#115 The Baker’s Wife (1938)

According to the French Institute of Public Opinion, 63% of French people believe they can love someone even if he or she has cheated. Well, that was definitely true in the late 1930s during the time of this film. Marcel Pagnol’s The Baker’s Wife is about how a beautiful, young woman leaves her husband, a baker, for a shepherd, causing the small village to come together to reunite this baker with his wife.

When a baker’s wife does not show up the next morning, it does not even come to his attention that she could have run away. He is thinking the worse of her disappearance like she has been kidnapped. It is not until later that he realizes that she has ran off with a Shepard. It is a small village so of course everyone has heard about this. While the villagers at first mock the situation, they realize that the baker is so depressed that he refuses to bake bread ever again and continuously gets himself drunk. This causes the villagers to band together to help this baker.

I was really impressed with Raimu’s acting in how he could be funny as he is in total obliviousness of the situation to being truly depressed. Especially towards the end where he lets out all of his anger towards the cat instead of at his wife.  It proves that sometimes you do not know what you have until it’s gone. This was a pretty good movie except I felt like things were wrapped up too neatly in the end. Would you forgive someone who cheats on you? A fun fact about this movie is how after Orson Welles saw this film, he wanted to meet Raimu himself but unfortunately found out he died, leaving him in tears. I would be disappointed as well. This film is a French classic and a good film to see. 

This is the only copy I could find online and with English subtitles. The subtitles are not perfect as it is basically ever other sentence but enough to get the gist of the story. Please comment what you think:)


#114 Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

James Cagney returns in one of his most iconic roles of his career. It may have been another gangster role but this was a role with morality and humanity. Angels with Dirty Faces is when a priest tries to help an old friend of his, a gangster, not corrupt the minds of a bunch of street kids who look up to him.

I love that scene! ↑ Nothing like sweet revenge against an old bully of yours:) James Cagney plays Rocky who grew up in the slums of New York as a criminal with his best friend Jerry who is also a criminal. Jerry ended up becoming a priest whereas Rocky kept going in and out of prison as a gangster. A bunch of street kids, played by The Dead End Kids, look up to Rocky and find his activities as cool. When Rocky goes rock bottom, what will the kids think of him then? It was interesting to see a film where two childhood friends end up on opposite sides of the law to show that some are capable of growing up and others are just doing what they know well. If Jerry got caught when he was a kid like Rocky did, do you think Jerry would have ended up like Rocky?

This is the first of three films where we see James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart together. Both of these actors were known for playing gangsters in the 30s so it was nice to see these well-known actors in an antagonistic relationship. Bogart plays Rocky’s corrupt lawyer who owes him $100,000- a deal that was made if Rocky went down for his crime. Cagney and Pat O’Brien have been in six movies together with this one being their third. I liked seeing O’Brien play the girl of Rocky’s childhood who is no-nonsense to Rocky’s nonsense. The Dead End Kids made their debut in the play Dead End and would be in six films together and another 48 films as the Bowery Boys from 1946-1958.

Spoiler Alert!!!!! ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

Because the Production Code was in place, they were forced to tell Jack Warner of Warner Brothers that some serious censorship needed to take place with rules such as the police were not allowed to die, no strip poker suggestions, and because Rocky was a kidnapper, a criminal, and a murderer, he was not allowed any sympathy. That is where the Dead End Kids come in for the purpose of making the character of Rocky sympathetic. Do you believe that Rocky went “yellow” in the end to listen to Jerry to avoid The Dead End Kids from looking up to him or was Rocky really not as tough as he made himself out to be? It was so heartbreaking to hear him beg and sounded so real. I like that this ending was up to interpretation considering it was rare back then for films to be ambiguous. This movie is definitely worth looking into as one of the best classic crime films.

Watch one of James Cagney’s best performances and let me know what you think:

#113 The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Errol Flynn is back in yet another swashbuckling role. This role is what defined his Hollywood career as Robin Hood. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is when the brother of the king plans to overthrow the throne in his absence, Robin Hood and his army plan to stop him as well as capture the heart of Lady Marian.

Prince John steals the throne from his brother, King Richard, and nobleman Robin Hood decides to stop him by recruiting an army to steal from the rich to give to the poor. What do you think about that? Do you find doing that right or wrong? This technicolor film involves the dashing, heroic Errol Flynn shooting many arrows, swooning the ladies, and very handy with a sword. We would see many plots like this in the future for films like Star Wars where the lower class outsiders would go against the powerful

Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (who is 101!) still have the best chemistry with each other. Considering this is their third film together, they better! Just like in Captain Blood, this would be another romance that starts in two people who misunderstand each other to eventually falling into each other’s arms. It’s hard to believe that James Cagney was about to take on the roll. I don’t think I can picture him with an arrow instead of a gun:) This film had a $2 million budget which was the most expensive Warner Brothers film at the time. The Adventures of Robin Hood brought back swashbuckling from the silent film era and helped become one of the best action-adventure films. It won the Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Score but lost Best Picture to You Can’t Take it With You. There would be many film adaptations and film series to follow of Robin Hood. Love romance, sword play, good vs. evil, and action/adventure? Here’s the film for you!

Here is a copy of the Errol Flynn classic and please comment what you think: