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Blondie Johnson (1933)
LOVE made her beautiful... WANT made her daring... MEN made her ruthless!
Filmmaker(s): Ray Enright

A Depression-downtrodden waif uses her brains instead of her body to rise from tyro con artist to crime boss.

Suckers While most of the movies in this period tried to find some new way of telling the detective story, many worked on the gangster side as well. Today, we don’t quite appreciate the cleverness in the variety. I think in part because the things that...

Published January 20, 2024
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Ones |
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Betty Boop’s Hallowe’en Party (1933)
Filmmaker(s): Dave Fleischer

Betty Boop hosts a Hallowe'en party with a few uninvited guests.

Underaware I really like some of these Betty Boop cartoons. Many of the early ones deal with the overlap of evil, sex and hallucinogens, often mixed with jazz and Black men. This is one of the tamer ones in terms of the evil tone: she’s in...

Published July 27, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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Before Midnight (1933)
Lurking FINGERS of DEATH reached out of the dim and ghostly past!
Filmmaker(s): Lambert Hillyer

A detective tries to figure out who killed a man who predicted his own death.

The Written Mystery The early thirties was a time of great experimentation with the detective narrative, leading eventually to noir. This is one of those experiments, and a rather fine one. It has a framing device where an old cop is telling a young one about the...

Published June 30, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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The Kiss before the Mirror (1933)
The daring drama of two men, two women and the unwritten law.
Filmmaker(s): James Whale

When a famous doctor kills his adulterous wife, he is defended by his best friend, an attorney who suspects that his own wife is having an affair.

Sight, Insight. We used to have such a thing as a courtroom movie. The lawyer — usually the lawyer for the defence — would make a presentation designed to affect us while it affects then, often in the same way. Think Atticus Finch. These projects revolve...

Published March 4, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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The Crime of the Century (1933)
AD 2031, the passengers in the train are the only survivors on Earth.
Filmmaker(s): Bong Joon-ho

In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off most life on the planet, a class system evolves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine.

In Front of your Face A mystery the way they used to make them, full of clues, an onscreen detective and the expectation that the audience is working hard to make sense of everything. Near then end, they stop the film and an announcer appears to...

Published December 6, 2022
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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The Kennel Murder Case (1933)
William Powell returns as Philo Vance
Filmmaker(s): Michael Curtiz

Philo Vance, accompanied by his prize-losing Scottish terrier, investigates the locked-room murder of a prominent and much-hated collector whose broken Chinese vase provides an important clue.

Surprised I’m trying to find where film audiences started to accept the mystery as merely a surprise ending. You know that the successful mysteries for many decades were “detective stories” that had very clear rules about how the viewer could outwit the writer and guess, actually...

Published December 1, 2022
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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42nd Street (1933)
The Greatest Musical hit the Screen Has Ever Known!
Filmmaker(s): Lloyd Bacon

A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show, and at the last moment a chorus girl has to replace the star.

In and Out I am convinced that you cannot really understand yourself unless you understand (among other influences) the movies out of which you make the movie of your life. And you cannot understand the stuff of movies unless you’ve experienced those that invented the form,...

Published December 1, 2022
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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