#93 Peter Ibbetson (1935)

Do you believe in a soulmate? A person that you’re just destined to be with no matter how long you’ve known each other or how far apart you can be from each other? Well, that’s how it is for the characters of Peter and Mary in this romantic, surrealist film. Peter Ibbetson was a little boy whose first love got separated from him after his mother died- only to return to him many years later as an adult.

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I’ve always been fascinated by love stories of a couple who’ve known each other since they were young and grew up together such as It’s a Wonderful Life or The Notebook. Sure, sometimes the person you meet when you’re young can just be a first time thing and doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up with them. Other times, life can do funny things like bring back people in your life you haven’t seen in decades. That’s what happens to Peter when he’s forced to be separated from his young love in tears when his mother passes and he’s sent to live with his uncle in London. When they reunite again as they are older, that flame they had for each other so long ago burns again. I love the chemistry between the two as so much time has passed but they still hold on to their memories of being friendly neighbors, bickering and building wagons together. I will admit that I wish the romantic scenes could have lasted a lot longer before the dramatic turn came about.

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What makes this film different from other star-crossed lover melodramas is the clever use of surrealism. If Peter and Mary cannot be together physically, then they’ll have to be together in their dreams. Do you yourself ever have moments like that where you have dreams of someone you can’t be with but by the time you wake up, your disappointed to find it wasn’t real? Well, join the club. It’ll help you relate to this film a lot. We are able to see a fairy-tale quality about these sequences as they are told picture perfect with a soft contrast. It’s so tragic to not be with the one you love that you have to resort to a fantasy world as your meeting place. I recommend this film to those who love beautiful stories of forbidden love. 

Watch Henry Hathaway’s tragic love story Peter Ibbetson and let me know your thoughts on it:

#92 Top Hat (1935)

What do you get when add Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers onto the big screen? A spectacular dance musical that saved RKO from bankruptcy (along with King Kong of course). The hit musical Top Hat is about a dancer who falls for a model but believes him to be her friend’s husband, causing her to push him away.

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Fred Astaire is just your average leading man of the 1930s who knew how to wow an audience whether it’s with his charming yet cocky personality or especially with his light-on-your feet dancing. He just makes it look so easy every time! His chemistry with Ginger Rogers is so cute to watch as he continues to follow and make advances towards her only to keep getting rejected. But you can tell she secretly likes it and is merely playing hard-to-get. That’s what I like about the dance number “Isn’t it a Lovely Day” because you can see a story forming through the movements. They’re stuck under the gazebo because of the storm, he wants to dance with her, she feels compelled to, they move in synch, and the thunder heightens up the choreography.

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This is the fourth movie with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as an on-screen duo and definitely not the first where confusion and mistaken identity are the ingredients that make up the love entanglement. I feel like Fred Astaire should have gotten assistant director credits for this film considering he always made sure that the dance sequences were filmed with nothing less of perfection with no closeups of the feet moving, no reaction shots, no montage shots- the focus is solely on the dancing. Interestingly enough, Ginger Rogers was dying to wear the feathered dress that she’s wearing in the scene above but Astaire and director Mark Sandrich hated the dress. To prevent Rogers from leaving the set, they told her she could wear it but feathers were all over the place as they danced. If you look closely, you can see them on the floor! I absolutely recommend this film to help get you on your toes (ignore the pun)!

Watch the delightful dancing duo dance to your heart in Top Hat and comment what you think:

 

#91 Captain Blood (1935)

If the only pirate you’ve ever seen on-screen is Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, then it’s a good thing that this list exists to catch you up on cinema’s early pirates. After films such as The Count of Monte Cristo and Treasure island were big hits in the swashbuckling genre, Warner Brothers felt it was only fair to keep up with this trend of films. Errol Flynn will swashbuckle his way to you in the 1935 adventure film Captain Blood in which a doctor is accused of treason, being unjustly sold into slavery but transforms into a pirate as soon as an opportunity for freedom occurs.

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Introducing Errol Flynn, the dashing and bold physician who decides to rebel against those that sent him into slavery just for helping a wounded patrol involved in the Monmouth Rebellion. This is pretty much the formula for your classic adventure film in which you have your sword-fighting battles, the suave hero, the damsel in distress, and stunts that are fascinating to see such as the crew swinging from the ropes as if the ship is their own personal jungle. Everything seems to go well for Captain Blood as he embraces his new life of piracy until Arabella, the love of his life, is captured by  Captain Levasseaur, resulting in an epic battle for her safety. This role can definitely give you a foreshadowing to the roles that Flynn plays later such as Robin Hood which is similar to the character of Captain Blood in which he’s a good guy but commits rebellious acts that consider him controversial to society.

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So if Arabella had to choose her pick of which slave to buy to spite her uncle, she sure met her match! Errol Flynn has a charm that will make you go weak at the knees and is tricky with a sword. This is your classic “I hate you, I love you” story plot of a couple who spend more time bickering but you know love is in the air. If only this couple’s romance was better developed in the film. Luckily the chemistry between Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (who by the way is 100 years old now!) makes up for it. They would star in eight more films together. This is also the first film where you’ll hear the thrilling score music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold who would score music later in The Adventures of Robin Hood. Like adventure, romance, and pirates? Here you go!

Watch Errol Flynn as Captain Blood below and please comment on what you think. It may not be the best quality but better than nothing: