Universal casts Lon Chaney Jr in his first horror role, the exciting 59-minute thriller Man Made Monster starring Lionel Atwill as the man, and Chaney Jr as the monster. Includes a look at Chaney Jr’s career to date, and Atwill’s career thereafter.
Classic Movie Reviews by Cliff Aliperti
Spoiler-free reviews of movies from Hollywood's Golden Age, especially the 1930s. Most reviews also include research into background of the film and, when relevant, the history surrounding the subject of the movie.
Change of Heart (1934) boasts the final pairing of Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. From director John G. Blystone for Fox Films with James Dunn and Ginger Rogers.
Big-city mouthpiece Richard Dix seeks to bring his brother’s killers to justice in a Nevada mining town in Special Investigator, a 1936 RKO “B” entry based on an Erle Stanley Gardner story.
Jean Harlow lobbies for Red-Headed Woman and emerges as one of MGM’s top stars. Background notes on the film accompany a look at this pre-Code classic adapted from a Katharine Brush novel. The movie also stars Chester Morris, Una Merkel, and Leila Hyams. Directed by Jack Conway.
One Sunday Afternoon made over in Old New York for The Strawberry Blonde. From director Raoul Walsh for Warner Bros. from a script by the Epstein brothers. Starring James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth, and Jack Carson.
One of James Cagney’s classic gangster movies, The Roaring Twenties (1939) also boasts an especially nasty Humphrey Bogart in its cast, plus strong work from Gladys George. Post includes background about writer Mark Hellinger, real-life roaring twenties personalities Larry Fay and Texas Guinan, plus a look at a pre-Code predecessor Broadway Thru a Keyhole (1933).
Edmund Lowe stars in Attorney for the Defense, second of four 1932 pre-Code crooked lawyer movies based on the exploits of William J. Fallon. With Evelyn Brent and Constance Cummings; Directed by Irving Cumming for Columbia.
Based on a book by Captain Cornelius Willemse, the NYPD’s original “gang buster,” Behind the Green Lights pits the police vs. a crooked mouthpiece and features a romance between cop and lawyer. Easily found independent release is fast-paced and entertaining.
Warner Baxter stars as a love-struck politician who is assassinated just before a key international vote. Science gives him another 6 Hours to Live after a powerful ray brings him back to life. Also starring Miriam Jordan and John Boles. Directed by William Dieterle. A 1932 Fox Films release.
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.