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1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

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1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 26, 2008 12:23 am

1001 films you must see before you die
Part III: 1935-1939


88
Captain Blood (Michael Curtiz, 1935)




The swashbuckler had been around long before Errol Flynn drew a cutlass, but the Tasmanian-born bit player reinvigorated the genre with his mix of dashing good looks, haughty insolence, and alluring confidence. Adapted from the novel by Rafael Sabatini (who also penned The Sea Hawk), this rousing adventure chronicles the travails of Peter Blood (Flynn), a righteous doctor unjustly sold into slavery for treating the wounds of rebels, a kind of British Dr. Mudd. Sent to a Jamaican plantation where he toils under the brutal whip of Lionel Atwill and seethes with passion for his fair niece (the astonishingly beautiful Olivia de Havilland), he escapes from bondage with his fellow prisoners and becomes the gentleman rogue pirate of the Caribbean. Director Michael Curtiz builds from one set piece to another, including a nimble beachside sword fight with pirate nemesis Basil Rathbone and climaxing with a grand sea battle that belies the film's modest budget. Flynn's bravado and charisma are apparent from his entrance, but once he leaps into action he takes command of the picture, overcoming his still-green dramatic skills with sheer personality. Captain Blood made stars of Flynn and de Havilland and catapulted Curtiz to the top ranks of Warner directors. The three reunited for some of the studio's best-loved adventures: The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Dodge City.



Última edición por JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 12:47 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 26, 2008 12:32 am

89
Mutiny on the Bounty (Frank Lloyd, 1935)




The highlight of Mutiny on the Bounty is undoubtedly Charles Laughton's bracingly evil performance as Captain Bligh, a man so mean that he insists on having a dead sailor flogged. Bligh pushes his men beyond physical endurance, slashes their rations for his own profit, and drastically cuts down their frolicking time with scantily clad Tahitians. Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for arrives: first mate Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) hits his limit and all hell breaks loose. Gable holds doggedly onto his American accent through the entire movie, but in a way it makes Christian come off as a Regular Guy in opposition to Bligh's institutionalized cruelty. Once you get past the hurdle of his diphthongs, Gable makes an excellent Fletcher Christian--strong, fair, and noble, and he effectively conveys the struggle of a man who loathes the idea of mutiny but can't stand see his men mistreated. And Charles Laughton is just superb. His Bligh is thoroughly appalling, yes, but it's far from a one-note performance--when he is cast adrift on the open sea in a lifeboat and tries to make an impossible journey to land, you can't help but root for him. Mutiny on the Bounty won the 1935 Academy Award for Best Picture and picked up a Leading Actor nomination for each of its male leads. Check it out or be tied to the mizzenmast.



Última edición por JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 7:29 pm, editado 4 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 26, 2008 12:32 am

90
A night at the opera (Sam Wood, 1935)




Absolutely one of the most hilarious movies ever made, this classic farce featuring the outrageous genius of the Marx Brothers is a chance to see some of their best bits woven together seamlessly in a story of high society, matchmaking, and chaos. In order to bring two young lovers together, brothers Groucho, Chico, and Harpo must sabotage an opera performance even as they try to pass themselves off as stuffed shirts. Featuring the classic sequence where Groucho piles as many people as possible into a ship's stateroom, A Night at the Opera is a deliciously zany romp worth watching again and again.



Última edición por JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 8:52 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 26, 2008 12:33 am

