BECK index

Movie Mirrors Guide
1930-1939

by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Introduction
Movie Mirrors Index
Movie Mirrors Index by Year (with ratings):
1913-1926 1927-1929
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957

Sanderson Beck’s List of the Greatest Movies of All Time
Sanderson Beck’s List of the Greatest Movies in Alphabetical Order

Abbreviations
b = black and white, c = color
En = Beck's entertainment value, Ed = Beck's educational value

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

N
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (1939 b 60') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on Carolyn Keene's novel, Nancy gets Ted to help her find a murderer trying to scare two old ladies out of their house.
This amusing mystery moves quickly with persistent youthful energy as the precocious Nancy manipulates Ted into committing several crimes to help her solve the case and preserve the ladies' charitable bequest.

Nancy Drew - Detective (1938 b 66') En: 5, Ed: 4
Based on stories by Carolyn Keene, two teenagers find a kidnapped woman.
This detective story with young heroes was so popular that other Nancy Drew movies soon followed, indicating the trend for movies about teen-agers, who are smart and full of energy and initiative. In this mystery they save an elderly lady from being exploited for her wealth by being imprisoned in a sanitarium.

Nancy Drew ... Reporter (1939 b 68') En: 5, Ed: 4
As a student reporter Nancy investigates a murder case, believes the arrested woman is innocent, and uncovers the murder conspiracy.
Once again the youthful Nancy uses various devices to follow the clues she luckily finds so easily. Journalism proves to be a useful entry into crime investigation.

Nancy Drew ... Troubleshooter (1939 b 68') En: 5, Ed: 4
Nancy is jealous of her father's romance but manages to track down two murderers, who have framed her father's friend.
This mystery includes comedy and exciting adventures as Nancy puts aside jealousy for her father's attention to engage in the lure of detective work with her boy-friend Ted.

Narrow Corner, The (1933 b 69') En: 5, Ed: 5
Adapted from a novel by Somerset Maugham, a fugitive travels the south seas and falls in love.
This philosophical melodrama portrays a desperate man on the run to the far corners of the earth; but, meeting new friends, he regains hope despite the tragic death of the man he admired.

Naughty But Nice (1939 b 90') En: 5, Ed: 4
A music professor has his melodies turned into popular songs; but a singer seduces him for a new publisher, and his new lyricist steals classical music.
This musical comedy reflects the current vogue of swing music and wild dancing that some consider naughty; but even though the abstinent professor gets plastered, the emphasis of this farce is on the nice.

Naughty Marietta (1935 b 104') En: 6, Ed: 6
In this adaptation of Victor Herbert's operetta a French princess flees an unwanted marriage by joining contracted brides going to New Orleans, where she meets a mercenary captain.
This musical entertains with fine music while expressing the democratic theme of a princess leaving the aristocracy to marry a soldier in the wilderness.

Navy Blue and Gold (1937 b 94') En: 6, Ed: 6
George Bruce adapted his book about three football players who room together at the Navy academy.
The positive attitudes of Dick and Truck are contrasted to the cynicism of the athletic Roger, who nevertheless expresses the Navy spirit in helping Dick and Truck. Football represents fighting battles but with fewer casualties.

Never the Twain Shall Meet (1931 b 79') En: 4, Ed: 5
This parable explores the clash between cool western civilization and the warmth of the tropical east.
This story plays out the fantasy of a white man being involved with a sexy native woman. Dan seems to have given up passion and become indifferent like Maisie, because he prefers western civilization.

New Frontier, The (1935 b 54') En: 5, Ed: 4
When a trail herder's father is murdered, he becomes sheriff to bring law and order to a new town.
This basic story of a good man becoming sheriff of a lawless town to kill murderers would be repeated many times, because the violent conflict entertains while bringing across the theme of law and order.

New Moon (1930 b 78') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on an operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, a princess falls in love aboard ship with a heroic lieutenant.
Innuendo pervades this film as Igor encourages the lovers. Yet the Russian lieutenant's only wedding present for the princess is a pistol. The excellent music and Igor's wit overcome an otherwise violent story.

Next Time We Love (1936 b 87') En: 6, Ed: 6
A foreign correspondent and an actress marry, but their careers allow them little time together.
This realistic drama explores the difficulties of a married couple when both have successful careers that cause them to be separated. Already international conflicts are beginning to affect some Americans, who are sensitive to world issues.

Night at the Opera, A (1935 b 91') En: 8, Ed: 7
The three zany Marx brothers play havoc with an opera company and manage to replace the egotistical tenor with the young one in love with the soprano.
This anarchic mayhem with a heart spoofs society's authorities and social conventions. Groucho says and Harpo does what most people may only dare to think. The cleverness makes it top-notch entertainment with biting social satire.

Night Court (1932 b 92') En: 6, Ed: 6
Based on the play by Mark Hellinger and Charles Beahan, a corrupt judge frames a young mother on prostitution.
Moffett's fear of being caught for corruption leads him to go too far in framing an innocent person, resulting in the unraveling of the graft network. A bad judge can ruin many people's lives, especially the poor who cannot afford good lawyers while letting the corrupt get away with crimes.

Night Must Fall (1937 b 117') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on a play by Emlyn Williams, a man charms and is hired by an ailing lady, but her niece suspects he is a murderer.
Fine acting enhances this mystery drama that contrasts the pleasing personality of Danny with his gruesome deeds. Mrs. Bramson is completely taken in by his manner, but Olivia suspects correctly it is an act. Similarly audiences are entertained by such mysteries that are not real. Yet how many are also fascinated by gruesome murders that are real?

Night Nurse (1931 b 72') En: 6, Ed: 6
Adapted from Dora Macy's novel, a nurse discovers an attempt to starve children to gain a trust fund and saves the children.
Notorious for showing the nurses changing clothes, this dramatic story portrays a bootlegger as helpful and a woman victimized with the use of alcohol. The real heroine is the courageous night nurse, who is not afraid to risk her career to help people in need.

Ninotchka (1939 b 110') En: 8, Ed: 8
A Communist envoy in Paris aims to sell jewels for her country but falls in love with a playboy.
This romantic comedy satirizes Communist ideology and social customs in contrast to glamorous Paris as the disciplined Ninotchka gradually thaws out under the influence of love.

Nitwits, The (1935 b 82') En: 5, Ed: 4
A blackmailing murderer is caught by two nitwits trying to clear a girl-friend in this mysterious comedy.
Wheeler and Woolsey manage to entertain by making mirthful madness out of a murder mystery.

No Man of Her Own (1932 b 81') En: 5, Ed: 6
Sparks fly in the only movie Gable and Lombard made together about a crooked gambler, who is persuaded to go straight.
Cynics may ridicule this story of a gambler, who is moved to reform his life by a small-town woman; but to me it seems realistic that such a man might realize the emptiness of the scams and truly want to change his life in order to live with a such a beautiful, kind, and intelligent woman.

No More Ladies (1935 b 81') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on the play by A. E. Thomas, a woman marries a playboy, gets jealous, and finds a lover to show she can do it too.
A strong woman in love with an amorous flirt decides to try to even up the double standard in this comedy in order to preserve her marriage and her happiness.

