The Best 5 Films of the 1930s (That I Have Seen)

by George Watches Things

Today, I introduce a new character to the ensemble cast. Over the next eight weeks, I will be counting down the best films of each decade. This week, I reveal to you five films from the earliest decade (that I’ve seen more than two motion pictures from) that I think are excellent. Enjoy and feel free to comment with your own picks.

5. The 39 Steps

I haven’t seen very many films from the thirties (which is why this is a top 5 instead of a top 10 or 25). But I have time to catch up. I don’t expect all of these to endure, and The 39 Steps least of all. It’s an interesting, albeit slight, early Hitchcock effort that finds multiple people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Classic, eh? Runner-up: Ninotchka.

4. The Thin Man

I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I quite enjoy murder mysteries (particularly Agatha Christie novels). I also have an affinity for comedies. So imagine how I felt when I found a murder mystery that made me laugh. The Thin Man series is one of the earliest and probably the most underrated movie franchise of all-time.

3. Gone With the Wind

An oldie, but a goodie! (Aren’t they all?) People have suggested that Gone With the Wind is boring. These are the same people that will have you believe that Community deserves to be cancelled or Mitt Romney is consistent (zing!). Sure, it clocks in at 15 minutes under four hours, but so what? When a movie is this brilliant and utterly fascinating, time flies.

2. Modern Times

I haven’t had a chance to see Modern Times since early 2010, but it still sticks out in my memories as one of the greatest films of all-time. Not only is it a funny movie, it’s drama works well, too. However, if I had to recommend one of Chaplin’s 1930s products to you, it would have to be…

1. City Lights

Yes, my top two are Chaplin films. Recently, I selected City Lights for salvation from movie-eating monsters, and today I crown it as the best film of the thirties. I’ll have to create a pantheon soon enough, as I mention this one too often (well… twice in two weeks). But it deserves all the love. Modern Times is hilarious, but City Lights is funnier. Modern Times is deep, but City Lights is deeper. I really love this film, and I insist you see it as soon as possible.

Additionally, and I won’t ever give you this opportunity again, you may now make fun of Alec Baldwin for his recent comments:

Okay, well, The Google has found no videos for this, so I’ll just tell you what he said. He claimed that Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey are the closest things we have today to Charles Chaplin. Uhhh, nooooo? Old Charles Chaplin DVDs seem to be the closest things we have today to Charles Chaplin. Never put him in the same sentence as them again, Alec.