Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Island of Lost Souls Movie Review……………………………………

Island of Lost Souls Movie Review

Island of Lost Souls is a 1932 Pre-Code science fiction horror film starring Charles Laughton. It is a very intriguing film that isn’t as great as it should have been.

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Mr. Parker, do you know what it means to feel like God?

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Island of Lost Souls Movie Review……………………………………

Based on the famous H. G. Wells novel, it is about an obsessed scientist who is secretly conducting experiments on animals on a remote island. He imagines that he is God as he makes humans out of animals with mixed results. I agree with Wells in that the film relied too much on horror thrills and not enough on science fiction themes and message. Those are still there, but not emphasized as much. The story is so fascinating and dark that it’s a shame that the movie never quite reached its fullest potential.

So this is obviously a Pre-Code movie and it just might be the sickest and most perverse Hollywood film of the thirties. And that is not just because it’s a horror film and as it features half-human, half-animal creatures, but because it also has a lot of nudity and it deals with the subject of bestiality. It is one hell of a crazy movie and that is why it sticks with you. It’s original and different.

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Island of Lost Souls Movie Review

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So Island of Lost Souls has its thrills and the element of surprise and it is almost a sensational picture as you cannot believe what you’re seeing even after 80 years. It certainly benefits from having this famous and risqué source material as a script. But the film is never as horrifying as it should have been, at least it wasn’t to me. Do not get me wrong, it is very atmospheric and well made, but just not as scary as ‘Freaks’ was from the same year.

The biggest problem are its characters and acting. Charles Laughton is a great actor but this just isn’t one of his best performances. I don’t know if it was him or the director, but some of the choices were weird and he was at times great, but at times too campy and that same sentiment can be applied to the whole movie which is at times too silly and campy with its costumes. Some costumes are great for its time, but others are not and you can definitely see that it’s a man in a costume.

But I still loved Laughton’s Dr. Moreau as he’s such a fascinating, powerful villain. The main character is boring and Richard Arlen is so bad in the main role. Really his performance is very off-putting here. But Lota is a memorable and tragic character and I really liked her story and I wished to have seen more from her.

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Island of Lost Souls Movie Review……………………………………

The film is too fast paced with the transitions not being smooth. It is certainly too short. But that also may be its advantage as it thus felt quick, precise and even urgent in its tone. The short running time is a two-way street here. Overall, Island of Lost Souls fascinated me and it truly is a bizarre, unforgettable experience, but it ended up being just good and never as great as the material demanded.

Island of Lost Souls is a truly bizarre, very risqué Pre-Code horror film that deals with themes such as bestiality and the entire storyline is crazy and it provides an unforgettable experience. The acting is troublesome as Charles Laughton isn’t as great as he usually was here and Richard Arlen is quire mediocre, but Laughton’s villain is still great and the film is very entertaining and though too short, it also felt urgent in its tone and dangerous in its atmosphere. It is a fascinating film, but just not as great as it should have been.

My Rating – 4

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King Kong (1933)

King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..

King Kong Movie Review

King Kong is a 1933 fantasy adventure film which is one of the finest blockbusters of all time.
This is such a classic movie. I first watched it about six years ago and after seeing it now for the second time, I fully stand by my original 5-star rating as it truly is as flawless as blockbusters can be. A marvelous movie by all accounts.
The story and the overall jungle setting of the film along with the dinosaur creatures is obviously influenced by ‘The Lost World’ which is such a good silent adventure flick. But King Kong managed to make even better, full use of such a premise and I honestly think that it is mostly immaculately executed.

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It was beauty killed the beast

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King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..
I loved the first act which is a perfect build up to the action, so well done and engaging. This is a monster movie done right as it introduces you to its characters in a natural manner and those characters are not ridiculously underdeveloped but are quite memorable.
Robert Armstrong is amusing as this highly business-oriented director of exotic movies. He is likable, yet realistic. I respected the movie for showcasing how box office was important even during the 30s and that Hollywood is just one giant business. He got some of the funniest lines as well.
Fay Wray is quite memorable as one of the screen’s first scream queens. She was stereotypical and too hopeless, but this role needed such a weak female character so that wasn’t a big problem for me. Bruce Cabot is immensely funny as this overly misogynistic redneck and I really liked their relationship.
But King Kong is the name of the movie and he is undoubtedly the true star here. That Beauty and the Beast dynamic was quite interesting and I really liked his behavior and that he seemed genuinely clever at times. His death is definitely felt and is the most emotional scene in the film.

