Year in Film: 1934

Broadway Bill

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There was not a lot to hold my interest on this one, but I am a Frank Capra completest and so had to watch this sooner or later. I haven’t seen many horse racing films—the only one that comes to mind is the Marx Brothers’ A Day at the Races, which of course is more […]


It Happened One Night

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I have been reading a lot about Frank Capra recently, which naturally makes me want to go back and see some of his films again and dig up the ones I have never gotten around to seeing. Since Capra’s retirement from film and his later death, it has become commonplace to lump all of his […]


Little Miss Marker

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Shirley Temple’s small part in Stand Up and Cheer! won her a overnight fame. Variety christened her the “unofficial star” of the otherwise unremarkable film. That sent producers scrambling to find larger roles for her. Although she was under exclusive contract with Fox, director Alexander Hall persuaded her to audition for the best kid roles in years in a […]


Manhattan Melodrama

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I have been enjoying ‘30s films so much that I have been picking what to watch based more on the date of release than anything I know about the film. I had no idea what Manhattan Melodrama was about, other than what is suggested by the title. I even forgot about the fact that this […]


Of Human Bondage

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For the past few weeks I have been going through every Bette Davis movie I can find. Some of them, it must be admitted, are not very good as Bette Davis movies. That is either because it was early in her career and she was given too small of  a part, or it was later […]


Palooka

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Here is another ’30s film based on a comic strip, from back in the days when the still called them comic strips rather than graphic novels. Joe Palooka is a farm boy who is strong as an ox but good-hearted. His one claim to fame is that his long-estranged father was a champion prize fighter. […]


The Gay Divorcee

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One of the great joys of living in Tokyo is the number of small theaters that specialize in running classic films. One of them, Cine Vera, is run by a former entertainment copyright lawyer who decided it would be more fun to run a theater. Going to see my last film of 2011, late in […]


The House of Rothschild

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Set roughly between 1780 and 1815, the film nominally tells the story of the first and second generations of the powerful financial family that rose from the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt to the level of English nobility, countering anti-semitism with familial loyalty, shrewd lending policies, and making difficult decisions that not only made them enormous […]


The Man with Two Faces

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After recently watching Double Indemnity, The Stranger, The Woman in the Window and Five Star Final, I am a confirmed and inveterate Edward G. Robinson fan. He was a fine actor in everything he was in, especially when you consider that he was nothing like his hard-boiled screen persona, being a life-long collector of fine […]


Random Quote

“Whatever you do don't fall asleep.”
-Nancy (Heather Langenkamp)
from A Nightmare on Elm Street