Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

Gold Diggers of 1933 Movie Review

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Gold Diggers of 1933 Movie Review

Gold Diggers of 1933 is a musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and Busby Berkeley and starring Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Ginger Rogers. It’s such a phenomenal movie.

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Fanny is Faneul H. Peabody,

just the kind of man I’ve been looking for,

lots of money and no resistance

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Gold Diggers of 1933 Movie Review

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It follows four aspiring actresses who struggle during the Great Depression. They get a call for work and make a new successful show. But in the background a variety of shenanigans ensue where the girls make fun and try to use rich men. It sounds like too much story for an hour and a half film, but they manage to make use of all these storylines so well.

Let’s first talk about the characters and then I will comment upon each and every musical number. I absolutely loved the characters in this film as they are so well developed and actually a lot of fun. The group dynamic is so well established and they work beautifully as a team.

The acting is sometimes clunky with some problematic performances, but most of the actors and actresses did a fine job with the highlights being Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon and of course Ginger Rogers.

Lawrence is such an amusing, funny character and of course Fanuel is hilarious. A stereotype for sure, but they made fun of him so well with the highlight being that Pekinese scene which is so funny. The film actually makes fun of these types of men more so than gold digging women which was refreshing to see.

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Gold Diggers of 1933 Movie Review

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Polly and Brad are the straight duo here and thus more boring, but still essential and their relationship is sweet. Fay is bitchy and fun and Carol is the best developed character here for sure. But the standout one has to be Trixie who simply steals the show with a bunch of highly entertaining, hilarious quotes. Whatever came out of her mouth was bound to make me laugh.

Gold Diggers of 1933 is a glorious early musical and one of the very best of the thirties. The film is fantastic as a drama and especially as a comedy, but it succeeds tremendously in the musical sequences thanks to a bunch of unforgettable, simply fabulous songs and a great score.

We’re in the Money is naturally the standout song here which I just love so much. Not only is the song extremely catchy, incredibly entertaining and great to sing along to, but it also features actually very serious, dark lyrics. The song is so well written and sung leading to a standout opener for the entire film.

Shadow Waltz serves its purpose as the romantic spot in the film, but is much less memorable than the rest of the songs. I’ve Got to Sing a Torch Song is pretty good, but again not all that memorable. Both of these songs are good, but not as great as the rest.

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Gold Diggers of 1933 Movie Review

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Pettin’ in the Park is simply fabulous. The song itself is very good and with excellent lyrics, but it is the visuals that count here. The production design here is simply unbelievable how good it is and thus honestly groundbreaking. The costumes, the poses, the dances – everything is so well composed with the highlight being its Pre-Code sexy streak with a lot of innuendos and mild nudity.

Remember My Forgotten Man is another highlight of the film. The film closes with this musical number which I did not expect at all. It left me shaken and sad. The song is about the Great Depression and most specifically about how everybody forgot the heroes of WWI and how those men are unemployed now. This segment is beautifully shot, very dark and simply heartbreaking in a very haunting manner.

And I have to congratulate Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies on how timely they were as I recognized all these songs from their parody films: ‘I’ve Got to Sing a Torch Song’, ‘Pettin’ in the Park’ and ‘We’re in the Money’ are all films that utilize on titular songs so well.

So Gold Diggers of 1933 is a great film, but not a perfect one. Some of the acting is, as I said, clunky and the pacing is very problematic as it is incredibly fast and thus rushed at times. It needed a bigger runtime to accompany its rich storyline. But the direction is phenomenal, the dialogue is clever and the humor is fantastic as the film is very funny and frequently even hilarious. Those gold digging scenes are priceless.

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Gold Diggers of 1933 Movie Review

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But it is its variety of tones that make this film a winner in my book and one of the finest, most underrated musicals ever. It is funny, but also poignant, heartbreaking and serious while being very sensual and sexy too. I loved the production design here as all numbers are visually spectacular.

