winner take all

Cagney Fights the World: Winner Take All (1932)

Although he was the star of multiple hit films, James Cagney was known as “the thorn in Jack Warner’s side.” He repeatedly went on strikes, demanding higher and higher salaries. In John McCabe’s biography of Cagney, he explains that during the filming of Winner Take All, singer Dick Powell was making $4,000/week, whereas the much more…

parachute jumper

DVD Review: Parachute Jumper (1933)

When I was given the chance to review Warner Archive’s new manufacture-on-demand release of Parachute Jumper (1933), I was so excited: it was a Bette Davis film that I had never seen. No more than ten minutes into the film, however, I realized why I had never heard of it before. The dialogue and plot is…

“You’re just a beautiful bad girl!”

  Letty Strong (Loretta Young) is a single mother, having given birth to her son, Mickey (Jackie Kelk), in the back room of a bookstore at the age of fifteen. She and her son were thereafter taken in by “Fuzzy” (Henry Travers), the owner of the store, who views the pair as his own. Letty…

Helloooooooooooo, nurse.

We’re wrapping up our April of Barbara Stanwyck flicks with a look at one of my favorite pre-Codes, the 1931 drama Night Nurse, co-starring Joan Blondell and a villainous, non-mustachioed Clark Gable. Stanwyck stars as Lora Hart, an aspiring nurse who finagles a probationary training position at a hospital after meeting the chief of staff, Dr.…

Buying Barbara Stanwyck.

Joan Gordon (Barbara Stanwyck), a nightclub singer in New York City, intends to marry Don (Hardie Albright), the scion of a wealthy family. But Don’s father discovers that Joan had been the mistress of a bootlegging gangster, Eddie Fields (Lyle Talbot), and forbids the union. Resentful of the fact that her association with Eddie ruined…