1931 places us firmly in the sound era. The only silent films you’ll see here are ones made either foreign, or by very specific auteurs. Now that sound is the norm, we start to see the era of Pre-Code films seep in. More specifically, one type of picture that would be very big in this era: the gangster picture.
The gangster picture sees its heyday from 1931 through the early 40s, when it starts to fade away and be melded into the noir genre. Also here, a genre that is only starting to emerge now, with sound, the horror film. The horror genre wasn’t really prevalent in the silent era. There are notable exceptions, but the genre only really starts to take off in 1931, with three very iconic films of the genre coming out and paving the way.
There’s not a whole lot to say about 1931, since it’s still transition to sound, and Pre-Code. Mostly of interest are the specific films that came out this year. (more…)
American horror. I felt we needed a spot for this. Plus, it’s Frankenstein. And Universal monsters. I’m rolling this all into one. This was also the highest grossing film of 1931. (And if it wasn’t, since we don’t have actual numbers, it was right there.) Widely regarded as one of the best films of 1931, and of all time – it’s a good choice.
The film is littered with iconic moments and images, a lot of which aren’t even in the source material. So when they’ve been repeated (and parodied… Young Frankenstein) over the years, it’s because they were referencing this film and not the source material.
This film is more of a horror film than Bride of Frankenstein, so I’ll focus on those elements. Over history, the two have become melded together, specifically due to movies like Young Frankenstein and all of the iconic images out there. (more…)
Oh man, it’s the 30s.
Sadly, I think this is going to be my last decades list. It was fun while it lasted. I guess I could do the 20s if I wanted to, but… I don’t really want to. ’27 started the sound era, and 1930 is good enough for me. Plus I have another series of “top tens” I’m in the middle of (by director), and I really want to focus on those. That said, these lists have been so much fun for me, and they got me to see so many movies that I’d never seen (to the point where I’ve actually now seen about 80% of all the major releases of the 40s, 50s and 60s).
For those who don’t know, the way these lists have worked is, I go and list my ten favorite movies from each year. I also try to list ten more from each year as an 11-20. Originally I said I did it to give myself more options for when I revisited the lists a year, five years, whatever down the road, in case I decided I didn’t like a certain film as much anymore, the alternatives would be right there. Though mostly it’s become about sharing as many great films from these years as possible. I also, underneath the 11-20, created the “fun” lists, which would be extra recommendations (or, not, in the case of one decade) that were related to that specific decade. The 2000s, I actually had a list of what I thought the worst films of those years were, the Terrible Tens. The 1990s, I had the “Films of My Childhood.” The 1980s, I had the “Awesomely 80s Movies.” The 1970s were just great 70s movies, the “70s Recommendations.” The 1960s had “Out with the Old, In with the New,” with all the films representing “old” Hollywood and “new” Hollywood. The 1950s had the “Gems of the Studio System,” forgotten films of (mostly) major directors. The 1940s had “More Great 40s Films,” since people generally don’t delve too deeply into the 40s anyway unless they’re someone like me. This decade, I’m gonna keep it simple, like I’ve been doing. Just more great 30s gems. No need to get complicated.
All right friends. Once more, unto the breach: (more…)