1930-1939: My Favorite Movies Of The Era
23 6.4 5.718. Son of Kong (1933)
Yo, I know that Godzilla & Kong both had sons,
but where there any films ever produced that featured the moms?
The only one that I saw that did was Kramer Vs Kramer, which I watched b'cuz, based on the title, I thought it was a monster movie.
And for those of you haven't seen it, let me spoil it for you....
No, it's not.
162 7.3 7.617. Animal Crackers (1930)
Like all little grade school kids, I was big fan of cookies. However, the first time I tasted an animal cracker, i was pretty disappointed at how bland they were. I mean, it was cool that they each were shaped by a different zoo animal & that the box that they came in looked like a circus cage on wheels, but for all their superficial flare, my tastebuds found 'em to be pretty boring.
So, as a huge fan of the Marx Brothers, whenever I watch this film, you can be sure that I'll not be munching on the namesake of so-called snacks. I much prefer a big tub of popcorn that has been heavily sprinkled with an entire boxful of Sno-Caps.
And yeah, I know I'm increasing my chances for a coronary,
but if I gotta go early,
then let it be while I'm laughing hard & munching sweetly.
2643 7.2 7.816. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
To be honest, while I'm not that big of a fan of the Disney formula, I still do enjoying watching Uncle Walt's earliest efforts at creating movie-length animated features.
The manner in which he was able to instill the application of color, the smooth sense of movement & the attention to detail in Snow White, the very first bigscreen "cartoon flick", exemplifies why he was such a pioneer in the field of animation.
725 8 7.915. Freaks (1932)
For anyone who's seen this b/w classic, no explanation is necessary.
I will say though, that my favorite scene is when the freaks are menacingly converging upon their victim with the intent of revenge, one member of their brood, the "catepillar" guy, is crawling towards the victim with a knife in his mouth. How the f#ck he's gonna wield his chosen weapon once he reaches his intended target is never indicated, but it really does get the mind going.
105 6.9 7.114. Son of Frankenstein (1939)
The original Dr. Frankenstein may be dead, but his son, aptly named "Wolf", lives on. To continue the family tradition monster mayem madness.
Featuring not only the first appearance of the iconic hunchbacked sidekick named Ygor (notice that's the correct spelling is a "Y", not an "I"), but also some really cool angular backdrops, a one-armed inspector, and a laboratory containing a big pit of sulfur.
And lemme tell you something,
when it comes to literal foreshadowing, they don't get any deeper than a big pit of sulfur.
616 8.1 8.213. It Happened One Night (1934)
A Cinderella tale told in reverse fashion,
a buddy film,
a road trip movie
and a screwball love story before the genre of romantic comedies got put under the constricting label of "chick flick".
And it all happened one night.
(Actually, this story spans more that over several nights,
so why the producers of this film decided to call it "It Happened One Night", I really don't know...)
68 6.7 712. Drácula (1931)
At the time of this posting, this is a movie that I had just recently watched for the first time.
As I posted in one of my earlier entries, the Universal Movie Monster Trio, Dracula, Frankenstein & The Wolfman are perennial favorites on my TV set every Halloween. I had meant to watch this Spanish version of Dracky for awhile now, especially since TCM tends to show it every once in a while, back to back with it's American counterpart.
Filmed at the same time (literally) as the Bela Lugosi version, this one features the same energy & enthusiasm as it's originator, seems even crisper in appearance (at least, to my eyes), & has more creative camera work than was allowed to the original version. Yet the best part of it all, is that this one is longer in length, but without any sacrfice to it's story quality.
Though, the actor playing Dracula doesn't seem to have the "weight" in his presence that Bela Lugosi did,
over-all, this is still a version of the "rey de los vampiros" that, after finally watching it, makes me feel like I just struck some big time cinema gold.
48 6.8 7.411. A Christmas Carol (1938)
While most families grew up watching It's A Wonderful Life as a yearly favorite every holiday season,
for me, I was raised in a household that instead always watched the original full-length feature film adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale of Ebenzer Scrooge. An old rich, greedy curmudgeon of a man who learns the value of giving after being visited upon in his "dreams" by three (past, present & future) incarnations of the spirit of Christmas.
A story that has since had various versions produced under various titles, as a childhood favorite, & the fact that as one of the first cinematic adaptations, it's black & white setting enhances the timelessness of it's story,
makes the 1938 A Christmas Carol the one that, for me, will most likely always be the best of the bunch.
919 7.4 810. King Kong (1933)
One of my fave giant creatures movies b'cuz, seriously, how can any list of fave giant monster flicks be complete without the original gangsta of really big beasties in it?
Obviously, special FX have come a lonngg way since Kong made his black & white debut, but for me, I still find the energy & fun that went into making this film to still somehow be palpable whenever I watch this classic staple of the genre.
3015 7.6 8.29. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
What does Dorothy do when she finds out that she and Toto are not in Kansas anymore?
