Movies Came Out In (1936)
The Great Ziegfeld – Just watched recently, and it’s the story about the the ups and downs of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., famed producer of extravagant stage revues. It’s a somewhat interesting story (as it’s supposed to be non-fiction), but large sections of the film are very boring in my opinion. What I found most amusing is I had just watched “Funny Girl” starring Barbra Streisand portraying Fanny Brice, and the real Fanny Brice is in “The Great Ziegfeld”. It was most amusing to see how accurate Streisand’s performance was, spot on!
Anthony Adverse – Watched on TCM, and this movie was pretty good. It could have been a little shorter though, as it dragged at times. I like the “textual recap” of setting the scenes before each section, that was helpful to understand what was going on. The plot (Set in Italy, an orphan’s debt to the man that raised him threatens to separated him from the woman he’s fallen for) was pretty good, if not a bit far fetched. But the acting was good and it was suspenseful and intriguing enough to hold my interest.
Dodsworth – Watched this on TCM, actually rather enjoyed it. It was a bit dated, but I can see how at the time it would have been appealing. The subject matter of divorce was taboo and mid-life crisis tales probably weren’t super common either. The basic plot is a retiree and his wife take a European vacation and discover that they want different things out of life. Good flick, in my opinion.
Libeled Lady – I just watched recently, and thought this film was pretty good/funny. It’s essentially an early romantic comedy and the plot would be apt today as it was over 80 years ago. The plot is: A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee, a down on his luck reporter, hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth in order to prevent a high-society woman from suing for libel. There’s a quite a few laughs and the acting is pretty good.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town – Watched on TCM, and thought it was pretty good. Gary Cooper played another somewhat corny character, but not as bad as other films. Decent plot (yokel inherits 20 million during the depression, is extravagant at first but then becomes benevolent, and naysayers want to have him committed). The movie moved along pretty quickly and didn’t drag at all, which makes for an enjoyable film. The plot (at least elements of it) has been used in more modern movies (i.e. Mr. Deeds, Hudsucker Proxy, etc.). I enjoyed the film and would recommend it.
Romeo and Juliet – There’s not much of a surprise here, because who hasn’t seen or read the Shakespeare play. The acting was good, it was fun to see Norma Shearer & Andy Devine in their roles because of all the movies (Barretts of Wimpole Street & How The West Was Won, for example) I had seen them in recently. How does this compare to the 1968 version, I think the 1968 version is better because of the music.
San Francisco – A Clark Gable picture involving his character’s life in San Francisco around the time of the big earthquake in 1908. While the climax of the story revolves around the earthquake, most of the movie involves Gable’s character at odd ends with another impresario over business and of course, a love interest. The film was ok, and I think entertaining enough that I would recommend it.
The Story of Louis Pasteur – A biopic of Louis Pasteur and his struggles against the established medical community for his far-fetched ideas about microbes and germs being the source of disease. Pasteur has a biting sarcastic wit at times which makes his acting quite enjoyable. It’s short (about 90 minutes) so the film isn’t hard to make it through at all. Great? No, but definitely watchable.
A Tale of Two Cities – Watched on TCM and rather enjoyed it. I did turn on captions just to understand the dialect a little better. This is pretty much the Charles Dickens novel which most (American) adults are familiar with from high school.
Three Smart Girls – Watched on TCM, the backstory of Deanna Durbin was more interesting than the film which was explained at the intro on TCM. The film was quite cliche (had to be even for the time period) and the acting was a bit lame/tired. Had some funny/amusing moments, but all in all, I would not recommend watching this film.
Ceremony Year (1937) – Movies Came Out In (1936)