Columbia attempts to repeat May Robson’s success in Lady for a Day the following year in Lady by Choice with Carole Lombard. Without Frank Capra or Damon Runyon it’s not as colorful. Production Code enforcement pales it a bit more. Well acted and worth catching despite its flaws.
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.
Paul Muni stars as a mine worker who is duped into breaking the union in 1935’s Black Fury from Warner Bros. Post includes background about real-life John Barcoski murder from 1929 and other notes about the origins of the film.
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.
James Cagney stars in Warner Bros. fast-paced Jimmy the Gent (1934), made all the faster by Cagney’s own frenzied performance. Bette Davis co-stars in an underwhelming role while Alan Dinehart excels in his part as rival “Heir Chaser.” Directed by Michael Curtiz and also featuring Allen Jenkins and Alice White.
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.
A look at Frank Capra’s follow-up to It Happened One Night, the 1934 holiday release Broadway Bill starring Warner Baxter, Myrna Loy and a horse named Broadway Bill. With comparison to 1950 remake Riding High and explanation of why Bill wound up out of circulation until 1992.
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.
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.
Irving Stone’s novel Lust for Life from rejections through 1934 publication and compared to Kirk Douglas’ eventual portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in the 1956 film directed by Vincente Minnelli.
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.