The MoFo Top 100 of the 1930s: The Countdown

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Both The Public Enemy and 42 Street are great movies. 42 Street is one of my favorite 30's musicals so I'm especially glad to see it on here. I figured it would make it. Despite that, neither made my cut.

#6 Gunga Din (61)
#8 Destry Rides Again (72)
#13 Captains Courageous (64)
#14 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (47)
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Gold Diggers of 1933 was my #4. I've already sung the praises of Busby Berkeley once in this thread, but I'll say it again: the man made movie magic. The ironic opening number, "We're in the Money," is quite catchy, with Ginger Rogers spitting Pig Latin during her close-up while gorgeous, scantily-clad babes with giant coins dance and smile. "Pettin' in the Park," a cheeky ode to PDA, provides the memorable image of ladies undressing behind a backlit screen, with a dwarf baby pervert teasing audiences with the possibility of nudity as he lifts the screen behind which the ladies stand, only for the women to emerge amusingly in metal garments. Can't get frisky without a can opener. While I prefer the choreography of some of his other numbers, the show-stopping finale, "Remember My Forgotten Man," might be Berkeley's magnum opus: a poetically raw, emotionally stirring lament for the veterans who gave everything for a country that then cast them aside. It's a sledgehammer of an ending to an otherwise light-hearted comedy full of romance and wit and sex appeal, although the weight of the Great Depression is felt throughout the film.



42nd Street was my #11. One of my favorite first-time viewings from last year and my introduction to Busby Berkeley, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell. I never got a chance to re-watch it for this countdown, so the film isn't fresh enough on my mind to write much about, but I haven't forgotten the stupendous, titular number, nor the kaleidoscopic parade of legs. The plot feels familiar only because it laid the template for all other backstage productions to follow. Bonus points for clearly inspiring Showgirls.



The Public Enemy was my #14. I've always liked Cagney, but my estimation of him rose quite a bit this year while exploring his 30's filmography. Very few movie stars have ever possessed his level of charisma or screen presence; and he's equally adept at singing and toe-tapping as he is at blasting away people with a tommy gun. Cagney feels ahead of his time in many of these 30's films, as if he's already mastered the craft of acting while everyone else is still figuring out this "talkie" business. Even when playing violent, mean-spirited gangsters, he always finds a way to instill humanity into his character. He's a nasty dude in The Public Enemy, yet you sympathize for him despite his dastardly deeds, a testament to Cagney's inherent likeability. Director William A. Wellman, with his tough, hardened direction, makes the film feel violent and dangerous through suggestion and attitude. Cagney shoving a grapefruit into Mae Clark's face is legendary (although I feel bad for Clark every time I see it). The image of Cagney waiting to get even in the pouring rain is deservedly iconic. The pull-no-punches ending leaves an indelible mark. One of the all-time great gangster flicks.



My List So Far:

#3) Footlight Parade
#4) Gold Diggers of 1933
#8) Dark Victory
#11) 42nd Street
#12) Red Dust
#14) The Public Enemy
#15) Destry Rides Again
#16) Stage Door
#17) Swing Time
#25) Suzy (one-pointer)
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Charles Laughton is superb as the titular character in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and it was in with a shout of appearing on my ballot but didn't quite make it in the end. Sadly I didn't manage to find time for a watch of You Can't Take It With You.

Seen: 38/62
My list:  

Faildictions (streamline moderne vsn 2.01):
38. Show Boat
37. Angels With Dirty Faces
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Hunchback was in contention for my list even though I didn't completely love it. There are parts that are extraordinary.

I watched You Can't Take it With You but I can't even recall it at this time.



Hunchback of Notre Dame and You Can't Take it With You, seen both and liked both. Hunchback is more memorable, but neither made my list.


I was just working on the images for tomorrow's movies and I think a lot of you are going to like that pair of films.



I'm going to have to watch this thread. I've been trying to get into pre-60's flicks but constantly get drawn to less dated things. The first name that stood out to me was The Hound of the Baskervilles. Let's see if it holds a candle to the book, huh?



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Absolutely love both from today. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was one of my favorite films 50 years ago and remains so today. Everything about it is awesome. My #9. Unfortunately I had so many Capra to choose that You Can't Take It With You got unfairly omitted.

You Can't Take It With You (1938)


This is probably the craziest Capra film written by Robert Riskin, even if it is an adaptation of a George S. Kaufmann-Moss Hart play. The reason it's so crazy isn't that it advocates people doing what makes them happy (even if they never earn money from it). It's just packed with such a large cast of characters all pursuing their loves and all doing it under one roof. One second, you have Dub Taylor playing a xylophone while his wife Ann Miller twirls around the living room with her Russian dance instructor Mischa Auer claiming "She stinks!"; at the exact same moment, an African-American couple, played by Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Lillian Yarbo, are jiving to the music in the kitchen, while the patriarch of the family (Lionel Barrymore) is explaining to an IRS auditor (Charles Lane) why he never has and will never pay any income taxes. This is going on while Grandpa's daughter (Spring Byington) is typing her latest play; why is she a playwright, you ask? Because nine years earlier someone accidentally delivered a typewriter to the wrong address. The playwright's husband (Samuel S. Hinds) is down in the cellar making fireworks with another oldtimer (Halliwell Hobbes), and the newest member (Donald Meek) of the extended family is also down there "making up things", such as a cute mechanical rabbit who pops out of a basket while music plays.

