Adapted from Wessel Smitter’s novel F.O.B. Detroit, Reaching for the Sun follows Russ, a backwoods clam-digger who moves to Detroit to work in a car factory so he can afford an outboard motor for his boat.
In Heroes for Sale, William A Wellman presents discontentment with the old and hope for the new, steeped in govt propaganda
Heroes for Sale was made just after Roosevelt swore in as the 32nd president of the United States. As though symptomatic of this particular time, the film embodies both a discontentment with the preceding Hoover administration and a hope for the new one, the duality manifesting as an incongruity between plot and character.
How The Scarlet Empress deftly explores the duality of evil and innocence while mapping the rise of Catherine the Great
Nothing, not even Josef von Sternberg’s earlier films with Marlene Dietrich, anticipates the stylistic aggression of The Scarlet Empress, a box-office bomb.
How Hollywood classic Hellzapoppin' defied categorisation, rejoiced in playing with possibilities of the medium
It wouldn’t be a hyperbole to state that there’s nothing quite like Hellzapoppin' in classical Hollywood.
Cecil B DeMille’s This Day and Age portrayed the tensions of its era as well as the dynamics of Hollywood film production
This Day and Age capitalises on a certain hopefulness about the younger generation pervading the air.
Kiss Me Deadly: Robert Aldrich's crime movie classic is less detective story, more myth with a physical presence
The first to consider Robert Aldrich as a serious artist—and this film a masterpiece—were the young critics at the French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma.
Revisiting King Vidor's Our Daily Bread: 1934 Great Depression film idealised community, self-sufficiency
In the first scene of Our Daily Bread, Mary (Karen Morley) wards off debtors as John (Tom Keene) returns after a fruitless day looking for jobs, his days of dreaming big far behind him. So begins King Vidor's 1934 classic on the Great Depression.
Revisiting Sergeant York: Why the 1941 Gary Cooper-starrer, while flawed, exemplifies Golden Era Hollywood
Howard Hawks’ Sergeant York (1941), starring Gary Cooper as World War I hero Alvin C York, was the biggest box-office draw of the year and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. Even so, it isn’t cherished the same way the classics of the period are.