91
The 39 steps (Alfred Hitchcock, 1935)




Hitchcock's first great romantic thriller is a prime example of the MacGuffin principle in action. Robert Donat is Richard Hannay, an affable Canadian tourist in London who becomes embroiled in a deadly conspiracy when a mysterious spy winds up murdered in Hannay's rented flat--and both the police and a secret organization wind up hot on his trail. With only a seemingly meaningless phrase ("the 39 steps"), a small Scottish town circled on a map, and a criminal mastermind identified by a missing finger as clues, quick-witted Hannay eludes police and spies alike as he works his way across the countryside to reveal the mystery and clear his name. At one point he finds himself making his escape manacled to blonde beauty Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), whose initial antagonism is smoothed by Hannay's charm and the sheer rush of her thrilling chase. It's classic Hitchcock all the way, a seemingly effortless balance of romance and adventure set against a picturesque landscape populated by eccentrics and social-register smoothies, none of whom is what he or she appears to be. Hitchcock would play similar games of innocents plunged into deadly conspiracies, most delightfully in North by Northwest, but in this breezy 1935 classic, Hitch proves that, as in any quest, the object of the search isn't nearly as satisfying as the journey.



Última edición por JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 1:31 pm, editado 4 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 26, 2008 12:34 am

92
The bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)




It appeared, at the end of the epochal 1931 horror movie Frankenstein, that the monster had perished in a burning windmill. But that was before the runaway success of the movie dictated a sequel. In Bride of Frankenstein, we see that the monster (once again played by Boris Karloff) survived the conflagration, as did his half-mad creator (Colin Clive). This remarkable sequel, universally considered superior to the original, reunites other key players from the first film: director James Whale (whose life would later be chronicled in Gods and Monsters) and, of course, the inimitable Dwight Frye, as Frankenstein's bent-over assistant. Whale brought campy humor to the project, yet Bride is also somehow haunting, due in part to Karloff's nuanced performance. The monster, on the loose in the European countryside, learns to talk, and his encounter with a blind hermit is both comic and touching. (The episode was later spoofed in Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein.) A prologue depicts the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, being urged to produce a sequel by her husband Percy and Lord Byron. She's played by Elsa Lanchester, who reappears in the climactic scene as the man-made bride of the monster. Her lightning-bolt hair and reptilian movements put her into the horror-movie pantheon, despite being onscreen for only a few moments. But in many ways the film is stolen by Ernest Thesiger, as the fey Dr. Pretorious, who toasts the darker possibilities of science: "To a new world of gods and monsters!" Absolutely.



Última edición por JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 1:22 pm, editado 3 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 26, 2008 12:34 am

93
Top hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935)




Even the best Fred and Ginger musicals are merely lavish excuses for some of the most elegant dancing ever put on screen, and Top Hat is no exception. The story is a silly but timeless tale of mistaken identity that compounds itself to extremes. Fred Astaire is the famous American hoofer Jerry Travers, in London preparing for a new show with his befuddled producer Horace Hardwick (the always entertaining Edward Everett Horton) when he falls for Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers), a lovely, wisecracking American girl as light on her feet as Jerry. Dale believes Jerry to be Horace, the husband of her best friend Madge (Helen Broderick) and rebuffs his advances by marrying her dressmaker Alberto (Erik Rhodes), but in the best tradition of musical comedy, true love finds its own way. Practically the entire cast of the 1934 hit The Gay Divorcee reunites for this frothy confection, along with director Mark Sandrich, designer Van Nest Polglase, and choreographer Hermes Pan. Irving Berlin provides a tuneful score, including "Cheek to Cheek," which provides a classic duet for Astaire and Rogers, and "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails," which remains one of Astaire's finest solo numbers. Polglase outdoes himself with sets both elegant and outrageous and Hermes Pan's choreography is as smooth as ever, but ultimately it's the grace and chemistry of the leads that makes Top Hat top entertainment.


Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Cheek to cheek

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Última edición por JM el Mar Oct 20, 2009 12:46 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 13, 2009 1:34 pm

94
Une partie de campagne (A day in the country)
(Jean Renoir, 1936)




Partie de campagne (English title: A Day in the Country) is a film written and directed by the French auteur Jean Renoir in 1936. It chronicles a love affair over a single summer afternoon in 1860, along the banks of the Seine. The film is based on a short story by Guy de Maupassant, who was a friend of Renoir's father Auguste Renoir. Future star directors Jacques Becker and Luchino Visconti worked as Renoir's assistant directors.
Partie de campagne was shot in July, soon after France had elected the Popular Front government, and employers had negotiated the Matignon agreement, providing wage increases, 40-hour weeks, trade union rights, paid holidays and improved social services. The film was not released until 1946, ten years after it was shot. Renoir never finished the filming due to weather problems, but the producer, Pierre Brauenberger, turned the material into a release after World War II.