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King Kong Movie Review………………………………………….
So I loved that ending and that famous quote is unforgettable to this day. The entire Empire State Building sequence is thrilling, beautifully executed and realistic. That scene is one for the ages. But the second act is probably my favorite as the jungle scenes were a lot of fun and the movie shines the most in the adventure department. It is wrongly classified as horror when in reality it is an adventure film with fantasy elements and what a glorious, old-fashioned adventure it is.
The action is so well executed and quite believable. The reason why I consider it as a full-on blockbuster despite its age is that it has quite a lot of action in it plus it is a giante spectacle that truly needs to be seen on the big screen and I am so glad that I did that.
King Kong features quite possibly the best special effects of any 1930s film. The stop-motion work done by Willis O’Brien truly is one of the finest of all time. The Pteranodon looked real, the Tyrannosaurus and the Brontosaurus both looked phenomenal and of course Kong himself is marvelous. His jerky movements only further brough the necessary realism as that large a creature would be really slow. But his face and fur are absolutely fantastic. This movie looked spectacular for its time, but it still looks pretty good even by today’s VFX standards.

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King Kong Movie Review…………………………………………………..
The film’s humor surprised me as it is pretty good and I laughed a couple of times. The dialogue is simple, yet extremely memorable and the editing is so deft that the movie flies by, but is never rushed too. The score is pretty good and fitting to the action as well. It truly is a wonderful experience.
With simply amazing special effects, memorable characters, excellent humor, highly recognizable dialogue and superb imagery, King Kong truly is an undisputed classic which has aged like fine wine and is phenomenally entertaining to this day. It is such a wonderful adventure which features quite a lot of unforgettable sequences, great action scenes and such a memorable ending leading to one of the best blockbusters of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Design for Living (1933)

Design for Living Movie Review………………………………………

Design for Living Movie Review

Design for Living is a 1933 screwball comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Fredric March, Gary Cooper and Miriam Hopkins. It is a good, but not great movie.

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It’s true we had a gentleman’s agreement,

but unfortunately, I am no gentleman

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Design for Living Movie Review………………………………………
These three great actors play romantic lovers. Hopkins is in love with both of them and cannot decide so the three arrange to live together with hilarious results. First of all, this is obviously a Pre-Code movie and it is actually one of the bravest and boldest old films that I have ever seen. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I myself do not have a high opinion of polygamy, but I still respect the movie for not just portraying such an issue, but also for giving us an ending where the three end up together. That was unexpected and incredibly bold, even for this day and age. Actually, I have never seen a movie deal with this subject matter before, old or recent, which is why I was fascinated by this film quite a bit.
Design for Living features all three of these actors at the peak of their careers and it truly shows. I love Gary Cooper and he is one of my favorite actors, but he was the weakest of the three as his character is too brute. He definitely played against type and gave a pretty good performance for that matter, but others were better. Fredric March is more memorable and certainly funnier and he delivered a strong performance. But this is beyond any doubt Miriam Hopkins’ vehicle as she killed it here and stole the show from these two great actors.

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Design for Living Movie Review………………………………………
She was perfect for this role and she is marvelous as Gilda Farrell, one of the most feminist characters in all of classic movies. As for Edward Everett Horton, he was typecasted here and I’ve seen him in this exact role so many times already.
Now let’s talk about the flaws. Design for Living is a pretty popular movie and it deals with a very different subject than usual. That is why I expected great things from it. But alas, the film is never great as it settled for being just good. Pretty good actually, but that is disappointing as this great material needed a much better execution.
I blame Ernst Lubitsch for that. His direction isn’t as polished as usual and he made many obvious mistakes. One is the pacing as the movie is too slow for a comedy. Another is the humor. Yes, sadly the humor is pretty weak for screwball comedy standards. It made me laugh a couple of times, but that was mostly in the first act as the other two are almost devoid of true laughs. Don’t get me wrong, the film has many highly amusing scenes and the dialogue and script are both stellar, but it is rarely as hilarious as I’d come to expect from this great subgenre.

