1933 is the end of the party. Hollywood finally went too far and crossed too many lines. For the past few years, all the Pre-Code films had to pass through state censors in order to be shown in theaters. Certain films weren’t shown in certain states for various reasons. (If you ever go back and read all the different reasons states refused to screen certain movies, you’ll be very amused.) Finally, after the government threatened to step in, Hollywood got serious.
The Production Code was technically around since 1922. After the William Desmond Taylor murder and the Fatty Arbuckle scandal, the government was trying to clean up on the “immorality” of the town, and Hollywood, rather than have the hammer come down, self-policed. It’s like when colleges self-impose bans to keep the NCAA from dropping the hammer on them. But no one really took it seriously. Then in 1927, they put out a list of “Don’ts and Be Carefuls.” Which was basically a list of “Don’t show white slavery. Don’t show miscegenation, be careful how you use the flag.” Shit like that. Again, generally adhered to, but with anything, people start bending the rules after a while. (more…)
I can’t even count the number of films where this film is shown on screen to represent a cultural benchmark in a child’s life. This was the film of a lot of people’s childhoods. The way Wizard of Oz is that way for a lot of us. This was the film that was thrilling and exciting for a whole generation of kids. The Spielberg generation. It’s movies like this that got Spielberg to start making movies. I don’t even have to look it up. I know it is.
This was the biggest movie of 1933 and remains one of the most iconic in all of cinema. If anyone was compiling a list of the most iconic shots in all of cinema (which you know this blog is going to attempt to do one of these days), the image from the Pic of the Day would be on it. It’s not even a question.
If you’re looking for a film that defines 1933, you don’t really need to look past this one. (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…)