The MoFo Top 100 of the 1930s: The Countdown

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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Bringing Up Baby is my #21. Acid flashback -
I've been trying to keep from posting in these lately, but this may be worth a laugh. Classic screwball comedy doesn't get much screwier than this. Paleontologist David (Cary Grant) receives the intercostal clavicle of a brontosaurus which will complete his reconstruction of the fossil dinosaur for his museum and proceeds to the golf course to try to obtain a million dollars from the lawyer of a rich benefactor. He immediately becomes entangled with flighty Susan (Katharine Hepburn) who just happens to be the niece of the benefactor (May Robson). Susan is taking care of her brother's pet leopard Baby, and when David visits her home, Baby escapes and the family dog becomes interested in David's bone and proceeds to take and bury it somewhere. What started out as manic turns into insanity as a visiting big game hunter (Charlie Ruggles) tries to hunt the leopard, and another, wild leopard gets added into the mix. Grant is an expert farceur here and plays well against Hepburn's slightly-quieter, yet equally-outrageous manner. There is no doubt that there's sexual attraction between the two leads, at least as much as possible between scientific "Dr. Bone" who "just went gay all of a sudden" and a 12-year-old girl running around in a 30-year-old's body. (Trust me, that last line makes sense.) Screwball comedies are basically romantic comedies at heart, but they just try to disarm you with crazy laughter before you accept the fact that the couple is a match made in heaven... or at least in this case, movie heaven. Or in Miss Vicky's case, movie hell.

Seen 93/93
My List
1. Pygmalion (34)
4. Porky in Wackyland (82)
5. The Young in Heart (65)
6. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (10)
7. My Man Godfrey (31)
9. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (40)
10. Olympia (48)
16. Love Me Tonight (92)
18. The Bitter Tea of General Yen (98)
20. King Kong (16)
21. Bringing Up Baby (8)
23. Gunga Din (61)
24. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (47)
25. Horse Feathers (51)
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1. The Music Box (#76)
2. Duck Soup (#12)
3. No doubt it will make it
4. Way Out West (#81)
5. A Night at the Opera (#27)
6. Sons of the Desert (#80)
7. No doubt it will make it
8. This one ain't making it
9. Bringing Up Baby (#8)
10. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (#10) Ayy matching numbers!
11. No doubt it will make it
12. This one ain't making it
13. King Kong (#16)
14. The Invisible Man (#30)
15. The Bride of Frankenstein (#18)
16. Monkey Business (#91)
17. The Lady Vanishes (#22)
18. This one ain't making it
19. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (#17)
20. The 39 Steps (#13)
21. No doubt it will make it
22. This one ain't making it
23. No doubt it will make it
24. This one ain't making it
25. Grand Illusion (#14)

Haven't seen Frankenstein in a while. I found Freaks fairly boring.
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Well, I had Bringing Up Baby at #6. Of all the films on my list, this is the one I've seen the most times, as it was quite literally one of the movies I grew up watching in the 70s, into the 80s. If it came on TV (and it was played a lot), I watched it. As an adult, I've probably only seen it a few times, but it still makes me laugh and I still love every minute of it, even if it has a manic energy that feels rather alien in our modern times.


My List:

5. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (#11)
6. Bringing Up Baby (#7)
7. The Grand Illusion (#14)
8. The Lady Vanishes (#22)
10. The Thin Man (#25)
11. Ninotchka (#36)
12. The 39 Steps (#13)
13. Frankenstein (#19)
14 Horse Feathers (#51)
15. A Night at the Opera (#27)
16. The Invisible Man (#30)
17. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (#40)
19. The Awful Truth (#60)
20. Vampyr (#24)
21. My Man Godfrey (#31)
23. Fury (#68)
24. Freaks (#9)
25. City Girl (#74)


__________________
I may go back to hating you. It was more fun.



A bunch of mine have shown up since I last commented . . .



Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was my #1. James Stewart, in my opinion, is the most likeable actor of all-time, and the infinite charm that he and Jean Arthur possess has a lot to do with my love for the film. Some might find the film corny or overly optimistic. I find it inspiring. I'm surprised to read online that many people, especially politicians at the time, found the film un-patriotic. Every time I watch the film, I feel a sudden urge to read the constitution or go canvassing, and I'm not a politically-minded person at all. Like the best Capra, it's a rare film that makes me feel hopeful about the goodness in people, that makes me feel like anyone can make a difference in the world. The naïve idealism of Mr. Smith is endearing, and in the midst of so much political toxicity nowadays, I wish people like him existed in the actual Senate. One of my all-time favorites from any decade.



Stagecoach was my #2. I thought it was a lock for the top ten, and yet it didn't even crack the top twenty. There's a reason why Welles supposedly watched this film over 40 times in preparation for making Citizen Kane. Ford's direction is masterful. The zoom-in on John Wayne, saddle in one hand, rifle swinging in the other, is legendary. Wayne had appeared in plenty of films prior to this, but that zoom-in shot is what gave birth to The Duke. The death-defying stunt work in the film is a sight to behold. The film provides great character work, with the passengers aboard the stagecoach operating as a microcosm of society itself, to go along with the great action and adventure of classic cowboys-and-Indians showdowns. So many westerns owe their existence to this landmark film.



The Roaring Twenties was my #10. Excellent gangster flick. Excellent rise-and-fall story. Excellent cast. Breakneck pace. I wish it was longer, since a lot of plot is compressed into a modest run-time, but it's still amazing. The showdown between Cagney and Bogart was enough to automatically get my vote.



I had both Frankenstein (#19) and his Bride (#20) on my list. I'm not a big fan of Universal Horror (I think Hammer Horror told much more compelling stories with the same monsters), but the first two Frankenstein movies are the cream of the crop. I used to prefer the comedic touch of Bride, but upon a re-watch, I found the '31 version more emotionally potent that I remembered (especially the tragic scene involving the little girl, which feels shocking even by today's standards). When you think of Frankenstein's monster, you think of Karloff's interpretation, despite it bearing little resemblance to Mary Shelly's original. The monster being both frightening and empathetic is a testament to Karloff's physical abilities as an actor.



Freaks was my #23. I haven't seen it in nearly a decade, but it's not a film that one ever forgets. Casting actual "freaks" is the genius of the movie. Had it been normal looking people with prosthetics and make-up, this film would not have stood the test of time since it's unremarkable in most other aspects. Browning strikes the perfect balance with how he presents the side-show performers. Initially we gawk at their deformities. Perhaps we find them off-putting, but that's on us, our own personal bias, because never does the film judge or mock them. As the movie progresses, we begin to love and admire these unique individuals. What's "freakish" begins to feel surprisingly normal. I've always been drawn to films involving the inner-workings of traveling circuses and carnivals, finding that lifestyle fascinating, so that's another plus of the film. Also, special shout-out to the limbless dude rolling a cigarette because even with hands I can't roll a decent joint.



I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang was my #24. I probably wouldn't have made the time for it had it not received so many positive reviews during the 30's HOF. Paul Muni is great in the lead role, and the film is tense and engaging throughout, especially during the escape sequences, but the social impact of the film is especially remarkable. A testament to the power of cinema.


My List So Far:
#1) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
#2) Stagecoach
#3) Footlight Parade
#4) Gold Diggers of 1933
#7) Ninotchka
#8) Dark Victory
#9) The Hunchback of Notre Dame
#10) The Roaring Twenties
#11) 42nd Street
#12) Red Dust
#14) The Public Enemy
#15) Destry Rides Again
#16) Stage Door
#17) Swing Time
#19) Frankenstein
#20) Bride of Frankenstein
#23) Freaks
#24) I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
#25) Suzy (one-pointer)
__________________



A bunch of mine have shown up since I last commented . . .



Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was my #1. James Stewart, in my opinion, is the most likeable actor of all-time, and the infinite charm that he and Jean Arthur possess has a lot to do with my love for the film. Some might find the film corny or overly optimistic. I find it inspiring. I'm surprised to read online that many people, especially politicians at the time, found the film un-patriotic. Every time I watch the film, I feel a sudden urge to read the constitution or go canvassing, and I'm not a politically-minded person at all. Like the best Capra, it's a rare film that makes me feel hopeful about the goodness in people, that makes me feel like anyone can make a difference in the world. The naïve idealism of Mr. Smith is endearing, and in the midst of so much political toxicity nowadays, I wish people like him existed in the actual Senate. One of my all-time favorites from any decade.



