#37b (or something) The Thin Man

Watched: January 16 2017

Director: W.S. Van Dyke

Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy

Year: 1934

Runtime: 1h 31min

Disclaimer: This film was added at 37th place (chronologically) after we had already reached (the old) no. 71 (now no. 73) and as such we throw it in here. The next post will be #74 but that does not mean we’ve skipped #72 and #73. Confused? Read this disclaimer. We’re sure it’ll explain everything.

thin-man

Source

We’re so glad this one made the list! Sister the Oldest has seen this one before and loved it then as she loves it now. It’s a boozy adventure of the best kind, with wonderful characters and banter.

Nick Charles (Powell) is a retired private detective, enjoying a life of leisure, and copious amounts of cocktails, with his charming and charmingly rich wife, Nora (Loy), and their terrier, Asta.

thin-man2
“These are just my breakfast drinks!”

Source

An old acquaintance, Dorothy Wynant, approaches the former detective as she suspects her father is in trouble, but Nick refuses to take the case, on account of the retirement and all. However, soon after, Mr Wynant’s secretary is killed and the plot thickens considerably when Dorothy’s father, who’s missing, becomes the chief suspect. Nick, egged on by Nora who thinks all this detective business terribly exciting, takes time between cocktails to look into the matter.

THIN MAN, THE
Clink!

Source

The Thin Man is one of the funnest, booziest mystery comedies you’ll ever see. There are eccentric characters, dysfunctional families and lots and lots of drinks. The quick banter between Nick and Nora is magical, and their relationship is something to aspire to (in its own way). In addition, Nora has the best fashion sense, and the the dog is adorable. This film should be everyone’s traditional Christmas viewing, along with Gremlins and Die Hard, of course. Enjoy!

thin-man3
True love!

Source

What we learned: We need to purchase lots of stripy chiffon. Also, do NOT make this film into a drinking game where you try to keep up with Nick…

Next time: A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

Advertisements

#48 The Wizard of Oz

Watched: October 02 2016

Director: Victor Fleming, Mervyn LeRoy, King Vidor, George Cukor, Norman Taurog (clearly, it takes a village…)

Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke, the Munchkins

Year: 1939

Runtime: 1h 42min

wizard

Source

Really? Do you really need a recap of this? OK, fine, let’s sum it up.

woo-slippers
Girl kills woman and takes her shoes as trophy (in her defense, they’re very pretty)

Source

wizard-of-oz-original1
Girl goes on adventure/quest with new friends

Source

wizard_of_oz_1180_monkeys_chasing_dorothy
Girl is chased by mutant minions of sister of first murder victim. She goes on to also kill the sister.

Source

glinda
Her enemies now slain, the pink, poofy witch finally lets girl go home to her own family

Source

We love it!

What we learned: there’s no place like home. Also, we do NOT trust that smug bitch Glinda.

Next time: Fantasia (1940)

#47 The Roaring Twenties

Watched: October 17 2016

Director: Raoul Walsh

Starring: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane, Gladys George, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh

Year: 1939

Runtime: 1h 46min

004-the-roaring-twenties-theredlist

Source

It’s World War One and two guys are doing their best to smoke a cigarette in a shell hole during the fighting. A third guy joins them and they gradually strike up a friendship despite being from very different walks of life; Eddie Bartlett (Cagney) is a mechanic, George Hally (Bogart) is the son of a bar owner, and Lloyd Hart (Lynn) is a lawyer.

james-cagney-humphrey-bogart-the-roaring-twenties
Sharing a smoke and a shell hole in WWI = best friends forever!

Source

Upon returning home after the war, the three go their seperate ways and we follow Bartlett as he goes back to his old friend and his old job only to find that the world has moved on and there’s no work for him. To make matters even worse, Eddie decides to look up his old penpal from the war, Jean (the ridiculously gorgeous Priscilla Lane), and discovers she’s a school kid. To his credit, he walks away.

roaring
“I’ll just look you up in three years, dollface!”

