If I Had a Million (1932)

Two Leers The thirties had more experiments in exploring genres than any other time. One of those was the episode genre. It has become only a curiosity in later years because a great many films (and most comedies) are just a series of episodes loosely connected. In this case, the connection is a millionaire who… Continue reading If I Had a Million (1932)

Idiot’s Delight (1939)

Marooned Movies from this era often fade into incomprehensibility when we take them away from the context in which they were made. These were after all intended as a disposable product, to live for only a few weeks. In this particular case, the movie follows a play that had some persistence before and afterward, so… Continue reading Idiot’s Delight (1939)

Jim Hanvey Detective (1937)

Straw Dogs You can do better than watching most current movies by noodling around with old detective movies from the 30’s. They are generally not very good, but collectively they defined the base for our most common idiom. This one, thankfully, has no racist comedy player. It does depend on colourful characters and is staged… Continue reading Jim Hanvey Detective (1937)

The Phantom Empire (1935)

Subterranean Drugs I’m involved in a study of ‘folding’ in film; folding is a matter of overlain or referenced narratives. Sometimes the folding is something only of interest to highbrow specialists, but usually it is a matter of fun. Some folding is a matter of introducing bizarre conventions, and once they enter in one film… Continue reading The Phantom Empire (1935)

Double Door (1934)

Panic Room During the last depression, moviegoers were obsessed with the wealthy. As with the aristocrats in Europe, these folks neither created nor managed wealth. They just had it and wanted more. Here we have a domineering woman who believes she deserves it all, taking from rich peers in the same family. The thing can… Continue reading Double Door (1934)