Stagecoach was my #2. I thought it was a lock for the top ten, and yet it didn't even crack the top twenty. There's a reason why Welles supposedly watched this film over 40 times in preparation for making Citizen Kane. Ford's direction is masterful. The zoom-in on John Wayne, saddle in one hand, rifle swinging in the other, is legendary. Wayne had appeared in plenty of films prior to this, but that zoom-in shot is what gave birth to The Duke. The death-defying stunt work in the film is a sight to behold. The film provides great character work, with the passengers aboard the stagecoach operating as a microcosm of society itself, to go along with the great action and adventure of classic cowboys-and-Indians showdowns. So many westerns owe their existence to this landmark film.



The Roaring Twenties was my #10. Excellent gangster flick. Excellent rise-and-fall story. Excellent cast. Breakneck pace. I wish it was longer, since a lot of plot is compressed into a modest run-time, but it's still amazing. The showdown between Cagney and Bogart was enough to automatically get my vote.



I had both Frankenstein (#19) and his Bride (#20) on my list. I'm not a big fan of Universal Horror (I think Hammer Horror told much more compelling stories with the same monsters), but the first two Frankenstein movies are the cream of the crop. I used to prefer the comedic touch of Bride, but upon a re-watch, I found the '31 version more emotionally potent that I remembered (especially the tragic scene involving the little girl, which feels shocking even by today's standards). When you think of Frankenstein's monster, you think of Karloff's interpretation, despite it bearing little resemblance to Mary Shelly's original. The monster being both frightening and empathetic is a testament to Karloff's physical abilities as an actor.



Freaks was my #23. I haven't seen it in nearly a decade, but it's not a film that one ever forgets. Casting actual "freaks" is the genius of the movie. Had it been normal looking people with prosthetics and make-up, this film would not have stood the test of time since it's unremarkable in most other aspects. Browning strikes the perfect balance with how he presents the side-show performers. Initially we gawk at their deformities. Perhaps we find them off-putting, but that's on us, our own personal bias, because never does the film judge or mock them. As the movie progresses, we begin to love and admire these unique individuals. What's "freakish" begins to feel surprisingly normal. I've always been drawn to films involving the inner-workings of traveling circuses and carnivals, finding that lifestyle fascinating, so that's another plus of the film. Also, special shout-out to the limbless dude rolling a cigarette because even with hands I can't roll a decent joint.



I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang was my #24. I probably wouldn't have made the time for it had it not received so many positive reviews during the 30's HOF. Paul Muni is great in the lead role, and the film is tense and engaging throughout, especially during the escape sequences, but the social impact of the film is especially remarkable. A testament to the power of cinema.


My List So Far:
#1) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
#2) Stagecoach
#3) Footlight Parade
#4) Gold Diggers of 1933
#7) Ninotchka
#8) Dark Victory
#9) The Hunchback of Notre Dame
#10) The Roaring Twenties
#11) 42nd Street
#12) Red Dust
#14) The Public Enemy
#15) Destry Rides Again
#16) Stage Door
#17) Swing Time
#19) Frankenstein
#20) Bride of Frankenstein
#23) Freaks
#24) I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
#25) Suzy (one-pointer)
Very nice write-up, Cap! Well, done my friend.

As for Bringing Up Baby here's one I was sure was on my list and I can't for the life of me remember why it's not. Probably a last-minute cut. Love this movie!

#2 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (10)
#3 The Adventures of Robin Hood (33)
#6 Gunga Din (61)
#7 The Thin Man (25)
#8 Destry Rides Again (72)
#9 King Kong (16)
#10 A Night at the Opera (27)
#11 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (17)
#12 My Man Godfrey (31)
#13 Captains Courageous (64)
#14 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (47)
#16 You Can't Take it With You (39)
#19 Stagecoach (23)
#21 Angels With Dirty Faces (37)
#22 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (28)
#23 The Roaring Twenties (21)
__________________
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."