That's basically the supporting cast. The principal story involves wealthy munitions manufacturer Kirby (Edward Arnold) who wants to buy up a huge area of homes and businesses, but there's one person who is a holdout. Unbeknownst to Kirby, that man is Grandpa. Kirby's son Tony (James Stewart) is the vice president of his company, and he's madly in love with his secretary Alice (Jean Arthur) who just happens to be Grandpa's granddaughter. When Tony announces that he's engaged to Alice, he arranges for his father and snooty mother (Mary Forbes) to have dinner at Alice's house. The sneaky thing is that Tony brings his family a day early because he doesn't want Alice's family to behave any differently than normal for his wealthy parents. Needless to say, things don't go as planned.

If you're like me, you'll laugh and cry at the film. You'll also find its message to be just as pertinent now as it was in the Depression and at the dawning of WW II. There are allusions to solar power, the world about to go to war again, a community rallying together to keep its dreams in the face of the powers-that-be, the fact that money can't buy you happiness and that happiness can exist without money. It has some very romantic moments between Jean Arthur and James Stewart, who reteamed with Capra the next year in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. This film isn't as well known today as Mr. Smith, It Happened One Night and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, but if you want to be enveloped in Capracorn, one of the very best kinds of "popcorn" films, you could do a lot worse than watch this film.
Seen 62/62
My List
4. Porky in Wackyland (82)
5. The Young in Heart (65)
9. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (40)
10. Olympia (48)
16. Love Me Tonight (92)
18. The Bitter Tea of General Yen (98)
23. Gunga Din (61)
24. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (47)
25. Horse Feathers (51)
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I had The Hunchback of Notre Dame at #17, and I've had a couple others show up of mine, so here's my list so far:


My List:

14 Horse Feathers (#51)
17, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (#40)
19. The Awful Truth (#60)
23. Fury (#68)
25. City Girl (#74)
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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Since it's been a VERY long time since watching The Public Enemy, I did a rewatch tonight since I scarcely remember this hard as nails James Cagney classic gangster film with the intense ending.
Have not seen 42nd Street and have always enjoyed the truly madcap You Can't Take it With You with a house overflowing with folks that simply create for the joy of it and the mild version of Romeo and Juliet as the daughter of this clan falls in love with the son of a hard working, money-oriented family.
As for Hunchback of Notre Dame. . . a definitive spot on my list from the get go, though a bit low in retrospect at #20.

I've loved it since childhood and while it has a been quite a while since I last watched it, it always had a far more emotional impact on me than any other version I have seen. It very well may be the first film of Laughton's that instantly won me over to him and only grew stronger with every film afterward.
In fact, I think I shall revisit it tonight. . .

Watched 33/62 (53.2%)
1)
2)
3)
4) Hell's Angels (#85)
5) Pepe le Moko (#54)
6) The Scarlet Empress (#63)
7)
8)
9)
10) The Charge of the Light Brigade (#97)
11)
12) Camille (#96)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18) Red Dust (#59)
19) Bachelor Mother (#86)
20) The Hunchback of Nortre Dame (#40)
21)
22)
23)
24)
25) Seventh Heaven (1 Pointer)
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you can't take it with you is a solid capra. better than mr. smith goes to washington but it's certainly no it's a wonderful life or the one capra on my list
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I love Laughton's The Hunchback of Notre Dame better than any version, even Lon Chaney's silent classic. I didn't include it on my list, although I thought I had. Still, there are four more horror films on my list, one of which probably doesn't have a chance of making it. I should say that I don't really consider "Hunchback" a horror film, I just sometimes (in my mind) lump it in with horror films because since I was a kid reading horror magazines and watching horror marathons, it was always there. It's really more of a historical-type drama with a deformed hero at its center. Laughton is awesome as usual and O'Hara has rarely been more beautiful or sexy, except maybe in The Quiet Man. You Can't Take It With You made my list at #16 and is a favorite of mine. Capra put together a great menagerie of kooky, lovable characters, with the emphasis mostly on fun, except for moments of seriousness that are necessary to bring things to a sentimental, feel-good conclusion. My favorite performer in the film is Lionel Barrymore and he might surprise some people who know him only as mean Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life. Two great classics today!

#6 Gunga Din (61)
#8 Destry Rides Again (72)
#13 Captains Courageous (64)
#14 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (47)
#16 You Can't Take it With You (39)



And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
I'm not much of a fan of gangster films, but I watched The Public Enemy for this countdown anyway. It was a pretty good movie, but it didn't really have much of a chance of making my list.

I wanted to include 42nd Street on my list, but I just couldn't seem to find room for it. I'm glad, (but not surprised), that it made the countdown anyway.

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is another movie that I watched for this countdown, and I liked more than I thought I would, but it also didn't have much of a chance to make my list.

You Can't Take It With You has always been one of my favorite movies, so it easily made my list at # 10.


My List (so far):
4) Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
6) Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
9) Bachelor Mother (1939)
10) You Can't Take It with You (1938)
15) The Awful Truth (1937)
19) The Young in Heart (1938)