Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ten Movies on an Island: 1930s Edition

The 1930s were a time of constant change in Hollywood as the movies made the transition to sound and had to find their feet all over again. Some stars were able to make the switch smoothly, many were not. It was a time where it had to be decided what could and could not be shown, of how far was too far. With the institution of the Hays Code came the birth of the Screwball comedy and with it a new kind of zaniness, perfect for coping with the Great Depression. Animation as we know it today took it's first big step with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney's first feature length animated picture. Then came 1939, the crème de la crème of motion pictures, with it's classics like Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Stagecoach.

The main question is, how can I choose a mere ten films from such a diverse and amazing decade? I have 95 titles from that decade on my movie list. That means I can't choose 85 of them. Yet choose I must. As in any film list, many were left off, but here are the ones I truly could not live without:

1. The Thin Man (1934) - William Powell & Myrna Loy
2. It Happened One Night (1934) - Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert
3. Theodora Goes Wild (1936) - Irene Dunne & Melvyn Douglas
4. Libeled Lady (1936) - William Powell & Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy & Jean Harlow
5. Double Wedding (1937) - William Powell & Myrna Loy
6. Bringing Up Baby (1938) - Katharine Hepburn & Cary Grant
7. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) - Errol Flynn & Olivia de Havilland
8. Bachelor Mother (1939) - Ginger Rogers & David Niven, Charles Coburn
9. The Wizard of Oz (1939) - Judy Garland
10. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - James Stewart & Jean Arthur

Honorable Mentions (aka didn't quite make it): Forsaking All Others (1934), Curly Top (1935), The Whole Town's Talking (1935), My Man Godfrey (1936), True Confession (1937), You Can't Take it With You (1938), Four Daughters (1938), Daughters Courageous (1939), and In Name Only (1939).

Tomorrow: My top ten from the 1940s!


  1. Oh, dear. I love lists. I loved reading your list. I'm starting to look at it as a challenge. No! I will just enjoy your list and look forward to tomorrow's edition.

  2. Excellent list, Phyl! "The Thin Man," "It Happened One Night," "Bringing Up Baby" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" are some of my favorite films of all time.

    1. Thanks Catia! It was a great decade :)