A look at two pre-Code courtroom melodramas, Unashamed and Two Against the World, compared to the sensational real-life society murder that inspired the movies. Unashamed stars Helen Twelvetrees, Robert Young, and Monroe Owsley, while Two Against the World stars Constance Bennett and Neil Hamilton.
John Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore share the screen together for the first time in MGM’s Arsène Lupin (1932). Excellent mystery also includes strong work from Karen Morley.
The Sin of Nora Moran may have come from Poverty Row but it is years ahead of its time. The 1933 film makes heavy use of flashback to enhance several twists in this life and death story of a female prisoner on Death Row. Starring Zita Johann of The Mummy and directed by Phil Goldstone. Don’t be put off by the lack of big names or major studio logo, The Sin of Nora Moran lives up to the high standards set by its acclaimed promotional poster.
No longer the wild Jazz Baby, Joan Crawford is cautious to the point of being a drag in Our Blushing Brides (1930), third movie of a loose MGM trilogy starring Crawford. Also starring Robert Montgomery, Anita Page and Dorothy Sebastian.
Gentleman’s Fate (1931) is an MGM gangster effort overshadowed by the relationship between the John Gilbert and Louis Wolheim characters. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy with good work from Anita Page as well.
Enjoying a key scene between Chester Morris and Grant Mitchell in King for a Night (1933) leads to more Morris in a Boston Blackie entry plus Mitchell’s own starring vehicle, Father Is a Prince (1941), itself a remake of Big Hearted Herbert (1934), which is also discussed.
Phillips Holmes takes on Walter Huston’s corrupt judge in MGM’s Night Court (1932), a pre-code drama directed by W.S. Van Dyke and also featuring Anita Page, Lewis Stone and Noel Francis.
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.
John Ford directed Flesh (1932) for MGM with Wallace Beery starring as a German wrestler and Karen Morley giving an outstanding performance as the shady girl he loves. With Ricardo Cortez.