Lonely Wives (1931)

I loved the first 45 minutes of this one, but it ended up being a slow decline after the same jokes and same confusions were made. and that mother kept being so loud and kind of annoying.

I LOVE Edward Everett Horton, so that’s why I wanted to see this movie in the first place. I wanted to find out how he could play two characters in the same scene, was the film making process more sophisticated than I thought? Either way, it’s a cute story with funny dialogue, but it could have been at least thirty minutes shorter.

But if you are up for some good ole Pre-Code Edward, it’s a great one. Four stars?

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City Lights (1931)

As a matter of fact, this is next on the portion of 1930s films that I missed the review. I’m so thrilled that I finally own this on dvd because then I can watch it ALL THE TIME! 

This is a charming story about the little Tramp and a beautiful blind girl. He manages to get money for her to get an operation to repair her sight, but he gets sent to jail in the process. When he is released, she can see and hopes for the day that the kind man who helped her get the operation will return. The Tramp appears, nervous of rejection, but the scene finishes with her saying, “Yes, I can see now.” It is known as the most romantic scene in the history of film. My words don’t give it justice. You honestly just have to watch it. I might post it for the third time on this thing, because it is worth being watched over and over again.

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The Medicine Man (1930)

First off, if anyone ever tells you that this is a comedy, do not believe them. It has some serious Pre-Code child abuse and general domestic violence as well as a whole bunch of con-man activity. There were certainly comedic elements, but it was certainly not what I felt like watching on this fine evening.

It’s about a daughter and son who have an abusive father. The title references a show that’s in town that advertises itself as free but actually continually cons people out of money through gambling and scams. This guy (Jack Benny in an early role) falls in love with the daughter, and they essentially sneak around so the father won’t discover their forbidden relationship. At the end, the father dies, they wed, all is well. But seriously, quite a downer throughout.

Hopefully 1931 will bring a plethora of films that I’ll be emotionally prepared for. We start off with Blonde Crazy, starring James Cagney and Joan Blondell.

Again, I apologize for the delay. I’m really itching to get back in the swing of things, finals really held be back for a bit. This summer will definitely be filled with more late night movie watching.

To sum up, The Medicine Man – not a comedy. It’s only alright. Three stars?

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

I have seen a lot of war films from this list. And this has got to be my favorite. I mean, it will leave you hating the world and sobbing your freaking eyes out, but it is absolutely incredible. It stars Lew Ayres and it includes the themes of the shattering of innocence, the purity of life and crossing the bridge between childhood and adolescence to adulthood. For a film made so early on, with limited technological advances, it was extremely well executed. The famous final shot always gets to me, with Lew Ayres’ hand reaching out to touch the butterfly on the battlefield that stole his youth, grasping for any ounce of peace and prosperity.

Why do people like watching films like this? Because they tell the truth? Why do people like to weep in the theaters shamelessly as I do quite often? I think the reason for this appeal is that we are blown away by the strength in people. We don’t cry when a couple breaks up in a tacky film, we cry when a boy doesn’t have enough time to become a man due to the dark world around him, encasing his innocence and joy in a swirling spiral of evil: war.And God, do we love it.

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Perfect Day (1929)

This photo isn’t from the film I’m watching, but it’s such a great shot I couldn’t resist. This was a wonderful and quick film about their sorry attempt to have a picnic. They have car trouble, which is a bit of an understatement, in traditional Laurel and Hardy fashion.

The great part about these movies is that the shortness absolutely works with the style of comedy. These silly characters and situations don’t need much screen time to fully develop. One doesn’t require a plot to enjoy stuff like this. This was absolutely delightful. Five stars!

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The Wild Party (1929)

Clara Bow has a voice! This college romantic comedy was one of the first sound films to be released, and also one of the films that slowly diminished Bow‘s career. She was once quoted saying, I hate talkies”, she said, “they’re stiff and limiting. You lose a lot of your cuteness, because there’s no chance for action, and action is the most important thing to me.

This was a point of view shared by both Charlie Chaplin and Louise Brooks as well. However, in the height of her silent career in 1928, she was described by a famous scenario writer by saying, ”Clara is the total nonconformist. What she wants she gets, if she can. What she desires to do she does. She has a big heart, a remarkable brain, and the most utter contempt for the world in general. Time doesn’t exist for her, except that she thinks it will stop tomorrow. She has real courage, because she lives boldly. Who are we, after all, to say she is wrong?

This is why she is just the best. The WIld Party, though it was a talkie, still exemplifies her charm and class showing the star that she truly was.

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Ask Dad (1928)

This was hilarious! Officially the first “talkie” on my new list here, and Edward Everett Horton is an absolute delight. I’ve only seen in him after he’s fully settled into his classic supporting role: the blubbering and stumbling comedic sidekick that never fully understands what is happening. 

This character was no different, but it’s an interesting twist to have the supporting role play the main character. Is there still strength in the narrative? I would think that if the film were any longer than twenty minutes, it might drag a bit after a while. Similar to Eric Blore, this type cast character works best alongside ones with a little more depth. This isn’t to say that as an audience we don’t adore these characters, but there certainly has to be a little more to it. 

This was great. Watch it here and enjoy!