My 50 Favorite Movies of the 1930’s

Society had made definite changes from the orderly Victorian era. Urbanization and industrialization had forever changed cultures and the landscape. New subject matter was on the horizon. From the child serial killer in “M”, man hunting in “The Most Dangerous Game”, and societal commentary in “Dead End”, “The Public Enemy”, and “Scarface”. Probably the darkest views of civilization came in the form of “Modern Times”, “Stagecoach”, and “Freaks”.


Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

50.  The Most Dangerous Game…d. Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack

49.  The Lady Vanishes…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

48.  The Dawn Patrol…d. William Goulding

47.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington…d. Frank Capra

46.  M…d. Fritz Lang (Germany)

45.  King Kong…d. Merian C. Cooper

44.  The Man Who Knew Too Much…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

43.  A Day at the Races…d. Sam Wood

42.  La Grande Illusion…d. Jean Renoir (France)

41.  The Thin Man…d. W.S. Van Dyke

However, this was also the era of the “screwball comedy,” best exemplified by the presence of the Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, and other classics of that comic genre. Cary Grant & The Marx Brothers have four mentions each. Both have films in the top ten.

40.  The Little Princess…d. Walter Lang

39.  Animal Crackers…d. Victor Heerman

38.  Dead End…d. William Wyler

37.  Beau Geste…d. William Wellman

36.  Horse Feathers…d. Norman Z. McLeod

35.  Monkey Business…d. Norman Z. McLeod

34.  The Crusades…d. Cecil B. DeMille

33.  The Kennel Murder Case…d. Michael Curtiz

32.  The Story of Louis Pasteur…d. William Dieterle

31.  Anthony Adverse…d. Mervyn LeRoy & Michael Curtiz

Here’s a few clips for you. The Mirror scene from #7 Duck SoupThe battle on Lake Chudskoye from #9 Alexander Nevsky featuring a score from Prokofiev… “Gooble gobble, one of us!” from #28 Freaks. 

30.  The Devil’s Brother…d. Hal Roach & Charley Rogers

29.  La Règle du Jeu…d. Jean Renoir (France)

28.  Freaks…d. Tod Browning

27.  Little Women…d. George Cukor

26.  Jamaica Inn…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

25.  Modern Times…d. Charles Chaplin

24.  Scarface…d. Howard Hawks

23.  Only Angels Have Wings…d. Howard Hawks

22.  The Mummy…d. Karl Freund

21.  The Public Enemy…d. William Wellman

A dim view of the future emerges in “Things to Come”. Perhaps this ignoble view was the basis of “The Mummy”, “King Kong”, and “Frankenstein”.

20.  Frankenstein…d. James Whale

19.  A Night at the Opera…d. Sam Wood

18.  Young Mr. Lincoln…d. John Ford

17.  Things to Come…d. William Cameron Menzies (UK)

16.  The Awful Truth…d. Leo McCarey

15.  Babes in Toyland…d. Gus Meins & Charley Rogers

14.  Gunga Din…d. George Stevens

13.  The Adventures of Robin Hood…d. Michael Curtiz

12.  The Wizard of Oz…d. Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, King Vidor, Norman Taurog

11.  Gone With the Wind…d. George Cukor, Victor Fleming, Sam Wood

Captain Blood (#6) was a surprise blockbuster hit. The studio brought the crew together again, splurged on color film and made (#13) The Adventures of Robin Hood.

10.  Le Jour se Leve…d. Marcel Carné (France)

09.  Alexander Nevsky…d. Sergei Eisenstein (USSR)

08.  The Good Earth…d. Sydney Franklin

07.  Duck Soup…d. Leo McCarey

06.  Captain Blood…d. Michael Curtiz

05.  Bringing Up Baby…d. Howard Hawks

04.  The 39 Steps…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

03.  The Four Feathers…d. Zoltan Korda (UK)

02.  Topper…d. Norman Z. McLeod

01.  Stagecoach…d. John Ford

Stagecoach gave form to the modern western. It set the genre standards until the formula was challenged by Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah in the 1960’s.

How do my picks compare to yours? Interested in seeing some of them now?

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