1930’s

[8.0] Behold the glory of Barbara Stanwyck. One of classic Hollywood’s sassiest broads makes a big splash in this early talkie that’s leagues ahead of other early 30s flicks in terms of story, craftsmanship, and performance. Babs plays a “party girl” (we know them as escorts now) who serendipitously winds up hitching a ride in the middle of the night with a fuddy-duddy artist. Both …

[5.0] Dorothy Mackaill stars as a young woman strung along by a wealthy suitor who eventually declines to marry her, souring her relationship with any man until a rich artist comes along and strikes her fancy. The Reckless Hour is cut from a well-used cloth, but moves briskly for an early talkie and features a couple of colorful supporting performances, namely Joan Blondell as Mackaill’s …

[3.0] Dorothy Mackaill headlines as a newly-engaged Broadway song and dance star who’s confronted with a ghost from the past on the eve of her retirement. Noah Beery plays the bad guy — a man who tried to rape Mackaill’s character several years ago, and who shows up at the theater to (we assume) try again. Bright Lights (also known bizarrely as Adventures in Africa) …

[7.5] A young boy named Jesse (Roger Daniel) runs away from home to find a job and send money back to his mother, but along the way he falls in with a band of other runaways who are constantly avoiding the police. When the boys are arrested, they are sent to a turpentine factory where they soon realize they are prisoners without rights. Jesse tries …

[6.0] Norma Shearer, ‘the First Lady of MGM,’ won her Academy Award for The Divorcee. Shearer plays against Chester Morris, happily married until she discovers Morris had a fling with a floozy a few months in the past. While he’s away on a work trip, her despair sees her into the arms of another man. When the couple try to reconcile their indiscretions with each …

[6.5] A tropical island native woman falls in love with a visiting white man, even though she’s destined for marriage to an island prince. The two lovers flee and begin a new life together, but the native mob soon catch up with them and demand they be sacrificed in a volcano to appease their angry god. Joel McCrea (The Most Dangerous Game) and Dolores del …

[6.5] Boris Karloff (Frankenstein) headlines this matinee adventure flick about a group of British archaeologists who fight to keep the recently discovered sword and mask of Genghis Khan out of the hands of the evil Fu Manchu, who would harness the items into deadly weapons against humanity. Karloff plays the evil Fu Manchu with indelible glee, supported by an equally creepy performance by Myrna Loy …

[7.0] Sylvia Sidney and Oskar Homolka star in this Alfred Hitchcock suspense yarn about a movie theater owner (Homolka) who is conspiring to set off a bomb in London. While a Scotland Yard detective (John Loder) tries to identify and arrest the saboteur, the destructive plan comes to a head when Homolka sends Sidney’s unwitting young brother (Desmond Tester) to the predetermined location… with bomb …

[8.0] In a traveling circus sideshow, a scheming trapeze artist named Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) marries a gullible, love-struck little person named Hans (Harry Earles) with plans of poisoning him and inheriting his fortunes. But there’s a code among sideshow freaks, and when Cleopatra’s dishonesty is discovered, the freaks set out to make her… ‘one of us’. Tod Browning’s (Dracula) Freaks was originally intended to horrify …

[5.5] Barbara Stanwyck stars in this murder mystery romp about a socialite who enlists her girlfriends to help her find a dead body she discovered, but which went missing before the police arrived at her calling. The police think she’s a prankster, and Henry Fonda’s newspaper reporter character only makes matters worse by publishing the play-by-play. Before long, Stanwyck and Fonda start to fall in …

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