Tag Archives: 1930s
In the Island of Manukura, a French colony in the South Seas, the joyful Terangi is a leader among the natives and the first mate of the Katopua, the tall ship of Captain Nagle. Terangi gets married with Marama and sooner he sails to Tahiti. While in a bar playing with other natives, Terangi is offended by an alcoholic racist French and he hits his face, breaking his jaw. Despite the testimony of Captain Nagle, Terangi is sentenced to six months of forced labor since the victim had political connections with the Powers That Be. Captain Nagle asks the Governor Eugene DeLaage to uses his influence to help Terangi, but the governor refuses. Terangi unsuccessfully tries to escape from the prison, and each attempt increases his sentence. Eight years later, he finally escapes and his jailbreak is celebrated in Manukura. Father Paul finds his canoe and brings Terangi to the island. But a devastating hurricane also arrives in the island threatening the dwellers.
Ladies of Leisure (1930) Frank Capra, Barbara Stanwyck, Ralph Graves, Lowell Sherman, Drama, Romance
In this drama, a rich man’s wife finds herself victimized by her cruel mother-in-law who doesn’t think the girl is good enough for her son. Not only does she try to destroy their marriage, the meddlesome mom also tries to steal their baby. The wife takes the baby and flees. In the end, the couple overcomes their difficulties and happily reunite.
Sidney Howard’s once-controversial play about the smothering aspects of Mother Love, The Silver Cord was filmed in 1933 with Laura Hope Crews recreating her stage role. Ms. Crews plays the outwardly selfless mother of Joel McCrea and Eric Linden; Irene Dunne and Frances Dee play the younger women in the lives of the two sons. Irene, an established physician, is quick to see that Ms. Crews’ supposed loving relationship with her sons is an obsessive power trip, and that Mother is actually an emasculating monster who can’t stand to have any other woman come between her and her offspring. Crews’ steamroller tactics lead Frances Dee to attempt suicide, which results in the breakup of her relationship with Linden. Dunne, who loves McCrea and insists he stand on his own feet, is determined that Mother will exert her insidious influence no longer. She persuades McCrea to sever the “silver cord,” leaving Crews alone with her weaker son Linden…a fate both richly deserve.
Apple Annie is an indigent woman who has always written to her daughter in Spain that she is a member of New York’s high society. With her daughter suddenly en route to America with her new fiancé and his father, a member of Spain’s aristocracy, Annie must continue her pretense of wealth or the count will not give his blessing. She gets unexpected help from Dave the Dude, a well-known figure in underground circles who considers Annie his good luck charm, and who obtains for her a luxury apartment to entertain the visitors – but this uncharacteristic act of kindness from a man with a disreputable reputation arouses suspicions, leading to complications which further cause things to not always go quite as planned.
Becky Sharp (1935) Rouben Mamoulian, Miriam Hopkins, Frances Dee, Cedric Hardwicke, Drama, Romance, War
Set against the background of the Battle of Waterloo, Becky Sharp is the story of Vanity Fair by Thackeray. Becky and Amelia are girls at school together, but Becky is from a “show biz” family, or in other words, very low class. Becky manages to insinuate herself in Amelia’s family and gets to know all their friends. From this possibly auspicious- beginning, she manages to ruin her own life, becoming sick, broke, and lonely, and also ruins the lives of many other “loved ones”. In the movie we get to see the class distinctions in England at the time, and get a sense of what it was like for the English military at the time of the Napoleonic wars.
Hell Divers (1931) George W. Hill, Clark Gable, Wallace Beery, Conrad Nagel, Adventure, Drama, Romance
Clark Gable takes off in his first starring role, a high-flying action-adventure costarring Wallace Beery and directed by George Hill (Tell It to the Marines). Once friendly rivals, Naval airmen Windy Riker (Beery) and Steve Nelson (Gable) are now the bitterest of enemies. Stationed on the USS Saratoga, the two battle over planes, dames and who’s top gun in their squad. But when Steve crashes on a rocky island and badly shatters his leg, Windy risks his life to save his ex-friend, a rescue mission from which they may never return.
Viva Villa! (1934) Jack Conway, Howard Hawks, Wallace Beery, Fay Wray, Leo Carrillo, Biography, Western
In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father’s death. In 1910, he befriends American reporter Johnny Sykes. Then a meeting with visionary Francisco Madero transforms Villa from an avenging bandit to a revolutionary general. To the tune of ‘La Cucaracha,’ his armies sweep Mexico. After victory, Villa’s bandit-like disregard for human life forces Madero to exile him. But Madero’s fall brings Villa back to raise the people against a new tyrant…