Gold Diggers of 1933 — directed by Mervyn LeRoy and spectacularized by Busby Berkeley — has been more thoroughly watched, interpreted, contextualized, explained, poked, prodded, and dissected over the years than any other comedy of the era. It has been glossed in terms the male gaze, the commodification of women, the reduction of female bodiesContinue reading “Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)”
42nd Street was the first of the four monumental musicals associated with Busby Berkeley in the miracle years of 1933 and 1934. (The others were Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, and Dames.) For a long time they were lumped together, as if they were parts of single artifact, the revolutionary Busby Berkeley spectacle-film. ContemporaryContinue reading “42nd Street (1933)”
Libeled Lady hits the sweetest spot of Hollywood comedies of the interwar era. It’s a transcendent example of the genre, a fusion of literate script, sharp-witted dialogue, brilliant acting, pacing, mise en scene, and all the screwball virtues: quick-reacting women, overconfident men with absurd plans, rapid-fire repartee and pratfalls, newsroom machismo and high-society suavité. It’sContinue reading “Libeled Lady (1936)”
Little Miss Marker was Shirley Temple’s breakthrough film. She was five years old when she made it. Watching her in it is an unnerving experience in more ways than one. The whole film is a weird experience. Directed by Alexander Hall, some of it so bad, so poorly paced and edited, and so old fashionedContinue reading “Little Miss Marker (1934)”
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