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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 13, 2009 1:37 pm

95
Modern times (Charles Chaplin, 1936)




Charlie Chaplin is in glorious form in this legendary satire of the mechanized world. As a factory worker driven bonkers by the soulless momentum of work, Chaplin executes a series of slapstick routines around machines, including a memorable encounter with an automatic feeding apparatus. The pantomime is triumphant, but Chaplin also draws a lively relationship between the Tramp and a street gamine. She's played by Paulette Goddard, then Chaplin's wife and probably his best leading lady (here and in The Great Dictator). The film's theme gave the increasingly ambitious writer-director a chance to speak out about social issues, as well as indulging in the bittersweet quality of pathos that critics were already calling "Chaplinesque." In 1936, Chaplin was still holding out against spoken dialogue in films, but he did use a synchronized soundtrack of sound effects and his own music, a score that includes one of his most famous melodies, "Smile." And late in the film, Chaplin actually does speak--albeit in a garbled gibberish song, a rebuke to modern times in talking pictures.


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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Mar Oct 13, 2009 2:00 pm

96
Swing time (George Stevens, 1936)




If you only had one Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film to watch, this classic musical from 1936 would be your best bet. It was the dance duo's sixth film together, and director George Stevens handled the material with as much flair behind the camera as Fred and Ginger displayed in front of it. This time out, Fred plays a gambling hoofer who's engaged to marry a young socialite (Betty Furness), but when he's late for the wedding his prospective father-in-law sends him away, demanding that he earn $25,000 before he can earn his daughter's hand in marriage. When Fred meets Ginger in a local dance studio (where he pretends to be a klutz so she can be his instructor), he's instantly smitten and the $25,000 deal becomes a moot point. Featuring six songs by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields (including a splendid rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight") and some of the most elegant dance sequences ever filmed, this lightweight fluff epitomizes the jazz-age style of 1930s musicals, virtually defining the genre with graceful joie de vivre.


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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 2:27 pm

97
My man Godfrey (Gregory LaCava, 1936)




Director Gregory La Cava deftly balances satire, romance, and social comment in this 1936 classic, which echoes Frank Capra in its Depression-era subtext. The Bullocks are a well-heeled, harebrained Manhattan family genetically engineered for screwball collisions: father Alexander (Eugene Pallette, of the foghorn voice and thick-knit eyebrows) is the breadwinner at wit's end, thanks to his spoiled daughters, the sultry Cornelia (Gail Patrick) and the sweet but scatterbrained Irene (a luminous Carole Lombard), his dizzy and doting wife, Angelica (Alice Brady), and her "protégé," Italian freeloader Carlo (Mischa Auer). When Irene wins a society scavenger hunt (and atypically trumps her scheming sister) by producing a "lost man," a seeming tramp named Godfrey (William Powell), all their lives are transformed. With the always suave, effortlessly funny Powell in the title role, this mystery man provides the film's conscience and its model of decency; the giddy, passionate Lombard holds out its model for triumphant love. In a movie riddled with memorable comic highlights, the real miracle is the unapologetic romanticism that prevails.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 2:31 pm

98
Mr. Deeds goes to town (Frank Capra, 1936)




Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is Frank Capra's classic screwball comedy about a village innocent who inherits $20 million, only to discover it's more trouble than it's worth. The screwball in question is Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper), a small-town greeting-card poet and tuba player transplanted to the big city to administer his newly inherited wealth, where fast-pattering, wised-up cynics, sneering society denizens, and corrupt lawyers lord it over the ingenuous and straightforward. Deeds's idiosyncrasies are amply magnified in the tabloids by journalist "Babe" Bennett (Jean Arthur), dating Deeds as a cover, only to discover she's the sap when she falls irresistibly for him. But the damage has been done, when Babe's column is used by a pack of corrupt lawyers, Cedar, Cedar, Cedar & Budington, to prove Deeds mentally unfit. The miracle of this unforgettable comedy is how it embraces dark material, calling into question some common assumptions about capitalism while maintaining an approachable atmosphere of light comedy, and deceptively so. You'll be so pixilated by its charm, you won't rest until you've doodled your way to a rhyme for "Budington."


