Recommendations of 1930s Films on DVD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by PaulP, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

    Oct 22, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I have been on a real 1930s kick lately. I've acquired several recent boxsets (Forbidden Hollywood, the two new Cary Grant sets, and the Capra set), and have been enjoying these films immensely. Of course I've had other 1930s DVDs in my collection for a while, like the Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, M, Adventures of Robin Hood, Marx Brothers sets and some others.

    There's just something about the '30s I can't put my finger on that makes me want to keep seeing films from that particular decade. So I'm looking for further recommendations. Thanks!
  2. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

    Mar 13, 2006
    Likes Received:
    I would get those Glamour Collections for Mae West and Carole Lombard. The Warner Bros. Clark Gable set also has 4/5 of his movies from the 30s.
  3. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

    Jun 3, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    George Burns & Gracie Allen 3 Movies: Here Comes Cookie (1935) / Love in Bloom (1935) / Six of a Kind (1934)

    Love Me Tonight (1932)

    The Busby Berkeley Collection
    - 42nd Street (1933)
    - Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
    - Footlight Parade (1933)
    - Dames (1934)
    - Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
    - The Buby Berkeley Disc

    Complete Thin Man Collection
    - The Thin Man (1934)
    - After the Thin Man (1936)
    - Another Thin Man (1939)
    (also includes some 40's films)
    - Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
    - The Thin Man Goes Home (1944)
    - Song of the Thin Man (1947)

    Mr. Moto Collection Volume 1 - Cinema Classics Collection
    - Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937)
    - Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937)
    - Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938)
    - Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)

    Mr. Moto Collection - Volume 2 - Cinema Classics Collection
    - Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938)
    - Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939)
    - Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939)
    - Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939)

    Half-Shot at Sunrise (1930)

    Hook, Line & Sinker (1930)

    Dixiana (1930)

    Twentieth Century (1934)

    Classic Comedies Collection
    - Bringing Up Baby - Two-Disc Special Edition (1938)
    - Dinner at Eight (1933)
    - Libeled Lady (1936)
    - Stage Door (1937)
    (plus these from the 40's)
    - The Philadelphia Story - Two-Disc Special Edition (1940)
    - To Be or Not to Be (1942)

    Astaire and Rogers: The Complete Film Collection - Ultimate Collector's Edition
    - Top Hat (1935)
    - Swing Time (1936)
    - Follow the Fleet (1936)
    - Shall We Dance (1937)
    - Flying Down to Rio (1933)
    - The Gay Divorcee (1934)
    - Roberta (1935)
    - Carefree (1938)
    - The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)
    (and one from the 40's)
    - The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)

    My Man Godfrey - The Criterion Collection (1936)

    Trouble in Paradise - The Criterion Collection (1932)

    Cary Grant Box Set
    - Holiday (1938)
    - Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
    - The Awful Truth (1937)
    (and these from the 40's)
    - The Talk of the Town (1942)
    - His Girl Friday (1940)

    Cary Grant: Screen Legend Collection - The Franchise Collection
    - Thirty Day Princess (1934)
    - Kiss and Make Up (1934)
    - Wings in the Dark (1935)
    - Big Brown Eyes (1936)
    - Wedding Present (1936)

    Mae West: The Glamour Collection - The Franchise Collection
    - Night After Night (1932)
    - I'm No Angel (1933)
    - Goin' to Town (1935)
    - Go West Young Man (1936)
    (with this from the 40's)
    - My Little Chickadee (1940)

    Carole Lombard: The Glamour Collection - The Franchise Collection
    - Man of the World (1931)
    - We're Not Dressing (1934)
    - Hands Across the Table (1935)
    - Love Before Breakfast (1936)
    - The Princess Comes Across (1936)
    - True Confession (1937)

    Attack of the 30's Characters
    - Congo Jazz (1930)
    - In Wonderland (1931)
    - Bars and Stripes (1931)
    - Lady, Play Your Mandolin (1931)
    - Noah's Outing (1932)
    - In the Bag (1932)
    - Is My Palm Read (1933)
    - Funny Face (1932)
    - The Mad Doctor (1933)
    - Jolly Good Felons (1934)
    - Little Black Sambo (1935)
    - The Merry Kittens (1935)
    - Beachcombers (1936)
    - To Spring (1936)
    - Porky's Railroad (1937)
    - The Paneless Window Washer (1937)