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Design for Living Movie Review………………………………………
I loved the ending. That was my favorite scene. And I loved the beginning. That opening was very sensual and different in its silent, almost poetic approach. I also really liked all of the scenes between all three of them which is why I found the scenes with Horton’s character te be frustrating and overly extended. The movie somehow loses its steam in the third act and that was immensely unfortunate.
Design for Living is a frustrating movie because it is never great as it deserved to have been, but instead ended up being just good. All three of its great actors did a good job with Miriam Hopkins stealing the show completely. I loved the dialogue and the dynamic between these three and some scenes such as the opening and ending are unforgettable. But even though the film is bold in its ending and very brave and commendable for dealing with the subject of polygamy, it never made perfect use of it, the pacing is totally off and, for high screwball comedy standards, it is mostly devoid of true laughs.

My Rating – 4

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Blonde Venus (1932)

Blonde Venus Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Blonde Venus Movie Review

Blonde Venus is a 1932 Pre-Code drama film directed by Joseph von Sternberg and starring Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall and Cary Grant. It is such an underrated film.  

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My name’s Taxi Belle Hooper.

Taxi for short.

Do you charge for the first mile?

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Blonde Venus Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

It is crazy how this movie is hugely underappreciated. Mordaunt Hall himself trashed it in his original 1932 review and most of the reviews I checked out were mostly quite negative. But to me it is honestly one of the director’s best films as it still possesses that visual quality to it and strong sensuality, but it also has a strong story, characters and especially emotion. It is a full package which I just adored.

Dietrich plays Helen, a woman who goes to great lengths to secure the money for her husband’s operation from a serious disease. But when her husband comes back and finds out about her affair, he banishes her and she takes her son and runs away until eventually giving in to the police.

The ending is where the movie shines and it is certainly my favourite sequence. The two spouses reunite over her singing a lullaby to their son as the song reminds them of how they met and what a strong pair they are. That was such a beautiful sequence that may be too happy and standard to some, but I found it to have a great message as I think she particularly belonged home with her husband and child and I would feel the same way if she was a man. I am trying to say that the film isn’t sexist at all. And I loved the beginning and how important that scene was for the whole film thematically.

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Blonde Venus Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Marlene Dietrich stuns in Blonde Venus and she actually gives one of her finest performances in this wonderful vehicle for her. Her acting is great, her facial expressions are superb and of course she is absolutely gorgeous and again we see her every feature emphasized to great effect thanks to some superb camera work. The cinematography here is amazing and is an essential part of the entire film.

Her character is great, human and complex and I also liked Ned and Nick. Nick has that typical rich villain thing going for him, but he still helped Helen a lot so I wouldn’t call him a villain at all. But Cary Grant unfortunately did not get much to do in this movie and this is basically one giant supporting performance, but this was only the beginning of his career and he was still charismatic and memorable. Herbert Marshall, on the other hand, was almost as great as Marlene was. He has always been a very good actor, but I just never witnessed such strong acting from him that he delivered here in spades. The last sequence in particular features superlative subtle, emotional work from him.

The movie is very sensual not only owing to its gorgeous cinematography, but also thanks to its two leads who are very nice to look at. They are such a charming, wonderful couple whom I just adored. As for the musical numbers, I guess they were fine and certainly quite racy and provocative as this is so obviously a Pre-Code picture, but they took too much running time in my opinion and slowed the movie down significantly.

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Blonde Venus Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Blonde Venus definitely has a weaker first half and takes its time to get there, but when it gets there, it somehow becomes the total opposite and this time rushed in pacing. So yes, the editing is all over the place here and that was the biggest hurdle the film never overcame. But other than that, it features a great script; it serves as a good message film, a great acting vehicle and a great proof of Sternberg’s strong directorial style.

Blonde Venus has too many musical numbers plus the editing is all over the place, but the film is very sensual owing to such a terrific cinematography and its two charming leads. But it is one of Joseph von Sternberg’s best films because it isn’t just style over substance as it also features a strong script, very good character development, great performances from Herbert Marshall and Marlene Dietrich in two of their best roles and such an indescribably beautiful, perfect conclusion.

My Rating – 4.5

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Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review

Mädchen in Uniform is a 1931 German drama film directed by Leontine Sagan. It is truly a one of a kind film that is one of the most memorable and different movies from this period.

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What you call sin, I call the great spirit of love,

which takes a thousand forms

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Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

I really respected this movie and it just fascinated me with its many intriguing aspects. So it is a love story between a teacher and a student and it is thus one of the first lesbian films ever. That is of course revolutionary. But the film is also interesting for revolving around female boarding school and having no male characters whatsoever. And to me the most interesting thing is its attack on Nazism. The teachers are obviously overly strict and harsh and I thought that parallel was really well accomplished and certainly ahead of its time.