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 2:35 pm

99
Camille (George Cukor, 1936)




Life in 1847 Paris is as spirited as champagne and as unforgiving as the gray morning after. In gambling dens and lavish soirees, men of means exert their wills and women turned courtesans exult in pleasure. One such woman is Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo), the Camille of this sumptuous romance tale based on the enduring Alexandre Dumas story. Garbo's aloof mystique and alabaster beauty illuminate this George Cukor-directed film featuring what many call her finest performance. Her Camille is a movie paragon of true love found (in suitor Armand Duval, memorably played by Robert Taylor), then sacrificed for a greater good. Garbo earned an Academy Award nomination and the New York Film Critics Best Actress Award for her memorable work.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 2:41 pm

100
Sabotage (Alfred Hitchcock, 1936)




Sabotage, also released as The Woman Alone, is a 1936 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was based on Joseph Conrad's novel The Secret Agent.
The film was produced in the years immediately preceding World War II, and the unnamed hostile power behind the bombings has been assumed by many viewers to be Nazi Germany.
Hitchcock took considerable liberties with Joseph Conrad's novel, transforming the highly political anarchists and socialists into foreign agents without any obvious political leanings. Verloc's shop is transformed into a cinema, with the films being shown echoing the story, and the policeman investigating the case is an undercover officer posing as a greengrocer. Verloc's first name has also been changed, presumably because Adolf, his name in the novel, had too many connotations by the time the film was made. Finally, Stevie, Mrs Verloc's brother, is portrayed as a simpleton, with few of the visionary attributes of his literary counterpart. Stevie's death is a climactic moment in the plot, providing insight into Hitchcock's views about how the innocent suffer through random acts of violence. When a critic condemned Stevie's death as brutal and unnecessary, however, Hitchcock said that he regretted including it in the film— even though he remained faithful to the novel in doing so.
The fact that the film was set in a cinema allowed Hitchcock to link the plot to contemporary films and storylines. Perhaps the most famous of these is the final film sequence, an animated short produced by Walt Disney.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 2:43 pm

101
Dodsworth (William Wyler, 1936)




One of the finest films of the 1930s, this classic Samuel Goldwyn production was based upon the hit Broadway play written by Sidney Howard, which had in turn been adapted from the 1929 novel by Sinclair Lewis. Ahead of its time in dramatizing the disintegration of a marriage, the story centers on the title character (superbly played by Walter Huston, who originated his role onstage), a wealthy automobile manufacturer whose wife (Ruth Chatterton, in her final American film role) desperately craves an aristocratic lifestyle in Europe. Dodsworth indulges her fancies to a degree, but their clashing desires--compounded by her affair with a European baron and his affection for a sympathetic widow (Mary Astor)--create further tension and mutual rancor. Dodsworth was perhaps the first Hollywood drama of the sound era that maturely addressed the complexity of a failing marriage and impending divorce, made especially compelling since Dodsworth is such an admirable and upstanding character who means well and upholds the ideal of marital commitment. Sharply directed by William Wyler, the film is as relevant today as it was when released in 1936.


