1931/32 in Review


Nominees that didn’t make it:
8. Arrowsmith-vaguely racist, very dull
7. The Champ-silly as hell

For Twitter length reviews click here

37. Number 17
The Old Dark House, but not as good.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
36. Blonde Crazy
Slap happy silliness. Pointless fun, like so many others from this era that endured.
Favorite Moment: The money slap.
35. Rich and Strange
Strangely funny but also very dull.
Favorite Moment: Pinching joke.
34. Monkey Business
I like the idea that the Marx Bros. are intruding into a very boring world, but…it’s still a boring world.
Favorite Moment: The backwards dance.
33. Girls About Town
Fun, stupid, and disposable.
Favorite Moment: The trip to the zoo.
32. Night at the Crossroads
An enjoyable noir/detective film that creates atmosphere nicely…but coming from Renoir and its recent re-entry on the TSPDT list, I expected more.
Favorite Moment: The chase.
31. Possessed
Relies on star chemistry and a rather simple premise. I am surprisingly fine with that.
Favorite Moment: The restaurant date.
30. Red Headed Woman
Harlow tears up the screen and everyone’s morals in a great way but the film itself is otherwise rather tame.
Favorite Moment: The first meeting between Red and Bill.
29. Road to Life
Great broad strokes but a certain kind of shot of people’s faces and a bizarre style of intertitle gets reused very often.
Favorite Moment: The apple seller gets mugged.
28. One Hour With You
Not as good as The Love Parade, strangely enough, probably due to the directorial conflicts. Still a cute time but so static in camera work.
Favorite Moment: Three Times a Day.
27. Tokyo Chorus
Definitely has all the hallmarks of Ozu’s later works, but in bolder and less subtle strokes. Rather strange.
Favorite Moment: The scooter rejection.
26. Que Viva Mexico
What could have been if this had been completed properly, but the visuals that are striking hit hard even with the narrative going from plotless to heavily plotted.
Favorite Moment: The ending burial.
25. Bad Girl
A misleading title, but the gender politics and the ideas are interesting if not groundbreaking.
Favorite Moment: Opening wedding.
24. Jewel Robbery
Delicious empty calories. Just listen to William Powell talk.
Favorite Moment: Kay Francis’ magic dress.
23. An American Tragedy
I prefer Von Sternberg to Stevens, and possibly Sidney to Winters, but this…just isn’t as good as the 50s version. It’s a tragedy, not a dark comedy.
Favorite Moment: The drowning.
22. The Miracle Woman
Strong ensemble, and a strong indictment of faith, but I cannot help but wish for something outside the mainstream to really go for the jugular rather than…Capra.
Favorite Moment: Lion cage.
21. Five Star Final
Viciously nasty material that gets diluted down a bit. Remake?
Favorite Moment: The opening paint attack.

For my Top 20 of 1931/32 click here.

BEST ACTING (Finalists in bold)
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actor):
N/A, good job Academy

Nominees that didn’t make it (Actress):
3. Marie Dressler, Emma-stuck with silliness and plays into it
2. Helen Hayes, Sin of Madelon Claudet-accelerates through every high possible


John Barrymore, Grand Hotel
Wallace Beery, The Champ-finds some soul in the stupidity
Maurice Chevalier, Smiling Lieutenant
Colin Clive, Frankenstein
Kent Douglass, Waterloo Bridge
Alfred Lunt, The Guardsman-theatrical as hell but he’s playing a theater actor
Fredric March, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-deliciously separated roles
Fredric March, Merrily We Go To Hell
Paul Muni, Scarface
William Powell, Jewel Robbery
Tasuo Seito, I Was Born But…
Michel Simon, La Chienne

Olga Baclanova, Freaks
Constance Bennett, What Price Hollywood
Mae Clarke, Waterloo Bridge
Claudette Colbert, Smiling Lieutenant
Joan Crawford, Grand Hotel
Joan Crawford, Possessed
Marlene Dietrich, Shanghai Express
Sally Eilers, Bad Girl
Lynn Fontanne, The Guardsman-very theatrical but she’s playing a theater actress and has less time to make an impression
Jean Harlow, Red Headed Woman
Helen Hayes, Arrowsmith
Dorothy Mackaill, Safe in Hell
Janie Mareze, La Chienne
Sylvia Sidney, Merrily We Go To Hell
Barbara Stanwyck, Night Nurse

George Barbier, Smiling Lieutenant
Georges Flamant, La Chienne
Clark Gable, Night Nurse
Clark Gable, Possessed
George Irving, Merrily We Go To Hell
Boris Karloff, Five Star Final
Boris Karloff, Frankenstein
Eugene Pallette, Shanghai Express

Joan Blondell, Night Nurse
Ann Dvorak, Scarface
Greta Garbo, Grand Hotel
Ethel Griffies, Waterloo Bridge
Louise Closser Hale, Shanghai Express
Miriam Hopkins, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Miriam Hopkins, Smiling Lieutenant
Vera Lewis, Night Nurse
Nina Mae McKinney, Safe in Hell
Anna May Wong, Shanghai Express


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