1929/30 in Review

1929/30
BEST PICTURE

Nominees that didn’t make it:
5. Disraeli-the grandfather of all the worst Academy bait
4. The Divorcee-vaguely compelling but no Dodsworth

For Twitter length reviews click here

24. Hallelujah
Nina Mae McKinney is a little too good for this parade of stereotypes intended to satisfy both black and white audiences. It’s still pretty watchable since you can tell Vidor is trying but some things are best left in the past.
Favorite Moment: Waiting at the End of the Road.
23. White Hell of Pitz Palu
Legitimately thrilling after all these years even with the queen of Nazi propoganda and plenty of climbing-appropriate tedium.
Favorite Moment: The fight in the snow.
22. The River
Has moments of beautiful romance surrounded by so much missing footage that it feels unfair.
Favorite Moment: The eyeroll at the start.
21. Hell’s Angels
Howard Hughes was a mad genius when it came to visuals and a complete dunce when it came to writing.
Favorite Moment: The aerial fights.
20. Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna
So many gorgeous tracking shots that definitely had an influence on Ophuls, yes?
Favorite Moment: The dance.
19. Anna Christie
Well acted and script has fun parts but too dependent on theatrical nature. Still, Garbo and Dressler!
Favorite Moment: Dressler’s early drunk scenes.
18. Spite Marriage
The early sound mix hurts things since we get a whole lot of cast members laughing at the jokes but the silliness is classic Keaton.
Favorite Moment: The hat tipping.
17. The General Line
Eisenstein was usually far more fleet-footed and watchable, with this needing a trim, but the sequences of sheep as people flock to religion are fun as all his animal montages are.
Favorite Moment: The sheep and the religious ceremony.
16. Devil’s Holiday
Nancy Carroll is wonderfully lively in this even with that godawful turn in an otherwise suitably loaded script for the time in the third act.
Favorite Moment: Talking about how men are awful.
15. Arsenal
The trilogy continues to go into slightly more narratively sensible directions but we’re not quite in Earth territory yet.
Favorite Moment: Empty trench attack.
14. Under the Roofs of Paris
If you’re going to mix sound and silent film, make sure the sound is used cleverly. This does it.
Favorite Moment: The fight.
13. Lucky Star
Like all Gaynor/Farell romances, there’s wonderful chemistry and fun scenes to be had aplenty.
Favorite Moment: The egg in the hair.
12. The Love Parade
I wish Lubitsch had access to a better camera and sound equipment, for the cast is so winning and the story is about as well handled as a generic melodrama could be.
Favorite Moment: The bath.
11. The Big House
Embrace the hamminess and enjoy the ear for dialogue even with the silly climax.
Favorite Moment: The poisoning joke.

For my Top 10 of 1929/30 click here.

BEST ACTING (Finalists in bold)
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actor):
N/A. Lawrence Tibbett, Rogue Song-seems hammy from what’s online
7. George Arliss, Green Goddess-racist in that he’s doing his same old act
6. Maurice Chevalier, The Big Pond-ohohoh, I am ze Frenchiezt of zem all
5. Ronald Colman, Condemned-bland charmingness
4. George Arliss, Disraeli-boring biopic bullshit
3. Ronald Colman, Bulldog Drummond-same as Condemned but more fitting

Nominees that didn’t make it (Actress):
7. Greta Garbo, Romance-a nightmare of slurred words
6. Ruth Chatterton, Sarah and Son-that accent!
5. Norma Shearer, Their Own Desire-doesn’t do much


ACTOR

Lew Ayres, All Quiet on the Western Front
Wallace Beery, Big House-the good kind of ham since he’s funny
Maurice Chevalier, Love Parade-ever so French but it works for him
Charles Farrell, Lucky Star
Charles Farrell, The River
Chester Morris, Big House
Chester Morris, The Divorcee

ACTRESS
Betty Amann, Asphalt
Louise Brooks, Diary of a Lost Girl
Louise Brooks, Pandora’s Box
Nancy Carroll, Devil’s Holiday-sells the hell out of all her morphs
Mary Duncan, The River
Greta Garbo, Anna Christie-deliriously boozy
Janet Gaynor, Lucky Star
Brigitte Helm, Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna
Yelena Kuzmina, New Babylon
Jeanette MacDonald, Love Parade
Nina Mae McKinney, Hallelujah
Helen Morgan, Applause
Anny Ondra, Blackmail
Norma Shearer, The Divorcee-slowly realizes the extent of her problems
Gloria Swanson, The Trespasser-from maternal to furious

S. ACTOR
Lupino Lane, Love Parade
Francis Lederer, Pandora’s Box
Fuller Mellish Jr, Applause
Cyril Ritchard, Blackmail
Josef Rovensky, Diary of a Lost Girl
Pyotr Sobolevsky, New Babylon
David Torrence, City Girl
Warwick Ward, Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna
Louis Wolheim, All Quiet on the Western Front

S. ACTRESS
Marie Dressler, Anna Christie
Valeska Gert, Diary of a Lost Girl
Franziska Kinzas, Diary of a Lost Girl
Beryl Mercer, All Quiet on the Western Front
Lillian Roth, Love Parade
Lilyan Tashman, Bulldog Drummond
Edith Yorke, City Girl

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