1934 in Review

1934
BEST PICTURE

Nominees that didn’t make it:
N/A. The White Parade-UCLA, get on releasing it
11. Viva Villa-disgustingly sweaty and racist
10. House of Rothschild-Nazi fodder and another tedious Arliss work to boot
9. One Night of Love-I hate opera
8. Flirtation Walk-I also hate Keeler when her material is this bad
7. Barretts of Wimpole Street-has some interesting subtext beneath the overly theatrical biopic boredom
6. Here Comes the Navy-idiotic but kind of enjoyable
5. Cleopatra-watch it on mute and you’ll love it

For Twitter length reviews click here

33. Judge Priest
Ford on his worst and his best behavior.
Favorite Moment: The portrait chat.
32. Fate of Graduates
Quality I saw was very poor but it was still fairly affecting anyway.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
31. Street Without End
Naruse would be better served by the arrival of sound.
Favorite Moment: The fight.
30. Liliom
A deeply misogynistic movie, but the strengths of M definitely rubbed off here.
Favorite Moment: The dissolve to the water.
29. Babes in Toyland
Laurel and Hardy aren’t very funny, but this has a lovely aesthetic.
Favorite Moment: The opening song.
28. Upperworld
Awful protagonist, but the story has a weird sense of humor that I enjoy.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
27. El Compadre Mendoza
Great tension meets a lot of dead air in between.
Favorite Moment: The dance.
26. Our Daily Bread
Brief and effective, but pointless.
Favorite Moment: Ending.
25. Death Takes a Holiday
Needs to be smoothed over in a lot of places but the broad strokes work.
Favorite Moment: Death arrives.
24. A Story of Floating Weeds
I assume the remake is a significant improvement? Ozu badly needed sound aside from I Was Born But…
Favorite Moment: The beating (boy does that sound unfortunate out loud).
23. Mandalay
Totally batshit but it’s short and memorable.
Favorite Moment: Opening.
22. Maskerade
Charming and fluffy and fun.
Favorite Moment: Opening.
21. The Lost Patrol
Cinematographer as auteur.
Favorite Moment: The men sit around and talk by the trees.
20. Twentieth Century
Very broad and hammy, but it works.
Favorite Moment: Practicing the scream.
19. Our Neighbor Miss Yae
Cute and charming, although not aiming for too much depth. Works as a minor Ozu of sorts.
Favorite Moment: The Betty Boop short.
18. Dames
Nothing wrong with trying to be 42nd Street.
Favorite Moment: Laundry number.
17. Imitation of Life
Deeply dated stance on race, but the bare bones are strong enough to make the Sirk’s existence even more delicious.
Favorite Moment: Beavers’ monologue to the camera when “black” is used as an insult against her daughter.
16. Of Human Bondage
Waiting for Bette Davis to blow up at boring Leslie Howard is part of the fun of this slight but strong work.
Favorite Moment: “WIPE MY MOUTH!”

For my Top 15 of 1934 click here.

BEST ACTING (Finalists in bold)
Nominees that didn’t make it (Actor):
3. Frank Morgan, Affairs of Cellini-silly and stupid

Nominees that didn’t make it (Actress):
4. Grace Moore, One Night of Love-opera sucks

ACTOR
Fred Astaire, Gay Divorcee
Jean Daste, L’Atalante
WC Fields, It’s a Gift
Clark Gable, It Happened One Night-delightfully impersonates varieties of smart aleck
Victor McLagen, Lost Patrol
Douglass Montgomery, Little Man What Now
William Powell, Thin Man-slurs his lines and it’s correct
Claude Rains, Crime of Passion
Pierre Richard-Willm, Le Grand Jeu

ACTRESS
Marie Bell, Le Grand Jeu
Claudette Colbert, Imitation of Life-malleable in all the right ways
Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night
Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage-like a bomb
Marlene Dietrich, Scarlet Empress
Ruan Lingyu, The Goddess
Myrna Loy, Thin Man
Jeanette MacDonald, Merry Widow
Aline MacMahon, Heat Lightning
Margo, Crime Without Passion
Dita Parlo, L’Atalante
Ginger Rogers, Gay Divorcee
Norma Shearer, Barretts of Wimpole Street-makes her sedated nature work
Margaret Sullavan, Little Man What Now

S. ACTOR
Walter Connolly, It Happened One Night
Preston Foster, Heat Lightning
John Davis Lodge, Scarlet Empress
Gilles Margaritis, L’Atalante
Alan Mowbray, Little Man What Now
Stanley Ridges, Crime Without Passion
Michel Simon, L’Atalante

S. ACTRESS
Louise Beavers, Imitation of Life
Whitney Bourne, Crime Without Passion
Alice Brady, Gay Divorcee
Louise Dressler, Scarlet Empress
Kathleen Howard, It’s a Gift
Carole Lombard, Twentieth Century
Una Merkel, Merry Widow
Maureen O’Sullivan, Thin Man
Francoise Rosay, Le Grand Jeu

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