The Good... of the 1930s

by Akira_Chimera | created - 18 Mar 2011 | updated - 1 week ago | Public

After creating my Best-Of-Lists for every decade I felt like some pretty good movies were still left out. To change that here is my The Good... of the 1930s list. Mind you, as the heading implies the movies on this list are not bad. I just do not feel that they belong on a Best-Of-List.

As ususal, don't hesitate to leave a comment if you feel up to it.

PS: The movies are sorted by year and not necessarily by my preference. This list is by no means complete as I will add new worthwhile films as I stumble across them.

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1. The Bat Whispers (1930)

Passed | 83 min | Crime, Thriller, Horror

A master criminal terrorizes the occupants of an isolated country mansion.

Director: Roland West | Stars: Chance Ward, Richard Tucker, Wilson Benge, DeWitt Jennings

Votes: 762

2. The Dawn Patrol (1930)

Passed | 108 min | Action, Drama, War

World War I ace Dick Courtney derides the leadership of his superior officer, but Courtney is soon promoted to squadron commander and learns harsh lessons about sending subordinates to their deaths.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Richard Barthelmess, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Neil Hamilton, Frank McHugh

Votes: 1,515

3. Morocco (1930)

Passed | 92 min | Drama, Romance

A cabaret singer and a Legionnaire fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the results of his womanizing and due to the appearance of a rich man who wants her for himself.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou, Ullrich Haupt

Votes: 4,960

4. Hell's Angels (1930)

Passed | 127 min | Drama, War

Brothers Monte and Ray leave Oxford to join the Royal Flying Corps. Ray loves Helen; Helen enjoys an affair with Monte; before they leave on their mission over Germany they find her in still another man's arms.

Directors: Howard Hughes, Edmund Goulding, James Whale | Stars: Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow, John Darrow

Votes: 4,485

5. Animal Crackers (1930)

G | 97 min | Comedy, Musical

Mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding.

Director: Victor Heerman | Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, The Marx Brothers

Votes: 12,310

6. City Girl (1930)

Passed | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A Chicago waitress falls in love with a Minnesota farmer, and decides to face a life in the country.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Charles Farrell, Mary Duncan, David Torrence, Edith Murgatroyd

Votes: 2,597

7. The Champ (I) (1931)

Passed | 86 min | Drama, Sport

An alcoholic ex-boxer struggles to provide a good living for his son.

Director: King Vidor | Stars: Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich, Roscoe Ates

Votes: 2,474

8. Smart Money (1931)

Passed | 81 min | Crime, Drama

Immigrant Greek barber has uncommon skills in playing poker and soon rises in the seedy world of illegal gambling, but pretty blondes remain his Achilles' heel.

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, Evalyn Knapp, Ralf Harolde

Votes: 1,526

9. Little Caesar (1931)

Not Rated | 79 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A small-time criminal moves to a big city to seek bigger fortune.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell, William Collier Jr.

Votes: 10,877

10. Svengali (1931)

Approved | 81 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

Through hypnotism and telepathic mind control, a sinister music maestro controls the singing voice, but not the heart, of the woman he loves.

Director: Archie Mayo | Stars: John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Donald Crisp, Bramwell Fletcher

Votes: 1,583

11. Dishonored (1931)

Approved | 91 min | Drama, Romance, War

The Austrian Secret Service sends its most seductive agent to spy on the Russians.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Warner Oland

Votes: 1,769

12. Waterloo Bridge (1931)

81 min | Drama, Romance

A prostitute's self-loathing makes her reluctant to marry an idealistic soldier during World War One.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd, Frederick Kerr

Votes: 2,250

13. Safe in Hell (1931)

Passed | 73 min | Crime, Drama

After accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a New Orleans woman flees to a Caribbean island. While she awaits her fiancé, the vicious local police chief sets his sights on her.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Dorothy Mackaill, Donald Cook, Ralf Harolde, John Wray

Votes: 1,010

14. Blonde Crazy (1931)

TV-G | 79 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

The adventures of an egoistic con man and his glamorous accomplice.