No Other Woman (1933 b 58') En: 5, Ed: 4
A steel worker marries and helps his wife's friend develop a successful business but finds another woman and sues for divorce.
This realistic drama portrays the common story of a husband who goes on binges and falls for another woman even though he has a faithful wife and fine son. The attempt to manipulate a trial backfires, enabling him to learn a hard lesson in prison. Anna cleverly provoked the truth by telling an even more outrageous lie against herself, arousing the pity of the husband who loves her.

No Place to Go (1939 b 56') En: 5, Ed: 4
Based on a play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman, a retired man lives with his son and his wife and befriends a poor boy.
This domestic drama explores whether an elderly parent should live with his children. Andrew finds he fits in much better with his own age group and with the young friend that he makes.

Nobody's Baby (1937 b 68') En: 5, Ed: 4
Two women become nurses, double-date, and take care of a baby while the mother goes to inform the father.
In this comedy wise-cracking Kitty tolerates the foolishness of Lena. These two working women are independent enough to decline sudden marriage.

Nothing Sacred (1937 c 74') En: 7, Ed: 7
A reporter and his editor publicize a young woman dying of radiation poisoning only to learn she is healthy.
This scintillating comedy satirizes modern public relations and publicity campaigns that play upon the public's emotions.

Notorious Affair, A (1930 b 67') En: 4, Ed: 5
Based on a play by Audrey and Waverly Carter, a woman from high society marries a nervous violinist, and each considers having an affair.
The performance of Billie Dove adds luster to this drama about a high-strung violinist whose whole being seems disturbed by his or his wife's adultery.

Nuisance (1933 b 83') En: 6, Ed: 6
A shyster lawyer, who sues ruthless corporations for accident victims, falls in love with the company's detective.
The fast-talking Stevens plays every trick he can against the "soulless corporations" on behalf of the downtrodden whether it is ethical or not until he is ensnared by a beautiful woman. Now can he become honest or will he lose her?

O
Of Human Bondage (1934 b 83') En: 6, Ed: 7
In the first film of Somerset Maugham's novel a medical student falls in love with a waitress, who loves others instead until it's too late.
This realistic portrayal of frequent unrequited love shows the negative side of the sexual bond. Sadly, Mildred's tendency to turn destructive when relationship is tested ends in her own demise. Carey, the shy introvert, has difficulty expressing his feelings but eventually matures enough to find a possibly balanced relationship.

Of Human Hearts (1938 b 104') En: 7, Ed: 8
Based on Honoré Morrow's novel, a preacher raises his son in a poor area; but his mother helps the son become a physician in the Civil War.
This masterful drama of human relations contrasts the spiritual values of Ethan to the more worldly yet humanitarian concerns of Jason, while Mary loves and supports both. Lincoln well represents the poignant concern for a long-suffering mother.

Of Mice and Men (1939 b 106') En: 7, Ed: 7
Adapted from John Steinbeck's novel and a play, a friend tries to keep a brawny simpleton out of trouble as they work on a farm to gain a stake.
In this tragedy several people are unhappy with their situations and want to change them; but George is unable to keep the strong Lennie from killing accidentally, suggesting how vulnerable human life is to violence.

Office Wife, The (1930 b 59') En: 4, Ed: 5
Adapted from Faith Baldwin's novel, a businessman discovers that his secretary is closer to him than his wife.
This drama shows how a businessman spends so much time with his secretary that he may neglect his wife, proving the theme of the book on how the office wife controls the businessman.

Oil for the Lamps of China (1935 b 98') En: 6, Ed: 7
A man dedicates his life to a big oil company's work in China in this adaptation of the novel by Alice Tisdale Hobart.
This realistic drama explores the personal sacrifices made by employees of a transnational oil company and their families. Stephen is barely able to love his wife as much as his work; but she is expected to give all for him and his work. The unrealistic deus ex machina ending may have been designed to avoid offending powerful oil companies.

Oklahoma Kid, The (1939 b 81') En: 6, Ed: 5
In the new town of Tulsa after his law-abiding father is framed and lynched, an outlaw gets revenge by killing those most responsible.
In 1895 Indian land is taken for settlers. In the wild West a crooked gang gets its way until another violent outlaw gets revenge.

Old-Fashioned Way, The (1934 b 71') En: 6, Ed: 5
The Great McGonigle tries to keep his theatrical troupe ahead of the sheriffs, but his daughter falls in love with a rich young singer.
The comedic talent of W. C. Fields carries this show alone; so his fans will find it a delight. The story suggests how tenuous life could be for a traveling theatrical troupe at the turn of the century.

Old Dark House, The (1932 b 71') En: 6, Ed: 4
Based on J. B. Priestley's novel Benighted, five stranded travelers have to stay overnight in the old dark house of the strange Femm family.
This film creates a mood of anxiety and fear of a brutal butler and an insane relative, while one night is enough to convince Penderel and Gladys they want to marry.

Old Hutch (1936 b 80') En: 5, Ed: 4
A poor man, who doesn't work, finds stolen money but can't spend it.
This story portrays a poor and lazy character who complains and makes excuses. The money he finds sets up an irony when he is unable to spend it. Nonetheless the well-to-do Dave loves his pretty daughter.

Old Maid, The (1939 b 95') En: 7, Ed: 8
Adapted from a play by Zoe Akins based on Edith Wharton's novel, two sisters love the same man, and one blocks the wedding of the other.
This drama reflects the social discrimination based on class and illegitimacy. Delia marries a Ralston from fear of being an old maid, but lying to a Ralston causes her sister to endure that fate in an era when a woman's social role depended heavily on her husband.

On Borrowed Time (1939 b 99') En: 7, Ed: 8
Based on Paul Osborn's play from a novel by Lawrence Edward Watkin, an old man traps death so that he can take care of his orphaned grandson.
This inspiring parable shows the importance and value of death in releasing souls from irreparable bodies. The influence of the good-hearted cursing and temper of Julian is contrasted to the prim self-righteous but selfish zeal of the sour Demetria.

On Your Toes (1939 b 94') En: 5, Ed: 4
Based on the Rogers and Hart musical play by George Abbott, a Vaudeville dancer composes a jazz ballet for a broke Russian ballet company.
This film emphasizes the comedy and ballet as it satirizes the pretensions of the refugee Russians and their artistic ballet.

One Hour with You (1932 b 77') En: 7, Ed: 7
Based on the play Only a Dream by Lothar Schmidt, George Cukor and Ernst Lubitsch directed this musical comedy about a happily married couple who flirt with affairs.
This story affirms a happy marriage while titillating the audience with affairs as another marriage breaks up. André is almost too charming for his own good, and Colette's jealousy actually pushes her husband into an assignation. Yet in the end the strength of their love for each other triumphs.

One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937 b 85') En: 7, Ed: 7
The daughter of an unemployed musician manages to get funding and Stokowski to conduct an orchestra of jobless musicians.
This moving and amusing film has great music. The extraordinary effort of a young woman helps the wealthy and a famous conductor to help deserving musicians who need work, which results in more music and wider prosperity for society, reflecting one of the many liberal policies that helped to alleviate the Depression.