Gold Diggers of 1933 is way too fast paced, but very funny and frequently hilarious while also being very serious and poignant at times. It is tonally diverse and very accomplished while featuring groundbreaking production design, excellent costumes and stunning choreography. The dialogue is clever plus the characters are memorable and a lot of fun. We’re in the Money is such a fantastic, very catchy song which is so well written too; Pettin’ in the Park is visually spectacular, sexy and hugely entertaining; Remember My Forgotten Man is unexpectedly serious, dark and hauntingly devastating. All of these musical numbers are amazing leading to a hugely underrated film which is one of the best musicals of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

The Most Dangerous Game Movie Review

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The Most Dangerous Game Movie Review

The Most Dangerous Game is a 1932 Pre-Code thriller film directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and starring Joel McCrea, Fay Wray and Leslie Banks. It is a solid, but disappointing flick.

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Here on my island, I hunt the most dangerous game

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The Most Dangerous Game Movie Review

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So the story follows a shipwrecked man who enters a chateau of a rich man who like him has a hobby of hunting, but he got bored of hunting animals so he started hunting humans for sport. He eventually starts to hunt the protagonist and his newly acquainted female friend.

I really liked the clever dialogue exchange at the beginning and some of the lines were interesting later on as well. The film has a structure that goes like this – the first half is all dialogue, action-free build up and the second half is all action-oriented, thriller chase. And I liked both of them, but both are flawed.

The major problem with this film is that it just isn’t scary or atmospheric enough for obvious reasons – the movie was cut and at least twenty gruesome minutes from it are not there anymore. And that is a problem as it strips the film of its urgency and scares and it ended up being just a chase thriller and certainly not a horror.

The Most Dangerous Game is also way too campy and dated in some areas. I liked the over-the-top but memorable performance from Leslie Banks, but Fay Wray is just okay and Joel McCrea is the weakest link as he seemed bored and unenthusiastic in the role. A very mediocre performance from a usually competent actor. And I was so sad to see Robert Armstrong’s character killed and I guess that is the strength of the film that they made me feel sorry for the poor guy.

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The Most Dangerous Game Movie Review

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It is actually stupendously shot as it feels that it was shot on location but it wasn’t. I loved some of the action and chase scenes. Some felt dated, but some were exhilarating and so well imagined. The jungle and the chateau looked great. The score, on the other hand, is overly loud and just too bombastic that it annoyed me tremendously.

The Most Dangerous Game has a couple of interesting lines of dialogue, a memorable performance from Leslie Banks, it is very well shot, a lot of fun and with such a killer premise, but because it was severely cut for its release, it ended up being tamer than it should have been. Joel McCrea’s performance is very mediocre as well and the score is just overly bombastic to me. It is a solid film in the end, but very flawed.

My Rating – 3.5

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Dark Victory (1939)

Dark Victory Movie Review

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Dark Victory Movie Review

Dark Victory is a 1939 drama film starring Bette Davis, George Brent, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Humphrey Bogart. It is such an underrated, deeply affecting film.

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I’ll have a large order of prognosis negative

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Dark Victory Movie Review

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Dark Victory is a classic melodrama of yesteryear, the kind of melodrama which is today unfortunately deemed soapy and dated when in my opinion those films are still emotional and excellent. This is no exception. It follows a woman who learns she only has some months to live and decides to live to the fullest extent and die with dignity.

There is no denying that sometimes the film was emotionally manipulative, but I easily fell prey to it as it is just so incredibly well made and fantastic across the board, on all fronts. I loved how it has less characters and thus the plot is very well crafted and the characterization is superb. The film is engaging from beginning to end owing to some superb pacing at work. The highlights were the restaurant scene and the entire third act with the final scene being simply heartbreaking and so majestic.