Source

He moves in with his friend Danny Green (McHugh) and they take turns driving Danny’s taxi to make a living. After Eddie is arrested for unwittingly smuggling rum into a bar, he realises that there’s money in illegal alcohol and he starts producing and delivering his own, with the help of Danny, the fabulous Panama Smith (George) and his old lawyer friend from the war. He makes it big, runs into (the now legal) Jean again and starts to pursue her, with varied success. She tries, but fails, to fall in love with Eddie.

theroaringtwentiescagneylane
“I appreciate the job and the pressies, but I think I’m just gonna fuck your friend instead. #friendzone!”

Source

George Hally comes back into their lives and the business keeps growing. However, Hally’s ruthlessness and tendency towards violence push Lloyd away and drive Eddie to become more violent himself. When prohibition ends, Eddie has lost it all – his business, his girl, his best friends and his sobriety. Panama stands by him, but he becomes a drunk and reverts to taxi driving again.

7054631130
While Hally keeps up his violent criminal career with considerable more success.

Source

Eddie is short tempered, proud and impulsive, but he’s not a really bad guy, more a victim of circumstance and his own ambition. Hally is more the psychopath – the one who delights in violence and excessive force. Panama and Danny are easily the most likable characters, and in many ways the most innocent victims of Eddie and Hally.

007-the-roaring-twenties-theredlist
She’s also the most fabulous character. You can’t go wrong with polka dots and feathers!

Source

We loved the voice-over and the documentary feel of The Roaring Twenties. The plot and the characters are intriguing and the film was strangely educational, like a very engaging history lesson. Our love for James Cagney is still going strong – whether he’s playing a gangster or he’s dancing and singing, he is mesmerizing.

What we learned: don’t drink and drive, kids! Also, we learned a lot of stuff about the USA between 1920 and 1939. Thank you, voice-over dude!

Next time: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

#46 The Lady Vanishes

Watched: September 17 2016

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Dame May Whitty, Paul Lukas

Year: 1938

Runtime: 1h 36min

lady-vanishes

Source

In a remote European town, a train is delayed due to an avalanche. A random assortment of tourists are forced to spend the night in a hotel and interact with each other. We meet a gang of young women, one of whom is on her way home to England to get married; some cricket obsessed Brits, a judge and his mistress, an arrogant musician and an old retired governess.

lady-vanishes-2
The nun comes later.

Source

After the (undiscovered) murder of a busker in the night, the tourists are sent on their merry way the next day. Iris Henderson (Lockwood), the lady about to be married, shares a compartment with Miss Froy (Whitty), the retired governess, and they spend the first part of the train ride in each other’s company. However, after a nap (brought on by a mild concussion from a mysterious accident at the train station), Iris wakes up to the old lady having vanished. In addition, everyone in her compartment denies her ever having been there, saying she must be a figment of Iris’ imagination (or brain injury). Cue mystery!

lady-2
“An old lady? We’ve never seen anything of the sort. And why would we lie? We’re not at all sinister foreign types in a xenophobic Europe!”

Source

Iris teams up with Gilbert (Redgrave), the annoying musician she had a less than pleasant run-in with the previous night and together they start investigating the missing lady, with the occasional help from fellow passenger Dr. Hartz (Lukas). Naturally, things are more complex than they seem at first, and the plot, as they say, thickens.

lady-vanishes-02
“So, let me get this straight: the old lady vanishes, then she reappears but it’s not the same lady, then there’s a severe Italian lady who lies about it, then a judge and his mistress who also lie, as do a couple of Brits because of a cricket match and then there’s a creepy nun..?” “Yes. And there’s also an escape artist. But he escapes.” “I see… Makes prefect sense!”

Source

This is a good old-fashioned mystery film with intrigue, espionage and international politics (which was important in 1938 as you can imagine). There’s also romance, humour and a wonderful cast of characters, and there’s an action packed shootout towards the end (always fun!). Hitchcock films are always interesting to watch, both due to the contents as well as beautiful and inventive shots. We love and cherish it!

dame-may-whitty-the-lady-vanishes
Also, the lady is adorable!

Source

What we learned: There’s always a conspiracy.