One in a Million (1936 b 94') En: 6, Ed: 5
A promoter discovers a champion ice skater training for the Olympics and almost damages her amateur standing by putting her in a show.
This musical comedy cashes in on the figure skater's fame from the recent Olympic games, mimicking the dramatic conflict between amateur athletics and professional show business.

One Sunday Afternoon (1933 b 69') En: 5, Ed: 5
Based on a play by James Hagan, a dentist wishes he had married someone else; but years later he realizes he loves his wife better.
Though he has his own violent tendencies, the shy Biff comes to realize that Amy's sincere love is precious compared to the crassness of Hugo and Virginia.

One Way Passage (1932 b 68') En: 7, Ed: 7
This Oscar-winning original story is about a romance on a ship between a man condemned to be executed and a woman doomed to an early death.
This story shows how the crisis of facing death can stimulate people to appreciate living in the present. Dan nobly gives up his chance to escape in order to care for Joan when she faints. The confidence tricks and pick-pocketing of Skippy and Betty seem benevolent as they help their condemned friend. This is a story for the heart, not the head.

Only Angels Have Wings (1939 b 121') En: 7, Ed: 7
Pilots risk their lives flying mail over the Andes, and a woman visitor explores whether love with such is possible.
This tough drama foreshadows the dangers of the coming air war as men and women learn how to be detached about life and death.

Operator 13 (1934 b 85') En: 5, Ed: 5
Two actresses serve the Union cause by spying in the South, but one falls in love with a Confederate officer in charge of spying.
Although Gail's initial disguise is absurd, this story does reflect actual incidents in the Civil War, and the romantic love makes the violence of war seem more absurd than anything else.

O'Shaughnessy's Boy (1935 b 87') En: 5 Ed: 5
A lion-tamer's wife, influenced by her sister, takes take their son away; after his wife dies, he tries to get his son back.
This dramatic story shows how hatred can poison one parent against another and divide the feelings of the child. Windy shows he is capable of mastering the bestial nature by overcoming his fear.

Other Men's Women (1931 b 70') En: 5, Ed: 5
When his wife realizes she loves her husband's best friend, the husband gets hurt and sacrifices himself on their railroad job.
In this romantic triangle the lover is honest with the husband; but they still fight with tragic results. It is difficult not to get upset when such powerful emotions are aroused. Finally the husband makes a heroic sacrifice so that his wife and his friend can be happy.

Our Betters (1933 b 83') En: 5, Ed: 6
This sophisticated comedy based on a play by Somerset Maugham satirizes the liberal morals of the English aristocracy and social climbers.
Although the acting is uneven, this drawing-room comedy skewers the idle upper class and their subtle games of social influence and love.

Our Little Girl (1935 b 65') En: 5, Ed: 6
A little girl is upset by her parents' breaking up and manages to pull them back together.
This story depicts the common frustration of the bored housewife of a husband who is too busy with his work. The child's love and their love for the child keep them together in that difficult circumstance.

Out West With the Hardys (1938 b 84') En: 6, Ed: 6
The Hardys find challenges and personal problems to solve on the ranch of the Judge's old flame and her husband.
The cocky Andy learns humility in this episode while Marian once again finds she is not ready for an older man. The Judge finds a solution to the problem of water rights while his loyal wife as usual is ready to risk all for her husband's plans. With no violence this small-town family entertains with dramatic but realistic problems.

Outcasts of Poker Flat, The (1937 b 68') En: 5, Ed: 5
Based on Bret Harte's story, a gaming-hall owner adopts a lucky orphan and prospers until a minister, school-teacher, and a citizens committee arrive.
Helen believes that she can build empire by pushing her man in the right direction; but in the violence of the wild west that fails in this case.

Outward Bound (1930 b 83') En: 5, Ed: 7
Based on Sutton Vane's 1923 play, passengers on a ship learn they have died and face an examination, except for two who attempted suicide.
This spiritual story offers many insights into the experiences that follow death when souls face the consequences of their lives. Suicides have run away from life and have to wait for their judgment day.

Over the Wall (1938 b 67') En: 5, Ed: 4
Based on a story by Warden Lewis E. Lawes, a pugnacious boxer is convicted of manslaughter but becomes a singer and is pardoned.
This drama shows the problems that can result from fighting and the corruption that may exist in the boxing racket. Jerry gradually learns to control his temper and direct his energy into something positive like singing.

P
Pacific Liner (1938 b 76') En: 5, Ed: 4
A cholera outbreak in a ship's engine room puts pressure on the workers, the engineer, a doctor, and a nurse.
This drama portrays the hard work and dangers of the workers who keep a steamship going. Nurse Ann loves and admires Dr. Craig for his outstanding work on tropical diseases yet wishes him to settle down in her home town. He is tempted by the idea but finds his work calling him and hopes she will join him.

Page Miss Glory (1935 b 93') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on a play by Joseph Schrank and Philip Dunning, a composite photo wins a beauty contest, and publicity leads two con men to find a maid to play the role.
This comedy satirizes the publicity hysteria that may surround a glamorous woman or a sensational aviator.

Paid (1930 b 86') En: 5, Ed: 4
This adaptation of the play Within the Law by Bayard Veiller shows how a woman unjustly sent to prison for grand larceny gets revenge against the wealthy persons who framed her.
The background of this unusual revenge drama shows how society has varying standards of justice depending on one's income and social standing.

Painted Desert, The (1931 b 75') En: 4 Ed: 5
Two friends quarrel over a found baby, starting a feud over water that is finally settled when the child grows up and develops a mining business.
This story shows how the hostility of a western feud can go on for a long time until a young intermediary they both value can bring the opposed sides together. Best friends had become worst enemies because of their stubborn resentment. Fortunately the next generation had better attitudes.

Painted Veil, The (1934 b 84') En: 5, Ed: 6
In this adaptation of Somerset Maugham's novel a woman marries a doctor and goes with him to China; she falls in love with a married man but stays with her husband during an epidemic.
In the novel Walter dies of the plague, and the wife feels free except that she sleeps with Townsend one more time. The moralized film version has Katrin find love in her marriage. Walter's dedication wears off on her, as her respect for him grows when they are alone together. The British viewpoint shows the Europeans trying to save the ignorant Chinese, though there is some recognition of the subtlety of Chinese culture.

Palooka (1934 b 86') En: 5, Ed: 4
Based on the comic strip by Ham Fisher, the son of a boxer gets a manager who lines up fixed championship fights, as the champ enjoys a new girlfriend.
Durante adds comic flair to this story about fixed boxing. The innocent young man is tempted away from his country sweetheart by a fast city woman.

Pals of the Saddle (1938 b 54') En: 5, Ed: 4
Three cowboys help a woman in the Secret Service stop a smuggling ring trying to get poison gas to another country.
This western reflects the fear that the poison gas used in the world war may be used again.

