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1930s Hall of Fame Part 2


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Mad Love

I enjoyed this even if I thought it was a little ridiculous. I actually was enjoying it more before the central plot with the hands. My favorite scene was when the husband had the doctor visit the party, not knowing how uncomfortable it was for the wife. Once we get to the whole hands thing it becomes a silly, but at least fun time. I was wondering if the doctor performed the operation with good intentions or if he had sabotage on his mind from the get go. There were a few times when I wondered what the hell, like when the husband was so agreeable to be arrested. And what's with the girl's hair? That seemed a little weird to me for some reason. I slightly preferred Lorre in this movie to his eye popping performance in M. I don't know how good an actor he is because he's so naturally creepy. The actors who played the couple were pretty good while everyone else was just there for the ride. Good atmosphere and sets. It was ok.

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

The Goddess

Spoilers approaching

A nicely worked silent drama that may tread a well beaten path but an excellent lead performance elevates it above the ordinary.

There's no doubting the highlight of this film is the performance from Lingyu Ruan as the jaded but resilient single mother with both eyes firmly fixed solely on her son's future. She really does emote well - and needs to as she has to convey a myriad of emotions throughout the tale.

Acting support was mixed, with the 'Boss' and his cohorts easily giving the weakest performances, none of them carrying any real menace, but both the 'Son' and the 'Principal' provided simple but reasonable performances.

I must admit I anticipated more of the emotional heft being generated from within the dynamic between the 'Goddess' and the 'Boss' and was very pleased that was left very much in the background as I think the societal disdain, though no more original in concept, allowed for far more impact. That the 'message' was even more overdone as a byproduct was, for me, still worth the price of opting for that route as it was always going to be slightly damaging anyway ..... personally though I'd have ended with the shot of the Principal walking away in the prison.

The occasional camera effects were sadly more miss than hit with me, no matter how much they may have pushed boundaries at the time, and I don't think really added much of interest to proceedings.

Overall it's a very nice offering that I'm delighted was nominated as I'd never heard of it before and may well never have had the pleasure of watching it otherwise.
Purely for the benefit of my bad memory: 2016 • • • 2017 • • •
2018 • • • 2019 • • • 2020 • • • Summer • • • Noms

Almost famous for having nailed Madonna once

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

The strong point of the film was the character Mae played by Carole Lombard. It was a fantastic role for her and has me intrigued to see more of year roles. I had only seen a handful from her previously and none of them really showcased the talent and beauty she has like this film did.
I've only seen a couple of her films, that I can remember, but this has definitely become my favorite of hers.
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
WOW 22 out of 121 reviews done in ONLY 3 DAYS!!
and Mija and myself each have a film ready for write ups. She has Virtue and I watched Roaring Twenties last night.

Mad Love
My favorite scene was when the husband had the doctor visit the party, not knowing how uncomfortable it was for the wife.
I thought it was hilarious when the mad doctor plants a big wet kiss on her, then as she's deciding to slap him or what? All these other guys start lining up to kiss her!

And what's with the girl's hair? That seemed a little weird to me for some reason.
WARNING: "hair spoiler" spoilers below
Do yo mean when he's strangling her at the end? It's from a poem, I read that at IMDB trivia:
Doctor Gogol's last lines change the hair color in, but otherwise quote, the 1836 Robert Browning poem 'Porphyria's Lover' which reads: ...I found A thing to do, and all her hair In one long yellow string I wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her.

I slightly preferred Lorre in this movie to his eye popping performance in M. I don't know how good an actor he is because he's so naturally creepy.
I've seen him in later films doing comedy as he's good there. I almost nominated him in another film Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937)

The Goddess
I must admit I anticipated more of the emotional heft being generated from within the dynamic between the 'Goddess' and the 'Boss' and was very pleased that was left very much in the background as I think the societal disdain, though no more original in concept, allowed for far more impact.
Same here...I thought
WARNING: "spoiler" spoilers below
The son would grow to be a man and end up killing the boss dude. I agree with you that the social issues were more interesting avenue.

cricket's Avatar
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The Roaring Twenties

This was very good even if it didn't quite blow me away. It's a rise and fall story with a lot of material for the runtime giving it a bit of an epic feel. There's parts of it in the beginning that feel a little like a look at history. I thought that was cool. All good performances, but the real treat is watching Cagney and Bogart as both friend and foe. Anytime there are two legends like that sharing the screen it's going to be special. It was filmed a little bland, a shame. The finale was excellent.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
The Roaring Twenties

ah D@MMIT ya beat me to the punch for images!
That is a perfect one for what goes on with them, cannot blame ya for snatching it

looks like i'll be right back with something else to write mine up with

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

The Roaring Twenties

You want the Brooklyn Bridge, all you gotta do is ask for it. If I can't buy it, I'll steal it.

cricket definitely hits the mark regarding the gist of this film.
It's almost set up in 3 Acts with all the filler that goes into this, involving the necessity to get into crime, the rise to power and, as these stories will go, the eventual fall. Which isn't a bad thing, at all. There's plenty to entertain even though the saga of a man who rises to power and then tumbles back down is an exceedingly common one this IS a very worthwhile film and one for anyone who enjoys the actors and the genre.