Dodsworth

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 6:53 pm

102
Things to come (William Cameron Menzies, 1936)




Things to Come (1936) is a British science fiction film, produced by Alexander Korda and directed by William Cameron Menzies. The screenplay was written by H. G. Wells and is a loose adaptation of his own 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come and his 1931 non-fiction work, The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind. The film stars Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott, and Cedric Hardwicke.
Christopher Frayling of the British Film Institute calls Things to Come "a landmark in cinematic design."
Things to Come sets out a future history for the century following 1936. It is set in the fictional English city of 'Everytown' (based on London; St Paul's Cathedral is in the background) and, rather prophetically, begins in 1940 just as a global world war breaks out.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 6:57 pm

103
Le roman d'un tricheur (The story of a cheat)
(Sacha Guitry, 1936)




From the casual and personably familiar (and inferentially self-confident) running commentary of the film's introductory behind-the-scenes footage of the cast and crew, Sacha Guitry sets the infectiously picaresque and disarming tone of The Story of a Cheat. An interstitial silhouette of Guitry's profile provides the clever transition from real-life auteur to fictional character as the bespectacled, middle-aged, self-confessed "Cheat" pens his memoirs at an outdoor table of a bistro that overlooks his former residence - a Parisian townhouse that he would later admit he had won and subsequently lost through the fickle fortune of the cards. Proceeding in flashback as he recounts his youth in the provincial town of Pingolas, the Cheat reveals the unforeseeable and paradoxical set of circumstances that had spared him from accidental death - and unintentionally extolled the virtues of vice - after having earlier stolen change from the cash register in his parents' grocery store and was consequently forbidden by his father to be served freshly picked mushrooms during dinner as punishment, a side dish that inadvertently turned out to have proved lethal for the rest of the family. Orphaned at the age of twelve and divested of his inheritance by calculating, antipathetic relatives who are only too eager to be rid of him, the young Cheat (Serge Grave) soon sets out to find his own fortune, working his way up from as a bellboy to doorman to elevator operator for a series of luxury hotels throughout France before settling in Monaco after the war, striving to lead an honest life by working in the casinos of Monte Carlo as a croupier until a seemingly fated encounter with an enigmatic woman with soulful eyes named Henriette (Jacqueline Delubac) invariably tempts him to return to his old, incorrigible ways. Composed entirely without dialogue and instead, propelled through anecdotal, first-person narration, the film is a droll, infectiously effervescent, and charming satire on greed, opportunism, chance, and destiny. Guitry's briskly paced, reflexive tone is further reflected in the recursive nature of the film, most notably in the Cheat's repeated encounters with his former lovers and also his military comrade Serge (Roger Duchesne), creating a deceptively lyrical, yet insightful and observant commentary on the irrepressibility of human nature.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 7:32 pm

104
Captains courageous (Victor Fleming, 1937)




The award-winning 1937 version of Kipling's classic Captains Courageous finds spoiled-rotten brat Harvey Cheyne (Freddie Bartholomew) well on the way to becoming a horrible adult, under the illusion that money can buy all happiness. The little monster falls off a cruise ship, and is fished out of the drink by Portuguese fisherman Manuel (Spencer Tracy) and brought back to his fishing boat. Though the overprivileged lad initially chafes at being put to work aboard the smelly vessel, he eventually learns the value of a day's work and learns lessons in life that make him a functional person and bring him several steps closer to manhood. Despite Tracy's indeterminate accent, he excels in his role as the boy's friend, and enthusiastic performances from the rest of the cast bring this coming-of-age tale to life. It's a film that has lost none of its sentimental appeal (or occasional hamminess) over the years and should have an all-ages appeal to fans of Hollywood classics.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 7:36 pm

105
Yè bàn gē shēng (Song at midnight)
(Weibang Ma-Xu, 1937)




Song at Midnight (夜半歌聲) is a 1937 film directed by Ma-Xu Weibang. Often referred to as the first Chinese horror film, Song at Midnight is a remake/adaptation of Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera, though the film injects a significant political subplot involving the leftist revolutionary movement to the original story.
The film stars Gu Menghe, Zhou Wenzhu, and Jin Shan as the disfigured anti-hero Song Danping. Ma-Xu made one sequel to Song at Midnight in 1941 during the war. Both films resurfaced in the West at the Udine Far East Film Festival in 1998. Since then, the film has been shown at various film festivals around the world, notably at the 62nd Venice International Film Festival's "Secret History of Chinese Cinema" retrospective.
Today the film is well regarded, and was named as one of the best 100 Chinese films by both the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2005, and by Asia Weekly in 1999.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 7:37 pm

