I thought I would start this topic. If anyone has some favourite pre-code
films that they would like to recommend please feel free to post their
plots and why you like them here.
wow what a great cast! i'll have to see if i can locate that one somewhere! storywise it sounds even more topical today, lol!
i think you would enjoy Kongo. i feel it is even better than the Chaney film and that one is quite good as well imo. what is your favorite Chaney film?? of the ones i have seen i think the Unknown is my favorite, it is just so bizarre, but the Penalty is also really amazing. what a performance he gave in that! i find his 2 most famous films, the Phantom and the Hunchback to be pretty uneven but of course when HE is onscreen they are riveting!
Hello Paul, Yes I like "The Penalty" as well. That was one of
the first Chaney movies I saw and I would call that quite bizarre
as well. It sounds corny but I haven't really seen a Chaney movie
that I haven't liked. Probably "Laugh Clown, Laugh" is my least
favourite but I would still watch it tomorrow ahead of many
There is a Lon Chaney group here that sometimes has interesting
discussions. There was one about what star benefited most by
Chaney's death. It sounds a bit gruesome but it was to do with
the parts that had been lined up for him but eventually went to
other actors. I think the vote went to Wallace Beery.
i have yet to see laugh clown laugh but its sitting in the pile of whats left to watch of my loretta young festival :D my least fave Chaney film so far is the talking version of the unholy three.
Beery woulda been my choice as well!
For anyone who is still undecided whether Ann Dvorak was a hugely under-rated
talent, I recommend 2 movies. The first "Housewife" where, in my opinion, Ann's
low key, understated acting put's Bette Davis very strident performance in the
shade. Ann plays Nan - "just a housewife" as she says, but her calm efficiency
has husband (George Brent) taking her for granted. Along comes Davis as an
old school friend whose "hot shot" attitude has taken her to the top. Husband is
impressed, he doesn't realise that Ann's quiet encouragement is helping him
branch out on his own. Even though the ending is a real let down she gives a
super performance that makes you wonder why Warners didn't boost her instead
of the flashier Davis.
The other movie is "Our Very Own" (1950) - and again, in my opinion, Ann gives
them all a lesson in good natural acting. Ann Blyth stars as a daughter in a very
"Father Knows Best" type family who finds out she is adopted. She finds her mother,
Ann, a poor married woman from literally the other side of the tracks but her
intensity and emotion shows just how studios had bungled her career. Her part
is like a breath of fresh air.
I will state emphatically that i think Ann was one of the best actresses of her era! She was natural and sincere, beautiful and versatile and it is indeed a shame she didnt get to flex her acting chops in better films, but her situation at WB was a 2-way street. I am finding this out more and more from the woman who has written her bio to be published later this year! here is her blog if you want to check it out, with a brand new update post about the book! (i am in no way connected with her other than wanting to read this damn book myself, lol)
i still have yet to see "Our Very Own" but of course i hope to see ALL of Ann's films someday! i enjoyed Housewife for what it is. the cast sells it, thats for sure! WB didnt exactly push Davis' career much either at first. She was just much MUCH more forceful, determined and demanding than Ann Dvorak was.
G-men is another good showcase for Ann, small role again, but she gives it so much heart.
Thanks for the link. I will definitely read it.
I like Ann Dvorak in Strange Love of Molly Louvain and Love is a Racket (with Douglas Fairbanks Jr) too
i just watched Molly Louvain for the first time a couple of months ago. def one of the best of her few starring vehicles!
Love is a Racket is a fun little picture! The Crowd Roars is another good one with her and also Dr Socrates with Paul Muni (who she starred with in Scarface!)
Two of my favorites that I'd love to see again are When Ladies Meet, the 1933 version of course, with Ann Harding, Myrna Loy and Robert Montgomery, and One Way Passage (1932) with William Powell and Kay Francis. Amazon has One Way Passage for $19.93, which is too steep for me. My limit is $12 max, or I'd buy way too many films. Amazon has many 4 pack movies for $9-12 that I consider great bargains. It's a shame they don't do more of them. I'd probably buy 10-20 $12 four packs if they had a great selection of pre-code films. I got many of the TCM quad features. I've bought all but one of the Forbidden Hollywood series, usually on sale, but there are dozens if not hundreds of pre-code movies I'd like to see.
One Way Passage was a good movie. When Ladies Meet would be good to see, haven't managed to see that one yet. I like your $12 limit. Good idea.
Jim - I don't have When Ladies Meet but I do have a copy of One Way Passage I recorded off TCM some time back. I'd be glad to make a copy and send it to you. Just PM me your info and I'll get it off in the mail to you.