Fanedit Forums

Full Version: TM2YC's 1001 Movies (Chronological up to page 48/post 480)
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
82 years ago...

[Image: 24689218827_a0c13304de_o.jpg]

A Night at the Opera (1935)
Director: Sam Wood
Country: United States
Length: 93 minutes
Type: Comedy

After the total anarchy of 'Duck Soup', 'A Night at the Opera' goes in the opposite direction, focusing the Bros' chaos towards a clear target. So the clever plot employs them as protagonists to take down the wealthy Opera establishment in order to save two struggling young singers/lovers. The Bros had never had a villain as deliciously pompous as Sig Ruman (He'd do two more films with them) and would never have a hero as good as Allan Jones (He'd do the follow up too). I've watched this film more times than I could count and it never gets old.

Sadly the film (and negative) was cut in WW2 by 3-minutes to remove all references to the then Fascist Italy. As the first act is set in Italy, it leaves some parts understandably mangled in the survining version. Personally, I rate their next film 'A Day at the Races' higher but it's not included in the book. Having seen both in a Cinema double-bill a number of times, their second film always got by far the most laughs. It takes the winning formula of the first and further perfects it.

Another early Alfred Hirchcock film next.
82 years ago...

[Image: 27780492759_5a04ac37e2_o.jpg]

The 39 Steps (1935)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Country: United Kingdom
Length: 86 minutes
Type: Spy, Drama, Adventure

Robert Donat's performance is the best part of Alfred Hitchcock's 'The 39 Steps'. It's full of wit in the face of danger and believable human terror, which is fortunate as he's in nearly every frame. This is an early blueprint of Hitchcock's classic innocent-framed-man-on-the-run-from-shadowy-forces plot that he'd keep remaking throughout his career. The pacing and plotting is perfection.

Another Universal Horror next.
82 years ago...

[Image: 27915617689_3be48792f4_o.jpg]

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Director: James Whale
Country: United States
Length: 75 minutes
Type: Horror, Gothic

This sequel is in every superior to the original but it still has some of the same problems. The supporting cast veer too often into comedy and astoundingly terrible OTT acting. James Whale relies on fellow British actors for all the main roles and they are thankfully excellent. Ernest Thesiger is the standout as the devilish Doctor Pretorius, pitching him at just the right level of Camp Macabre. The weak moments can't tarnish the overall classy Gothic vibe of the majority. The stunning Universal blu-ray transfer shows off the contrasty lighting to full effect. Some scenes (like this one) are totally iconic:

A major asset is the influential and unsettling Theremin and Harp Score by Franz Waxman, in contrast to the nearly music-free first movie.

Fred and Ginger next.
^I absolutely can't wait for the Angelina Jolie remake of this, which is totally happening, before they even set up Frankenstein's monster at all.


^ I think they've wisely "postponed" it for now.

82 years ago...

[Image: 39003011104_6dc713a3e4_o.jpg]

Top Hat (1935)
Director: Mark Sandrich
Country: United States
Length: 101 minutes
Type: Musical

I've watched them separately but this is the first "Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers" film I've seen. Their on-screen chemistry and incredible dance partnership is rightly famous. 'Top Hat' as a piece of film-making isn't quite as dazzling though. The mistaken-identity plot wore thin after the first hour and the set laughably meant to represent Venice, looks more like a hotel swimming pool. Also the airplane-interior set used in another sequence is almost on the level of 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'.

[Image: 39003038334_7f41aec54a.jpg]

Still, the charm of the comedic supporting cast like Helen Broderick and Edward Everett Horton win out over any technical shortcomings. Irving Berlin and Max Steiner provide the music so it don't get no better.

A picnic with Jean Renoir next.
81 years ago...

[Image: 39699530072_e5cdda8f01_o.jpg]

A Day in the Country (1936)
Director: Jean Renoir
Country: France
Length: 40 minutes
Type: Romance, Short

'A Day in the Country' ('Une Partie de Campagne') was completed and released 10-years late but it was shot in 1936. Jean Renoir creates the Black & White film equivalent of a Monet painting. You can almost smell the grass, feel the warmth of the sun and hear the trickle of cool water and bird song on a day in the French countryside. Dreams of what might be and could have been mingle in the romantic air. It's a wonderful and heartbreaking film.

Chaplin's last Silent film next.
81 years ago...

[Image: 39735450542_ec4ab3fb40_o.jpg]

Modern Times (1936)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Country: United States
Length: 87 minutes
Type: Silent, Comedy, Satire

1931's 'City Lights' was Chaplin making a clear case for Silent cinema in the last days of the medium, by creating a perfectly crafted and beautiful Silent film. 5-years later when all other Silent productions are long gone and 'Modern Times' just feels passé and unambitious. Some sequences feature brilliant visual comedy but it could have been enhanced by verbal humour, or even just soundFX based gags. Having said that, he does sing in one sequence and it's the funniest part of the film:

The political points about mechanisation get a bit lost after the first half and the ending felt tacked on (I later read it was). 'Modern Times' is still well worth seeing but not Chaplin's finest. His next 3-films are better but only one of them is included in this list.

Another Fred and Ginger film next.
81 years ago...

[Image: 40008981521_d9be9d033b_o.jpg]

Swing Time (1936)
Director: George Stevens
Country: United States
Length: 103 minutes
Type: Musical

'Swing Time' shares several of the same cast as 'Top Hat' from the year before, including of course Fred & Ginger but everything has more polish, class and style. No doubt the added dazzle is down to this one being Directed by the famous George Stevens. The songs are better, the humour is more subtle and the dance choreography is used so exquisitely that in some scenes it expresses the character's changing feelings entirely without dialogue. If it wasn't for Astaire blacking-up in the last act, it would have been a perfect musical.

Another William Powell film next.
81 years ago...

[Image: 39999153442_02f1127e95_o.jpg]

My Man Godfrey (1936)
Director: Gregory La Cava
Country: United States
Length: 94 minutes
Type: Comedy, Satire, Drama

Where has William Powell been all my life, he is superb! After watching 'The Thin Man', this is only the second film I've ever seen him in. Powell plays the Godfrey of the title, a depression-era man down on his luck living in the local dump. One night some idle and callous wealthy socialites use him to win a "treasure hunt", as if he's just an object. He meets this and everything that happens after with dignity. He then falls into the frivolous world of one crazy rich family, as the film takes a scornful, yet ultimately sympathetic look into the lives of those that money has insulated from cold reality. This would make a nice double-bill with 'The Royal Tenenbaums' and I'll be revisiting it again.

Another Capra movie next.
81 years ago...

[Image: 40016429102_2bf6f04c01_o.jpg]

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
Director: Frank Capra
Country: United States
Length: 115 minutes
Type: Romance, Comedy

'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town' shows what happens when a humble, honest, unambitious, small-town man suddenly inherits a vast fortune and moves to cynical, fast-paced New York, full of people ready to cheat him. It all culminates in a court-case trying to prove Deeds is mentally ill because he wants to give the money away to the poor of the great-depression. I detected a Christ allegory but maybe that's just me because other reviews don't mention it? (Somebody even says it's like Deeds is being "Crucified").

A Cukor film next.