Scarface (1932)

Another chaotic day of shooting Scarface wrapped and Ben Hecht wearily retired to his L.A. hotel room. What he wanted was peace, what he got was two henchmen demanding to know why he wrote a film about Capone. Hecht assured them he didn’t and that ‘if you call the movie Scarface, people will think it’s […]

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Love Me Tonight (1932)

Music has been the backbone of the cinema experience since Méliès visited the moon. Live pianists acted as soundtrack, from lightheartedly accompanying The Tramp’s adventures, to striking a dagger-like chord in Nosferatu. But The Jazz Singer changed everything as it synchronised the act with the beat. Ingenious filmmakers discovered ever more inspiring ways to wield […]

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Me and My Gal (1932)

Have you ever had that moment after walking away from a heated debate, or lying in bed long after a discussion ended, and the perfect one liner pops in your head? That moment doesn’t exist in screwball comedy land. A time in filmmaking when physical gags were gunned down by quick fire dialogue. A place […]

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Shanghai Express (1932)

On a train barreling through Civil-War-torn China, a country thick with spies, backstabbing and danger, a great cinematic beauty emerges into her limelight. To witness this entrance is an ex-lover, the dashing Captain ‘Doc’ Harvey (Clive Brook). Line after line of verbal foreplay could roll forever without end until she moves to check mate – […]

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Boudu Save From Drowning (1932)

Renoir once said ‘A director only makes one film in his life. Then he breaks it into pieces and makes it again’. The Bitch was a jigsaw puzzle comprised of cold blue class cynicism, red hot infidelity, and shameful shades of black moral turpitude. Boudu Saved From Drowning is a assembled from these pieces, but […]

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Freaks (1932)

It was early in the Golden Age of cinema when screenwriter Willis Goldbeck crossed the MGM backlot to the home of Hollywood tycoon Irving Thalberg. Goldbeck was welcomed with a copy of the short story ‘Spurs’ and instructions to make the adaption ‘horrible’. After a quick turn over, Golbeck was once again summoned to the […]

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Trouble In Paradise (1932)

Rom-com is an ugly word. It groaningly prods memories of insipid ‘will they won’t they’ scenarios resolving unsurprisingly. It is not that this premise can not work, it becomes formula because it works far too well, but without disguising this format, the mantra ‘opposites attract’ is laid blatantly on show and leaves little interest in […]

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Vampyr (1932)

Horror films have transformed an awful lot since the 1920 appearance of the great granddaddy The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari. Now, as we settle down with a box of popcorn, the lights yawn to darkness and the projector flickers to life, we ready our mental checklist; sudden bangs, creepy music, evil incarnate and blood by […]

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M (1931)

Evening news harks the same catastrophes and human atrocities night after night. Terrorism, racial hatred, political corruption, and murder. Instantaneous internet uploads of brutal images on a twenty four seven basis has led to nothing but a melancholy cacophony. But when a killer is loose, especially one who’s modus operandi is child victims, the world […]

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