I liked the characters quite a bit, all memorable and realistic. The relationship at the center of it is strong and there are a couple of sweet, romantic moments to be had here. But it was still a bit creepy to me personally as the age difference is vast and Manuela is basically a child at the ege of fourteen. That made the movie provocative even for this time in my opinion. But having in mind when it was made, I guess 14 wasn’t considered that young for that time period. I liked the headmistress, her final moment was revelatory and so powerful in its subtleness. And of course the girls are all great and I loved how they wanted to help Manuela.

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Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Mädchen in Uniform is a very well acted with all around excellent performances and very well directed feature. One of the things that impressed was its use of sound which is quite professional and advanced for the time when the sound just arrived and most filmmakers struggled with it. The dialogue also impressed me as it was grounded in nature and always more subtle than on the nose which it easily could have been with its provocative plot.

The only thing that bothered me here is its running time which is just way too short. I guess that some scenes are probably lost as it seemed like it watching the version I’ve watched, but still the film felt way too rushed and abrupt. Had it been longer, it would have been much more effective as this way it ended up somewhat hurting the character development in particular.

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Mädchen in Uniform Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Mädchen in Uniform has a bunch of memorable lines and scenes in it. To me the first act is somewhat inferior, but the rest two are great and there lie a lot of great scenes. Of course the final sequence is just amazing, so well executed and I just loved its meaningful, emotional conclusion. But the arrival of the princess was also really well done and Manuela’s confession was great as that scene was powerful and so dramatic in style. The whole movie is great and a further proof of how excellent German cinema was in the twenties and early thirties. It is easy to see why it got banned as it is revolutionary even for this age and I respected it all the more for it. Such a fascinating, unique film.

Mädchen in Uniform certainly has too short running time, but it is otherwise such a great movie. It remains provocative and intriguing even today as its subject matter and its many themes are fascinating, different and ultimately so well explored. The film is superbly made across the board, but its dramatic as well as subtle approach is terrific, the strong emotion is evident and there are many unforgettable scenes here leading to one of the best German films of the thirties and definitely one of the most interesting and authentic movies from this period.

My Rating – 4.5

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Heidi (1937)

Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

Heidi Movie Review

Heidi is a 1937 family drama film starring Shirley Temple. It is a very disappointing, at times even annoying adaptation.

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Well, I’ve always had a sheet and coverlet,

but if there aren’t any,

I could sleep under the hay

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

I am a big fan of the book which is why this film adaptation disappointed me immensely. It couldn’t even be considered an adaptation, that’s how much they changed and ruined the source material. Whereas the book is all about the Alps, religion and of course the various benefits of the country, this film is all about Frankfurt and Fraulein Rottenmeier. So ridiculous.

The core of the movie is the relationship between Heidi and her grandfather and that was great. That is the only aspect of it that stayed true to the original and even accentuated their love a bit more which was wonderful to witness. But there is no Peter here whatsoever which is just super frustrating and of course the message is all wrong. They missed the point of the novel entirely. The book showcases the strengths and health benefits of living in the country and Clara heals just as she spends some time in the Alps, but here she heals in the house due to the help from Heidi. I do not understand how could the filmmakers be this clueless. It really bothered me.

Let’s talk about the characters. I really liked Heidi. She isn’t whom I imagined in the book, but Shirley Temple is so wonderful that she elevated the role. I realized watching her why she was so popular during the thirties. Not only is she cute, but so charismatic and obviously talented too. Jean Hersholt also did a really good job and the role was great.

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

But all of the other characters are all wrong. Clara is actually better developed than in the book, if a bit too old. But Detie is ridiculously villainous and of course Fraulein Rottenmeier is just silly. She was too over-the-book in the book itself, but here she was written as a straight off villain! She is so evil and so horrible that she became a cartoon character. And an overemphasis on her is what killed this movie. Andrews the butler is solid and sometimes even funny, but all of the other characters are underutilized.

Heidi is actually very well filmed. I really liked the sets, they looked wonderful. Both the village and the mountain looked great which is why the decision to feature more of Frankfurt felt so disappointing. It is well edited and well acted and all around very well made. The humor is interestingly quite solid and some of the moments between the girls were quite charming and heartwarming.

