairvoyant/The Evil Mind

EDNA BEST (Jill Lawrence), The Man Who Knew Too Much

BENITA HUME (Dona Dolores, “a lady of mystery"), The Private Life of Don Juan

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DAMES has some of Busby Berkeley's giddiest, most surreal musical numbers. Not to be missed.

 

HEAT LIGHTNING is another early Mervyn LeRoy film that has much more energy than the stodgier, longer films he made in the 1950s. It has some resemblances to THE PETRIFIED FOREST, which hadn't been filmed yet. Aline MacMahon, having fallen for a guy (Preston Foster) who turned out to be a criminal, now runs a filling station in the desert. She tries to look after her younger sister (Ann Dvorak), who's in love with a fellow Aline thinks is no good. Meanwhile, two dizzy, man-crazy dames (Ruth Donnelly and Glenda Farrell) who've just gotten Reno divorces stop for the night with their chauffeur. And--you guessed it--Preston Foster turns up again. Aline in overalls looks extremely butch early in the film and then transforms into all woman when her ex-beau returns. It's interesting to see her in a leading role, and one that calls for serious drama. All this, and Jane Darwell as a tourist who stops for gas.

 

I have a copy of Dames as part of a Busby Berkeley box set.

 

Heat Lightning sounds great. Aline MacMahon, Ann Dvorak and Glenda Farrell are 3 of my favorite ladies from that time period.

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For those who haven't seen CRIME WITHOUT PASSION, for which I nominated Claude Rains as one of 1934's best actors, it's a quite fascinating melodrama about a notorious lawyer, used to winning his cases by whatever court tricks he can manage, who becomes unexpectedly mixed up in a shooting and uses his brilliant lawyer's mind to try to extricate himself from the situation.

 

This was an independent production, filmed, I believe, on Long Island and released through Paramount, written, produced and directed by Charles MacArthur and the legendary Ben Hecht. There are many reports, though, it was, in fact, cinematographer Lee Garmes who directed 60% of the production.

 

This was Rains's first film after his debut in The Invisible Man. Dapper, smug and self satisfied, sporting a little moustache and fancying himself quite the ladies man, the actor is at his wicked best in this film. Interestingly, in moments of stress for his character, there are scenes in which a transparent Rains appears on screen beside the solid one, as his calculating brain talking to his own character, reasoning with him in a rational manner as the human version gets a little too emotional at times and needs some calming down.

 

The film moves towards an ending of delicious irony.

 

Crime Without Passion also has one of the most uniquely original and bizarre openings that I've ever seen in a film, with remarkable (for 1934) special effects by Slavko Vorkapich. As a matter of fact, here it is, courtesy You Tube. I defy anyone to watch these opening minutes of the film, and say afterward that they don't want to see more.

 

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.

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Well, since Lawrence has very helpfully listed his to-see films, I notice there were some I forgot to mention.  And Bogie has added more nominations.  Here are some more of my to-see list:

 

 

MORE TO-SEE FILMS OF 1934:

 

 

L'Atalante

Catherine the Great

Fog Over Frisco which is airing soon on TCM

Four Frightened People

Jew Suss

Jimmy the Gent

Little Man, What Now?

Maria Chapdelaine

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch

The Old Fashioned Way

No Greater Glory

Sing As We Go

Six of a Kind

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1934's Suspension of Disbelief Award: Mickey Rooney grows up to be Clark Gable (MANHATTAN MELODRAMA).

 

Best Supporting Actor for 1934:

 

Ned Sparks, IMITATION OF LIFE*

Peter Lorre, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH

Melville Cooper, THE PRIVATE LIFE OF DON JUAN

Charles Vanel, LES MISERABLES

 

We do seem to have a consensus that Colbert, Davis, Lombard, and Loy all belong on the short list for Best Actress this year.

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Like some others, I had picked Walter Connolly for several films that he made in 1934.  According to the imdb his film career really only spanned 7 years (1932-1939).  He died quite young in 1940 of a stroke.

 

Here's a shot of Walter Connolly in makeup and costume when he was tested for the role of the High Lama in Lost Horizon. This role was Capra's biggest casting problem when he made the film.