106
La Grande Illusion (Grand illusion)
(Jean Renoir, 1937)




It's long been one of the revered classics of international cinema, but there is no fine layer of dust over La Grande Illusion. Jean Renoir's film is just as vibrant, exciting, and wise as it has ever been. The story is set during World War I, mostly in a couple of German POW camps, where two very different French prisoners plot to escape: the working-class officer Maréchal (Jean Gabin, the French Spencer Tracy) and the upper-class de Boieldieu (Pierre Fresnay). The suspenseful backbone of the story is formed by these escape attempts, but Renoir is primarily concerned with the way people treat each other, and especially with how class and nationality inform human relations. Most compelling of all the film's characters is the aristocratic German officer von Rauffenstein, unforgettably incarnated by stiff-backed Erich von Stroheim; although he runs a prison camp, von Rauffenstein cannot help but strike up a friendship with de Boieldieu, a kindred spirit from the doomed nobility. There is nothing dewy or naive about Renoir's vision (and two years after the release of this antiwar film, Europe was plunged into another world war), yet Grand Illusion is one of those movies that makes you feel good about such long-outmoded ideas as sacrifice and brotherhood. After it won a prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1937, the Nazis declared the film "Cinematographic Enemy Number One." There can be no higher praise.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 7:39 pm

107
Stella Dallas (King Vidor, 1937)




Barbara Stanwyck gave one of her inimitable and wonderfully enigmatic performances as a mill worker who marries her way into high society and soon experiences layers of frustration. Channeling her restlessness, she soon makes a positive though highly self-sacrificial decision on her daughter's behalf, and endures the agony of being replaced in her husband's life by an old, blue-blooded flame. King Vidor (The Crowd) directs with a fascinating sense of duality about Stanwyck's character: is her lower-caste vulgarity something to sneer at or something to applaud for the contrast she presents to the mannered upper classes? Stanwyck plays the riddle brilliantly, right down to the final moment of her character's weird self-satisfaction at being ostracized from her daughter's honeyed life.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 7:42 pm

108
The life of Emile Zola (William Dieterle, 1937)




Still as potently relevant today as it was in 1937, The Life of Emile Zola is a marvelously entertaining slab of Hollywood social issue-mongering. The life of the French writer is broadly sketched in the early going, but the film settles into its groove with the Dreyfus affair: the scandalous railroading of a military captain for treason, which shook France to its foundation in the 1890s. The elderly Zola's gradual involvement in the case, climaxing with his electrifying "J'accuse!" essay and subsequent trial for libel, is the heart and soul of the picture.
Warner Bros.' version of this story, directed by William Dieterle, carries over the passion (and hokum) of the previous year's Story of Louis Pasteur. It also retains that film's leading man, Paul Muni, who turns in an elaborately theatrical performance. The result was a box-office smash and three Oscars, for best picture, script, and supporting actor (Joseph Schildkraut, who plays Dreyfus). While the film occasionally creaks with Hollywood artifice, the clarion call of truth and outrage come through surprisingly strongly--indeed the film looks prescient as a warning about governments closing ranks to cover up mistakes. Mostly sidestepped is the anti-Semitic vitriol of the campaign against Dreyfus (his Jewishness is referenced only in a written report glimpsed for a moment). This is an old-fashioned barnburner that encourages the viewer to fan the flames.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 7:46 pm

