1930's: Movies I've Seen

  • Love 'Em

  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
  • L'Age D'Or (1930)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  • L'Atalante (1934)
  • Bachelor Mother (1939)
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  • City Lights (1931)
  • Duck Soup (1933)
  • The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  • Grand Illusion (1937)
  • Horse Feathers (1932)
  • It Happened One Night (1934)
  • It's a Gift! (1934)
  • Libelled Lady (1936)
  • M (1931)
  • Modern Times (1936)
  • Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  • My Man Godfrey (1936)
  • Scarface (1932)
  • The 39 Steps (1935)
  • Top Hat (1935)
  • Trouble in Paradise (1932)
  • Really Like 'Em

  • Animal Crackers (1930)
  • The Awful Truth (1937)
  • Bride of Frankenstein (1935) (may move up after a well-deserved second viewing)
  • 42nd Street (1933)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • Freaks (1932)
  • Gone With the Wind (1939)
  • King Kong (1933)
  • Monkey Business (1931)
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  • Ninotchka (1939)
  • The Public Enemy (1931)
  • Rules of the Game (1939)
  • Shanghai Express (1932)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
  • Sons of the Desert (1933)
  • Stagecoach (1939)
  • Swing Time (1936)
  • The Thin Man (1934) (see "Bride of Frankenstein")
  • Vampyr (1932)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Wuthering Heights (1939)
  • You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)
  • Like 'Em

  • The Flying Deuces (1939)
  • Gunga Din (1939)
  • I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932)
  • International House (1933)
  • A Night at the Opera (1935)
  • Nothing Sacred (1937)
  • Soup to Nuts (1930)
  • Topper (1937)
  • You Can't Take It With You (1938)
  • Could Take 'Em or Leave 'Em

  • Dinner at Eight (1933)
  • Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
  • Treasure Island (1934) (don't argue with me about this one if you think it's too low; I saw it a while ago and barely remember any of it, so I just stuck it in the middle)
  • Could Do Without 'Em

  • A Day at the Races (1937)
  • Holiday (1938)
  • The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • She Done Him Wrong (1933)
  • Really Don't Like 'Em

  • At the Circus (1939)
  • Min and Bill (1930)
  • The Raven (1935)
  • Stage Door (1937)
  • Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
  • Hate 'Em

  • Room Service (1938)
  • Haven't Seen 'Em

  • Dracula (1931)
  • Earth (1930)
  • Love Me Tonight (1932)
Author Comments: 

The list is certainly top-tier-heavy, and yet I still know I haven't seen enough great 1930's movies.

Is Room Service a Marx Bros. movie? I can't remember. But I love Duck Soup, Animal Crackers, Bringing up Baby, Modern Times, Monkey Business, and A Night at the Opera. I didn't like Frankenstein, it's supposedly a classic (in terms of greatness) but I didn't like it at all.

"Room Service" is a Marx Brothers movie, but they don't get to do their usual schtick at all. It's a dreadfully boring adaptation of a play that wasn't very good to begin with, and I'm baffled as to why the studio blemished the Marx Brothers' careers by casting them in it.

A night at the opera is my favorite Marx Brothers movie. What made you decide to place it below the other ones?

We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I have always thought "A Night at the Opera" was overrated. It's certainly not bad, but it was the beginning of the downfall for the Marx brothers - the first movie they made with MGM. After that came so much crap.

Compare "A Night at the Opera" to their early Paramount films ("Animal Crackers", "Monkey Business", "Horse Feathers", and "Duck Soup", all of which I feel are better than "A Night at the Opera"). Note how the boring, unnecessary love story and all the stupid songs are far more prominent in "Opera." Note how even the Marxes' personas have changed. In the Paramount films, they are mischievous tricksters. In the MGM film, they have been reduced to kindhearted clowns who want to help their friends. "Opera" is just not my cup of tea, especially compared to the great Paramount films.

I wonder, what's your take on King Kong. I'm a little confused on what to think of it. On one hand, it's a huge leap in special effects, movie scoring, adventure scope, and more. On the other hand, it's the epitome of the silly, overblown special effects blockbuster so prevalent today, complete with shallow characters, a plot that only serves spectacle, useless dialogue, etc.

In the latest revision to my list (which hasn't appeared on Listology yet), I've placed it below the similar-in-some-ways The Invisible Man, which has equally impressive special effects (of a different kind), better characters, plot, scenes, and dialogue.

What's your take? Does King Kong's historical context forgive the problems it has when looked at from today's critical viewpoint?

Well, I pretty much agree with you. I know some people would rate "King Kong" as a masterpiece, but I can't put it that high. I don't think we should blame it for future crappy blockbusters, and I do think its groundbreaking techniques make up for a lot of the negatives, but not all the negatives.

You should add Love Me Tonight to your "to see" list, one of my favorite films of all time.

Sure, I'm sold.