Best films of the year, “a new world of gods and monsters!” edition

Once again I play the best movies of a-year-ending-in-five game, turning the calendar back to 1935.    Jesse Walker offered his pick, followed closely by LAGuy.

Mad Love, movie posterI haven’t seen as many films from 1935 as I’d like, so few that I can’t even select a full top ten.  You will all have to make do with six:

  1. The Bride of Frankenstein.  Starts with Mary Shelley then heads off in all directions: campy horror, playful sexuality, casual mayhem.  “To a new world of gods and monsters!”
  2. Top Hat.  Pure lighthearted delight.  I recently rewatched this in a hospital, and it helped.
  3. Mad Love.  Another take on the Hands of Orlac story, with Peter Lorre playing up his weirdness to an insane level as an obsessed fan of the Grand Guignol theater.  Inspired and daring for the time.  “I have conquered science! Why can’t I conquer love?”
  4. The 39 Steps.  The first of many adaptations of Buchan’s fun novel, all of which will ignore as much of the book as they can.  Which is bad for the book, but good news for the movie in this case.  (Some friends and I explain)
  5. Triumph of the Will.  A perfect epic film.  Ditto for advertising.  Or call it a very personal passion project.
  6. A Night at the Opera.  Solid Marx Brothers.

Honorable mentions:

  • The Raven.  More dark horror from the 30s, with Karloff and Lugosi.
  • A Tale of Two Cities.  Soppy and wrong-headed, it nevertheless works as fine melodrama and probably influenced a generation’s thinking about the French Revolution.
  • Mark of the Vampire.  Already the 1930s horror films undid themselves.
  • The Werewolf of London.  Rounding out the decade’s monsters.

Want to see: A Colour Box, Captain Blood, Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo, Ruggles of Red Gap, An Inn in Tokyo, The Black Room, Crime and Punishment, The Informer.

…and that’s it for now.  I haven’t seen enough films from 1925 to make a post, much less 1915.  I will have to dig in and catch up, or else wait until next January, when we begin the whole cycle again.

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