109
Make way for tomorrow (Leo McCarey, 1937)




Make Way for Tomorrow is a 1937 drama film directed by Leo McCarey. The plot concerns an elderly couple (Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi) who are forced to separate when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents in.
The supporting cast includes Thomas Mitchell, who played Scarlett O'Hara's father in Gone with the Wind (1939) and "Uncle Billy" in It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
The film was written by Viña Delmar, from a play by Henry Leary and Noah Leary, which was in turn based on the novel The Years Are So Long by advice columnist Josephine Lawrence.
McCarey believed that this was his finest film.[citation needed] When he accepted his Best Director Oscar for The Awful Truth, he said "Thanks, but you gave it to me for the wrong picture." Orson Welles reportedly said of the film, "It would make a stone cry," and rhapsodized about his enthusiasm for the film in his booklength series of interviews with Peter Bogdanovich, This Is Orson Welles. In Newsweek magazine famed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris named the film his number one most important film, stating "The most depressing movie ever made, providing reassurance that everything will definitely end badly."


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 7:50 pm

110
Snow White and the seven dwarfs (David Hand, 1937)




One of the brightest nuggets from Disney's golden age, this 1937 film is almost dizzying in its meticulous construction of an enchanted world, with scores of major and minor characters (including fauna and fowl), each with a distinct identity. When you watch Snow White's intricate, graceful movements of fingers, arms, and head all in one shot, it is not the technical brilliance of Disney's artists that leaps out at you, but the very spirit of her engaging, girl-woman character. When the wicked queen's poisoned apple turns from killer green to rose red, the effect of knowing something so beautiful can be so terrible is absolutely elemental, so pure it forces one to surrender to the horror of it. Based on the Grimm fairy tale, Snow White is probably the best family film ever to deal, in mythic terms, with the psychological foundation for growing up. It's a crowning achievement and should not be missed.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Miér Oct 14, 2009 8:47 pm

111
The awful truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)




One of the top five screwball comedies of the '30s, this helped to cement a genre that waxed golden until the end of WWII. Director Leo McCarey won an Oscar for Best Director for this 1937 romantic comedy--one of the most successful films of his career. Irene Dunne and Cary Grant are a squabbling couple who separate because of supposed infidelities on both sides. They part but cannot really keep away from each other. Grant finds himself hooked up with a socialite, Dunne becomes engaged to a millionaire hick played by the hapless Ralph Bellamy (as if he ever stood a chance as the "other" man!). When not dating others or baiting one another in a verbal war, Grant and Dunne wage a custody battle over their pathetic pooch. Gags, double entendre, witty remarks, snide comments, and fast-paced dialogue helped this to garner six Academy Award nominations. The Awful Truth was awfully good to Dunne and Grant, as both were breaking out of much more serious molds and this secured their positions.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Jue Oct 15, 2009 11:45 am

112
Pepe le Moko (Julien Duvivier, 1937)




Jean Gabin was a brooding, rough, working-class antihero in France when his role as cool master criminal Pepe Le Moko made him an international star. In the Casbah of French Morocco, an underworld slum of winding alleys dotted with tiny rooms, bars, and hideouts, Gabin's Pepe is the prince of the criminal jungle while at the same time its prisoner. He's safe only as long as he remains in this world the local gendarmes can't penetrate. During a clumsy police raid, he meets a lovely Parisian (the exotic Mirielle Balin) adorned in expensive jewelry, but in the midst of flirting, his eyes leave her baubles and meet her gaze. Pepe falls in love and Moroccan Inspector Slimane, the only cop to have earned his respect, makes this new chink in Pepe's armor the center of his plan to capture the Casbah's most notorious gentleman thief. Gabin is marvelous as the confident yet restless Pepe, a cultured man--equal parts elegance and edgy brutality; at home in this urban jungle, but restless to escape. Julien Divivier's romantic crime classic is a prime example of French poetic realism (a precursor to American film noir, shot in a shadowy style enhanced by the claustrophobic rooms and crowded streets. It's a world where friendship and trust are everything, yet betrayal and duplicity await around every dark corner, and Pepe exacts a harsh justice on those who defy his code. Hollywood remade the film as Algiers with continental heartthrob Charles Boyer in Gabin's role.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

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