Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Far From Depressing

Jesse Walker now looks at the films of 1935.  The 30s is my favorite decade for Hollywood, and this year, smack dab in the middle, has some great stuff, so let's see what Jesse chose.

His top ten:

1. The Bride of Frankenstein
2. Mutiny on the Bounty
3. Top Hat
4. Ruggles of Red Gap
5. The 39 Steps
6. A Night at the Opera
7. Toni
8. Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo
9. A Colour Box
10. Captain Blood
Wow, this may be the closest Jesse and I have ever been--his top seven are my top seven.  I might change the order a bit, but the titles would be the same.  I haven't seen #8 and #9, and I like Captain Blood but not quite enough for the top ten.
Jesse has no honorable mentions--though since he allows shorts I'm not sure why. Disney films alone could fill up the list.
Here are some films that I might have put in what little space is left in the top ten:
Gold Diggers Of 1935 (not the best of the Busby Berkeley musicals, but it includes his masterpiece "Lullaby Of Broadway")
Roberta (Top Hat was Astaire and Rogers at their peak, but this other 1935 musical is the first where Astaire was in charge and really showed the world what they could do)
Triumph Of The Will (Obviously, it promotes an abhorrent ideology, but visually it's stunning)
An Inn In Tokyo (I saw a bunch of 30s Ozu films at a festival and if this is the one I think it is, it would be top ten)
Other films I like:
Alice Adams, Annie Oakley, Barbary Coast, Bonnie Scotland, Broadway Melody Of 1936, The Call Of The Wild, Carnival In Flanders, The Devil Is A Woman, The Good Fairy, The Lives Of A Bengal Lancer, Man On The Flying Trapeze, Mississippi, Peter Ibbetson, The Raven, Steamboat Round The Bend, The Whole Town’s Talking
Other films of note:

After Office Hours, Ah, Wilderness!, Anna Karenina, Becky Sharp, Black Fury, The Black RoomBordertown, Brewster's Millions, The Bride Comes Home, Charlie Chan in Egypt, China Seas, Crime and Punishment, The Crime of Dr. Crespi, The Crusades, Curly Top, Dangerous, David Copperfield, Escapade, Every Night at Eight, The Farmer Takes a Wife, Front Page Woman, G Men, The Ghost Goes West, The Gilded Lily, The Glass Key, Go Into Your Dance, Goin' to Town, Hands Across the Table, Home on the Range, Hop-Along Cassidy, I Live My Life, The Informer, The Last Days of Pompeii, Life Begins at Forty, The Little Colonel, The Littlest Rebel, Lucrezia Borgia, Mad Love, Magnificent Obsession, The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Les Misérables, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Naughty Marietta, Our Little Girl, Princess Tam Tam, Private Worlds, Public Hero No. 1, The Raven, Reckless, The Scoundrel, She Married Her Boss, Special Agent, Star of Midnight, A Tale of Two Cities, Thanks a Million, The Wedding Night, Werewolf of London, Westward Ho
Now the question becomes will Jesse do the top ten of 1925, which was a barnburner of a year? (And 1915 was pretty significant as well.)


Blogger Jesse said...

Jesse has no honorable mentions--though since he allows shorts I'm not sure why.

I don't do an honorable mention list unless I can come up with 10 titles for it—and they can't just be 10 films I think are pretty good; they have to meet some hazily defined threshold of quality (or at least of fun). That may be a dumb rule, but I've been following it.

The short I felt bad about leaving out was The Hyp-Nut-Ist, one of my favorite Popeyes.

6:36 AM, January 06, 2016  
Blogger Jesse said...

The 30s is my favorite decade for Hollywood

So how do you rank the decades?

I'd probably put the '30s third, after the '40s and '70s. But it feels weird to think of the '30s as a single period—with the pre-Code era ending in the middle of it, it feels more like two.

6:40 AM, January 06, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hard to tell if that second photo is from Gold Diggers or Triumph Of The Will.

8:44 AM, January 06, 2016  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I think people exaggerate the difference between Code and pre-Code. I'm not saying it's imaginary, but you've still go the same actors, directors, studios, etc, and you've still got the same spirit and liveliness, as well as that special 30s mix of cynicism and innocence. A bigger difference is pre-war (America's entrance, I mean), war and post-war--which is why when I say 30s I really mean up till about 1941. And if you split up the 30s, you've got to do the same for the 60s, which is when the Code died--the 60s feels like the 50s until it feels like the 70s. For that matter, the first half of the 70s, where Hollywood wasn't sure what to do and so many filmmakers worked on personal projects, often feels different from the second half, where studios wanted blockbusters like never before.

So the 30s are my favorite, followed by the 70s. After that, it's probably the 20s, if for no other reason than I love the great silent clowns, who did their best work then.

After that, it gets harder, but I can tell you I prefer the 40s to the 50s (by the 50s, Hollywood slowed down and got bigger, responding to television) and I think I like the 80s better than the 90s. There's plenty to like in the 1910s and even the decade before, but 1) everyone is still figuring out what film is and 2) I've only seen a small amount from those years.

By the way, you didn't answer the question--will we get a top ten list from the 1920s?

9:21 AM, January 06, 2016  
Blogger Jesse said...

You prefer the '80s to the '90s? I have to disagree there. (And while I take your point about the '30s, I think the difference between 1933 and 1935 is a lot bigger than the difference between 1939 and 1941.)

I probably won't do 1925. So far I've come up with only five movies from that year that I think are good enough for a top 10 list. And there are several well-respected films from '25 that I haven't gotten around to watching yet: Strike, Varieté, etc. But I'll sort through my sources tonight & make a final decision then.

9:39 AM, January 06, 2016  
Blogger Jesse said...

Oh, and re: the '70s—I agree there's something of a split between the first and second halves of the decade, but you still had a number of New Hollywood pictures coming out at the end of the decade. Indeed, I think 1979 is one of the strongest years I've dealt with when making these lists.

9:42 AM, January 06, 2016  

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