Next time: The Roaring Twenties (1939)

#39 Bride of Frankenstein

Watched: September 10 2016

Director: James Whale

Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Ernest Thesiger, Elsa Lanchester, Valerie Hobson, Una O’Connor

Year: 1935

Runtime: 1h 15min

Liquids consumed: inordinate amounts of wine…

bride-of-frankenstein

Source

Dr. Frankenstein learned absolutely nothing from the events of the first film and is back to repeat his past mistakes.

a284069bb4db579399060391e0ab77be
“I nearly died myself, therefore no one can criticize me!”

Source

Both the good(?) doctor and his creation survived the burning windmill at the end of Frankenstein and they are back. The creation (KARLOFF! KARLOFF! KARLOFF!) doesn’t exactly redeem himself in the beginning, by killing both parents of the girl he inadvertently drowned in the first film.

1931_frankenstein_img42
In his defense, he was probably still slightly agitated from all the burning people had been doing to him lately

Source

Again, the creature is captured, but no chains can bind him! He escapes into the woods where he eventually meets up with a lonely old blind man who takes care of him and treats his injuries.

brideofranknstn_083pyxurz
Pictured: one of the most beautiful meetings in cinema history

Source

The old hermit treats him like a person and teaches him humanity and compassion, something his creator failed to do. Of course, eventually angry villagers destroy his peace and he must once again go into hiding.

Meanwhile, Henry Frankenstein (Clive) is nursed back to health by Elizabeth (Hobson). When he recovers, he swears off playing God for the foreseeable future. That is, until his old mentor Dr. Pretorius (Thesiger) comes calling and lures him back in.

543a260dfbee68f20157afff7738dd18
“Behold: the fruit of my loins; the tiny results of my seed!” “Wow! How did you do this?” “Ehm… Let’s not get into the details, shall we…”

Source

Pretorius befriends the creature and promises him a spouse. They convince (read: force) Frankenstein to assist them, and together the two scientists create a cultural icon (Lanchester).

bride-of-frankestein
The inspiration for many a Halloween costume and gothic wet dream

Source

If you haven’t seen this one, we have no idea what you are waiting for. The cast is brilliant; the effects are very impressive (such as the tiny seed-people), the sets are wonderfully stylistic and the film is beautifully lit. Like the first installation in the Frankenstein series, the story is loosely based on Mary Shelley’s novel, but a lot of liberties are taken with the story and the characters. They try to pay tribute to the author though, by introducing Shelley with her trophy husband Percy Bysshe and their mutual friend Lord Byron in the beginning of the film, but here Mary sort of comes off as a silly little girl which doesn’t do her justice. Still, it’s a nice nod to the creator of it all (although it gave Sister the Oldest flashbacks to certain scenes in Gothic [1986]).

Frankie
“I still love her… But we belong dead…”

What we learned: Dr. Pretorius must have won some sort of masturbation championship to create so much life from his seeds.

Next time: Top Hat (1935)

#38 A Night at the Opera

Watched: September 10 2016

Director: Sam Wood

Starring: The Marx Brothers

Year: 1935

Runtime: 1h 36min

anightattheopera680713544large1024x808

Source

Is there anything left to say on the Marx Brothers? We think not, and so we will not, except to tell you to watch this one too. Boom! Shortest blog entry in 1000filmsblog history!

nightattheopera
Cue out-of-context pictures

Source

nightattheopera2

Source

a-night-at-the-opera-marx-brothers-15827363-1280-1024

Source

What we learned: we still love the Marx Brothers. Groucho is still the most quotable bastard in movie history. Chico is still our favourite pianist. Harpo is still creepily likable. Zeppo is still oddly replaceable…

Next time: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

#37 Twentieth Century

Watched: September 9 2016

Director: Howard Hawks

Starring: John Barrymore, Carole Lombard

Year: 1934

Runtime: 1h 31min

twentieth-century-1934-poster-4

Source

Lingerie model Mildred Plotka (Lombard) has been discovered by theatre producer/director Oscar Jaffe (Barrymore) who wants to make her a star, despite the protests of his coproducers and assistants. He renames her Lily Garland, manages to “mine her performance for gold” and their play is a huge success, making her an overnight sensation.

annex-barrymore-john-twentieth-century_nrfpt_01
“I’m so glad you saw the talent in me and in no way hired me for my looks or the allure of me being a lingerie model!”