Parachute Jumper (1933 b 72') En: 5, Ed: 5
Two U. S. Marines flyers leave Nicaragua, can't find a job, and wind up flying for a bootlegger in New York.
These two flyers went from serving U. S. imperialism in Nicaragua to working for a bootlegger after suffering from the Depression. Smuggling dope is seen as worse and more dangerous than liquor. Alabama also has difficulties trying to market her secretarial skills, while the gangsters find their life-span is short.

Paradise for Three (1938 b 79') En: 6, Ed: 5
Adapted from Erich Kaestner's novel, a wealthy businessman goes incognito on vacation with the unemployed winner of his soap contest, who falls for his daughter.
This comedy contrasts the gold-digging Irene with the poor Fritz falling in love with Hilde, not knowing she is rich, while the wealthy Tobler gets a new perspective.

Paris Interlude (1934 b 72') En: 5, Ed: 4
Based on the play by S. J. and Laura Perelman, an alcoholic reporter leaves his fiancé in Paris, and she falls in love with his friend.
In this melodrama Sam's habit of seducing women by asking them to marry while he is drunk nearly causes Julie to miss the opportunity to marry her best friend Pat, who also admits he suffers from hero worship for the maimed flyer Sam.

Parnell (1937 b 118') En: 7, Ed: 8
Adapted from the play by Elsie T. Schauffler, the Irish leader for home rule overcomes slander but is defeated by a divorce scandal.
This essentially accurate true story portrays Parnell's impressive political career that was destroyed by his love for a separated but married woman. Unfortunately negative reviews by critics have caused this fine film to be neglected when it came out and since then.

Passion Flower (1930 b 79') En: 4, Ed: 5
Adapted from a novel by Kathleen Norris, a chauffeur marries and struggles in poverty but is helped by his wife's cousin, causing him to leave his family.
This dramatic triangle is complicated by the economic disparity between Dulce and her cousin Katherine. Dan wants to be independent, but circumstances lead to his accepting much from Dulce. Yet after a fling he comes to realize that his loyal wife and children are for him. The story implies that the working poor find more fulfillment than the idle rich.

Passionate Plumber, The (1932 b 74') En: 5, Ed: 4
Adapted from a play by Frederick Lonsdale, a plumber plays a lover for a woman who wants to discourage a married man, but she can't make up her mind.
This bedroom farce satirizes the lover who tries to avoid marriage by lying he is married and a shy plumber wanting a pretty woman, who is not sure what she wants.

Patient in Room 18, The (1938 b 61') En: 5, Ed: 4
Based on a novel by Mignon G. Eberhart, a private investigator in the hospital for a rest and a nurse help solve murder cases that occur there.
This lively mystery moves quickly though the unexpected ending results from an improbable motive.

Payment Deferred (1932 b 81') En: 6, Ed: 6
Based on a play by Jeffrey Dell, a bank clerk, desperate for money, murders his nephew and finds some relief when his wife learns of his guilt.
Will's conscience is relieved by his deferred punishment after his wife's apparent suicide. This drama ably shows some of the bad consequences of a horrible crime even though Will seemed to be getting away with it.

Peg o' My Heart (1933 b 87') En: 6, Ed: 6
This essentially accurate true story portrays Parnell's impressive political career that was destroyed by his love for a separated but married woman. Unfortunately negative reviews by critics have caused this fine film to be neglected when it came out and since then.

Penguin Pool Murder (1932 b 66') En: 5, Ed: 4
Adapted from a novel by Stuart Palmer, a school-teacher helps a police inspector solve a complicated murder.
This detective tale is highlighted by the amusing cleverness of the feminist Hildegarde, who is a better detective than the inspector.

Penrod and Sam (1937 b 64') En: 5, Ed: 6
A boy defends a black boy from a bully, and his friends keep the bully out of their detective club; but he gets to join after they catch robbers.
This idealized drama of boys catching dangerous bank robbers shows the trend to make government crime-fighters heroes instead of the criminals.

Penthouse (1933 b 89') En: 6, Ed: 5
A society lawyer defending gangsters turns detective to prove his girl-friend's fiancé was framed for a murder.
This gangster mystery combines intrigue with wit and romance. Friendship with Gazzati and Gertie enables Durant to solve the case.

Personal Maid's Secret (1935 b 58') En: 5, Ed: 4
A maid helps the family of an insurance salesman by entertaining the upper class, but she has a secret from her past.
This story suggests that a good maid can greatly aid the social and financial status of her employers, but in this era it is probably just a pleasant fantasy.

Personal Property (1937 b 84') En: 5, Ed: 5
Adapted from H. M. Harwood's play, a man pursues his brother's fiancé by getting a job watching her property for the court.
This romantic comedy plays upon the irony that Claude and Crystal are planning to marry for the other's money when both actually have little, while Raymond pursues Crystal, and they fall in love, showing that personal feelings are a better basis for marriage than property.

Personality Kid, The (1934 b 68') En: 5 Ed: 4
A boxer managed by his wife wins several fixed fights and then wins after he agreed to lose.
Unfortunately the ending gives false hope in a sport that is brutal even when it is not corrupt.

Peter Ibbetson (1935 b 85') En: 5, Ed: 6
Adapted from the novel by George Du Maurier, childhood friends meet again; but she is married. He is imprisoned for killing her husband, but they share dreams and the hereafter.
This mystical film was acclaimed by surrealists and explores the deeper spiritual connections that transcend the physical world.

Petrified Forest, The (1936 b 83') En: 6, Ed: 5
Adapted from Robert Sherwood's play, a writer falls in love with a waitress while they are taken hostage by a gang of killers.
The alienated intellectual Alan is contrasted to the desperate killer Duke in the post-world war era when Nature seems to be striking back at human arrogance as society tries to cope with violence.

Phantom of Crestwood, The (1932 b 77') En: 5, Ed: 4
Radio listeners could enter a contest explaining who killed Jenny and her companion Carter in this mystery, but they had to see the movie in order to know the author's ending.
This multiple blackmail gets the audience suspecting several people, but the unlikely murder motive is family pride, thus keeping everyone in suspense until the end. Jenny turns out to have been killed by mistake.

Piccadilly Jim (1936 b 95') En: 6, Ed: 5
A cartoonist and his father woo two women in the family the comics satirize.
A charming and persistent American wins out over a complacent British lord despite the obstacles and his deceptions.

Pick a Star (1937 b 70') En: 5, Ed: 4
A pretty singer wins a talent contest but doesn't get a screen test until a movie star tries to woo her.
This comedy satirizes Hollywood and how pretty women get their breaks there.

Picture Snatcher (1933 b 76') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on crime photographer Tom Howard's career, an ex-convict works for a tabloid getting dangerous pictures while falling for a cop's daughter.
In this melodrama of a reforming gangster Danny uses questionable methods to get pictures, but stealing and lying are a step above extortion and murder. The story shows how a gangster's tactics can corrupt journalism and vice versa.

Pigskin Parade (1936 b 92') En: 6, Ed: 5
Texas State gets a new coach and finds a great passer for its big game with Yale in this musical comedy.
This story celebrates the growing obsession with college football, and no one seems to care that a radical is jailed for two months so that a star player can fraudulently enter the university to play football.

