Thursday, September 17, 2009

1930 - A New Decade Begins

The Depression had just hit the United States, but it also coincided with the invention of recorded dialogue in motion pictures. What started as an experiment in the Al Jolson vehicle The Jazz Singer was the standard in 1930. In fact, of the 27 films I am watching this year, only two of them are silents and both are foreign holdovers that just made it to the US. This new technology would spur a further interest in films, which were now a way for people to escape their economic despair.

The collection of films I have chosen this year include many from the great silent directors we've seen in the past, including King Vidor, FW Murnau, Frank Borzage, Ernst Lubitsch, and Josef von Sternberg. Future legends John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock would have some of their first sound films this year.

What will be really exciting is hearing some of the great silent stars speak for the first time, which was certainly also a great thrill for the audiences of the time. This year we will hear Harold Lloyd, Greta Garbo, Charles Farrell, Evelyn Brent, and many others. We will also witness the first major starring role for future Hollywood legend John Wayne in The Big Trail.

Here is the complete list:

Abraham Lincoln (DW Griffith)
All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone)
Animal Crackers (Victor Heerman)
Anna Christie (Clarence Brown)
Bat Whispers (Roland West)
Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau)
City Girl (FW Murnau)
Earth (Aleksandr Dovzhenko)
Feet First (Clyde Bruckman)
Hell's Angels (Howard Hughes)
Juno and the Paycock (Alfred Hitchcock)
L'âge d'or (Luis Bunuel)
Liliom (Frank Borzage)
Min and Bill (George W. Hill)
Monte Carlo (Ernst Lubitsch)
Morocco (Josef von Sternberg)
Murder! (Alfred Hitchcock)
Not So Dumb (King Vidor)
Song O My Heart (Frank Borzage)
Storm Over Asia (Vsevolod Pudovkin)
The Big Trail (Raoul Walsh)
The Blue Angel (Josef Von Sternberg)
The Divorcee (Robert Z. Leonard)
The Silver Horde (George Archainbaud)
Under the Roofs of Paris (Rene Clair)
Up the River (John Ford)

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