While there are two great actors here, Bogart and Cagney, you will see in any poster of this and, upon watching it, it truly centers around Cagney's character, Eddie. And Bogart, as friend and then foe is an excellent antagonist for him. Since it's very hard to see anyone, really, stand toe to toe with Cagney BUT Bogart.

A lot of the voice over narration that occurs DOES have a great bit of history thrown it while we see Eddie, having shared trenches and cigarettes with Bogart and a third friend, played by Jeffrey Lynn, who has dreams of being a lawyer; returning home to find the ONLY job available involves making and selling illegal booze.

Anyone who has ever watched a Cagney film knows just how easy it is to get behind him and wish him well. And this is no different. Where he plays a decent guy who plays fair with the usual Cagney charm AND temper.
When the fall comes, as they do, Cagney has a rough time picking himself back up and it's that inherent decency that triggers the finale to this decade long story.

When I was a teenager, having only seen one huge gangster saga, The Godfather, this was pretty impressive stuff. For very good reason.
Now, having seen countless of them, it is still a great gangster saga, though a bit more genteel, it still remains one that any fan of the gangster genre SHOULD check out as being the -- (yeah, I am SOOO using the pun) godfather of them all.

The Roaring Twenties is a 1930's gangster epic, I believe the first of it's kind before The Godfather showed up 40 years later. It tells the story of a hard luck mechanic(Cagney) who after the war is down on his luck ends up running booze in prohibition era New York.

The entire story covers about 15 to 17 years, and they don't use makeup or age the actors so that's a bit of a problem. The film also has a couple musical and dance numbers that while it wouldn't feel out of place for that time period I don't think it really ages well. But really these are quibbles it has numerous strong points.

It's greatest value is the brisk pace and well done editing, the film doesn't even clock in at 2 hours yet it tells a long good story. If this story were told today it would either be a mini-series or atleast a three hour film. The cast runs about 6 people deep and they are all well developed, nobody is particularly good or bad. Much like Breaking Bad it's about shades of evil, the villain Humphrey Bogart is clearly bad and the heroine Priscilla Lane is clearly good but at the end of the film I was left with certain questions about the moral choices of Lane's character and Bogart.

Finally James Cagney isn't someone who I really consider a "great" actor I think that he got away with charisma for most of his career and played the same part. This film is definitely the best use of Cagney's charisma. This is probably my favorite film of his.

great pick @nathaniel

It's a roaring 20's type of day I own the DVD and have seen this several times and fairly recently, so I'm not going to rewatch. Here's my review:

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Director: Raoul Walsh
Writers: Jerry Wald & Richard Macaulay (screen play), Mark Hellinger (story)
Cast: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane, Gladys George, Jeffery Lynn, Frank McHugh
Genre: Drama

An epic recounting of the rise and fall of Prohibition during the 1920s, and of three men who meet during WWI and later become involved in the bootlegging of illegal booze.

In 1939 Warner Brothers studio made The Roaring Twenties a film that pays homage to the early 1930's gangster films that made Warner Brothers a household name....and made stars out of two of their actors, who were famous for playing tough guy gangsters, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.

The movie is the pinnacle of what Warner Bros had learned from their many gangster films. It takes a broad sweeping style and tells an interwoven epic story, all done in semi-documentary form. Remember this is made in 1939 but is about the roaring 1920s, hence it's a period piece. Voice over narrative and mock news reels give the film the effect of authenticity, something which Warner Bros was famous for with their 'ripped from the news headlines' movie stories.

The movie really gives a blow by blow account of how prohibition came to be and gave rise to the manufacturing and disturbing of alcohol. We see bathtub gin being made, we see how it gets into the speakeasies, and how it leads to escalating crime and violence.

Cagney is the lead and the story tells how these three young men who meet up in a foxhole during a bombing attack, dream of what they will do when they get back home. The scene is an important one as it foreshadows the personality and there forth the fate of the three men. Each man has quite a different path during the 1920s.

Bogart is second billed here. He had not reached top star status as he later would in 1941 with High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. It's interesting to see Bogart in this early role, one can see his screen presence is already well developed...But he's playing a different character than we are use to seeing him as. Here he's a sniveling bastard, a real cut throat...and to the films credit they foreshadow that when Bogart lays into Jeffrey Lynn who plays the college boy nice guy at the start of the film. Bogart is good at being bad.