Director: Roy Del Ruth | Stars: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Louis Calhern, Noel Francis

Votes: 1,383

15. Night Nurse (1931)

Not Rated | 72 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A nurse enlists the help of a petty criminal to foil a sinister plot to murder two children.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell, Clark Gable

Votes: 2,929

16. Tonight or Never (1931)

80 min | Comedy, Romance

A young opera singer finds her career stalled because of her cold and passionless performances, until she finds romance with a handsome admirer.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Gloria Swanson, Melvyn Douglas, Alison Skipworth, Ferdinand Gottschalk

Votes: 1,285

17. The 3 Penny Opera (1931)

Not Rated | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

In London at the turn of the century, the bandit Mack the Knife marries Polly without the knowledge of her father, Peachum, the 'king of the beggars'.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst | Stars: Rudolf Forster, Lotte Lenya, Carola Neher, Reinhold Schünzel

Votes: 1,814

18. Five and Ten (1931)

Passed | 89 min | Drama, Romance

After her businessman father moves her family from Kansas City to New York, a woman falls in love with an engaged man.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard | Stars: Marion Davies, Leslie Howard, Richard Bennett, Irene Rich

Votes: 1,217

19. The Criminal Code (1930)

Passed | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

After a failed attempt at running for governor, D.A. Mark Brady is appointed warden of the state prison where many of the criminals he prosecuted are incarcerated.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Walter Huston, Phillips Holmes, Constance Cummings, Boris Karloff

Votes: 832

20. Street Scene (1931)

Passed | 80 min | Drama, Romance

Twenty-four hours elapse on the stoop of a Hell's Kitchen tenement as a microcosm of the American melting pot interacts with each other during a summer heatwave.

Director: King Vidor | Stars: Sylvia Sidney, William Collier Jr., Estelle Taylor, Beulah Bondi

Votes: 1,301

21. The Maltese Falcon (1931)

Passed | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A lovely dame with dangerous lies employs the services of a private detective, who is quickly caught up in the mystery and intrigue of a statuette known as the Maltese Falcon.

Director: Roy Del Ruth | Stars: Bebe Daniels, Ricardo Cortez, Dudley Digges, Una Merkel

Votes: 2,547

22. Pardon Us (1931)

Approved | 56 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Two guys end up in prison after attempting to sell beer to a policeman during Prohibition.

Director: James Parrott | Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, June Marlowe, Wilfred Lucas

Votes: 1,979

23. Guilty Hands (1931)

Passed | 69 min | Drama, Crime

A district attorney commits the perfect murder when he kills his daughter's womanizing fiancé and then tries framing the fiancé's lover.

Directors: W.S. Van Dyke, Lionel Barrymore | Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Kay Francis, Madge Evans, William Bakewell

Votes: 610

24. The Phantom of Paris (1931)

Passed | 74 min | Drama, Thriller

Cheri-Bibi is an escape artist wrongly imprisoned for murdering the wealthy father of his admirer Cecile. The real murderer is Cecile's fiancé, so how will Bibi escape his death sentence and win back Cecile?

Director: John S. Robertson | Stars: John Gilbert, Leila Hyams, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt

Votes: 1,208

25. Le Million (1931)

Not Rated | 81 min | Musical, Comedy

An impoverished painter and his rival engage in a race across Paris to recover a jacket concealing a winning lottery ticket.

Director: René Clair | Stars: Annabella, René Lefèvre, Jean-Louis Allibert, Paul Ollivier

Votes: 2,974

26. La Chienne (1931)

Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama

A woman and her pimp exploit a painter for money.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Michel Simon, Janie Marèse, Georges Flamant, Roger Gaillard

Votes: 3,270

27. Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

Passed | 87 min | Drama, Romance

At an all-girls boarding school, Manuela falls in love with a teacher, to terrific consequences.

Directors: Leontine Sagan, Carl Froelich | Stars: Dorothea Wieck, Hertha Thiele, Emilia Unda, Hedy Krilla

Votes: 2,159

28. Comradeship (1931)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama

Plea against war and for friendship between peoples, through the story of French miners rescued by German colleagues after a firedamp explosion.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst | Stars: Alexander Granach, Fritz Kampers, Ernst Busch, Elisabeth Wendt

Votes: 1,109

29. Monkey Business (1931)

Not Rated | 77 min | Comedy, Musical

On a transatlantic crossing, The Marx Brothers get up to their usual antics and manage to annoy just about everyone on board the ship.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod | Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, The Marx Brothers, Chico Marx

Votes: 10,514

30. The Blood of a Poet (1932)

Not Rated | 55 min | Fantasy

A young artist draws a face at a canvas on his easel. Suddenly the mouth on the drawing comes into life and starts talking. The artist tries to wipe it away with his hand, but when he looks... See full summary »

Director: Jean Cocteau | Stars: Enrique Rivero, Elizabeth Lee Miller, Pauline Carton, Odette Talazac

Votes: 5,193

31. White Zombie (1932)

Passed | 69 min | Horror

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiancé, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director: Victor Halperin | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Frazer

Votes: 8,365

32. Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)

Passed | 61 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments.

