January 11, 2010

Weekly Blather Jan. 11, 1931

No Journal was published Sunday, Jan. 11, 1931. I was going to finish up the year-in-review stuff but didn't have time since I'm preparing for a talk Wednesday - will have to catch up later. For those of you who missed the videos this week, they're worth a look, but not if you're susceptible to nightmares - for some reason they were all disturbing this week.

Paid - excellent melodrama; Joan Crawford gives her finest dramatic performance yet in the lead. Story is "the familiar one of the poorly paid department store girl who is sent to jail for three years for a crime she did not commit." Upon release, she comes up with a scheme to take revenge on the department store owner using methods just within the law. A short clip containing a rather disturbing prison shower scene from the movie:

Play "Joan crawford in Jail!" on Youtube

Mary Wigman, "foremost exponent of the modern dance in Germany," appearing at Jolson's Theatre and Carnegie Hall. Appearance here has aroused more interest in dance as art form than anyone since Isadora Duncan. Dancing characterized by robust force and genuine independence; "vigorous technique is founded on long years of work in the gymnasium ... varied bodily movements which have been partly acquired from the Orient ... attaches great importance to the hands." A short clip containing a rather disturbing “Witch Dance” by Wigman:

Play "Mary Wigman's Witch Dance" on Youtube

The Criminal Code, a prison film. Although Walter Huston is distinguished as the warden, best performance is by Phillips Holmes as young man imprisoned for an unpremeditated crime who falls in love with the warden's daughter. Also excellent in minor roles are Boris Karloff as a murderer and Clark Marshall in a hysterical performance as Runch, the "squealer." A short and disturbing clip - by some accounts, this performance led to Karloff being cast in Frankenstein later in the year:

Play "Boris Karloff: The Criminal Code" on Youtube

OK, I guess I have to include at least one non-disturbing clip - here's a 1929 fashion show, in Technicolor and with sound! I believe skirts were quite a bit longer by the time 1930 and 1931 rolled in, but it was fun while it lasted:

Play "Color Fashion Show From 1929" on Youtube

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