Pilgrimage (1933 b 96') En: 5, Ed: 6
In this sentimental film directed by John Ford a mother disapproves of her son's marriage and gets him drafted; he is killed in the war, and she comes to realize her error.
The sad lesson of a possessive parent who ruins her son's life is eventually learned when she finds a similar situation in France. The tremendous losses in a world war take many forms.

Plainsman, The (1936 b 113') En: 6, Ed: 5
Cecil B. DeMille directed this romanticized version of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok stopping the selling of rifles to Indians.
An illustrious lawman in Hays City and Abilene, Hickok did eventually marry Agnes Lake. The plot of selling rifles to Indians is apparently a fabrication used to glamorize him as a hero. He was murdered in 1876 by Jack McCall, who was hanged for it five months later.

Platinum Blonde (1931 b 89') En: 6, Ed: 5
Frank Capra directed this story of a mismatched marriage between a reporter and a rich society woman.
This story contrasts an independent and creative writer and his wild friends with a stuffy society family; Stew shows flair, though his resort to slugging people is deplorable.

Play Girl (1932 b 60') En: 5, Ed: 5
A woman leaves her job and marries a man before learning he is a gambler.
This melodrama is a cautionary tale about the instability of gambling. Yet somehow Wallie's risk-taking and boldness is part of his charm, and in desperation Buster comes to like gambling too.

Playing Around (1930 b 66') En: 5, Ed: 4
A young woman goes out with a man driving a fancy car and gets engaged; but he is caught robbing her father's store by her old boy-friend.
This simple morality tale warns against playing around with those who lie and spend money they don't have in order to make a big impression.

Plough and the Stars, The (1936 b 67') En: 5, Ed: 6
In this abbreviated version of Sean O'Casey's play about the Irish rebellion of 1916 a woman weeps while her husband fights.
This movie barely touches on O'Casey's concern that care for the poor should take precedent over the violent struggle for independence which caused a patriotic riot when the play was first presented in 1926. The only principal character to die, Mollser, dies because of poverty. Yet the film emphasizes the dilemma that men fight while women love and weep.

Polly of the Circus (1932 b 70') En: 5, Ed: 5
A pretty trapeze artist falls in love with a minister, but the scandal causes him to lose his vocation.
Two different life-styles conflict in this romantic drama that is deepened by the economic difficulty of finding a good job. Ironically the religion that is supposed to be loving and forgiving is in this case intolerant and mean.

Possessed (1931 b 76') En: 5, Ed: 5
In this adaptation of Edgar Selwyn's play The Mirage a poor worker goes to New York and finds a wealthy lawyer, who will not marry her.
This story shows the double standard that disgraces single women more than single men for a love affair. Conflicts between love and ambition and also between different social classes are explored.

Poor Little Rich Girl (1936 b 79') En: 5, Ed: 5
The daughter of a wealthy soap manufacturer wanders into a "vacation" with a Vaudeville couple and ends up on the radio for her father's competitor.
A rich girl finds more freedom with families that are not so overly concerned about her, and she has fun helping a couple get a good job entertaining.

Poppy (1936 b 74') En: 5, Ed: 4
Adapted from Dorothy Donnelly's play, a tonic salesman tries to get his daughter to inherit a rich estate.
The comedic talent of W. C. Fields is diverting. Perhaps the greatest irony of the story is that attorney Whiffle marries Maggie to gain a fortune but gets her without it. The innocence of Poppy is rewarded, and despite the deceit of McGargle he may benefit from having raised her.

Prestige (1932 b 71') En: 4, Ed: 5
Based on Harry Hervey's novel, a French officer assigned to run a prison camp in Indochina succumbs to alcoholism, but his wife makes him buck up.
This slow-paced drama exposes French racism and colonialism in Indochina that becomes a "burden" for the prestigious white race.

Prince and the Pauper, The (1937 b 118') En: 7, Ed: 7
Based on Mark Twain's novel, a pauper replaces the prince just as the king dies; much intrigue and crime occurs before Edward VI gets his place back.
By switching the extremes of society this story satirizes the inequalities and intrigues of monarchy that is out of touch with the needs and problems of the poor.

Princess Comes Across, The (1936 b 76') En: 6, Ed: 5
An actress pretending to be a princess is blackmailed and becomes involved with a musician and a murder mystery aboard a ship.
This mystery is combined with romantic comedy, satirizing the absurd privileges of royalty and what actors will do to get into movies.

Princess Tam Tam (1935 b 77') En: 5, Ed: 5
A writer fights with his wife, teaches an African, and tries to pass her off as a princess to make his wife jealous; but she is playing the same game.
This variation of the Pygmalion theme contrasts French civilization with a "primitive" African. The added plot is both husband and wife using foreigners to make the other jealous, implying that they are being exploited by those who really consider their own culture superior.

Prisoner of Shark Island, The (1936 b 95') En: 6, Ed: 7
In this true story Dr. Mudd treats the broken leg of Lincoln's assassin and is sentenced to life imprisonment; he fails to escape but treats yellow fever victims.
This unjust imprisonment is well dramatized and made understandable in its historical context, showing that true stories are often the most powerful because of their reality.

Prisoner of Zenda, The (1937 b 101') En: 7, Ed: 6
Based on Anthony Hope's 1894 novel, an Englishman substitutes as king to foil a plot to take over the kingdom, but he falls in love with the queen to be.
This adventure story has charm and grace; but with everyone speaking English in eastern Europe it is an unlikely fantasy that implies the Englishman is more virtuous and romantic.

Private Detective (1939 b 56') En: 5, Ed: 4
A woman detective outpaces her police fiancé in solving a complicated murder case.
This compact mystery has humor and shows a capable woman leading.

Private Life of Henry VIII (1933 b 94') En: 7, Ed: 7
Laughton won an Oscar as the lusty king with a big appetite who went through six wives and countless mistresses.
Focusing on his personal relationships rather than his politics, this long and eventful reign is portrayed mostly as banquets and bedroom diplomacy. The desires of the flesh are never really satisfied.

Private Lives (1931 b 85') En: 6, Ed: 7
Based closely on Noel Coward's play, a divorced meet on separate honeymoons and run off together, repeatedly quarreling and making up.
This sophisticated comedy explores how passion easily slides into conflict, as this couple find words keep leading them into quarrels, showing how the strong emotions of love and hate are closely related.

Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The (1939 c 106') En: 7, Ed: 7
Based on Maxwell Anderson's play, an older queen has a love-hate relationship with a military hero but will not share power with him.
Although the details of this drama are historically inaccurate, its spirit is essentially true to the larger events as it portrays an aging queen, who sacrifices personal love to reign more responsibly than the rash young man. Ironically the private quarrel between the imperious Davis and the wild Flynn reflected their roles.

