Classic Movie Monthly #3 is now available for your Kindle (or other reading device, see details on Amazon page). In keeping with new tradition, the introduction to the issue is reprinted below so you can get a feel for what's inside.
Welcome to Issue #3 of Immortal Ephemera’s Classic Movie Monthly. When I began this project it was with the first three issues all set and ready to go—scrap that “all set” part, you’d be amazed at how much actual work has gone into each issue, especially after adding the “TCM Ten” feature! At any rate, if you’ve been enjoying these, you’ll be happy to know I’m already at work on Issue #4. You’ll find out which three movies will be featured in that fourth issue at the very end of this issue.
So what’s in store for Issue #3? Coverage includes one gangster classic, another movie featuring two screen legends, and a third title that’s worth your effort to find (you won’t have to go any further than Warner Archive to do so). Each title comes from a different film studio. Two of this month’s articles deal with films that were released only months apart in 1934, but while one is pre-Code, the other was released post-Production Code enforcement. The third title—that gangster classic—is from cinema’s celebrated year of 1939.
Warner Bros. wrapped up the 1930s by taking a look back to the wild times of the previous decade in The Roaring Twenties (1939). One of James Cagney’s greatest gangster portrayals capped by yet another iconic ending, The Roaring Twenties may glisten with studio era sheen, but is populated with performers who weren’t afraid to act a little rough around the edges: Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and Gladys George let it all hang out. Includes a look at some of the real-life personalities that had an influence on the film, as well as an earlier film with many similarities to this better known classic, and notes on the sequel that never was. This article originally appeared on the Immortal Ephemera website, but has undergone another round of editing and now includes inline citations.
Richard Dix was a major star of the silent screen, who made an especially successful transition to the talkies. Academy Award luster surrounding his starring role in Best Picture-winner Cimarron has caused him to be unfairly remembered for what is now generally considered an unpopular film. During the early 1930s, Dix also appeared in several smaller, but more interesting titles at RKO. His Greatest Gamble features one of his top performances in a title released soon after enforcement of the Production Code had begun. This article, revised with some additions from when it originally appeared on the Immortal Ephemera website, offers an appraisal of this forgotten film and underappreciated actor.
Screen legends Loretta Young and Cary Grant star in this month’s original entry, 20th Century’s Born to Be Bad, a 1934 film released long before either star claimed their legendary status. In addition to taking a look at Young and Grant’s careers leading into this release, this new essay includes brief biographical information about co-stars Jackie Kelk, Henry B. Travers, and others, including director Lowell Sherman. Difficulties surrounding the original release of the film due to the coming enforcement of the Production Code are covered, as are the origins of Darryl F. Zanuck’s 20th Century Pictures during this unique period prior to its merging with Fox Films. There’s a lot of information within this article as well as an overview of the film itself.
Another old movie collectible is highlighted this issue as well. This time it is the forty-five card “Film Fantasy” game set featuring bold and colorful cards highlighting eleven different MGM films. Details and a description of the set are offered along with a couple of sample images and a checklist naming those eleven films.
TCM Ten returns with ten-plus recommendations of 1930s films playing on Turner Classic Movies in December 2016. There were many titles to choose from for December (especially because of Star of the Month Myrna Loy), so it was difficult to select only ten! This entry also includes a brief capsule review of one of those ten recommended films, Make Way for Tomorrow (1937).
Thank you for your continued support. I only hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoy creating them for you! I’ll be back again next month to offer a little holiday distraction. Until then, I am—
Once again, you can preview or purchase Classic Movie Monthly #3 (eBook) HERE.
Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!