Downstairs (1932) Starring John Gilbert, From a Story by John Gilbert

Bodil Rosing and John Gilbert

Despite its poor reception in 1932, today Downstairs is often pointed to as John Gilbert’s best talkie and further evidence that his voice was not poor. A look at some key scenes with Virginia Bruce and Paul Lukas, plus just how bad of a guy was Gilbert’s Karl?

She Had to Say Yes (1933) Starring Loretta Young

She Had to Say Yes 1933 Newspaper ad

She Had to Say Yes is a pre-Code film so outrageous that it’s bound to bother men and women alike. An expose on the life of the “customer’s girl,” the Depression era’s version of a high class call girl in business circles. Starring Loretta Young, who manages to be pawed by Regis Toomey, Lyle Talbot, and Hugh Herbert, all in the same movie.

Pre-Code eBook for Kindle Now Available

11 Pre Code Hollywood Movie Histories book

11 Pre-Code Hollywood Movie Histories: Early Depression-Era Melodramas, Adaptations, and Headline Stories Kindle eBook is now for sale. Includes two exclusive entries, For the Defense (1930) and Only Yesterday (1933). Articles about 11 pre-Code movies that variously look at source material, pre-production notes, casting changes, basic story and plot, the history behind any story elements unique to their time, brief biographies of key film players, and other relevant aspects of each film.

The Infinite Possibilities of Hemingway’s The Killers

Burt Lancaster in The Killers

Classic 1946 film noir The Killers is based on a story by Ernest Hemingway, but only for the first few minutes. Hemingway has nothing to do with the story after the Swede is killed. The later 1964 film adaptation proves how flexible Hemingway’s story is, as it spins a completely different movie out of the 1927 short story.

The Mouthpiece (1932) – Warren William Becomes a Star; 1932 William J. Fallon Cycle Begins

Warren William in The Mouthpiece by Firestone

Warren William has his breakthrough role in The Mouthpiece, first and best of the 1932 cycle of William J. Fallon inspired lawyer films. Background on Fallon and his legacy included.

The Last Flight (1931) – John Monk Saunders Hijacks Hemingway’s Lost Generation

The Last Flight 1931

Upon publication reviews called John Monk Saunders anything from a hack to a plagiarist when his Single Lady cashed in as an inferior version of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Adapted as The Last Flight, Saunders’s story emerges as perhaps the best of any film about The Lost Generation. Directed by William Dieterle, with excellent performances from Richard Barthelmess and Helen Chandler.

Gladys George Is Madame X (1937), Plus Brief Biography

Madame X 1937 trade ad

A history of Madame X concentrates on the 1937 film version starring Gladys George. Includes a biography of Gladys George with comparison to Ruth Chatterton’s 1929 performance.