 

lost-horizon-dxjpd2.jpg

 

From the TCM database:

 

   There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the role of the High Lama, which was not finally cast until the film was far into production. Hollywood Reporter news items state that after Walter Connolly and Sam Jaffe had enacted the role, Capra filmed retakes with Ward Lane in an unspecified role, and David Torrence as the High Lama, then temporarily awarded the role to Torrence, who played the prime minister in the finished film. In Capra's autobiography, however, he mentions only testing a "ninety year old ex-stage star," who died after being told he was selected for the part, and wanting to test Henry B. Walthall, who died before he could be tested, and then giving the role to Jaffe. Another modern source lists Walthall, Fritz Leiber, Albert E. Anson and Connolly as those tested before Jaffe was selected.

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Here are my choices of the 47 films I've seen from 1934 for…

 

Best Actor of 1934

 

1.  JOHN BARRYMORE (Oscar Jaffe/"O.J."), Twentieth Century

2.  CLARK GABLE (Peter Warne), It Happened One Night

3.  WILLIAM POWELL (Nick Charles), The Thin Man

4.  FREDRIC MARCH (Benvenuto Cellini), The Affairs of Cellini

5.  FRANK MORGAN (Alessandro, Duke of Florence/”Bumpy”), The Affairs of Cellini

 

6.  WALLACE BEERY (Long John Silver), Treasure Island

7.  WILLIAM POWELL (James W. Wade), Manhattan Melodrama

8.  FRED ASTAIRE (Guy Holden), The Gay Divorcee

9.  LESLIE HOWARD (Philip Carey), Of Human Bondage

10. MICHEL SIMON (Pere "old" Jules), L'Atalante

 

and ....

 

WILL ROGERS (David Harum), David Harum

CLARK GABLE (Edward J. “Black ie” Gallager), Manhattan Melodrama

ROBERT DONAT (Edmond Dantes), The Count of Monte Cristo

JEAN DASTE (Jean), L'Atalante

W.C. FIELDS (“the Great” McGonigle/Squire Gibbs in “The Drunkard”), The Old-Fashioned Way

CLAUDE RAINS (Maximus), The Clairvoyant/The Evil Mind

WARNER BAXTER (Dan Brooks), Broadway Bill

LESLIE BANKS (Bob Lawrence), The Man Who Knew Too Much 

DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS (Don Juan/"Capt. Mariano"), The Private Life of Don Juan

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W.C. FIELDS (“the Great” McGonigle/Squire Gibbs in “The Drunkard”), The Old-Fashioned Way

 

I'm not much of a W.C. Fields fan -- I tend to like him in films in which he's not the star, like Million Dollar Legs and David Copperfield. But I like him very much in The Old-Fashioned Way, for his scene in The Drunkard, and particularly, for his exasperation during Jan Duggan's masterfully endless rendition of "Gathering Up the Shells at the Seashore."

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I'm not much of a W.C. Fields fan -- I tend to like him in films in which he's not the star, like Million Dollar Legs and David Copperfield. But I like him very much in The Old-Fashioned Way, for his scene in The Drunkard, and particularly, for his exasperation during Jan Duggan's masterfully endless rendition of "Gathering Up the Shells at the Seashore."

 

One of the things that I appreciate about the "Gathering Up the Shells at the Seashore" scene, aside from the sheer hilarity of Jan Duggan's anachronistic musical rendition of the song as Cleopatra Pepperday, is how, aside from a few mild reactions, Fields largely takes a back seat and allows the character actress to have the scene for herself. Fields was wise enough to know that this sequence would add to the comedic impact of The Old Fashioned Way even if he, the star of the film, was not the star of this particular sequence. That scene alone is why I nominated Duggan as one of the outstanding supporting actresses of the year.

 

I recall Fields's aside about Cleopatra to his daughter: "She's all dressed up like a well kept grave."

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There is a powerful windstorm here in Southern British Columbia and the power went out several times overnight.  AS a result, I was unable to record Fog Over Frisco, although my PVR system tried several times.

 

 

I wonder when the next time will be that TCM airs it?

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Here are the films from 1934 that were mentioned that I have not seen as yet.  (Gulp)  I hope I do better when we hit 1935.

