Edward G. Robinson stars as a flawed yet likeable gambler who takes a shine to a champion greyhound in Dark Hazard, a 1934 pre-Code release from First National.
She Had to Say Yes is a pre-Code film so outrageous that it’s bound to bother men and women alike. An expose on the life of the “customer’s girl,” the Depression era’s version of a high class call girl in business circles. Starring Loretta Young, who manages to be pawed by Regis Toomey, Lyle Talbot, and Hugh Herbert, all in the same movie.
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.
A look at Lee Tracy as the Walter Winchell inspired star of pre-Code classic Blessed Event (1932). Includes back story about the stage adaptation, movie casting and speedy film production, plus a bit about Walter Winchell himself, circa 1932.
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.
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.
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis was published in 1920. In 1936 Warner Bros. attempted to update the Lewis story with I Married a Doctor, starring Josephine Hutchinson and Pat O’Brien. The movie is entertaining but it is no Main Street choosing to focus more on the love angle than it does Carol’s battle against the small town.
Looking at Snowed Under, a 1936 Warner Bros. farce directed by Ray Enright and starring George Brent, Genevieve Tobin, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Patricia Ellis and John Eldredge. With a focus on “Lawrence Saunders,” who wrote the original story that was serialized in Liberty magazine.
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.