The Devil's Party


The Devil's Party is cut from Angels With Dirty Faces cloth.  A group of delinquents from Hell's Kitchen plan a heist from the produce market.  Marty, the leader, starts a small fire as a diversion and accidentally sets fire to the warehouse.  He is caught but takes the rap alone and goes to reform school while his cohorts go free.  Fast forward and Marty is the owner of a nightclub and casino, former child moll Helen is his star singer, brothers Mike and Joe are cops, and Jerry is a priest.  The whole gang gets together every year to reminisce but this year's reunion becomes complicated.  Marty has sent his thugs to strong-arm an unlucky gambler into making good his bad check.  Despite admonishments against being too rough they brain the guy to death.  The clever thugs make it look like a common accident by sawing loose the hotel's lighted rooftop sign so that it swings down through the gambler's balcony window and hits the body.  Joe the cop is suspicious. His brother Mike the cop is not.  Marty cannot successfully leash his thugs and they end up killing Joe.  The thugs then blackmail Marty into helping with a robbery at the ice rink.  The diversion planned is to release ammonia from the refrigeration system into the crowd.  Marty takes a bullet intended for Mike.  Happy Ending.

Familiar faces: young Mike was played by Scotty Beckett, who was "Scotty" in the Our Gang shorts.

Edit: Hey, I just noticed this is my 100th movie from MCMXXXVIII! Huzzah!

The Shopworn Angel


The Shopworn Angel with Margaret Sullavan, Walter Pidgeon, and Jimmy Stewart.  Daisy Heath (Sullavan) is a jaded showgirl in a passionless romance with her wealthy producer, Sam Bailey (Walter Pidgeon).  Along comes green recruit Pvt. Bill Pettigrew (Jimmy Stewart), who falsely represents to his buddies that Daisy is his girl. When they force him to prove it she acts the good sport and plays along. Bill then decides that she is the embodiment of the idealistic girl of his dreams.  And because he is about to be shipped off to war, world-weary Daisy takes pity on him and allows him to court her. Continued exposure to pure-hearted but naive Bill awakens Daisy's dormant idealism, and the disruption of routine causes Sam to re-examine and re-ignite his own feelings for Daisy.  On the eve of his deployment Daisy agrees to marry Bill, despite the real love she and Sam now feel for each other. Bill must run straight from the chapel to hop on a troop truck (I recall seeing this scene before).  Bad news from the front comes while Daisy is performing "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag" for a local USO type show.

Familiar faces: Hattie McDaniel as Daisy's maid. Nat Pendleton as a doughboy pal of Pvt. Pettigrew.

Tarzan's Revenge


Unlike Tarzan and the Green Goddess, this one was really from 1938.  Keeping with tradition, Tarzan was played by Olympic gold medal winner Glenn Morris.  His event was the decathlon.  While watching this movie I was struck by the fact that his love interest (named not Jane, but Eleanor) was swimming the backstroke faster than Tarzan could swim freestyle.  It turns out that the actress was Eleanor Holm, a gold medal backstroke swimmer in the 1932 Olympics.  Her bigger claim to fame was that she was abruptly kicked off the 1936 US Olympic team for getting drunk on the boat ride over to Germany.

Familiar faces: Hedda Hopper as Eleanor's mother.

Tarzan and the Green Goddess


While this movie was released in 1938, it was made by editing together The New Adventures of Tarzan, a serial from 1935.  The title character is played by Herman Brix, a silver medalist in the 1928 Olympics.  This continued a tradition of Olympian Tarzans: both Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe were gold medal swimmers (Brix was a shotputter).  This movie has the distinction of being the only early Tarzan film to portray Tarzan not just as the "King of the Jungle" but also as the cultured Lord Greystoke.

When Were You Born


Anna May Wong plays a Chinese astrologer who helps the San Francisco police solve a murder.  It reminded me a little of the modern TV show "Lie To Me".  A police consultant who is an expert in what is likely only "pseudo-science" is nonetheless remarkable accurate and insightful in providing information to help the police.

Familiar faces: Margaret Lindsay and Lola Lane.



Tyrone Power digs a canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.  Loretta Young jilts him in favor of a Napoleon (not THE Napoleon), and future real-life wife Annabella dies in a sand storm before Tyrone Power recognizes her romantic potential.  The sand storm is called a "simoon".

It was declared at the end of the movie that this was a "Movie Quiz $250,000 Contest Picture".  I had seen this before so I looked it up.  This was a huge promotion sponsored jointly by the major studios.  Entry forms were distributed at theaters.  They contained a multiple choice question from each of 94 different movies that were released during August, September, and October of 1938.  To enter you had to answer 30 questions and write a short essay about your favorite movie.  There is a listing on Amazon for a copy of the entry form (but it is unavailable) $250,000.00 Movie Quiz Contest (5,404 Ways to Win a Prize).  I would be very interested in finding a full list of the questions but so far, no luck. You can read the question for Suez from the Amazon link:
What great catastrophe retards the building of the Suez Canal in "Suez"? (Check One)
( ) a simoon
( ) a flood
( ) a fire
( ) an earthquake

and you thought my "simoon" comment was irrelevant.

Familiar face: Nigel Bruce

Designed by: | Bloggerized by Dhampire