Source

Fast forward three plays and while their working relationship is still productive and successful, his manipulative behaviour has all but driven her away. When he hires a private detective to watch her every move, she finally has enough and runs away to Hollywood where she becomes a film star.

holuy
Still a better love story than Twilight, as the old internet adage goes.

Source

After her departure, Jaffe struggles to produce another success, fails miserably, and is eventually wanted by the law for dodging debtors. While evading the police, he boards the Twentieth Century Limited, a train where Garland is also a passenger. When Jaffe learns of her presence, he starts plotting how to get her back under his thumb.

annex-lombard-carole-twentieth-century_01
It goes about as well as you’d expect

Source

Despite both main characters being narcissistic, manipulative bastards, they’re strangely charming and they really do deserve each other. Barrymore’s Jaffe is hilarious and fun in his flamboyancy and in the way he always thinks in terms of staging, and Lombard’s Garland is wonderfully divaesque. With great gags (“Baptist!”) and entertaining supporting characters in the increasingly drunk cohorts, this is a great watch with a bottle of wine and in a fabulous dress on a Saturday night. Or in any other setting, really. We’re not the bosses of you.

twentiethcentury39
May they live unhappily ever after!

Source

What we learned: the old south does not yodel. Also, we never thought we’d sink so low as to be actors.

Next time: A Night at the Opera (1935)

#36 The Scarlet Empress

Watched: September 9 2016

Director: Josef von Sternberg

Starring: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe, Louise Dresser

Year: 1934

Runtime: 1h 44min

the_scarlet_empress-989929865-large

Source

Innocent princess Sophia of Germany (Dietrich) has been chosen to marry Russia’s Grand Duke Peter (Jaffe) and is fetched from her German palace by the illegitimate offspring of Vlad Tepes and Titi Suru the Rock’n’Roll Wolf, Count Alexei (Lodge).

800full-the-scarlet-empress-screenshot-jpg
“When in wolf form, father Vlad had certain…appetites… And once he found himself wandering into a Russian ballet musical. The rest is history.”

Source

Inexperienced and sheltered as she is, she naturally falls for the animalistic wolf-man before arriving in Russia, and falls for him doubly once she meets the “imbecilic royal halfwit” she is to marry. However, she is a woman of her word and keeps her promise to bring new blood into the Russian royal family (and about time too, judging by her husband).

wedding
“She is so lucky to be marrying me!”

Source

Exposed to the harsh realities of life in the household of the Russian Empress (Dresser), the coldness of her arranged marriage, and Vlad Suru’s reputation as a Lothario (kind of like his fathers, we guess) the once innocent child becomes Catherine the Great, a seductive and intelligent ruler who will no longer be a pawn in other people’s power games. Instead, she’ll play her own.

scarlet
And she’ll play them in style

Source

This movie is epic in scope, violent and stunning, beautifully scored with themes from Wagner and Tchaikovsky among others (they’re the ones we could recognize anyway), and really well acted. The costumes, tableaux and sets are amazing (we love the grotesques everywhere in the castle), and there are so many huge, impressive scenes that you tend to wonder how much money was put into this production. We’re guessing a lot. But that is a conservative estimate – it may have been much more. The Scarlet Empress is an epic ride from start to finish, and we loved it!

poster-scarlet-empress-the_02
“How do you do, I’m Titi Suru, friendliest wolf you’ve met.”

Source

What we learned: rebound sex is an old, time honoured tradition.

Next time: Twentieth Century (1934)

#35 The Man Who Knew Too Much

Watched: September 21 2016 (delayed Blu-Ray delivery meant we couldn’t watch in order)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Peter Lorre, Edna Best, Leslie Banks, Nova Pilbeam

Year: 1934

Runtime: 1h 15min

the_man_who_knew_too_much_1934_poster

Source

Jill (Best) and Bob (Banks) Lawrence have brought their daughter Betty (Pilbeam) on a holiday in the Swiss alps, expecting no trouble apart from stories to bore their friends with upon returning to England. They befriend a Frenchman called Louis who is assassinated on the dance floor on his last day at the resort.