Director: Robert Florey | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames, Bert Roach

Votes: 3,289

33. The Hatchet Man (1932)

74 min | Crime, Drama

Hatchet man is ordered to kill his close friend for the sake of Tong.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Dudley Digges, Leslie Fenton

Votes: 634

34. Shanghai Express (1932)

Approved | 82 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

A loose woman rediscovers a former lover during a dangerous train ride to Shanghai.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong, Warner Oland

Votes: 6,620 | Gross: $3.70M

35. The Blue Light (1932)

85 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

When the moon is full, young men die attempting to reach the mysterious blue light in the mountains.

Directors: Leni Riefenstahl, Béla Balázs | Stars: Leni Riefenstahl, Mathias Wieman, Beni Führer, Max Holzboer

Votes: 1,037

36. Payment Deferred (1932)

Passed | 81 min | Crime, Drama

A man poisons his nephew out of desperation for money.

Director: Lothar Mendes | Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Sullivan, Ray Milland, Dorothy Peterson

Votes: 490

37. State's Attorney (1932)

Passed | 79 min | Drama

Attorney Tom Cardigan is the discontented "mouthpiece" for Vanny Powers' mob. When Tom takes sweet June Perry as his mistress, she tries in vain to redeem him. But Powers decides Tom would ... See full summary »

Director: George Archainbaud | Stars: John Barrymore, Helen Twelvetrees, Jill Esmond, William 'Stage' Boyd

Votes: 287

38. As You Desire Me (1932)

Approved | 70 min | Drama

Budapest bar entertainer Zara is a discontented alcoholic who is pursued by many men but lives with novelist Carl Salter. A strange man (Tony) shows up on Salter's estate claiming that Zara... See full summary »

Director: George Fitzmaurice | Stars: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Erich von Stroheim, Owen Moore

Votes: 545 | Gross: $0.71M

39. Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)

Not Rated | 85 min | Comedy

A bookseller saves a tramp from drowning and shelters him, but the tramp's odd behavior starts to wear everyone down.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Michel Simon, Marcelle Hainia, Sévérine Lerczinska, Jean Gehret

Votes: 4,768

40. Three on a Match (1932)

Passed | 63 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Joan Blondell, Warren William, Ann Dvorak, Bette Davis

Votes: 2,905

41. The Lost Squadron (1932)

Passed | 79 min | Drama, History, War

In hard times just after World War I, three ex-fighter pilots manage to land jobs as Hollywood stunt fliers working for dictatorial director Von Furst.

Director: George Archainbaud | Stars: Richard Dix, Mary Astor, Robert Armstrong, Dorothy Jordan

Votes: 565

42. Red-Headed Woman (1932)

Approved | 79 min | Comedy, Romance

Lillian relentlessly attempts to seduce a married man.

Director: Jack Conway | Stars: Jean Harlow, Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, Leila Hyams

Votes: 2,426

43. Virtue (1932)

Passed | 68 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A relationship gradually develops between a savvy New York street girl and a good-hearted cab driver, but other matters keep getting in their way, including financial problems and a murder.

Director: Edward Buzzell | Stars: Carole Lombard, Pat O'Brien, Mayo Methot, Jack La Rue

Votes: 579

44. Are You Listening? (1932)

Passed | 73 min | Drama

A radio writer/producer accidentally kills his wife and then attempts to escape an on-air hunt for him.

Director: Harry Beaumont | Stars: William Haines, Madge Evans, Anita Page, Karen Morley

Votes: 432

45. Grand Hotel (I) (1932)

Not Rated | 112 min | Drama, Romance

A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas.

Director: Edmund Goulding | Stars: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery

Votes: 15,851 | Gross: $1.24M

46. Frisco Jenny (1932)

Unrated | 73 min | Crime, Drama, Music

Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of a prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Ruth Chatterton, Louis Calhern, Helen Jerome Eddy, Donald Cook

Votes: 796

47. One Hour with You (1932)

Passed | 78 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

An unhappily married couple try to come between a happy one.

Directors: George Cukor, Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Genevieve Tobin, Lili Damita

Votes: 1,849

48. Jewel Robbery (1932)

Passed | 68 min | Comedy, Crime, Romance

A gentleman thief charms a Viennese baron's wife and also conducts a daring daylight robbery of a jewellers.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: William Powell, Kay Francis, Helen Vinson, Hardie Albright

Votes: 1,586