Prizefighter and the Lady, The (1933 b 102') En: 6, Ed: 6
An alcoholic boxing promoter finds a great fighter, who marries a gangster's girlfriend but with success can't leave the women alone.
When this film was made, Carnera was world champion; he refused to be in the film if he lost. However, the next year Max Baer defeated Carnera to take the crown. The story explores the sexual problems that result from the Professor's insisting on chastity during training and from Steve's cockiness.

Professional Sweetheart (1933 b 74') En: 5, Ed: 5
A radio singer with a pure image wants to experience men, and so her handlers find her an Anglo-Saxon from Kentucky to marry, trying to renew her contract.
This story satirizes the purity expected by fans and promoters as contrasted with the free morality desired by entertainers. Typically, the uninhibited singing of a black woman is rejected as immoral.

Professor Beware (1938 b 93') En: 5, Ed: 4
In this wild comedy an Egyptologist fears an old love story will affect him and is pursued across the country by police and the woman he marries.
This farce plays on the fear that the professor is repeating a previous life, but their love for each other helps them transcend the past.

Prosperity (1932 b 87') En: 5, Ed: 5
A woman retires to let her son run the bank, but her friend starts a panic that results in their living with the friend.
This Depression story combines slapstick humor of Dressler and Moran with dramatic power from the compassion and enterprise of the strong Maggie, showing why Marie Dressler was one of the most popular actresses of this era.

Public Enemy (1931 b 83') En: 7, Ed: 6
This trend-setting gangster film has two forwards and an epilog apologizing that they are not trying to glorify hoodlums and criminals but emphasizing that the evils of prohibition violently portrayed are not a man or a character but a public problem the public must solve.
The obvious points of this story are stated at the beginning and the end; but how Tom became an abusive personality can be seen in his childhood. It is also implied that his outward violence may be compensation for feelings of sexual inadequacy.

Public Hero #1 (1935 b 90') En: 6, Ed: 5
A government agent infiltrates a gang; but then he falls in love with the gangster's sister.
This drama also shows the trend toward making government agents heroes in the war on gangsters. Affection for crime figures changes to law officers as Theresa's feelings shift from her brother to Jeff.

Purchase Price, The (1932 b 68') En:5 , Ed: 5
This story of a nightclub singer who becomes a mail-order bride on a farm was based on Arthur Stringer's play The Mud Lark.
This romantic story contrasts the city night-life to hard and simple farming. The shy farmer prolongs the suspense to the anticipated conclusion, enabling the audience to want them to get together for most of the movie. Honest hard work pays off and foils the lusty neighbor.

Puttin' on the Ritz (1930 b 71') En: 5, Ed: 5
Irving Berlin songs highlight this story of an entertainer who finds a woman and success but then starts drinking in high society.
Harry and Dolores find success even though their friends are still struggling. Yet prosperity is ruined by Harry's character when he drinks with the upper crust. Blindness helps him to learn humility, and the love of Dolores promises to save him.

Pygmalion (1938 b 96') En: 8, Ed: 8
Bernard Shaw won an Oscar for adapting his play about a phonetics expert who teaches a flower-girl to speak and behave like a lady.
This faithful adaptation of Shaw's brilliant play satirizes the English upper class as based primarily on speech and manners by demonstrating how the poor can join it by learning these skills.

Q
Q Planes (Clouds Over Europe) (1939 b 81') En: 6, Ed: 6
Test planes are disappearing and are investigated by an eccentric secret service man, who is helped by his reporter sister and a chauvinistic pilot.
Droll British humor livens this spy story that reflects concerns about an imminent war in which aircraft will be important. Kay represents the modern working woman, but can Tony (Olivier) adjust his arrogant attitude?

Quality Street (1937 b 84') En: 6, Ed: 5
Adapted from a play by James Barrie, a school-teacher pretends to be her own niece to win her old beau after he returns from the Napoleonic wars.
This refined comedy takes on the prevalent fear in this era that a young woman might end up an old maid if she is not careful.

Queen Christina (1933 b 99') En: 8, Ed: 8
The Swedish queen makes peace, falls in love with the Spanish ambassador, and abdicates her throne. Her philosophical character and the events are historical with the major exception of the romance.
This film emphasizes the romantic theme that even a queen has the right to choose her own mate. The historical Queen Christina was tutored by Descartes and abdicated her throne because she converted to Catholicism in addition to not wanting to marry.

Quick Money (1937 b 61') En: 5, Ed: 4
Two men try to get a small town to invest its school funds in a summer resort, but the mayor resists the pressure.
This farce offers a morality tale warning local communities not to invest their school funds in risky ventures.

R
Racket Busters (1938 b 72') En: 5, Ed: 5
Based on court records, racketeers force truck drivers to join their association while a prosecutor tries to get witnesses to testify.
This drama reflects efforts to stop racketeering by getting witnesses to testify against them and also symbolizes the wider problem of fascism.

Radio City Revels (1938 b 90') En: 5, Ed: 4
A broke songwriter gets songs from his student's sleep-singing while his neighbors fall in love with the student and a radio singer.
This musical comedy satirizes the contrast between a country hick and desperate New Yorkers lacking rent.

Raffles (1930 b 72') En: 6, Ed: 5
Sidney Howard adapted E. W. Hornung's novel The Amateur Cracksman about a charming upper-class jewel thief who outsmarts Scotland Yard.
This charming caper reflects an aristocratic view of a gentleman clever enough to get away with major crimes; but it is innocent in a way because no one really gets hurt.

Rage of Paris, The (1938 b 77') En: 6, Ed: 5
A French model is hired to get a millionaire to marry her; but their strategy is countered by the millionaire's friend, who suspects the plot.
This comedy plays on the prevalent Depression conflict between marrying for money or for love. As usual wishes are fulfilled when the one she loves turns out to have money too.

Rain (1932 b 94') En: 5, Ed: 6
Maxwell Anderson adapted the Colton-Randolph play of Somerset Maugham's story about the interaction between a loose woman and a reforming preacher on a south sea island.
This story exposes Christian hypocrisy and the sexist double standard about sexuality that Jesus forgave and tolerated and that has turned some, like Horn, from religion to Nietzsche. Davidson, because of his inner conflict, falls from social prominence and power to self-inflicted death, while Sadie, whose social position is the lowest, triumphs with the spirit of life.

Rains Came, The (1939 b 103') En: 6, Ed: 7
Based on Louis Bromfield's novel, unusual romances occur when characters transform following a natural disaster in India.
This drama shows how a disaster can stimulate people to act unselfishly in helping others, making the two budding romances blossom in the passionate rainy season.

Rasputin and the Empress (1932 b 121') En: 7, Ed: 8
This historical drama about the charismatic Russian monk and the last Romanovs won an Oscar for its original screenplay by Charles MacArthur.
In real life the Russian prince won one million dollars in a libel suit against MGM for indicating his wife had been raped by Rasputin (apparently in the longer original version). This led to motion pictures using the disclaimer that any similarity to actual people is only coincidental. Although the film may not have been accurate in every detail, it tells the dramatic story of the Romanov's fall as aided by the phenomenal Rasputin, who did in fact persuade many women to sin with him so that they could be saved.