0098
Literally assassinated – not just served

Source

Before he dies, he manages to give Jill instructions about a very important message which must be brought to the British consul. Bob retrieves the message from the dead man’s room, but before the couple has time to talk to anyone from the consul, they receive a note saying their daughter is kidnapped and will be killed if they talk.

manwhoknewtoomuch02
“Is it worth it though, darling? I mean, we could always make another. How fond of her are you really..?”

Source

The Lawrences decide not to risk their only child’s life and return to London pretending Betty’s with an aunt in Paris and not at all kidnapped and held by some secret society plotting the assassination of a foreign dignitary. Since they cannot confide in the police, Lawrence goes after the bad guys himself and manages to track them down rather easily.

0399
When in doubt, gas and impersonate a dentist until you overhear the information you need. Works nine times out of ten!

Source

Of course, it goes as it must, and soon both father and daughter are hostages. It’s up to Mama to save the day.

manwhoknewtoomuch2
“This never would have happened to Liam Neeson. Damn my lack of a particular set of skills!”

Source

We won’t reveal the ending (except to mention that there’s a shoot out!), but we urge you to watch this film. There’s suspense, intrigue, international politics and espionage, and there’s Peter Lorre being almost as creepy as he was in M. There are also some truly hilarious scenes, such as when Bob and friend/cohort Clive sing messages to each other in church and the ensuing chair fight with organ music accompaniment. Hitchcock really knew how to build suspense (in case no one’s pointed this out before) and while this is a fairly early work compared to some of his more famous masterpieces, The Man Who Knew Too Much is still a good example of his skills. The silence helps build the tension (there’s no score for most of the film) and some of the scenes literally had us on the edge of our seats.

manwhoknewtoomuch03
How did they end up on the roof? Will they get down? Why is his head so big? Who are these people anyway? Watch the movie to have at least three of these questions answered!

Source

What we learned: Peter Lorre used to be typecast as a child killer. Dentists are always in on evil plots.

Next time: The Scarlet Empress (1934)

#34 Dames

Watched: September 5 2016

Director: Busby Berkeley & Ray Enright

Starring: Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Guy Kibbee, Hugh Herbert

Year: 1933

Runtime: 1h 31min

dames-poster

Source

Ezra Ounce (Herbert) has got it going on. He’s rich, eccentric (but he can afford to be), and he has a purpose in life: to raise American morals and more specifically, get rid of Broadway shows. He decides to give his sister and brother-in-law $10 million on the condition that they live up to his standards of “clean living” and help him with his foundation.

dames-blondell
“We need to get rid of the filth that is cleaning ladies who actually enjoy their work!”

Source

Alas, Ounce’s niece Barbara (Keeler) and his more distant relative Jimmy (Powell) have already fallen to The Theatre (and for each other) and are busy putting on a production which Ounce decides to sabotage. However, star of the show Mabel (Blondell – who also steals the show in the film) has dirt on Barbara’s father Horace (Kibbee) and blackmails him into financing the show.

dames
Never has a man been more mortified at finding a half naked burlesque girl in his bed. His views do in no way represent the views of the studio or the producers.

Source

Eventually, the Ounce Foundation for the Elevation of American Morals attend the opening night of Jimmy’s musical and, unwittingly drunk on Dr. Silver’s Golden Elixir, enjoy every minute of it, causing them to change their views on both Jimmy and Broadway shows.

1480x1362dames_740_550_s_c1_c_c
Strange how scantily clad dames have that effect on sexually frustrated middle aged men

Source

In many ways, this seems like the most honest of the Berkeley musicals we’ve seen. “The Girl at the Ironing Board” is an unabashed male fantasy of the perfect woman whose happiest times are cleaning men’s clothes, and in the titular number “Dames” they’re not even trying to pretend that the selling point for all these films is anything other than the pretty dames. Still, we enjoyed it a lot although, in our opinion, Footlight Parade and Gold Diggers of 1933 had slightly better musical numbers.

dames1934_678x380_05312013095838
But fewer beds on stage, so we’ll call this a win.

Source

What we learned: what do we go for? Beautiful dames!

Next time: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)