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

They just missed the book’s point which is why it frustrated me. But if you watch it separately from the book (as you basically should as most of it is just way too different to even be considered as an adaptation), it is actually solid and much better than when you compare it. I do understand what they were trying to do as they wanted a shorter, well structured movie, but it still ended up being childish instead of childlike and that is a major difference. The book is sweet and meaningful, but the movie, no matter how well made, is overly cartoony, simplistic and just plain silly at times. I do not hate this movie as it serves its purpose, but as an adaptation, it failed miserably and left me wishing for much more.

The 1937 adaptation of Heidi is incredibly disappointing. Yes, it is very well made, sometimes charming and humorous and Shirley Temple is lovable and she gave a respectable performance, but this movie failed on almost every level as an adaptation because they focused on all the wrong things, they entirely missed the point of the novel and some aspects felt either silly or just downright cartoony.

My Rating – 3

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My Man Godfrey (1936)

 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

My Man Godfrey Movie Review

My Man Godfrey is a 1936 screwball comedy film directed by Gregory La Cava and starring William Powell and Carole Lombard. It is definitely one of the finest screwball comedies.

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Godfrey loves me! He put me in the shower!

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

The story is about a socialite who hires a homeless man to be her family’s butler. She eventually falls in love with him, much to his dismay. The script here is so stellar and just perfect. Not only do you have a very entertaining and funny story populated with highly likable or amusing characters, but you still have a satire on class relations and truly its social commentary is not only smart and funny, but relevant to this day, thus only further adding to its timeless quality.

My Man Godfrey features absolutely amazing character development, truly an example of how to properly develop characters in a film. Almost all of them are likable, memorable and even funny plus they all felt like genuine human beings and I’ve felt in the end that I’ve just met them. Everyone gets a moment to shine.

Godfrey is fantastic and he carries this entire movie, the same goes for Irene and the two are such a charming couple. I loved his seriousness and elegance and how it clashed well with her childlike and energetic personality. Cornelia is quite memorable as this cold and manipulative brat and their father is very likable. And of course the mother is such a hilarious personality and she made me laugh the most. I liked Molly quite a bit as she’s so sweet to everyone, but only Carlo is the weak link as I felt that he was unnecessary for this movie and that is the only flaw I can find here, but a minor one nevertheless.

The acting is just marvelous with everyone delivering a terrific performance. Alice Brady steals every scene she’s in with a comedic gold of a performance and Gail Patrick is beautiful and memorable. Carole Lombard delivered her finest performance of her career in Godfrey as she’s just a force to be reckoned with. But to me William Powell is the most outstanding of the bunch as he’s one of my favorite comedy actors. Here his seriousness clashed well with the craziness of the others and his facial expressions are just priceless.

My Man Godfrey features probably the best humor of any 1930s films and that is in and of itself a major accolade. Everyone made me laugh and most especially Brady, Lombard and Powell’s characters. So good. The humor is so strong, yet also smart and sophisticated propelled by such a great dialogue. The facial expressions of Godfrey and over-the-top antics from the crazy family were the highlights. Such a memorable and hilarious crew of characters.

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

My Man Godfrey is brilliantly made as there isn’t a single flaw in it in terms of the execution. The direction from Gregory La Cava is simply great, the acting is exceptional and the editing is stellar. Truly nothing felt rushed nor prolonged. It lasts for just the right amount of time and is always absolutely compelling to watch.

The script is so good, but it is the dialogue that is one of the standouts. It is as brisk and as sophisticated and biting as you would expect form a 30s screwball comedy which is why it thoroughly succeeds in this genre and why it’s one of its finest representatives. It is also one of the very best that 1936 has to offer and shame on Academy for not nominating it for Best Picture.

Speaking of the Academy, it was nominated for six Oscars. I do not agree at all with the nod to Mischa Auer as his character is the weakest link as I’ve said above, but I thoroughly agree with other nominations with Powell, Lombard and Brady’s performances all being deserving of the nomination. The same goes for the director and the script, but it is ridiculous that it didn’t win any and it just goes to show how clueless they often were during this decade.

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

The tone is great as it shifts to dramatic and serious at just the right times. The themes and message are evident and of course the film looks good and works perfectly as a chamber drama and a theatrical one as it revolves almost entirely in one house and it makes use of that setting so well. And I have to say that the movie is so charming and so romantic as its romance is so well developed and so wonderful. I loved the ending where she chased him and made him marry her. Hilarious and beautiful.