Raven, The (1935 b 61') En: 5, Ed: 4
A surgeon obsessed with the torture ideas of Edgar Allan Poe uses a criminal to get revenge when he suffers unrequited love.
This stylized film portrays a sadistic doctor who uses his genius to try to manipulate others; but he fails miserably as he is caught in his own device.

Reaching for the Moon (1930 b 73') En: 5, Ed: 5
An aviatrix meets a Wall Street wizard, and he woos her on a cruise ship while the stock market crashes.
Two ambitious people are drawn together. She sees beyond his inexperience with women to his touching sincerity even though at times he can be brash and insensitive. Such men can ride stocks, yet bounce back.

Ready, Willing and Able (1937 b 94') En: 5, Ed: 4
A songwriter and a singer put on a show when they get a college girl with the same name as an English star.
This show offers entertainment while showing some of the struggles that go into making it happen.

Real Glory, The (1939 b 95') En: 6, Ed: 5
Adapted from Charles L. Clifford's novel, a doctor and American officers help Filipinos fight off disease and attacking Moros.
Americans with guns and medical science help their Filipino friends overcome the rebel Moros even though these Muslims use suicidal attacks.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938 b 80') En: 6, Ed: 6
Suggested by Kate Wiggin's novel, a little girl is discovered by her new neighbor and becomes a singing star on radio despite her aunt's objections.
This Shirley Temple musical comedy shows a positive spirit overcoming old grudges and selfish greed, but it takes only a little from the famous children's story.

Reckless (1935 b 97') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on the life of Libby Holman, a Broadway singer marries a millionaire, who regrets he gave up his fiancé and kills himself.
Though Virginia Verrill sings for Harlow, I found this film quite entertaining and moving. Mona is a sincere and strong character; Ned is friendly and humorous; Jo is understanding; only Bob is weak and confused; even Harrison is brought around with the audience by Mona's integrity.

Red Dust (1932 b 83') En: 6, Ed: 6
A rubber plantation owner has an affair with the wife of an employee despite the jealousy of a stranded prostitute.
The rainy season is considered a time of passion in the tropics as this story shows, though they work in the rain. Dennis goes from no women to choosing between two, complicating their lives.

Red-Headed Woman (1932 b 80') En: 6, Ed: 6
A woman uses her sexual charms to gain the affection of wealthy men and a French lover.
Censors were perturbed that Lil was not punished for her sins; but except for the shooting incident perhaps she got what she deserved. She could manipulate a man with sex, but did this give her real love? and wasn't she providing entertainment and pleasure? The story still provides a warning to men about the temptations of lust.

Reducing (1931 b 77') En: 5, Ed: 5
A reducing parlor operator has her sister's family visit her in New York, where their daughters compete for an eligible millionaire.
Starting out as slapstick comedy, this story becomes a dramatic lesson about responsibility in relationship.

Rembrandt (1936 b 84') En: 7, Ed: 8
After his wife dies, the great painter falls into debt and is not allowed to marry his maid.
This drama is fairly accurate except Rembrandt did not die in poverty. Even though he was rather successful, this artist still had to struggle against debt for not pleasing patrons and for having two common-law wives.

Remember? (1939 b 84') En: 5, Ed: 4
An advertising executive falls in love with his best friend's fiancé; they marry but quarrel until their friend causes them to forget.
This comedy uses a scientific fiction to cause irony and humor, avoiding the issue that Jeff's advertising work is disrupting his marriage.

Rendezvous (1935 b 94') En: 5, Ed: 5
Based on a novel by Herbert Yardley, who was head of U. S. Secret Service in World War I, a code expert helps capture a German spy ring despite romantic flirtation.
This spy thriller combines romantic comedy so that the hero can help win the war and the girl at the same time, enabling an audience to see complicated espionage solved and courtship leading to marriage in 94 minutes.

Renegade Ranger (1938 b 59') En: 5, Ed: 4
A Texas Ranger is assigned to bring in a woman for murder but discovers that a corrupt tax collector has framed her.
Until he is caught, the crimes of a corrupt county tax collector cause a local revolt by those who lost their land. Justice is reflected in this unusual western when the Mexicans get their land back from the greedy Texans.

Reno (1939 b 73') En: 5, Ed: 4
A lawyer represents miners in Reno and then develops a big practice with divorce cases, putting a strain on his own marriage.
This epic drama shows how Reno's divorce business affected the personal life of a lawyer. The treatment reflects current censorship but nonetheless indicates that divorce is becoming more socially acceptable.

Return of Dr. X, The (1939 b 63') En: 5, Ed: 4
Adapted from William J. Makin's novel, a reporter and doctor discover that a criminal doctor is murdering to get blood to keep alive.
This drama explores a horrific result of experimenting with artificial blood with an executed murderer, reflecting some of the bizarre possibilities opened up by recent medical discoveries such as blood groups.

Rich Are Always With Us, The (1932 b 71') En: 5, Ed: 5
In this adaptation of E. Pettit's novel a rich woman is divorced when her husband falls in love with a younger woman; but she eventually marries the writer who has always loved her.
The audience can identify with the strong characters of Caroline and Julian while observing the weakness of Greg, the immaturity of Allison, and the feistiness of Malbro. The compassionate Caroline goes through a natural process of change.

Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938 b 72') En: 5, Ed: 5
Based on a play by Edith Ellis, a millionaire struggles to understand the lower middle-class family of his fiancée.
This realistic comedy explores the economic challenges of a family as contrasted to a man who inherited wealth. Henry's frustration and ideas stimulate the willing Bill to consider ways he could help people.

Richest Girl in the World, The (1934 b 76') En: 5, Ed: 6
The world's wealthiest woman pretends to be her secretary to see if the man she loves wants her or her money.
This deception attempts to determine if Tony loves Dorothy or wealth; yet the rich help him along in his poor quest by some insider trading.

Ride Him, Cowboy (1932 b 56') En: 5, Ed: 4
A white horse and a young cowboy are the heroes in this fast-moving western about an outlaw gang led by a man pretending to be an upstanding citizen.
Animal lovers will enjoy the heroism of Duke. The film also satirizes frontier justice with the trial of a horse and a farce conducted by a hanging judge. A prominent citizen can also turn out to be a major criminal.

Riffraff (1936 b 94') En: 6, Ed: 6
An arrogant fisherman tries to boss his union and is thrown out; his bride gets in trouble with the law trying to help him.
In this melodrama Dutch learns that his quarrelsome and arrogant behavior is destructive. Unfortunately Hattie will have to suffer for her misguided attempts to help and join her wayward husband.

Right to Romance, The (1933 b 67') En: 5, Ed: 5
A woman doctor longs for romance and gets married quickly; but he likes his previous girl-friend, and she realizes an associate loves her.
This drama portrays a positive female role model as a surgeon; but she has to learn about romance that a cheerful playboy is not right for her. Heppie's love is deeper like hers; but he too must learn how to express it.

Riptide (1934 b 93') En: 6, Ed: 6
Edmund Goulding wrote and directed this story of an American woman who marries a British lord, then has a fling with an old flame before realizing she and her husband really love each other.
This film aroused morality concerns about pre-marital sex and adultery. Mary learns that for intimacy to develop the truth must be uncovered. His inability to recognize and express his real feelings almost cost Philip his wife.