    Classic Betty Boop Cartoons (Platinum)
    - Betty Boop's Rise to Fame (1934)
    - I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You (1932)
    - Snow-White (1933)
    - Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle (1932)
    - Morning, Noon and Night (1933)
    - Chess-Nuts (1932)
    - The Old Man of the Mountain (1933)
    - Betty in Blunderland (1934)
    - Be Human (1936)
    - Betty Boop's Big Boss (1933)
    - Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (1933)
    - Not Now (1936)
    - She Wronged Him Right (1934)
    - Betty Boop and Grampy (1935)
    - Minnie the Moocher (1932)
    - Musical Mountaineers (1939)
    - Stop That Noise (1935)
    - Swat the Fly (1935)
    - Betty Boop and the Little King (1936)
    - Happy You and Merry Me (1936)
    - House Cleaning Blues (1937)
    - The Impractical Joker (1937)
    - Betty Boop and Little Jimmy (1936)

    Cartoons That Time Forgot - From the Van Beuren Studio
    - Molly Moo Cow and the Butterflies (1935)
    - Bold King Cole (1936)
    - It's a Greek Life (1936)
    - Molly Moo Cow and the Indians (1935)
    - The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg (1936)
    - Toonerville Trolley (1936)
    - Cupid Gets His Man (1936)
    - Molly Moo Cow and Robinson Crusoe (1936)
    - A Waif's Welcome (1936)
    - Trolley Ahoy (1936)
    - Opening Night (1933)
    - In a Cartoon Studio (1931)
    - The Tuba Tooter (1932)
    - Candy Town (1932)
    - The Sunshine Makers (1935)
    - Piano Tooners (1932)
    - Molly Moo Cow and the Rip Van Wrinkle (1935)
    - Wot a Night (1931)
    - Neptune Nonsense (1936)
    - Christmas Night (1933)
    - Toonerville Picnic (1936)

    Lonely Wives (1931)

    W.C. Fields Comedy Collection
    - You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)
    - It's a Gift (1934)
    - International House (1933)
    (with these from the 40's)
    - The Bank Dick (1940)
    - My Little Chickadee (1940)

    W.C. Fields Comedy Collection - Volume 2
    - You're Telling Me! (1934)
    - The Old Fashioned Way (1934)
    - Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)
    - Poppy (1936)
    (With this from the 40's)
    - Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)

    Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection - The Franchise Collection
    - Morocco (1930)
    - Blonde Venus (1932)
    - The Devil Is a Woman (1935)
    (with these from the 40's)
    - The Flame of New Orleans (1941)
    - Golden Earrings (1947)

    All Over Town (1937)

    Country Gentlemen (1936)

    The Gorilla [1939]

    Industrial Strength Keaton
    (Among other things from the 20-s to the 60's)
    - Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (1931)
    - An Old Spanish Custom (1935)

    The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938) / College Swing (1938)

    The Stand-In (1937)

    Premiere Frank Capra Collection
    - American Madness (1932)
    - It Happened One Night (1934)
    - Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
    - You Can't Take It with You (1938)
    - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  4. Armin Jager

    Armin Jager Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 21, 2004
    Likes Received:
    I'm rather sceptical about the 30s especially the second half with its standardized Hollywood products and the other European countries stiiffled by dictatorships. Nevertheless I've seen quite a lot and the following ones strike me as especially good, almost all are available on DVD:

    All quiet on the Western Front 1930
    City Girl 1930
    Der blaue Engel1930
    Menschen am Sonntag 1930
    Westfront 1918 1930
    Mädchen in Uniform 1931
    À nous la liberté 1931
    City Lights 1931
    Der Kongreß tanzt 1931
    Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde 1931
    Le Million 1931
    M 1931
    Das blaue Licht1932
    I am a fugitive from a Chain Gang 1932
    Love me tonight 1932
    Scarface 1932
    Trouble In Paradise 1932
    Counsellor at Law 1933
    Design for Living 1933
    Liebelei 1933
    Queen Christina1933
    The Merry Widow1934
    The Scarlet Empress 1934
    Twentieth Century 1934
    We live again 1934
    Bride of Frankenstein 1935
    Captain Blood 1935
    Peter Ibbetson 1935
    The Devil is a Woman 1935
    Fury 1936
    Modern Times 1936
    Swing Time 1936
    The Petrified Forest 1936
    Une Partie de campagne 1936
    Pépé le Moko 1937
    Stage Door 1937
    You only live once 1937
    Bringing up Baby 1938
    The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938
    Daughters Courageous 1939
    Ninotchka 1939
    Of Mice and Men 1939
    Only Angels have Wings 1939
    Stagecoach 1939
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1939
    Wuthering Heights 1939
  5. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer

    Feb 20, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Livonia, MI USA
    Real Name:
    Kenneth McAlinden
    Tory's post looked pretty comprehensive, but it actually omitted what would be one of my first choices, Universal's "Gary Cooper Collection" which includes "Design for Living", "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer", "Peter Ibbetson", "The General Died at Dawn", and "Beau Geste". In terms of quality of titles, this is my favorite of the actor-themed collections from Universal.

  6. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

    Jun 3, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    I only listed things I owned and not mentioned by the topic creator, mostly comedies. I do want the Cooper set and other films of the era.

    I love Wheeler & Woolsey, unfortunately their best films are not yet on DVD. If ever they are released, please be sure to get them and make it a priority to watch Diplomaniacs (1933), Cockeyed Cavaliers (1934), Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1934), Peach-O-Reno (1931), and Cracked Nuts (1931) (RKO). Until then make do with the public domain Alpha DVDs of Hook Line & Sinker and Half Shot at Sunrise plus the Roan Group Dixiana.
  7. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

    Oct 22, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wow, thanks for the rapid response. Quite comprehensive, and a lot of stuff to add to the bottomless wishlist. I have some of the above-mentioned discs and sets, but a small percentage, of course (I forgot to list the Classic Comedies Collection and the several Criterions).
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    From my collection and good recommendations from others. I'm also including some 1927-1929 films that go well with the rest of 1930s films:

    The Cocoanuts

    All Quiet on the Western Front
    Hell's Angels
    Soup to Nuts
    Animal Crackers
    Feet First

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    City Lights
    Beau Hunks

    The Old Dark House
    Horse Feathers
    Movie Crazy
    The Mummy

    The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
    Sons of the Desert
    The Invisible Man
    Duck Soup
    International House
    King Kong

    It Happened One Night
    The Thin Man
    It's a Gift
    The Cat's Paw
    The Black Cat

    Mutiny on the Bounty
    Bride of Frankenstein
    Werewolf of London
    The 39 Steps
    Captain Blood
    Top Hat
    A Night at the Opera

    Modern Times
    Dracula's Daughter
    My Man Godfrey

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    The Awful Truth
    Way Out West

    Bringing Up Baby
    The Adventures of Robin Hood
    The Lady Vanishes
    You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
    Alexander Nevsky

    The Wizard of Oz
    Gone with the Wind
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    The Rules of the Game
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    Can't go wrong with any Laurel & Hardy talkies and I love the 1930s Looney Tunes, Betty Boop, Popeye (coming to DVD this summer!), and the 1930s Disney cartoons.
  9. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

    Dec 2, 2001
    Likes Received:
    A few I didn't see listed:

    Renoir's La Bete Humaine (1938) and The Lower Depths (1936)
    L'Atalante (1934)
    Gunga Din (1939 - loads of fun)
  10. ScottHM

    ScottHM Second Unit

    Mar 18, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Don't forget about the two excellent Charlie Chan boxed sets from Fox:

    Charlie Chan Collection Volume 1
    Charlie Chan in London (1934)
    Charlie Chan in Paris (1935)
    Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935)
    Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935)

    Charlie Chan Collection Volume 2
    Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936)
    Charlie Chan at the Race Track (1936)
    Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936)
    Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937)

  11. ted:r

    ted:r Second Unit

    Jun 23, 2005
    Likes Received:
    I absolutely HAVE to add "The Young In Heart" (1938, with the fantastic Billie Burke and Roland Young, Janet Gaynor and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) An absolutely thoroughly marvelous film, sweet and funny and just damn perfect. Marie Dupree's line of beauty being needed to be share with someone else has haunted me since I first saw it. As does Billie Burke's wonderful line about her children's birthplace.
  12. DanMel

    DanMel Second Unit

    Jul 17, 2005
    Likes Received:

    That is certainly correct as the most important collection of the 30's movies was left out bar none with the Gary Cooper collection as he was the biggest and highest paid actor of the 30's and all the best movies went to him.

