Monday, December 14, 2009

Ten Favorite Movies of the 1930s

In preparation for posting my top ten films of the past decade, I thought I'd work my way up to it through a series of posts in which I pick my top ten films of previous decades. I'm starting with the 1930s.

10. The Thin Man (1934)The plot is forgettable but Nick and Norah Charles are not. And neither is Asta.

9. The Wizard of Oz (1939) You could take away the singing and dancing and this would still be the greatest children's film of all.

8. The Awful Truth (1937)My favorite re-marriage comedy of all time. Sexy, hilarious performances from Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.

7. Stagecoach (1939)John Ford's first foray into Monument Valley. The scenery is great but I love the humor and romance. And this is a truly radical film in which the outlaw and the prostitute turn out to be the best that civilization has to offer.

6. The Rules of the Game (1939)Country house weekend. The camera catches everything and everyone. Drama, comedy, sex, murder.

5. The 39 Steps (1935)I've seen this so many times. No scene bores me. The craft is impeccable. The sequence with the Crofter and his wife breaks my heart.

4. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)This instantly turns me into a ten-year-old boy. My favorite adventure film of all time. An Illustrated Classic come to cinematic life.

3. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)Why is this movie not a classic along the lines of Casablanca. It's got the fast-paced dialog of the greatest screwball comedies mixed with the exoticism and danger of the best adventure films.

2. It Happened One Night (1934)American romantic comedy is invented, and I'm not sure it's ever been surpassed.

1. The Lady Vanishes (1938)If pressed, I'd probably name this as my favorite movie of all time, as evidenced by its inclusion in this blog's banner. It's endlessly re-watchable for me, the perfect comedy-mystery-romance.

Runners up: Stage Door, Pygmalion, Gunga Din, Midnight


  1. stunning to see the emergence of color. a great list!

  2. I was just going to ask about "Gunga Din"-but then you mentioned it.

    This is an awesome idea, by the way!

  3. These are actually in order, right?

  4. Yep, they're in order, although so many are interchangeable. It's hard to definitively say that I love Only Angels more than Robin Hood, for example. But I like the challenge of ordering my lists.