From My List--Forget which number so just go in order they where mentioned



Little Caesar
Gunga Din
The Mummy
Of Mice and Men
Mutiny On The Bounty
Dracula
Robin Hood
Jezebel
Stagecoach
The Roaring 20s
Frankenstein
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
King Kong
Duck Soup
Mr Smith Goes To Washington.



I've not seen that one and I need too as I've loved every Chaplin film I've seen so far and I enjoy silent films too.



I'll finish the list at 45/100 seen. Not too shabby considering I had seen only one prior to joining Mofo.

Final 6 Guess
6. All Quiet on the Western Front
5. City Lights
4. It Happened One Night
3. M
2. Gone With the Wind
1. Wizard of Oz



Watched and enjoyed both Chaplins from the 30s but neither t'other one nor Modern Times quite reached the mark required to make my ballot.

Seen: 65/94
My list:  

Faildictions (streamline moderne vsn 3.01):
6. Wake Up And Live
__________________
Purely for the benefit of my bad memory: 2016 • • • 2017 • • •
2018 • • • 2019 • • • Summer • • • Noms


Almost famous for having nailed Madonna once



Bringing Up Baby is that popular in my house, anyway. I had it as my number two choice. I had Browning's Freaks as lucky number thirteen, which means I should still have four of the top six on my list, including my number one.

2. Bringing Up Baby (#8)
3. Duck Soup (#12)
4. The Bride of Frankenstein (#18)
5. The Informer (#93)
6. Grand Illusion (#14)
7. Make Way for Tomorrow (#32)
9. Fury (#68)
12. The 39 Steps (#13)
13. Freaks (#9)
14. Ninotchka (#36)
15. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (#11)
16. Rules of the Game (#15)
17. Public Enemy (#42)
18. Stagecoach (#23)
19. A Night at the Opera (#27)
20. My Man Godfrey (#31)
21. Angels with Dirty Faces (#37)
22. Jezebel (#29)
24. The Roaring Twenties (#21)
25. Destry Rides Again (#72)

__________________
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Modern Times is my #8.
Chaplin uses even more sound effects, dialogue, and even sings a nonsense song, but most people still see this as a silent film, even with his classic song "Smile" on the soundtrack. Modern Times is both a social and political satire and shows Chaplin heading in the logical direction of making his next film and first "true" talkie, The Great Dictator (1940), which tackles the Nazis headlong. Modern Times may actually seem the most "modern" of Chaplin's films. It still discusses valid points, and modern teenagers find it encouragingly relevant to their lives (P.S.: they think it's funny too!)




I had Modern Times at #3. All of Chaplin's work in the 20s was just preparation for the trio of masterpieces he made in the 30s, concluding with 1940's The Great Dictator, which I also had at #3 on my 40s list.


My List:

3. Modern Times (#7)
5. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (#11)
6. Bringing Up Baby (#8)
7. The Grand Illusion (#14)
8. The Lady Vanishes (#22)
10. The Thin Man (#25)
11. Ninotchka (#36)
12. The 39 Steps (#13)
13. Frankenstein (#19)
14 Horse Feathers (#51)
15. A Night at the Opera (#27)
16. The Invisible Man (#30)
17. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (#40)
19. The Awful Truth (#60)
20. Vampyr (#24)
21. My Man Godfrey (#31)
23. Fury (#68)
24. Freaks (#9)
25. City Girl (#74)



Despite seeing many Chaplins, I still haven't seen Modern Times despite its popularity. Love Chaplin though.

#2 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (10)
#3 The Adventures of Robin Hood (33)
#6 Gunga Din (61)
#7 The Thin Man (25)
#8 Destry Rides Again (72)
#9 King Kong (16)
#10 A Night at the Opera (27)
#11 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (17)
#12 My Man Godfrey (31)
#13 Captains Courageous (64)
#14 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (47)
#16 You Can't Take it With You (39)
#19 Stagecoach (23)
#21 Angels With Dirty Faces (37)
#22 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (28)
#23 The Roaring Twenties (21)