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A-Ron’s The Greatest Films You Absolutely Must See: 1935-1939

Welcome To Episode 2: 1935-1939

A book I recently bought has inspired me to create my own list of “The Greatest Films You Must Absolutely See”. I’ve broken them down by years. Take a look and seek out these films that are absolutely essential to the art of cinema and must be seen.

1935

Mutiny On The Bounty

Directed By: Frank Lloyd 

As the cruel captain of the HMS Bounty, a ship bound for Tahiti, William Bligh (Charles Laughton) wins few friends. When the crew members finally tire of his abuse, Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) leads a mutiny, resulting in Bligh’s unceremonious removal from the ship. While Christian and the remaining crew sail on to Tahiti, Bligh becomes intent on exacting revenge, and he targets Roger Byam (Franchot Tone), a sailor who had actually tried to stop the mutiny.

The 39 Steps

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock 

While on vacation in London, Canadian Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) becomes embroiled in an international spy ring related to the mysterious “39 steps.” Then he meets agent Annabella Smith (Lucie Mannheim), who is soon killed in his apartment. He must elude the police, who are hunting him for murder, while he tries to stop Professor Jordan (Godfrey Tearle) from sending secrets out of the country. Hannay is assisted by Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), an unwilling accomplice who discovers the truth.

Bride Of Frankenstein

Directed By: James Whale

After recovering from injuries sustained in the mob attack upon himself and his creation, Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) falls under the control of his former mentor, Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), who insists the now-chastened doctor resume his experiments in creating new life. Meanwhile, the Monster (Boris Karloff) remains on the run from those who wish to destroy him without understanding that his intentions are generally good despite his lack of socialization and self-control.

1936

Modern Times

Directed By: Charlie Chaplin

This comedic masterpiece finds the iconic Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) employed at a state-of-the-art factory where the inescapable machinery completely overwhelms him, and where various mishaps keep getting him sent to prison. In between his various jail stints, he meets and befriends an orphan girl (Paulette Goddard). Both together and apart, they try to contend with the difficulties of modern life, with the Tramp working as a waiter and eventually a performer.

Mr Deeds Goes To Town

Directed By: Frank Capra

Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper), a resident of small-town Vermont, leads a simple life until he inherits a vast fortune from a late uncle. Soon, unscrupulous lawyer John Cedar (Douglas Dumbrille) brings Deeds to New York City, where the unassuming heir is the object of much media attention. When wily reporter Babe Bennett (Jean Arthur) gains the trust and affection of Deeds, she uses her position to publish condescending articles about him — but are her feelings for him really that shallow?

1937

Grand Illusion

Directed By: Jean Renoir

A group of French soldiers, including the patrician Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay) and the working-class Lieutenant Maréchal (Jean Gabin), grapple with their own class differences after being captured and held in a World War I German prison camp. When the men are transferred to a high-security fortress, they must concoct a plan to escape beneath the watchful eye of aristocratic German officer von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim), who has formed an unexpected bond with de Boeldieu.

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs

Directed By: William Cottrell, David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Ben Sharpsteen, Perce Pearce 

The Grimm fairy tale gets a Technicolor treatment in Disney’s first animated feature. Jealous of Snow White’s beauty, the wicked queen orders the murder of her innocent stepdaughter, but later discovers that Snow White is still alive and hiding in a cottage with seven friendly little miners. Disguising herself as a hag, the queen brings a poisoned apple to Snow White, who falls into a death-like sleep that can be broken only by a kiss from the prince.

1938

The Adventures Of Robin Hood

Directed By: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley

When King Richard the Lionheart is captured, his scheming brother Prince John (Claude Rains) plots to reach the throne, to the outrage of Sir Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn), the bandit king of Sherwood Forest. Rounding up his band of men and eventually winning the support of the lovely Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland), Robin accuses Prince John of treachery and, when the escaped Richard returns covertly to England, joins forces with the king to prevent Prince John from taking the crown.