Bette Davis is one of my favorite actresses and possibly the best actress of all time, certainly in the top three. Here she went against typecasting and actually played a character who is not bitchy or mean-spirited but good-natured, energetic and sweet. She simply killed it and gave one of her best performances which says a lot for the actress of her caliber. She had to play such an incredibly complex role – from unwillingness to accept her illness to anger at her friends to fear to the eventual decision to pass away with dignity – and she nailed every single one of those emotions. Such a brilliant role and performance.

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Dark Victory Movie Review

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But everybody else also did a good job with George Brent being the highlight as her romantic partner. He is restrained and very competent in his role of a mature, yet very caring man. Geraldine Fitzgerald also gave a great performance as Judith’s wonderful, loyal friend.

Humphrey Bogart is also in this movie and although I’ve always loved Bogie, I have to say that he was the weakest link here. I do find that stable sequence very romantic and wonderful, but it was hardly necessary and it detracted from the main plot of the film and felt like a detour to be honest. His entire character and subplot was wonderful, but it honestly felt as if it was there just to fill the runtime.

Dark Victory is superbly directed, edited and paced. It is also very well shot and I loved that darkening out moment near the end, really well done as an important plot point. I also really liked the film’s moving score. It is technically terrific across the board and so incredibly emotional that I was moved by it quite a bit. It is one of the better melodramas from this period and probably the most underrated film from this greatest ever year for cinema.

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Dark Victory Movie Review

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It was nominated for three Academy Awards and it is a testament to how amazing this year was when it deservedly lost all three. It lost for Score and it also lost for Best Actress and Best Picture both to ‘Gone with the Wind’ which is the best film ever made so I am not arguing with that decision naturally. It had very tough luck and in some other year, Davis easily could have walked away with another Oscar on her mantle.

1939 remains the greatest year ever for cinema and Dark Victory is probably its most underrated film. This sentimental melodrama is difficult to watch, heartbreaking and so well made across the board with such a majestic, devastating ending, an excellent moving story and terrific performances from its talented cast with Bette Davis shining in the main role which was incredibly complex but she managed to pull it off and deliver one of her career best performances.

My Rating – 4.5

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Baby Face (1933)

Baby Face Movie Review

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Baby Face Movie Review

Baby Face is a 1933 Pre-Code drama film starring Barbara Stanwyck. It is undoubtedly one of the finest and boldest Pre-Code movies.

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That’s what I’m telling you! Exploit yourself!

Go to some big city where you will find opportunities.

Use men! Be strong! Defiant! Use men! To get the things you want

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Baby Face Movie Review

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The film is about an attractive young blonde who uses sex to advance in life, most importantly financially. This is a very interesting movie with a fascinating subject matter. It strongly relies on Nietzsche’s saying that basically if you want to survive, you need to use other people before they get to use you. That was an interesting, if harsh message and I think that still applies to this very day which is why the film was surprisingly honest, especially for its time.

So the movie definitely ended up being incredibly feminist in portraying this powerful, cold-hearted woman who gets everything she wants and literally destroys every man she got in contact with. Now a fatal woman was a very typical concept for this period, not only in the forties with the femme fatale craze, but also in the early thirties with all the sex movies. But this one was different because it took that concept to the extreme ending in the movie that probably was the most responsible for bringing the Hays Code to Hollywood. That alone makes this one a curiosity and a historically important picture.

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Baby Face Movie Review

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But the word curiosity is a bad word for classic movies as it usually means that the film was interesting for its time, but not really powerful today and I do not deem this movie to be anything like that. Quite the contrary – the film was incredibly entertaining and very powerful to me and I honestly was surprised by its quality.

Lily Powers is as great and unforgettable of a heroine as you could possibly have in the early thirties, certainly one of the best. Barbara Stanwyck killed it in this role which is quite possibly her most complex out of all and probably her finest performance too. She plays a very interesting, complex character and I liked how she became cold and manipulative because of the circumstances of the time. That made that happy ending where she turned to the better a bit more palatable, even if it still somewhat came out of nowhere and the movie maybe would have been better with a darker finale.

Other actors did a good job, but they were basically just pray for her which is fine as the movie should have and did rely on her character alone for the most part and it worked tremendously in its favor. But I have to mention Chico who is a black female character and the movie handled her really well, the best they could during the period and I was glad for that. A really progressive film for sure.

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Baby Face Movie Review

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Baby Face has its problems. One is that ending, as I said above. But a bigger problem is its runtime. Again, the movie was typical for the early 30s in lasting for just about 75 minutes and thus it felt rushed at times and way too short. Honestly, that led to an extremely entertaining movie that flew by how fun and sweet it was, but still the pacing was too brisk.

But otherwise it is very well directed and also scored as that score was used sparingly, but correctly at just the right times and it was quite a lot of fun. The film features very good dialogue, some quotable lines and its sexual scenes were highly memorable, if tame for today’s audiences. But for me, they were just right.

Baby Face is too short, but thus incredibly entertaining and it flies by how immensely fun it is. This is a highly curious movie that probably was the one film most responsible for the bringing of the Hays Code to Hollywood owing to its very sexual and bold story, but it is a movie that is still powerful and engaging to this day with a very interesting story and message, a lot of highly memorable scenes and such a complex, fascinating female protagonist beautifully played by Barbara Stanwyck who probably gave her career best performance here.

My Rating – 4.5

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L’Atalante (1934)

L'Atalante Movie Review

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L’Atalante Movie Review

L’Atalante is a 1934 French drama film directed by Jean Vigo and starring Michel Simon, Dita Parlo and Jean Daste. It is a solid, but highly overrated movie.

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Don’t you know you can see your beloved’s face in the water

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L'Atalante Movie Review

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This is another overrated French movie in the world filled with such titles. It obviously influenced the French New Wave and thus is important, but because I am not a fan of the aforementioned period, that hardly mattered to me. The film should have been much more romantic and is basically just a drama in the end which was a problem.

The story itself is very standard and although some parts are memorable, most of it was highly usual and the film moved too slowly and was slight overall in terms of storytelling and felt long even for its very short runtime.

Definitely the highlight is the underwater sequence which inspired Kusturica’s ‘Underground’. Another highlight is that erotic, sensual scene which is very original and progressive for its time. It is unlike any other scene in 1930s film and it thus needs to be respected.

The characters in L’Atalante are very dull and mostly far from memorable. They serve their purpose, but these three ultimately did not interest me personally and I was not invested in their story. I liked some of the conversations here as the dialogue was solid, but the film still needed more substance.

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L'Atalante Movie Review

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The visuals drive this French flick to much greater heights and again that is a testament to it being the forerunner of the French New Wave decades before it even started. Jean Vigo directed only two movies and made a name for himself in movie history. I wouldn’t go that far to call him great, but he did have a distinct and interesting style nonetheless.

As I said, the cinematography is stunning. The film is so well filmed and some shots are superb. I liked its setting so well and it is explored really well. The score is also quite solid and fitting in style to the plot. So the film sounds and looks excellent, but at its core it is pretty shallow.

L’Atalante is another overrated French movie with excellent cinematography, good score and some superb shots and a couple of very memorable, original sequences, but the film is slight in terms of characterization and storytelling and it was mostly boring even for its short runtime.

My Rating – 3.5

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Of Mice and Men (1939)

Of Mice and Men Movie Review

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Of Mice and Men Movie Review

Of Mice and Men is a 1939 drama film directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr. It is a pretty good adaptation.

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I wish somebody’d shoot me when I get old

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Of Mice and Men Movie Review

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It is based on the eponymous book from John Steinbeck and naturally the novel is better, but the film still ended up being pretty good despite its obvious problems. Now I respected how faithful it is to the novel which is very important to me and thankfully they did not change a single important plot point. Everything flows really well and although the film is long and the book is just short being basically a novella, that still provided them a chance to adapt all of the plot points faithfully.

