Pass The Popcorn: The Dirty Thirties

You’ve made it to Friday, which means you are probably looking forward to putting your feet up and relaxing with a good flick this weekend! Hollywood Week continues with this fun contribution from Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader. I was clued into Jen’s love for classic Hollywood based on some of her recent book purchases and she was gracious and enthusiastic enough to put together a list of some of the most renowned films of the 1930s. Have you seen any of these? Do you love black and white films too? Be sure to leave your thoughts and have a super weekend!

Hollywood Week at Rather Be Reading Blog 

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Pass the Popcorn! Jen from Pop! Goes the Reader Suggests Movies of the 1930s

The 1930’s have long been regarded as one of the most successful and illustrious decades of the film industry. Known more simply as the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood, it was responsible for producing some of most iconic films in Hollywood’s history that remain critically-acclaimed favourites to this very day. In the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, the resulting Great Depression, the aftermath of World War I and the rise of threatening totalitarian regimes abroad, people increasingly sought out forms of escapist entertainment with which to distract themselves from a bleak and increasingly more threatening reality, and no institution offered more of a respite than the film industry.

The ten films I’ve chosen below are what I consider some of the best and brightest the Dirty Thirties have to offer, often laying the groundwork for what was to follow in their respective genres. These range from the big budget blockbusters to more specific niche genre pictures and re-makes of beloved classics. This decade also saw the launch of the careers of a number of stars who have since become household names now synonymous with Old Hollywood glitz and glamour like Errol Flynn, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Jean Harlow, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Vivien Leigh, John Wayne and Shirley Temple. I hope you’ll enjoy what I consider to be the perfect introductory compilation of movies in a decade of film that was as exciting as it was enduring!

Date: 1931, Directed by: Tod Browning, Starring: Bela Lugosi & Helen Chandler
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

The Public Enemy
Date: 1931, Directed by: William A. Wellman, Starring: James Cagney & Jean Harlow
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Duck Soup
Date: 1933, Directed by: Leo McCarey, Starring: The Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico & Zeppo) & Margaret Dumont
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

It Happened One Night
Date: 1934, Directed by: Frank Capra, Starring: Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Top Hat
Date: 1935, Directed by: Mark Sandrich, Starring: Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Date: 1937, Directed by: William Cottrell & David Hand, Starring: Adriana Caselotti, Lucille La Verne, Et. Al
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Date: 1939, Directed by: John Ford, Starring: John Wayne, Claire Trevor & Andy Devine
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Date: 1939, Directed by: Frank Capra, Starring: James Stewart, Jean Arthur & Claude Rains
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Gone With The Wind
Date: 1939, Directed by: Victor Fleming & George Cukor, Starring: Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes


The Wizard of Oz
Date: 1939, Directed by: Victor Fleming & George Cukor, Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Et. Al
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

So, what are you waiting for? Dim the lights and pass the popcorn – We have some movies to watch!

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Big big hugs to Jen for contributing to our Hollywood Week series!
(She had all of these lovely graphics, too!)
For a combination of snazzy graphics, thoughtful book reviews, and more,
be sure to visit her at Pop! Goes the Reader!


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5 thoughts on “Pass The Popcorn: The Dirty Thirties

  1. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Oh how I love this post! Jen, you picked some fabulous classics from cinema in the 1930s. One of my most favorite college courses I took was the History of Cinema and we had the opportunity to study a multitude of films. I found this era to be so fascinating. Even though films have progressed into something quite amazing today, there’s still nothing like the authenticity of these films.

  2. alice-jane says:

    Ahhh I love Jen’s picks! I’ve been meaning to watch a movie from the early 1930s, especially Gone with the Wind for a while now. The timing of this post is great because I have a lot of free time in my hands in the upcoming week, haha. Totally looking forward to watching GwtW and It Happened One Day. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Alexa S. says:

    This is such a cool post! I used to watch way more films when I was still in college and taking film classes. I’m definitely taking note of your suggestions 🙂

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