Bringing Up Baby

Directed By: Howard Hawks

Harried paleontologist David Huxley (Cary Grant) has to make a good impression on society matron Mrs. Random (May Robson), who is considering donating one million dollars to his museum. On the day before his wedding, Huxley meets Mrs. Random’s high-spirited young niece, Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn), a madcap adventuress who immediately falls for the straitlaced scientist. The ever-growing chaos — including a missing dinosaur bone and a pet leopard — threatens to swallow him whole.

1939

Lady Vanishes

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock 

On a train headed for England a group of travelers is delayed by an avalanche. Holed up in a hotel in a fictional European country, young Iris (Margaret Lockwood) befriends elderly Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty). When the train resumes, Iris suffers a bout of unconsciousness and wakes to find the old woman has disappeared. The other passengers ominously deny Miss Froy ever existed, so Iris begins to investigate with another traveler (Michael Redgrave) and, as the pair sleuth, romantic sparks fly.

Wuthering Heights

Directed By: William Wyler

In this adaptation of the classic Emily Bronte novel set in 19th-century England, wealthy young Cathy Earnshaw (Merle Oberon) shares a loving bond with Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), a poor childhood friend who now works in her stables. Unfortunately, things become complicated when the affluent Edgar Linton (David Niven) decides to pursue Cathy, and Heathcliff leaves out of resentment. Though Heathcliff returns with a self-made fortune, he realizes he may have lost Cathy in his absence.

Mr Smith Goes To Washington

Directed By: Frank Capra

When the idealistic young Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) winds up appointed to the United States Senate, he gains the mentorship of Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains). However, Paine isn’t as noble as his reputation would indicate, and he becomes involved in a scheme to discredit Smith, who wants to build a boys’ campsite where a more lucrative project could go. Determined to stand up against Paine and his corrupt peers, Smith takes his case to the Senate floor.

Stagecoach

Directed By: John Ford

John Ford’s landmark Western revolves around an assorted group of colorful passengers aboard the Overland stagecoach bound for Lordsburg, New Mexico, in the 1880s. An alcoholic philosophizer (Thomas Mitchell), a lady of ill repute (Claire Trevor) and a timid liquor salesman (Donald Meek) are among the motley crew of travelers who must contend with an escaped outlaw, the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), and the ever-present threat of an Apache attack as they make their way across the Wild West.

The Rules Of The Game

Directed By: Jean Renoir

John Ford’s landmark Western revolves around an assorted group of colorful passengers aboard the Overland stagecoach bound for Lordsburg, New Mexico, in the 1880s. An alcoholic philosophizer (Thomas Mitchell), a lady of ill repute (Claire Trevor) and a timid liquor salesman (Donald Meek) are among the motley crew of travelers who must contend with an escaped outlaw, the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), and the ever-present threat of an Apache attack as they make their way across the Wild West.

Gone With The Wind

Directed By: Victor Fleming

Epic Civil War drama focuses on the life of petulant southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh). Starting with her idyllic on a sprawling plantation, the film traces her survival through the tragic history of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and her tangled love affairs with Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

Wizard Of Oz

Directed By: Victor Fleming

When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz. They follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, and en route they meet a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) that needs a brain, a Tin Man (Jack Haley) missing a heart, and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) who wants courage. The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) to earn his help.

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About Aron Medeiros

Aron Medeiros
Aron Medeiros is the movie critic for Maui Watch. He lives on the beautiful island of Maui and is also a member of the elite Hawaii Film Critics Society and an active cast member of the NerdWatch pod cast. He is a 2003 graduate from King Kekaulike High School. His favorite film of all time is “Back To The Future”. He has worked at Consolidated Kaahumanu Theaters for nearly 13 years as a Sales Associate and making his way up to Assistant Manager. He has loved movies since he was a young boy, where his Grandfather started his love for the movies.

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