The Lady Vanishes (1938)

“Never mind, dear. Now if I were you I’d try to get a little sleep. It’ll make you feel quite well again! There’s a most intriguing acrostic in the Needlewoman. I’m going to try to finish it before you wake up.” ‘The Lady Vanishes’, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1938, is a British thriller starring…

Stagecoach (1939)

“Look, Miss Dallas. You got no folks… neither have I. And, well, maybe I’m takin’ a lot for granted, but… I watched you with that baby – that other woman’s baby. You looked… well, well I still got a ranch across the border. There’s a nice place – a real nice place… trees… grass… water….

Le Jour Se Lève (1939)

“You’re the type women fall in love with . . . I’m the type that interests them.” ‘Le Jour Se Lève’, directed by Marcel Carné in 1939, is a French drama starring Jean Gabin as a man driven to murder. The movie opens dramatically: a man staggers from a room in a high-rise building and,…

Little Caesar (1931)

“Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of Rico?” ‘Little Caesar’, directed by Mervyn LeRoy in 1931, is an American gangster movie starring Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Glenda Farrell. Robinson, in his break-through role, plays Caesar Enrico “Rico” Bandello, a small-time crook who, with his friend and accomplice Joe Massara, played by…

Footlight Parade (1933)

“Aw, talking pictures, it’s just a fad.” ‘Footlight Parade’, directed by Lloyd Bacon in 1933, is an American musical comedy starring James Cagney as Chester Kent, a theatre director whose career is failing. He comes up with the idea of staging a live action musical ‘prologue’ in movie theatres before the main feature, but under…

Partie de campagne (1936)

“Henriette at the oars while her useless husband languishes in the boat’s prow. It’s the opposite of the way in which Henri once rowed her to this secluded spot to seduce her, and as he watches her row away, partially obscured by the leafy foliage overhanging the river, this last little comic touch becomes almost…

Top Hat (1935)

“No, no. When a clumsy cloud from here meets a fluffy little cloud from there, he billows towards her. She scurries away and he scuds right up to her. She cries a little and there you have you showers. He comforts her. They spark. That’s the lightning. They kiss. Thunder.” ‘Top Hat’, directed by Mark…

The Goddess (1934)

“The Goddess delivers the leftist sentiments of social inequality and of the need for change within China through focusing on female suffering in 1930s society.” ‘The Goddess’, directed by Wu Yonggang in 1934, is a silent Chinese film telling the story of a sex worker who is abused by her pimp and struggles to care…

Modern Times (1936)

“Good morning, my friends. This record comes to you through the Sales Talk Transcription Company, Incorporated: your speaker, the Mechanical Salesman. May I take the pleasure of introducing Mr. J. Widdecombe Billows, the inventor of the Billows Feeding Machine, a practical device which automatically feeds your men while at work? Don’t stop for lunch: be…

Medieval Movies

There is an debate that divides historical movies into two camps. The first attempts to depict history without mediation, in essence films that try to access a past before cinema began to shape it  through genre. The second embraces this mediation by presenting the past as a series of genre tropes and iconography, the past…

Jezebel (1938)

“But you had to come back home, didn’t you? You had to come back to the country and the things you know, because you belong here! Nothing can change that. Pres, Listen… Can you hear them? The night noises? The mockingbird in the magnolia? See the moss hanging from the moonlight? You can fairly taste…

Bringing up Baby (1938)

“Well, I followed George around for three days. I dug holes with him, and he dug holes with me, and I found your bone!” ‘Bringing up Baby’, directed by Howard Hawks in 1938, is an American screwball comedy. Katherine Hepburn plays Susan Vance, a free-spirited agent of chaos who latches on to a palaeontologist David…