Following the yellow brick road, she goes off to see the wizard in a pair of ruby slippers, along with three of the most famous McGuffins in film history.
The moral of this story:
no matter where you find yourself, even if it's got a Lollypop Guild, an emerald city, or an army made up of flying monkeys,
there's still no place like home.
218 7.7 7.78. Top Hat (1935)
I remember when I made the decision to watch the early dance classics of Swing Time & Top Hat just to see if the all the dancing lived up to all the hype that I had heard about for years.
And while it did, along with Fred Astaire's ability, not only as a dancer, but also as a lead, not to mention the way that all the sets & costumes seemed to shimmer with the black & white quality of the film,
what was a complete surprise for me was Ginger Rogers.
Sure, her dance moves kept up with Fred's every step,
but wow. I didn't realize how the combination of her beauty, personality & charisma would just light up the whole picture. When Top Hat was over, I was left literally stunned by this woman.
427 7.6 87. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Alot of the movies from this period & the '40's are films that I first watched as a kid, & therefore, I tend to like more 'em more for sentimental reasons than because of their place in the movie history hierarchy.
The Adventures Of Robin Hood is a good f'rinstance.
Whenever I watch this movie, it always reminds me of those times when I was at that age in which I still believed heroes where chivalrous, suave, gave to the poor, & were so cool, that even if they were always sporting around in a pair of light green tights, they were still able to score with a really hot maiden.
526 7.7 7.96. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
In this immensely successful sequel (one of the first to be so successful) , the Frankenstein Monster learns to talk, smoke a cigar, and on a social level, put himself "out there".
Now while he & the Bride give a new meaning to the term "made for each other", for any few of you who've never seen this movie,
I won't spoil it for you by revealing whether or not she accepts his proposal or not.
Lest to say that the fact that the name the follow-up film to this follow-up film is Son Of Frankenstein bears no reflection to the outcome of this movie.
154 7.4 7.65. Swing Time (1936)
In the Modern Times entry at the top of the list, I mentioned that Charlie Chaplin's physical stunt work provided the same kind of awe-inspiring awe back then in the same manner that special effects do today.
In these black & white dances classics,
the awe is a result of the complex, stylish dance steps of Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers.
I can only imagine the wonder & amazement that 1930's movie audiences must have felt back when they first witnessed the fancy footwork of the chemistric choreogrphy from this couple, alongside the camera work, classy costumes & shimmering back sets used to enhance the routines.
636 7.3 7.64. Dracula (1931)
Before there was Lestat, Blade, Eli or that whimpy, waspy whitey Edward Cullen,
there was Dracula.
And yeah, in the film world, even though Nosferatu came first,
it's well known that it was the tale of the original Count Dracula that Count Orlok was modeled after.
Therefore, when it comes to the big screen, this is 1931 movie is the one that finally brought the one true Master Of The Dead to life.
So, as far as I'm concerned, no matter how many times the current limited brain trust of Hollywood tries to update the concept of the vampire, Dracky is and always will be the O.G. of bloodsucking bloodsuckers, suckas.
Sure, maybe his accent & royal sash have been spoofed, satirized & caricaturized to the point that some of today's viewers may have become desensitized to his presence on the screen. But there can be no denying that his contributions to the iconography of horror and to pop culture in general, is and will always be "countless".
For instance, we should never forget that if it weren't for him, instead of Count Chocula, that brand of cereal would just be called something like Chocolate Flavored Cereal Wit' Chocolate Flavored Marshmellows In It.
pay 'em his due propers.
768 7.6 83. Frankenstein (1931)
What Dracula did for Count Chocula cereal, the Frankenstein monster did for Frankenberries.
With the added extra that it will probably make you poop out pink-colored poopoo.
Actually, the main reason these two early Universal monster flicks (both Franky & Dracula) are on my favorite movies list is because they've been a regular staple on the television sets of The Mighty Celestial household every Halloween night now for generations. Heck, probably even before television sets were invented.
572 7.9 82. Duck Soup (1933)
For me, Duck Soup is, by far, one of my top 5 of favorite comedy movies of all time.
A comedy classic, with the Bros. Marx carrying on with their timeless mayhem antics & spouting out lines like "I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows till you came home."
For any of you who haven't yet seen this, IMO, the best of the Marx movies, but have decided to give it a view for the first time, I envy you. It will truly be a gala day for you. And if you're anything like Groucho, the Marx's head hermano, a gal a day is more than enough for you. You probably couldn't handle any more.
1352 8.4 8.61. Modern Times (1936)
Before there were special effects, CGI graphics & matrix-style action sequences in film, there was human physical talent.
And in the early 1900's, the height of this talent was displayed to movie viewing audiences through the almost impossible stunt routines of Charlie Chaplin.
back then, watching his ability to choreograph & incorporate his crazy stunts into the props & background sets (particularly in this film, with the complicated set designs of the factory) must've been the equivalent of watching a summer blockbuster of today.
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