Top 20 of 1936

ladies and nature


1936 was a phenomenal year for French film, perhaps among the best ever. There are six French films on my list, all of which are in my top ten. Of course I’ve made it clear that 1930s French film is my favorite era of all time, so this should come as no surprise. There were also three Japanese films, all early pictures from future masters Mizoguchi and Ozu.

Someone noted in our group that this was quite the year for William Powell and Jean Renoir. This is absolutely true for Powell, who not only starred in Best Picture winner The Great Ziegfeld (not on my list), but also starred in what many consider to be among the best screwball comedies of all time, My Man Godfrey. On top of that he reprised his role of Nick alongside Nora in After the Thin Man.

Jean Renoir’s year is seen as fantastic only in retrospect. It was most likely a tough year for the man. My favorite work of his for the year, A Day in the Country, was a frustrating shoot for him and he left before the film was finished. The Crime of Monsieur Lange was successful, but also controversial and leftist. He also participated in La vie est à nous, a leftist propaganda documentary that I have not seen. He was embroiled in the politics of a volatile time.

There are a couple of notable omissions here, some of which will seem sacrilegious to classic film fans. Mr. Deeds Comes to Town is an example of the type of Capra film that does not work for me, unlike It Happened One Night. There are a few other Capra films that’ll be omitted from these lists, although I plan to give Lost Horizon a fair chance for my 1937 list. Another omission is Swing Time. There’s no doubt that Astaire and Rogers were a talented duo, but I’m not as big a fan of their acting, and their style of musical isn’t exactly my tastes. Show Boat and the Lubitsch musicals are my preference.

1. A Day in the Country
2. My Man Godfrey
3. Modern Times
4. The Crime of Monsieur Lange
5. La Belle Equipe
6. Show Boat
7. Story of a Cheat
8. Sabotage
9. Mayerling
10. The Lower Depths
11. Dodsworth
12. The Only Son
13. Secret Agent
14. Redes
15. Sisters of the Gion
16. Osaka Elegy
17. After the Thin Man
18. Fury
19. Libeled Lady
20. The Charge of the Light Brigade

modern times big brother 2

Posted on June 26, 2015, in Film, Lists. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That would be my #1 choice also.

  2. I love My Man Godfrey!

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