Carl Th. Dreyer's 19322 horror classic

‘Vampyr’ – Classic horror as tone poem on HBO Max and Criterion Channel

Vampyr (Denmark, 1932) is a horror movie as tone poem. An early sound film shot with a distinctive and evocative silent film aesthetic, dialogue is sparse and large blocks of text (either intertitles or pages from a book of vampire lore) provide the exposition. And it’s eerily abstract film with vague motivations and ethereal imagery […]

Gloria Stuart stars with Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, and Ernest Thesiger in James Whale's classic horror comedy

James Whale’s ‘The Old Dark House’ on Criterion Channel and Kanopy

James Whale followed up his iconic horror classic Frankenstein (1931) with the strange, sly, and sardonic The Old Dark House (1932), part haunted house terror and part spoof executed with baroque style. Boris Karloff (fresh from his star-making turn in Frankenstein) takes top billing in the supporting role of Morgan, the scarred, mute butler with […]

Constance Bennett and Lowell Sherman in the original pre-code 'Star is Born' from George Cukor

‘What Price Hollywood?’ – the pre-code ‘A Star is Born’ on The Criterion Channel

What Price Hollywood? (1932) is one of the wittiest and most interesting Hollywood movies about Hollywood culture ever made. It’s a shame it’s not better known. This pre-code comedy stars Constance Bennett as an aspiring actress waiting tables at The Brown Derby who gets her big break when a drunken film director (Lowell Sherman) invites […]

Marlene Dietrich in the 1932 classic by Josef von Sternberg

Criterion Blu-ray: Dietrich & Von Sternberg in Hollywood

Dietrich & Von Sternberg in Hollywood (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) At the dawn of the sound era, as German movie star Emil Jannings left Hollywood to return to Germany, the actor invited Austrian-born/American-raised director Josef von Sternberg (who directed Jannings in The Last Command, 1928) to Universum Film A.G. to direct him in that studio’s first […]

Clark Gable, Tully Marshall, Donald Crisp and Jean Harlow in the 1932 MGM classic directed by Victor Fleming

Clark Gable and Jean Harlow in ‘Red Dust’ on DVD

Red Dust (1932), the jungle melodrama starring Clark Gable as a rubber plantation foreman in East Asia and Jean Harlow as the street smart showgirl who takes a powder from “Say-gone” (as they call the future Vietnamese city of Saigon) and lands upriver in his primitive plantation manor, is as sexy, frank, and grown-up as […]