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.
Comparing King Vidor’s adaptation of H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) to the novel by John P. Marquand, and why both tellings are wonderful. Excellent performances from Robert Young and Hedy Lamarr trickle down throughout the entire cast, most of who are perfect representations of the characters Marquand created on the page. It’s a quiet story that tells a lot in the end.
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.
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?
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.
Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy live up to expectations in MGM’s Test Pilot (1938). One of the most popular films of 1938, the Academy Award-nominated Best Picture directed by Victor Fleming allows all three stars to shine in strong parts that they enliven with strong performances. Time well spent, no matter the length.
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.
MGM’s baseball murder mystery Death on the Diamond (1934) stars Robert Young and Madge Evans. A decent mystery and a strong baseball movie at the same time. Directed by Edward Sedgwick and also featuring David Landau, Paul Kelly, Nat Pendleton and Ted Healy.