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.
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.
Stage legend Elsie Ferguson plays in her final film and only talkie, Scarlet Pages (1930), a courtroom drama offering a view of feminism at that time. Due to its mature content Scarlet Pages was successfully marketed as what was considered a “dirty picture” by 1930 standards.
Mervyn LeRoy’s Five Star Final (1931) stars Edward G. Robinson as the managing editor of a trashy New York newspaper that resurrects a 20-year-old murder case for circulation. A Warner Bros.-First National production adapted from the play by Louis Weitzenkorn. Also starring Marian Marsh, H.B. Warner, Frances Starr, Boris Karloff and Aline MacMahon.
Digging into Joe Donahue, talented vaudevillian dancer who replaced his late brother, Jack, opposite Marilyn Miller in the film version of Sunny. He also appeared in Expensive Women and two Dorothy Mackaill titles during his stay with First National, 1930-31. Piecing together some of the mysterious Donahue’s life and discovering, once and for all, the date he died.
Blondie Johnson (1933) stars Joan Blondell as Warner Brothers and First National’s “lady gangster” opposite Chester Morris. Directed by Ray Enright with a deep cast including Sterling Holloway, Allen Jenkins, Mae Busch, Toshia Mori, Arthur Vinton and Claire Dodd.
Alice White stars as Dixie Dugan in First National’s SHOW GIRL IN HOLLYWOOD (1930), a behind the scenes movie musical depicting the Vitaphone process and including a stand out performance by former silent screen star Blanche Sweet.
Paul Muni stars in First National’s 1933 multigenerational film The World Changes. Also starring Mary Astor. Muni earns a fortune in the meat-packing industry but is led too far from his roots and watches his children stray even further from what he considers a good life.
A detailed look at First National’s Employees’ Entrance, an early 1933 pre-code release starring Warren William with Loretta Young and Wallace Ford. A look inside the Franklin-Monroe Department Store at a time when Hoover was a lame duck and the Great Depression was crushing the economy.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr is a hobo playing Gentleman for a Day in 1932’s Union Depot co-starring Joan Blondell and Guy Kibbee. A sweeping view of all classes during the Great Depression.