 

The Age of Innocence with Irene Dunne and Helen Westley

Black Moon with Dorothy Burgess

Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back with Ronald Colman

The Captain Hates the Sea with John Gilbert

The Case of the Howling Dog with Warren William

The Cat and the Fiddle with Vivienne Segal

Crime Without Passion with Claude Rains

Dames with Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell

Evelyn Prentice with William Powell and Myrna Loy

Forsaking All Others with Billie Burke, Robert Montgomery, Joan Crawford and Clark Gable

Gambling Lady with Barbara Stanwyk

The Gay Bride with Carole Lombard and Chester Morris

The Goddess with Ruan Lingyu and Zhizhi Zhang

Great Expectations with Francis L. Sullivan

He Was Her Man with Joan Blondell

Heat Lightning with Aline MacMahon

House of Rothschild with George Arliss

Imitation of Life with Claudette Colbert, Louise Beavers, Ned Sparks and Fredi Washington

Jew Suss with Conrad Veidt and Cedric Hardwicke

Jimmy the Gent with James Cagney

Les Miserables with Harry Baur and Charles Vanel

Little Man, What Now? with Margaret Sullavan and Douglass Montgomery

The Man Who Reclaimed His Head with Claude Rains

The Man With Two Faces with Edward G. Robinson

Mandalay with Kay Francis

Maria Chapdeleine with Madeleine Renaud

The Merry Widow with Jeanette MacDonald and Una Merkel

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch with W.C. Fields

No Greater Glory with George Breakston and Jimmy Butler

Riptide with Norma Shearer, Herbert Marshall, Lilyan Tashman and Helen Jerome Eddy

Sadie McKee with Joan Crawford

Sing As We Go with Gracie Fields

Six of a Kind with with W.C. Fields

Stingaree with Mary Boland

We Live Again with Fredric March

 

And I would like to see these again …

 

Babes In Toyland for Henry Brandon

The Count of Monte Cristo for Robert Donat and Raymond Walburn

Four Frightened People for Mary Boland

The Gay Divorcee for Alice Brady

It’s a Gift for W.C. Fields and Tom Bupp

The Old Fashioned Way for Jan Duggan

The Scarlet Empress for Louise Dresser

The Thin Man for Edward Ellis, Cesar Romero, Nat Pendelton, Mina Gombell, Natalie Moorhead, Lilyan Tashman and William Henry

Twentieth Century for Etienne Giradot

Viva Villa! for Joseph Schildkraut

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None of the following film performances praised by others had a chance to get on my own list.

 

Those films mentioned that I have yet to see:

 

Les Miserables

L'Atalante

The Goddess

Age of Innocence

Richest Girl in the World

Man With Two Faces

Gambling Lady

Little Man, What Now?

Jew Suss

Sing As We Go

La Signora Di Tutti

 

Films mentioned that are vague memories:

 

We Live Again

Forsaking All Others

Riptide

Gay Bride (Lombard called this her worst film)

Great Expectations

Fog Over Frisco

David Harum (recall not liking this one)

Broadway Bill

One Night of Love

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And I would like to see these again …

 

Four Frightened People for Mary Boland

 

Four Frightened People is definitely an odd ball, quirky little adventure drama of jungle survival (the four people of the title after being victims of a shipwreck). This is not a film to be taken seriously, and much of it is played for humour (Mary Boland dressed to the nines in the jungle and chattering away like a dizzy character out of a screwball comedy). Claudette Colbert plays a mousey Plain Jane (wearing glasses, of course) who turns more and more into a glamourous jungle princess in appearance, gaining the attention of the two men who had previously been ignoring her (Herbert Marshall, William Gargan). Shot on location in Hawaii, this film's rugged setting could not have been easy for Marshall, considering the fact he was trying to disguise the fact he had one false leg.

 

This was the last none spectacle directed by Cecil B. DeMille.

 

tumblr_ly20s0iPK21qctpr4o1_500.jpg

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If I've seen fifteen of the films Bogie hasn't, there are many more of the ones he's seen that I haven't! THE AFFAIRS OF CELLINI is hard to come by, if I remember correctly.

 

THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD is interesting if only because this is one of the few Hollywood films of the classic era which is about Jews. It's also interesting to see George Arliss' acting style, which is based on earlier theatrical traditions.

 

A fun fact about THE AGE OF INNOCENCE: Julie Haydon, who plays May Welland (the role played by Winona Ryder in the Scorsese film), was the original Laura in THE GLASS MENAGERIE. She was the mistress of the prominent Broadway theater critic George Jean Nathan, usually taken to be the model for Addison DeWitt in ALL ABOUT EVE.

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Glad to hear Four Frightened People is not a horror film to avoid before bedtime. 

 

 I would love to "like" all of your lists, but I have come to my quota for the day (what after an hour?)

 

 

Here are more movies on my to-see list which all of you have kindly reminded me of their titles:

 

 

THE CAPTAIN HATES THE SEA

THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE

THE GODDESS

SIX OF A KIND

NO GREATER GLORY

 

 

 And as I mentioned earlier, due to power outages during a wind storm, I was unable to record Fog Over Frisco.

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