With such a stellar script, sophisticated and hilarious dialogue, phenomenal humor as the movie consistently made me laugh and such outstanding performances from Alice Brady, Carole Lombard and William Powell, My Man Godfrey is an undisputed classic and one of the finest screwball comedies that is always funny and charming, yet smart and so polished technically too. It features characters that are all memorable, likable and funny and the film is almost flawless in execution and just brilliant.

My Rating – 5

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Topper (1937)

Topper Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………………

Topper Movie Review

Topper is a 1937 fantasy screwball comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starring Constance Bennett, Cary Grant and Roland Young. It is a disappointing comedy.

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I’ll be out before you can say Jack Robinson – only don’t say it for a few minutes.

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Topper Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………………

It follows a stuffy man who is haunted by the ghosts a fun-loving married couple who want to help him loosen up in order to get to heaven. The premise itself is marvelous and it really had potential for greatness, but the execution is weak and sometimes quite problematic leading to a disappointing movie that is just solid and never as great as it easily could have been.

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Topper Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………………

The acting is easily Topper’s biggest achievement. Everyone here did such a great job in excellent roles as the characters themselves are easy to define, but memorable and likable. Roland Young is the best and his Oscar nomination is very much deserved. Constance Bennett is also very good and quite charming and she steals every scene she’s in. But Cary Grant disappointed me. Not his performance as he is always great and is the same in this movie, but I expected his role to bigger as I am a big fan of his, but he is the least utilized of this threesome unfortunately.

Topper is well directed by Norman Z. McLeod and mostly really well paced and shot. I really liked its use of nature as that is always hard to come by in a 30s movie, but here it was all the more memorable for it. And I really liked the driving sequences which were of the most entertaining here. All of the characters are great and the wife of Cosmo is also really memorable and sometimes even quite funny.

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Topper Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………………

So what is the problem here? Well, that is the humor. Screwball comedies are my favorite subgenre of comedy as they are always charming and hilarious. But Topper is never hilarious and is in fact rarely genuinely funny which was so disappointing to witness. I don’t know why they didn’t utilize on this awesome premise, but somehow only the first act was quite funny at times and, as I said, those nature and driving sequences were excellent. But the second half is repetitive in its plot and humor and some of the humor as well as the supernatural aspects are very dated to be honest. Most of its supernatural aspects is solidly put together and the special effects are most definitely terrific for its time, but the rules here aren’t as well governed and the physical humor gets pretty repetitive and for a movie with ghosts in it, it is never inventive which was a real shame to see. Those are the reasons why the film left me unsatisfied in the end.

Topper is very well acted with Constance Bennett being very memorable in her role and Roland Young being deservedly nominated for an Oscar, the premise is terrific and some sequences here are charming and funny, but most of it isn’t as funny as it should have been and it is never as inventive or as entertaining as the premise demanded it leading to a disappointing screwball comedy.

My Rating – 3.5

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Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Bride of Frankenstein Review

Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 horror film directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester and Ernest Thesiger. It is a pretty good, satisfying sequel.

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We belong dead!

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

It follows Frankenstein’s and Dr. Pretorius’ attempts to create a female mate for the creature. Now, as a sequel to 1931’s ‘Frankenstein‘, Bride of Frankenstein just can’t compare in terms of the atmosphere and overall quality. And I don’t understand why some would proclaim it to be a better film when it just isn’t. But, whereas it lacks compared to the original, it more than satisfies in its own right as it is a pretty good, well crafted film and a respectable sequel.

I really liked the story here. It was again very well told and very entertaining to watch. The first act is problematic, but more on that later. The second half is excellent. The creation sequence is again stunning and every scene with the two scientists was the highlight for me. I really liked the new monster and I also liked the ending quite a bit.

The film is interesting for being a much better adaptation of the novel than the original film was. The entire hermit plot point is adapted here and it is as great as it was in the book and there it was my favorite chapter. I liked the hermit character here and those scenes were just so emotional and heartwarming.

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The monster himself is much more human here than he was before and I liked that choice, albeit it led to a more campy territory which I didn’t appreciate. But the character development of the monster was stellar here. Henry Frankenstein is as good as he was before and Doctor Pretorius is such a memorable addition to the cast, so crazy and amusing. The eponymous bride didn’t get much to do, but looked superb due to some amazing make-up. She was quite unforgettable and left a big impression with the little screen time that she received.

