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1930s

Reviews of the best and worst films of the decade spanning from 1930 to 1939, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Duck Soup, City Lights, Mutiny on the Bounty, and Stagecoach.

That Night’s Wife Review

That Night’s Wife Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) The words “crime drama” bring to mind shadowy characters doing dirty deals in back rooms or pool halls. Noir is token “crime drama,” and noir is awesome. But noir is not Yasujirô Ozu’s bag. His crime drama is still a Ozu film, but its inciting incident is a thrilling caper. It’s this […]

Grand Illusion Review

Grand Illusion Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Charlie Chaplin was once asked who he thought was the greatest director in the world. Jean Renoir was his answer, and Grand Illusion is arguably Renoir’s most respected and influential picture. An anti-war film perhaps unlike any other, the film relies 100% on character to relay its message. There’s absolutely no fighting […]

City Lights Review

City Lights Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Charlie Chaplin is undoubtedly one of film history’s most beloved figures, and City Lights is one of Chaplin’s most beloved films. I found it to be a poignant love story, but the comedy was a little uneven for my taste. Some of the gags are great; others are a little awkward. The […]

Duck Soup Review

Duck Soup Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Comedy today is such a dicey genre for me. There are a few I just love – “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” for example. On the whole, however, I think most comedies are obvious, overlong, generic, and simply unfunny. If I’m in need of a laugh, I usually pop in one of my old […]

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Review

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) “Mutiny on the Bounty,” Academy Award winner for Best Picture all the way back in 1935, is surprisingly powerful stuff, not because it’s filmed in black and white, but because everything else about it is black and white. There are no shades of gray – no three-dimensionality among its principal characters. Two […]

Gone with the Wind Review

Gone with the Wind Review

RATING: (3 STARS) How do I go about reviewing a film that feels so much like two separate films, especially one as classic and timeless as Victor Fleming’s (or is it David O. Selznick’s) Gone With the Wind? Separated by an intermission, Gone With the Wind‘s two halves couldn’t be more different, both in content […]

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Review

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Review

RATING: (4 STARS) It easy to understand how some people can view Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as overly idealistic and cheesy. It is in so many ways. But despite that (or perhaps because of it), most regard it as an American classic and one of the finest films to come out of the 1930s. […]

All Quiet on the Western Front Review

All Quiet on the Western Front Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) War movies have been staples of the film industry and the Academy Awards seemingly forever, but it all began with Lewis Milestone’s anti-war tale All Quiet on the Western Front. When it was released in 1930, the world was a very different place. Much of American history had not yet been written. […]