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Added by The Mighty Celestial on 2 May 2009 07:37
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20 From 30: My Favorite Movies Of The 1930's

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People who added this item 67 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.7
Son of Kong (1933)
Yo, I know that Godzilla and King Kong both had sons,
but where there any "mega-monsters" movies 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.

Just when you thought that beauty had killed the beast for good, turns out that, apparently, the king had a prince.
Although, there are rumors that have been whispered throughout the jungle, that the albino mega gorilla might not really be the son of King and Queen Kong. Word is, that the Kongs' milk-gorilla (that the super sized simian's equivalent to a milkman) was also an albino).
People who added this item 202 Average listal rating (128 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
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 and that the box that they came in looked like a circus cage on wheels, but for all their superficial flare, my taste buds 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 and munching sweetly.
People who added this item 3537 Average listal rating (2265 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
One of the most classic of fairy tales in history comes to life in the form of one of the most classic animated films in history. And little did anyone know at the time, that this would be the start of one the biggest (if not the biggest) movie studios in history.

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 and the attention to detail in Snow White, the very first big screen "cartoon flick", exemplifies why he was such a pioneer in the field of animation.
People who added this item 1061 Average listal rating (620 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
Freaks (1932)
For anyone who's seen this b/w classic, no explanation is necessary.
Controversial for it's time (and some say, even for today) for it's use of actors with extreme abnormalities, Freaks is just one of a myriad of horror films released during the thirties that has since become a legend and a staple in any true fright flick aficionado's collection.
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 "caterpillar" 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.

People who added this item 158 Average listal rating (106 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
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.

People who added this item 92 Average listal rating (61 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.3
The very first werewolf movie, preceding the more famous Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr. (son of make-up master Lon Chaney, who's contribution to the horror genre is too well known to even mention).
And, as a first time effort to cinematically depict a half-man/half-wolf hybrid howler, it ain't too bad. In fact, it's pretty darn good. So good, that there are some horror enthusiasts who think it's even better than The Wolf Man.
Now, I ain't one of those enthusiasts, but I still enjoy it enough to include it on my annual monster marathons that I embark on every Halloween season.

People who added this item 906 Average listal rating (570 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
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 than that. It went on over several nights, as a matter of fact.
So why the producers of this film decided to call it "It Happened One Night", I really couldn't tell ya...)

People who added this item 114 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7
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 and The Wolf Man are perennial favorites on my TV set every Halloween. I had meant to watch this Spanish version of Dracky for awhile now, especially since Turner Classic Movies 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 and enthusiasm as it's originator, seems even crisper in appearance (at least, to my eyes), and 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 sacrifice 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.
People who added this item 82 Average listal rating (53 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
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 and future) incarnations of the spirit of Christmas.
Obviously, this is a story that has since had numerous varied versions produced under various titles, but IMO, as one of the first cinematic adaptations, this one's black & white setting has a way of enhancing the story in a manner that comes off much more timeless than in all the other counterparts which followed later.
This quality, combined with the fact that this is a personal childhood favorite of mine, makes the 1938 A Christmas Carol the one that, for me, will most likely always be the best of the bunch.

People who added this item 1265 Average listal rating (805 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
King Kong (1933)
Before Godzilla came along, Kong was the original over-sized king of all monsters in this early film era spin on the beauty and the beast theme.

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 and fun that went into making this film to still somehow be very present and very palpable whenever I watch this classic staple of the genre.

People who added this item 3720 Average listal rating (2449 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
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.

Despite having a date of release when cinema was still in it's toddler age, there have been movies about war that came out before this one.
However, there weren't many that revealed the true gritty reality of the battleground in such a manner as All Quiet on the Western Front. And even fewer who questioned the concept of war as poignant as this one.
And even fewer that have earned an Oscar statuette (the Academy Awards began only a year earlier!).
A war "epic" that showed that when it came to the front lines, the only thing quiet about them was the stark reality that only the soldiers had to live through, or, at least, try to live through.

People who added this item 333 Average listal rating (194 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
I remember when I made the decision to watch the early dance classics of Swing Time and 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 and 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 and charisma would just light up the whole picture. When Top Hat was over, I was left literally stunned by this woman.

Many of the movies from this period and the '40's are films that are on my lists are movies that I first watched as a kid, and therefore, I tend to like more 'em more for sentimental reasons than because any relevance of their place in the hierarchy of movie history.
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, and 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.

People who added this item 793 Average listal rating (468 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8

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 and 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.
People who added this item 237 Average listal rating (143 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
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 dance classics,
the awe is a result of the complex, stylish dance steps of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
I can only imagine the wonder and amazement that 1930's movie audiences must have felt back when they first witnessed the fancy footwork of the complex choreography from this chemistric couple. Alongside the camera work, classy costumes and shimmering back sets used to enhance the routines, it all came together in a manner that left the name of Astaire and Rogers a lasting legacy in both film and dance circles.

People who added this item 962 Average listal rating (608 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
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 and royal sash have been spoofed, satirized and 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 Marshmallows In It.
So y'know....
pay 'em his due propers.

People who added this item 1107 Average listal rating (666 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
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 and Dracula) are on my favorite movies list is because they've been a regular staple on the television sets of The Mighty Celestial (my screename, in case you haven't noticed) household every Halloween night now for generations. Heck, probably even before television sets were invented.

Way back in 1910, Thomas Edison's Edison Studios produced the first film version of Victor Frankenstein's (or in this movie version, his first name is Henry) monster. Sixteen minutes longs, and it featured a monster that appeared more like a long-haired electro-shocked mad-asylum escapee.
Fast forward twenty-one years later, and we have the 1931 classic that features the flat-topped heavy-browed stitchhead which has come to define the creatures appearance more so that what Mary Shelley described in her novel.
And even tho it has become sort of a comical look for modern audiences, back at the time of it's release, Boris Koloff's heavy made-up visage of The Monster was enough to scare the hell out of even hardcore horror aficionados.
People who added this item 765 Average listal rating (509 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.8
Duck Soup (1933)
For me, Duck Soup is, by far, one of my top 5 of favorite comedy movies of all time.

A true classic in the realm of comedy classics, with the Marx Brothers carrying on with their timeless mayhem antics and spouting out timeless 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, in my opinion, it is the best of all the Marx movies and I highly recommend that you give it a looksee. And if any of you who do decide to give it a view and it is a first time, then I must say that I envy your position. 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.

People who added this item 1881 Average listal rating (1220 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.5
Before there were special effects, CGI graphics and 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 and incorporate his crazy stunts into the props and 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.

My top ten favorite movies of the 1930's.

Updated Entries:

Stage Coach

Stage Door

You Can't Take It With You

Lists from other time periods:
The 20's:
Of all time:

Other lists by The Mighty Celestial:

My Top 60 Favorite "Horror"-Themed Movies www.listal.com/list/my-top-ten-favorite-horror

My Top 20 Female Movie Bad-Asses www.listal.com/list/my-top-10-female

Yep. When It Comes To Comicbook Movies .... www.listal.com/list/yep-am-huge-comicbook

10 Movies That Feature A Dancin' Travolta In 'Em www.listal.com/list/my-list-9158

My Top 15 Guilty Pleasure Movies www.listal.com/list/guilty-pleasures-thecelestial

WAATAAAH!! My Top 10 Favorite Martial Arts Flix! www.listal.com/list/my-list-thecelestial

My Top 50 Favorite Sci-Fi Movies.... Of Like, Ever www.listal.com/list/scifi-movies

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