George and Lennie are  great here. Their dynamic was better and more memorable in the book, but they were strong here too. Burgess Meredith did a really good job and Lon Chaney, Jr. in particular excelled at portraying this great character. The casting was top-notch for these two.

Crooks is okay, but Slim, Candy and Curly are all much more forgettable here. However, Curly’s wife is given a name here, Mae, and also a personality and that leads me to the film’s only big change from the novella – there she was a frustratingly stereotypical female character, but here she was actually really well developed.

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Of Mice and Men Movie Review

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She was made much more sympathetic as we see how miserable Curly treats her. We get her and we understand her actions and thus she is not just a catalyst for action, but a human being and I loved that. But still it came at a cost of the overall story and characterization for the other characters as she took a bit too much of the movie’s runtime.

Of Mice and Men has some great scenes, such as the beginning, the ending and really all of the scenes from the book that were great there are also great here and it was wonderful seeing them on the screen. The film is emotional, so well acted and cast and so well directed by Lewis Milestone who really did a good job in the directing chair. And as I said, it is long, but never felt like that as it is pretty engaging for its entire running time.

But the technical aspects are sorely lacking despite its score which is actually terrific, very moving and it accompanied the emotional scenes so wonderfully. But the cinematography is just poor, I have to say. The camera movements felt very amateurish and sometimes the editing also felt rushed and horridly cut. The movie definitely needed to be more cinematic as those natural landscapes and the interiors felt very lacking and not as great and as unforgettable as I pictured them in the novella. I really was disappointed in that and it is the major hurdle the film just never could overcome.

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Of Mice and Men Movie Review

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It was nominated for four Oscars and it unfortunately came out in the best ever year which is 1939 so it cannot compete with the best films from this year, but it is still pretty good and I’d say that it deserved those nominations, especially the nod for score as it is the most accomplished aspect of the film.

The 1939 movie adaptation of Mice and Men is a respectable, though flawed one. It is technically quite weak despite its superb score as the cinematography is very poor and Curly’s wife got too much screen time, but that also led to her better and less stereotypical portrayal. The casting was excellent as Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr. were perfect for these roles and they excelled at them and the film is so faithful to the book that I really liked it overall.

My Rating – 4

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Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Make Way for Tomorrow Movie Review

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Make Way for Tomorrow Movie Review

Make Way for Tomorrow is a 1937 drama film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi. It is a very good, touching film.

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When you’re seventeen and the world’s beautiful,

facing facts is just as slick fun as dancing or going to parties,

but when you’re seventy… well, you don’t care about dancing,

you don’t think about parties anymore, and about the only fun you have left

is pretending that there ain’t any facts to face,

so would you mind if I just went on pretending?

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Make Way for Tomorrow Movie Review

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It is about an old couple who are forced to separate because none of their five children will take both parents. This is a rare film from the thirties which deals with old people and aging issues and thus it felt different and memorable, not to mention admirable for its time. They did cast younger actors, but still the fact that this movie exists is remarkable.

Barkley and Lucy are such wonderful people and this is one of the finest romantic couples from classic movies for sure and a very underrated one at that. I found their children forgettable as there were too many of them, a choice that I did not like, and none of them stayed in my memory for long. But Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi gave such superb performances that rank among the finest of this year and both should have been Oscar nominated.

Make Way for Tomorrow features such a sad ending. It didn’t make me cry personally, but I can see how it can tear some people as it truly is heartbreaking. It is a definite goodbye and it is thus all the more tragic. But it was that strong because the scenes before that were just amazing. The two having their second  honeymoon at the hotel they went to fifty years ago provided us many wonderfully romantic as well as funny, playful moments. The interactions the two have here were beautiful, yet highly realistic.

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Make Way for Tomorrow Movie Review

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But, and this is a big but, the first half I wasn’t a huge fan of and that is why this movie is only a weak 4.5 film for me which was disappointing as I expected a 5 star film. But that first half honestly was very slow, sometimes even dull and overly emotional when it did not earn that emotion quite yet. The film was great when the two were together, but when apart, it mostly tended to fall apart a bit. It is still very well directed and superbly acted, but the pacing should have been better.