River's End (1930 b 74') En: 5, Ed: 4
Adapted from James Oliver Curwood's novel, a look-alike fugitive takes the place of a Mounty who died and falls in love with his girl.
Ironies abound as Keith boldly impersonates the less humane Mounty and makes friendships despite his precarious situation.

Road Gang (1936 b 61') En: 4, Ed: 5
A journalist exposing a corrupt political boss is railroaded to a prison mine; but his fiancé and his editor get the attorney general to help him.
This story dramatizes the brutality of a punitive prison system, where innocent victims of powerful criminals suffer. In this case the Attorney General was not controlled by the corrupt politicians and could save the hero.

Road to Glory, The (1936 b 97') En: 7, Ed: 7
William Faulkner helped write this war story of a French company fighting in the trenches under two officers in love with the same nurse.
This grim drama exposes the harsh reality of the world war, put in perspective by Bouffiou's letter saying he will be in a serious situation if he doesn't make his music-box payment. Officers say they are fighting for France and civilization, but how has France and civilization led them to this insanity?

Roaring Twenties, The (1939 b 106') En: 7, Ed: 6
Two war veterans go into bootlegging and violence, but a lawyer turns straight and wins the wholesome girl.
This drama reflects the violence that resulted from the attempt to ban alcohol as men trained to use guns in the war turned to crime.

Roberta (1935 b 105') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on a novel by Alice Duer Miller and the Harbach-Kern play, musicians from Indiana play in Paris while their friend inherits a dress business.
This story suggests that American entertainment is equal to the artistry of Paris fashions. The Puritannical John finds himself a better match, while the Astaire-Rogers team not only demonstrates their great dancing, but their singing and comedy talents as well.

Robin Hood of El Dorado, The (1936 b 85') En: 6, Ed: 6
Based on the historical novel by Walter Noble Burns, after his wife and brother are murdered, a Mexican farmer gets revenge and leads bandits against Anglos.
This drama portrays the increasing violence caused by racial prejudice and unjust behavior of a minority. In this case fortune hunters from the United States took territory and then property from Mexicans. The story mirrors the racial violence and lynching in the United States as well as contemporary atrocities in Nazi Germany and the Japanese empire.

Roman Scandals (1933 b 92') En: 6, Ed: 5
Eddie imagines himself back in ancient Rome where he uncovers corruption similar to his small town in this musical comedy choreographed by Busby Berkeley.
This satire of various movies and the social mores of America and Rome uses humor, music, and pretty women in revealing costumes to keep the audience entranced.

Romance (1930 b 76') En: 5, Ed: 6
Based on the play Signora Cacilini by Edward Sheldon, a young clergyman falls in love with a beautiful opera singer with a past.
This bittersweet romance shows the difficulty when differing lifestyles make a marriage for two lovers impractical. The gulf between the naive minister and the amorous opera star is too large to be bridged. Tom's advice to his grandson implies he regretted rejecting Rita because of her past.

Romance In Manhattan (1935 b 77') En: 5, Ed: 5
An illegal Czech immigrant is helped by a chorus girl and her younger brother; they fall in love, and a policeman helps them get married.
This story of America as the immigrants' dream shows some of the bureaucratic barriers, although the extraordinary assistance of the police is usually only found in cinematic fantasies like this one.

Romeo and Juliet (1936 b 125') En: 6, Ed: 7
In this version of Shakespeare's great romantic tragedy the star-crossed lovers are depicted as mature adults instead of as adolescents.
Even though this movie is considered long, much of Shakespeare's play was cut. Yet only Shakespeare's lines were used, and their brilliance makes this a powerful and enlightening experience for movie-goers. In this classic story male belligerence and violence overcome young love; but maybe the audience will learn.

Room Service (1938 b 78') En: 6, Ed: 5
Adapted from a play by John Murray and Allen Boretz, a producer owing money for a hotel room stays there with the author waiting for backing.
This farce satirizes the desperation of a producer trying to raise money for a show, implying how fragile show business can be.

Rosalie (1937 b 124') En: 6, Ed: 5
Based on a play by W. A. McGuire and Guy Bolton with songs by Cole Porter, a West Point football star and a European princess fall in love.
This musical comedy is absurdly romantic with Dick flying across the ocean for a date and Rosalie giving up her kingdom for a football player, but audiences that like singing, dancing, humor, and a love story won't mind that.

Rose Marie (1936 b 111') En: 6, Ed: 5
Adapted from the Friml-Hammerstein-Harbach operetta, an opera singer tries to save her criminal brother and falls in love with the Mountie pursuing him.
From the sophisticated world of opera to the Canadian wilderness, music and love draw a singer and Mountie together even though he performs his duty in arresting her brother. In the process she is transformed from a complaining prima donna, who dislikes men, to a woman, who cannot sing without her man.

Rose of Washington Square (1939 b 86') En: 6, Ed: 5
A singer falls in love with a gambler, who gets in trouble with debts and the law; but her singing mentor helps her go on.
Despite the disclaimer, this story was so close to the life of Fanny Brice that she sued and won a settlement. Jolson's singing is uplifting, and the character Bart learns that shady dealings have their consequences.

Royal Family of Broadway, The (1930 b 78') En: 6, Ed: 6
Based on the play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber that satirizes the theatrical Barrymore family, this story explores the conflict between actors' life-style and a "normal marriage."
This portrait of a family with theater in their blood shows how this special dramatic magic can make actors different than others used to a more hum-drum life. The enrichment they receive from theatrical experience seems to compensate them for its difficulties of travel and the psychological confusion that can result from taking on dramatic emotions and motivations.

Ruggles of Red Gap (1935 b 90') En: 8, Ed: 7
Adapted from the novel and play by Harry Leon Wilson, a wife hopes an earl's valet will give her husband culture, but in America the valet decides to become a self-made man.
This culture clash between wild western behavior and aristocratic gentility offers delightful comedy as Egbert and eventually Ruggles shatter the phony expectations of Effie and Belknap-Jackson. The theme of American freedom and equality as compared to old-world class distinctions is aptly illustrated.

Rulers of the Sea (1939 b 97') En: 5, Ed: 7
A sailor and machinist work together to make the first steamship crossing of the Atlantic while the sailor falls in love with the machinist's daughter.
This drama shows the difficulty of getting support for a new idea even when it is inevitable that it will eventually surpass the old ways.

Rules of the Game (French 1939 b 106') En: 7, Ed: 8
At a country estate aristocrats and servants deal with jealousy and changing partnerships.
This comedy satirizes French morals, changing relationships, and class distinctions. Only aristocrats are allowed to kill rabbits; but a servant kills a suspected rival like a rabbit, though the Marquis covers it up as an accident.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index by Year (with ratings):
1913-1926 1927-1929
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959

Sanderson Beck’s List of the Greatest Movies of All Time
Sanderson Beck’s List of the Greatest Movies in Alphabetical Order

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index