Ripped from the headlines: New York’s Vice Squad scandal in Paramount pre-Code The Vice Squad (1931), starring Paul Lukas in a part inspired by Chile Acuna, with Kay Francis and Judith Wood. Directed by John Cromwell.
A pre-Code set around a dance hall starring Barbara Stanwyck with Monroe Owsley and Ricardo Cortez, and I didn’t like it? Uh uh. Here’s what I didn’t like about Ten Cents a Dance (1931).
RKO-Pathe pre-Code gangster film Bad Company (1931) stars Ricardo Cortez with Helen Twelvetrees and John Garrick. Directed by Tay Garnett.
Brief look at MGM pre-Code The Easiest Way (1931) starring Constance Bennett, Adolphe Menjou, and Robert Montgomery. Directed by Jack Conway. With Clark Gable.
A wild pre-Code con man romp directed by Roy Del Ruth for Warner Bros. and featuring the great chemistry of James Cagney and Joan Blondell. Blonde Crazy released in November 1931. Supporting cast highlighted by Louis Calhern, Noel Francis, Guy Kibbee, Polly Walters, and a very young Ray Milland.
From a novel by Fannie Hurst, MGM’s Five and Ten stars Marion Davies and Leslie Howard, but this tale of the nouveau riche is at its weakest during their scenes. Strong support from Richard Bennett, Irene Rich, and Kent Douglass should have been even stronger. A recent MOD DVD-R release from Warner Archive.
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.
This early talkie from legendary director William Wyler stars Walter Huston as the father of meek Kent Douglass, who falls in love with Dad’s mail-order bride, Helen Chandler. Excellent work from Huston as always with surprising heat and chemistry from the two young co-stars.
Digging deep into RKO’s 1931 adaptation of William Gillette’s Secret Service starring Richard Dix and Shirley Grey. Comparing the movie to the 1896 play. What was added and what was kept and how classic scenes were interpreted on film.
Richard Dix is a harmless playboy until trouble calls and with the assistance of Boris Karloff and Paul Hurst he becomes The Reckoner in RKO’s The Public Defender (1931).