Make Way for Tomorrow is somewhat slow and dull in its first half, but the second half fixed that with a truly heartbreaking ending and a beautiful second honeymoon extended sequence filled with a lot of romantic and sweetly playful moments. It is a well acted, touching and rare 1930s film which deals with old people and aging and thus it felt all the more admirable and impressive.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Thin Man (1934)

The Thin Man Movie Review

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The Thin Man Movie Review

The Thin Man is a 1934 mystery screwball comedy film directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. It is one of the very best films of this year.

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Waiter, will you serve the nuts?

I mean, will you serve the guests the nuts?

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The Thin Man Movie Review

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The Thin Man is basically a mystery film with strong screwball comedy sensibilities and I liked that mix of genres as it was quite authentic and different. It led to a very singular and memorable film experience. But I still wanted more comedy elements as the mystery part was a bit too overwhelming to me and the first act is rather slow and uninvolving.

But the film later becomes much more entertaining, especially when Nick and Nora enter the picture. They are such wonderful characters and I loved the portrayal of a spousal detective team as that led to many great laughs and such a fun dynamic.

Myrna Loy and William Powell are just fantastic here as is expected of their caliber. Powell here proved how versatile he was as Nick is much different than Godfrey from ‘My Man Godfrey’. He talks much more and is a big drinker. He excelled in this role as his timing is great, he got a bunch of great lines and he was consistently funny.

But Loy should not be forgotten as well as her performance is just as great and just as essential to this movie. Her various frowns and funny facial expressions made my day and I just loved some of her hilarious lines. The two bickering and playing around was just a lovely and funny sight to behold and they’ve got some great chemistry and it is easy to see why this series got five more movies after this one.

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The Thin Man Movie Review

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I also loved Skippy as Asta who is their wire-haired fox terrier. The little guy did such a great job and he was very well trained and he is the third most important character here. He even stole the show from the married folks in some scenes. The highlights are him helping Nick solve the show, hiding from the intruder and of course the ending with him protecting the view with his paws while the two have sex is just one of the great endings in comedies, simply brilliant.

As for the other highlights, I loved Nick punching Nora, very smart and memorable. And of course the car scene is hilarious. There are some really hilarious lines to be had here owing to superb, brisk and very smart dialogue which should be followed carefully in order to be understood entirely.

The Thin Man definitely has a weaker mystery. It is good, but not great and is too complicated and should be watched more than once in order to be understood properly. The first act is definitely not my favorite and even though the ending is highly memorable and I liked how the crime was resolved, there are too many characters here in this puzzle and not all are memorable.

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The Thin Man Movie Review

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But it is very well filmed and directed and the pacing is mostly quite good with only some scenes being rushed, but others are excellent and I loved those montages and quick cuts as they brought a sense of urgency to the picture. The film is one of the rare great ones from 1934 which was a very weak movie year and it deserved its four Oscar nods, but Myrna Loy should have definitely been nominated too.

The Thin Man has a less involving first act and sometimes the mystery part was overwhelming, but it was still pretty well written and well resolved. The screwball comedy part is where the movie shines with a superb brisk dialogue and many unforgettable scenes such as the car scene, the punch scene and the brilliant ending. William Powell and Myrna Loy are such a fantastic duo and their infectious dynamic and many hilarious lines made this movie along with Skippy the fox terrier who stole the show himself with a couple of funny and instantly recognizable hijinks.

My Rating – 4.5

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Anna Christie (1930)

Anna Christie Movie Review

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Anna Christie Movie Review

Anna Christie is a 1930 Pre-Code drama film directed by Clarence Brown and starring Greta Garbo and Marie Dressler. It is a flawed, but good movie.

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Give me a whisky, ginger ale on the side.