Bride of Frankenstein is again a technically polished feature with awesome cinematography, terrific imagery and superb effects and make-up work. The directing from James Whale is again great and he’s such an admirable horror director. The acting is top-notch. Boris Karloff gave an even better performance this time around whereas Colin Clive was satisfying once more. Ernest Thesiger is really charismatic and memorable in a very amusing role and Elsa Lanchester is great as both Mary Shelley and the bride.

Speaking of Shelley, I have to say that I didn’t particularly care for that beginning. It was a solid framing device, but it accentuated that this was a sequel in a very unnecessary way. And that entire first half is very slow, uneventful and definitely dragging. There is just no point to that flashback beginning and that led to a very odd and incredibly rushed pacing. The finale is just immensely abrupt and it was just ridiculous for the bride to be on the screen for less than five minutes. Everything ended really quickly and abruptly and that was all the editor’s fault.

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Bride of Frankenstein is definitely well crafted and engaging, but it was just too campy for my taste. Some of the scenes were overly exaggerated with the monster’s speaking being particularly silly. I have never been a fan of camp and that is why I disliked it here either. It’s a shame that the editing and its campy nature hurt what is otherwise an excellent film and a really admirable sequel.

Bride of Frankenstein is a very respectable sequel which is once again very well crafted, directed and acted but also more emotional and faithful to its source material this time around. The eponymous bride is very memorable as is Dr. Pretorius and the second half is phenomenal, but the first half is dragging, the editing is very mediocre leading to a rushed and abrupt ending and the film was too campy for my taste. It’s a good film in its own right, but much inferior to the original.

My Rating – 4

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The Lady Vanishes (1938)

The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Lady Vanishes Movie Review

The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. It is such a good movie that is one of the director’s best early efforts.

It is about an English tourist traveling by train who discovers that her elderly traveling companion seems to have disappeared. All of the others deny her existence and she, along with her new friend, search the train for some clues. The premise alone here is incredibly original and fascinating even. And thankfully the execution is mostly great as well. The film is very entertaining and almost riveting at times.

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I never think you should judge any country by its politics.

After all, we English are quite honest by nature, aren’t we?

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

I really liked Iris and Gilbert and the two are such a phenomenal couple and they serve as a very fun detective duo two. Miss Froy is such an endearing old woman and what is most admirable here is the choice to make her a spy and a great one despite her age. I loved that. And all of the other supporting characters are quite memorable and most of them are important for the story which is commendable.

I found the acting to be great. Both Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood are so charming together and both gave excellent performances. But May Whitty is even better as wonderful Miss Froy. The Lady Vanishes benefits from some tremendous technicalities including of course the direction from Hitchcock which is finally great as his earlier 30s efforts aren’t as great as they could have been. But here he proved what a remarkable artist he is and that will be best seen in his later works.

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The pacing is also excellent despite that first act. Yes, the first act is in my opinion the major flaw of the picture as it is just so incredibly slow, dragging and just way too extended. We basically get over twenty minutes before the train departs and that is just a waste of time. But thankfully the rest is deftly edited with the film flowing smoothly and being very involving all the time.

The cinematography is excellent with some really polished camera movements. The train is such a great setting and is utilized superbly as we get to explore the majority of it. The lack of a score troubled me before, but upon second viewing, I have to agree with Hitchcock’s decision. Yes, that did lead to a more realistic feel to it and it definitely wasn’t necessary. The dialogue is as playful and as fun as you would come to expect from the director. And the film is not only very authentic, but also very memorable with the most unforgettable sequences being the disappearance sequence which is so intriguing and even creepy, the last action sequence which is so well executed and the scenes with the two investigating were awesome.

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Lady Vanishes is interesting for being a comedic thriller and I don’t know what I think about that. On the one hand, the humor is pretty good at times and the energy is palpable. But on the other hand, it does significantly diminish the seriousness and the realism of the movie as some scenes are too humorous. But the film still mostly succeeds as a thriller, but most of all, as a great spy film as those elements were very interesting and well crafted. The ending made me smile a lot as it was so wonderful and a beautiful conclusion. In the end, it has its problems, but it’s still the finest 1930s Hitchcock film with only ‘The 39 Steps‘ being able to compete with it, but that one is also inferior to it.

The Lady Vanishes is definitely too comedic in tone and the first act is just needlessly extended, but the film is mostly great with excellent performances and characters, a palpable energy to it, very intriguing spy elements, an authentic and intriguing premise and a very well crafted, consistently involving storyline. It is without a doubt Hitchcock’s finest 1930s film.

My Rating – 4

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