    Actually he was not only the highest paid actor in 1939 but he had the highest income for that year than anyone in the entire country. He could pick and choose any movie he wanted and any movie he wanted to star in was his for the choosing. He turned down Gone with the Wind that year as Red Butler deciding that the part was not for him, which of course it wasn't.
  13. Irina

    Irina Second Unit

    Feb 24, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Many movie viewers are drawn to the so called pre-code era (1929 - 1934) before the Hays censorship code had been instituted and ruled the morality of the American cinema for almost 30 years - the code was abolished in 1968. The pre-code cinema is a completely different world - the movies were honest, uncompromising, adult, cynical, provocative. Nothing like this was ever created before or since. Just compare the two endings of Baby Face - the original pre-code and the other one to please the censors. What a difference!

    I would also recommend the following titles:

    Marlene Dietrich (try her Glamor Collection

    Greta Garbo (her 10-DVD Collection is fantastic)

    Warner Brothers gangster movies:

    Farewell to Arms (Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes ):

    The Bela Lugosi Collection (with famous Black Cat) -

    Some more interesting pre-codes:

    Svengali -

    Attorney at Councellor-at-Law -

    Animal Kingdom -

    Sin Takes a Holiday -

    Cleopatra, Sign of the Cross by Cecil B. Demille -

    Also, try some 'hidden treasures':

    1. 1932 Scarface (part of the 2-DVD gift set):

    2. Death Takes a Holiday (1934) (as a special feature in this Meet Joe Black Ultimate edition. Meet Joe Black was a remake of Death Takes a Holiday):

    3. The Maltese Falcon (1931) and Satan Met a Lady (1936) (in this 3-DVD Maltese Falcon Set):

    If you can view multi-region DVD recordings, I would also recommend:

    Bitter Tea of General Yen and Miracle Woman (directed by Frank Capra, with Barbara Stanwyck) in this set from the UK -

    Shanghai Express (1932)with Marlene Dietrich in this set from the UK -

    Desire (1936 - with Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich) - available in Belgium/Netherlands -
  14. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

    Oct 22, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Thanks, all. Keep 'em coming.

    This is coming out on its own in a few months.
  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer

    Apr 24, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    The Marlene Dietrich Glamour Collection mentioned above is, of course, essential, but also look for three of her classics in other releases:

    THE BLUE ANGEL (available in German language and English language editions)



    The Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Collection contains a couple of her best films, two from the 1930s:



    And Fox has four box sets of Shirley Temple films of the period, many of which are very enjoyable and all made in the 1930s.
  16. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

    Oct 22, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Too bad it appears like those Glamour Collections are somewhat subpar in the video department, being that two or three films are cramed on one disc. Or do they look fine?
  17. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

    Nov 3, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Universal's Glamour Collections for Dietrich and Lombard both have excellent picture quality.
  18. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

    Oct 22, 2001
    Likes Received:

    Pre-code films are definitely unique. But for me personally the entire 1930s present a kind of special decade for some reason. The following decade, while containing many great films, feels different. The 1930s is the peak of the Golden Age of Hollywood, with its art deco designs, witty fast-paced humor, etc. It's amazing that the entire subgenre of screwball comedies is almost exclusive to the '30s. And, of course, there was 1939 - arguably the best year ever for motion pictures.
  19. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer

    Feb 20, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Livonia, MI USA
    Real Name:
    Kenneth McAlinden
    The ones that have problems are usually source element related. I have not encountered any that suffered due to insufficient bitrate. I personally have had good luck with the DVD-18 discs when used.


Share This Page