The Black Cat (1934)

“You must be indulgent of Dr. Verdegast’s weakness. He is the unfortunate victim of one of the commoner phobias, but in an extreme form. He has an intense and all-consuming horror of cats.” ‘The Black Cat’, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer in 1934, is an American horror movie starring Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Lugosi…

City Lights (1931)

“Children who see them at a certain age don’t notice they’re “silent” but notice only that every frame speaks clearly to them, without all those mysterious words that clutter other films. Then children grow up, and forget this wisdom, but the films wait patiently and are willing to teach us again.” (Roger Ebert) ‘City Lights’,…

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

“Captain Bligh, you’ve told your story of mutiny on the Bounty, how men plotted against you, seized your ship, cast you adrift in an open boat, a great venture in science brought to nothing, two British ships lost. But there’s another story, Captain Bligh, of ten cocoanuts and two cheeses. A story of a man…

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

“What would I say to a hamburger? Boy. I’d take Mr. Hamburger by the hand and say, ‘Pal, I haven’t seen you for a long, long time.’” ‘I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang’, directed by Mervyn LeRoy in 1932, is a crime-drama starring Paul Muni as James Allen, a soldier returning from the…

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…