And don’t be stingy, baby

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Anna Christie Movie Review

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Greta Garbo – an actress who continues to have different effects on me. Sometimes I love her and sometimes I find her performances over-the-top. This is unfortunately the latter case. As her first talkie, the film was definitely very popular mostly because audiences wanted to hear her speak for the first time. And her transition was rough. She is lovely as usual and very memorable here, but more often than not, her delivery was overly theatrical and suited more for silent movies.

Marie Dressler, on the other hand, is a total revelation for me. This is the first time I’m seeing her in a movie and I fell in love with her immediately. She steals every scene she is in and is much better than both Garbo and George F. Marion who also delivered a middling performance. Her performance is very down to earth and realistic and she gave life to such a funny character whom I really liked.

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Anna Christie Movie Review

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She is an interesting character as she is a former prostitute and now a drunk. It is obviously a Pre-Code movie as it shows deglamorized, ruined people which was refreshing to see. Her banter with Chris is absolutely fantastic and so funny whereas her relationship with Anna is sweet and I wanted more scenes from her.

But Anna is also a memorable protagonist and I really liked her building relationship with her father. Charles Bickford is okay in the role, but I could have gone with no Matt Burke here as the addition of a love interest was just not all that necessary as we already had a pretty strong, rich drama just with these three people.

Anna Christie is very weakly directed by Clarence Brown and the film looks static for the majority of its running time. But I do not fault the director and the cinematographer all too much because this was typical for the early year of sound films. A much bigger problem is the second half which just wasn’t as investing as the first half was albeit it does have a great scene where Anna confesses about her troubled past. She is a strong female character for sure.

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Anna Christie Movie Review

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The dialogue is very good and it is probably the highlight of the entire film. Its first act with just the prolonged conversations between its characters was mesmerizing and the highlights are those scenes as well as Garbo’s arrival which was quite unforgettable.

Marie Dressler is a revelation in Anna Christie as she is so funny and she steals every scene she’s in whereas Greta Garbo is memorable, but her transition from silent movies to talkies was frankly a bit rough as her performance here is too theatrical. The movie itself is much less interesting in its second half, but much funnier and more memorable in the first half. It has its moving scenes and very well developed characters but a static approach leading to a good, but flawed film.

My Rating – 4

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Earth (1930)

Earth Movie Review

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Earth Movie Review

Earth is a Russian film directed by Alexander Dovzhenko about the process of collectivization.

The plot and theme of the film is interesting but it is unfortunately very poorly executed mostly because it is rather contrived both in its beginning and its ending. It just starts and it just ends. Its running time is incredibly short and it should have been longer but it doesn’t matter because this short movie also managed to be incredibly tedious and not engaging or thought-provoking at all which given its great subject matter is such a shame.

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Earth Movie Review

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The characters are the biggest problem for Earth. They are all underdeveloped and emotionally distant never letting you connect to them or know them on any level. Also the movie has technical aspects which are pretty standard and even mediocre at times. The score is solid as is the acting and the cinematography is really good, but the editing is not remarkable and the directing should have been better. There is some striking imagery here but it is lost in the film’s cold and very weak approach which never lets you connect, it never uses its plot in any meaningful way and it never quite explains what is going on at any moment leaving you to try to figure out for yourself.

This is one of the most overrated and weakest Soviet films of the period, a movie so frustratingly problematic and flawed that it really started to get on my nerves. It has some striking and powerful moments similar to ‘Battleship Potemkin’ but unlike that masterpiece, it never achieves that status because as a whole it is quite poor and failing to reach its potential.

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Earth Movie Review

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With problematic editing, troublesome directing, awfully short running time, tedious and unrealized story, Earth is one of the most overrated as well as the most frustrating Soviet films. It has a solid score, great cinematography and fine acting, but everything else is underused, it fails to make use of its promising subject matter and it is overall an incredibly flawed and boring movie which fails miserably when compared to other Classic Soviet films of the era.

My Rating – 3

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