The Dirty Thirties Movie Marathon



FEATURING:
John Ford. Frank Capra. Howard Hawks. Sergio Leone. The Coen Brothers.
Hal Ashby. Steven Soderbergh.
Sydney Pollack. Preston Sturges.
Robert Altman. Sam Mendes.
Charlie Chaplin. Michael Mann.
Brian DePalma.

Hungry and spent during the Dirty Thirties: this is an American story. A stetson hat, a cup of joe, the dust bowl and the stock market crash, the crooked boxer, the tommy gun gangster, everywhere poverty and screwball comedies, the prohibition, the Great Depression, the chain gangs and bluegrass twang. This era of American history is the subject of R3’s first movie marathon. From now until the end of July, contributing writers of Row Three will watch and review films that evoke the Dirty Thirties. Part of this is a lead up to Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (July 1st) which will also be reviewed as part of the marathon.

Join In:

Anyone wishing to participate in the marathon can of course watch the films and comment on the posts, or if inclined contribute reviews (films related to the theme beyond our scope are fine too). What ultimately gets published will be left up to my discretion, but at the very least we will add a link to your review on this programme page, which will collect together all of the reviews, complete with star ratings. The following 22 films are considered the canon within this marathon, however, if there are films that have been missed you feel should be added, I am happy to consider additions. The films need not be watched in a particular sequence, watch what you can get when you can get it. Below you will find links to places to either rent or catch the films on television, and if anything has been missed, please alert me to the fact and I will revise. Finally, a reminder to follow us on Twitter for our random musings on the films we are watching.

The Programme

PUBLIC ENEMIES
2009, Michael Mann
The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.(courtesy of IMDb)

In Theaters July 1st
(Kurt Halfyard’s Review)



KING OF THE HILL
1993, Steven Soderbergh
A young boy struggles on his own in a run-down motel after his parents and younger brother are separated from him in 1930s Depression-era Midwest.(courtesy of IMDb)



MR DEEDS GOES TO TOWN
1936, Frank Capra
Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers.(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur.
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O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?
2000, The Coen Brothers
Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey”, set in the deep south during the 1930’s. In it, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them. (courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson.
it!
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SCARFACE
1932, Howard Hawks
An ambitious and near insanely violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall.(courtesy of IMDb)

it!
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THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY?
1969, Sydney Pollack
The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern
Showing on , Wed May 20th, midnight.
it!
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BOUND FOR GLORY
1976, Hal Ashby
This film is an excellent biography of Woody Guthrie, one of America’s greatest folk singers. He left his dust-devastated Texas home in the 1930s to find work, and discovered the suffering and strength of America’s working class (courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: David Carradine
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MILLER’S CROSSING
1990, The Coen Brothers
Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties (courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro.
it!
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(Mike Rot’s Review)



ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA
1984, Sergio Leone
A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to Brooklyn over 30 years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life. (courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Robert DeNiro, James Wood.
it!
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ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES
1938, Michael Curtiz
Rocky Sullivan and Jerry Connolly were tough kids who grew up together in the toughest part of New York — Hell’s Kitchen. Early on, Rocky gets sent to reform school, where he learns how to be a first class criminal. Jerry, who had escaped from the law, goes straight and becomes a priest. As adults, they reunite in the old neighborhood… (courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart
Showing on , June 7th, 8:15am
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I AM A FUGITIVE OF A CHAIN GANG
1932, Mervyn LeRoy
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.(courtesy of IMDb)

Showing on , June 20th, 7:15am.
it!
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SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS
1941, Preston Sturges
A director of escapist films goes on the road as a hobo to learn about Life…which gives him a rude awakening.(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick
Showing on , June 10th, 10pm
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THIEVES LIKE US
1974, Robert Altman
Two convicts break out of Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1936 to join a third on a long spree of bank robbing… (courtesy of IMDb)

it!
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ROAD TO PERDITION
2002, Sam Mendes
Bonds of loyalty are put to the test when a hitman’s son witnesses what his father does for a living.(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Paul Newman
it!
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(Mike Rot’s Review)



BONNIE & CLYDE
1967, Arthur Penn
A somewhat romantized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang.(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman
it!
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(Jandy Stone’s Review)



PENNIES FROM HEAVEN
1978, BBC Miniseries
Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song…(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Bob Hoskins
it!
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42nd STREET
1933, Lloyd Bacon
A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show, and at the last moment a chorus girl has to replace the star…(courtesy of IMDb)

it!
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Jandy Stone’s review



GRAPES OF WRATH
1940, John Ford
A poor Midwest family is forced off of their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. (courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Henry Fonda
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HARD TIMES
1975, Walter Hill
In the depression, Chaney, a strong silent streetfighter, joins with Speed, a promoter of no-holds-barred street boxing bouts…(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Charles Bronson, James Coburn
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MODERN TIMES
1936, Charles Chaplin
The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Charlie Chaplin
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(Chris Edwards’ Review)



THE DAY OF THE LOCUST
1975, John Schlesinger
An art director in the 1930’s falls in love and attempts to make a young woman an actress despite Hollywood who wants nothing to do with her because of her problems with an estranged man and her acoholic father.(courtesy of IMDb)

it!
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THE UNTOUCHABLES
1987, BRIAN DEPALMA
Federal Agent Elliot Ness sets out to take out Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert DeNiro
it!
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(Mike Rot’s Review)



KING KONG
1933, Ernest B. Schoedsack/font>
A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal giant gorilla who takes a shine to their female blonde star.(courtesy of IMDb)

Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong
(Chris Edwards’ Review)

Mike Rot
Master of War

12 Comments

  1. Ambitious. But a great mix of old and new titles in there. Most of them required viewing for anyone who loves the movies and the history of film.

    Reply
  2. That's part of the reason I am doing this, most of these I have never seen including:

    Miller's Crossing

    Bound for Glory

    Thieves Like Us

    King of the Hill

    Once Upon a Time in America

    Modern Times

    Scarface

    Mr Deeds Goes to Town

    42nd Street

    Angels with Dirty Faces

    Reply
  3. Oh jeez, rot, you definitely need to watch both, but I'd say the urgency to watch Once Upon a Time in the West greater. Westerns are my first love and this is probably my favorite western out there.

    Reply
  4. That's a good question, rot. Those are my two favorite movies ever.

    The superior, IMO, is bar none Once Upon a Time in America. I can't describe my love for that movie in words…it's just too perfect.

    Reply
  5. I think Once Upon a Time in America is the film I am most looking forward to seeing on this list, well that and Hal Ashby's Bound for Glory because I love Woody Guthrie.

    Reply
  6. Why not include "The Plow That Broke The Plains"? It was filmed in the Dust Bowl in 1936 and looks at some of the reasons for the Dust Bowl (such as overfarming). It def. fits your theme!

    Reply
  7. Inexplicably, Sunrise Records in Toronto is having a 2/$18 dvd special and several of the hard to find selections and some of the regulars of this marathon are part of it

    Hard Times
    They Shoot Horses Don’t They?
    Mr Deeds Goes to Washington
    Once Upon a Time in the West (which is usually bargin bin but there you go)

    Picked up Planet of the Apes (original) and The Wicker Man (original, which I have never seen). A lot of Bogart, Hitchcock, unusual choices in the promotion. Usually Sunrise Records is a total waste, way overpriced, but this is pretty good.

    Reply

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