Archive for November 8th, 2008


the next in the series of masterworks dealing with World War I looks at its after-effects. 

by Allan Fish

(USA 1931 77m) not on DVD

It seemed like a good idea at the time

d  William Dieterle  w  John Monk Saunders  book  “Single Lady” by John Monk Saunders  ph  Sid Hickox  ed  Al Hall  md  Leo F.Forbstein  art  Jack Okey  cos  Earl Luick

Richard Barthelmess (Cary Lockwood), Helen Chandler (Nikki), David Manners (Shep Lambert), John Mack Brown (Bill Talbot), Elliott Nugent (Francis), Walter Byron (Frink), Luis Alberni,

One of my more idiosyncratic choices is this obscure, rarely mentioned but utterly unforgettable drama released by Warners at a time when gangster movies dominated their schedules.  It was, to all intents and purposes, a companion film to writer Saunders’ classic World War I flying pics Wings and The Dawn Patrol, this time concentrating on the fate of ex-flyers in the immediate aftermath of hostilities.  As a tale of what F.Scott Fitzgerald referred to as the “lost generation”, it has no rivals, cinematically speaking.  It may owe much to Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, but it stands head and shoulders above the film of that novel because it somehow seemed more alive.  Even so, it’s poignant to recall that this film about a forgotten generation has now become forgotten itself, not helped by an inexcusable failure to release it to home video or DVD.  (more…)

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next up in the 1930s countdown, a short masterpiece…

by Allan Fish

(USA 1932 30m) DVD1/2

Where are Pickfords when you need them?

p  Hal Roach  d  James Parrott  w  H.M.Walker

Stan Laurel (Stan), Oliver Hardy (Ollie), Billy Gilbert (Professor Theodore Von Schartzenhoffen), Charlie Hall (postman),

What can one say about this?  The Music Box is three reels of absolute perfection, thirty minutes of laugh upon laugh, wince upon wince and shudder upon shudder.  The great duo made many great shorts in their early talkie days, including Towed in a Hole with its boat-wrecking scene, Busy Bodies with the car being sawn in half, Laughing Gravy with the poor eponymous dog and Dirty Work with Sam Adams’ unctuous butler declaring “you can’t miss the fireplace, it’s up against the wall.”  All are great in themselves, but none of them are as immortal as The Music Box or cause so much destruction.  (more…)

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