One of my favorite performances is Gladys George who plays the night club owner Panama Smith. Her character is modeled after the real life, colorful Texas Guinan, who ran a famous speakeasy in NYC during prohibition. Gladys George plays her character with a lot of heart and sadness too, as she's the ignored part of a love triangle.

The other part of that triangle is Priscilla Lane who's a fresh faced kid that falls for Cagney. He gives her no notice until he runs into her several years later, and she's all grown up. Then he's smitten with her. She sings a couple of brief songs, and yes that's her singing. She was a singer before turning to acting.

The Roaring Twenties is not a shoot em up flick, it's a retrospective look at prohibition, done up big scale, with a talented cast of Warner Brothers stars.

Off for a day and wander in to a page of great Roaring Twenties reviews. Nice surprise

I'll be watching Of Mice and Men tonight. cricket and CR will have sent their ballots by then.

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

Pretty much spoiler free

A very nicely rendered adaptation of the classic tale about the duality of man (and woman).

Fredric March is excellent in both titular roles, proving remarkably agile at times whilst exercising his inner demon and later in proceedings managing to convey the inner turmoil between them quite nicely. The support is mainly solid with both female leads giving March nice foils however, by contrast the little girl, Mary, is atrocious and thankfully only makes a brief appearance.

First person perspective in film can be rather hit or miss with me but aside from the opening sequence imo being a little too lengthy it is generally well used here and certainly one of the strengths of the film is the use of effects - with the earlier transformations between Jekyll/Hyde being particularly good and the prolonged overlay of Ivy's swinging leg a nice touch, though conversely the use of the split screen transitions is a little overdone for me.

The sets are well staged, especially the basement laboratory, and nicely compliment the excellent cinematography with some good use of lighting as well.

Overall it's a lovely, entertaining watch that quickly grabs and maintains attention and I'm delighted it was nominated as it's one that I may not have got round to re-watching for the countdown otherwise.

Any Star Trek The Next Generation fans here? If so, remember Whoopi Goldberg's character Guinan who tended bar on the ship's 'Ten Forward' and gave out timely advice. Her character's name comes from the real Texas Guinan who was played by Gladys George in The Roaring Twenties. I just thought that was cool, so I mentioned it

The real Guinan

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

Probably daring and controversial in its time but for modern viewer it seems like a repetition of all the standard prison film cliches.

An innocent (or at least not completely guilty) man is convicted for ten years of hard labor in a chain gang. He's not happy about the situation and manages to escape after several months. He winds up in Chicago, builds a new life as an engineer, is blackmailed to marry an evil and selfish woman and eventually his past catches up.

I can't experience films as a contemporary viewer. From my point of view the sadistic prison wardens, corrupt and petty politicians, sympathetic and almost noble prisoners, etc. are familiar from countless films already. The story isn't precisely bad but very familiar. I think the best non-standard thing in it is its questions about morality of punishment vs the value of an individual to society (is his new societal status good enough reason to annul his sentence).

First half of the film works pretty well. After James meets Marie the movie starts to move on a fast forward towards very unsurprising final act (though the exact ending was a positive surprise). I suppose the film loses some of its emotional power to James being (at least to me) somewhat unlikable and definitely more responsible for his situation than he was willing to admit.

I think acting is mostly fine; Muni is really good in the lead but some of the minor characters (like the guy accompanying him on the second escape) are way too theatrical. Most of the prison scenes look pretty realistic (assumption, I've never been in a chain gang myself) and there's no huge exaggeration or dehumanization of the guards.

It's alright version of a good old story but offers nothing new for someone who's seen plenty of prison films already.

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Red Dust

I didn't think it was great but it got a reaction out of me.

I didn't think I was going to like it at all at first. For the first five minutes, I had a hard time making out what was being said and I figured it was dated. Then the Jean Harlow character shows up and I didn't like her or her character. I wondered why she was known as a sex symbol; was it just the platinum blonde hair? Anyway, I figured no way was I going to like this with her continually aggravating me. Then Mary Astor shows up and she instantly saves the movie for me. Then something strange happened; I started to hate Astor's character and like Harlow's. I always like Clark Gable, even if this wasn't one of his most likable characters. At least he redeemed himself a little bit. The fact that Dennis and Barbara were hooking up infuriated me, but having my blood boil was better than having the lighthearted fare I was expecting. I do think they could have done a lot more with the story. The setting was awesome especially with all that rain. Mickey Rooney was great as Hoy. I feel like I'm overrating it but it pissed me off in a good way. I give a lot of credit for that.