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May 1994


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BRIAN TAVES <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 12 May 1994 17:00:17 GMT
text/plain (26 lines)
          A week or so ago Joyce Miller send a posting requesting titles on
          30s films featuring southern women as well as information on  the
          decade's  top  grossing  films.  On   the   latter  point  first,
          unfortunately there is  no uniform, accurate guide  to  the  most
          popular films  of  the decade. Each  of  the various trades (Film
          Daily,  MP Herald, Variety, etc.) published their  own  lists  of
          varying   length   most   years.   Sometimes   the   titles   are
          complimentary, other times contradictory. It is these lists which
          have  been reprinted literally and uncritically in  later  books.
          And  of  course  the  figures  do   not  measure  the  degree  of
          profitability based upon the original budget of  the picture. Nor
          does the mention of  a  film as  a moneymaker necessarily reflect
          the  more  (?) accurate bookkeeping of  the studio. For instance,
          several sources list  THE  LOST PATROL as among the  most popular
          films of 1934, which is contradicted by studio records, per  Rick
          Jewell, author of The RKO Story.
          Second, if  you  will excuse my personal bias  for  the films  of
          Robert  Florey,  you  might  check  into MOUNTAIN MUSIC, starring
          Martha Raye.  It  is  a  rather bizarre hillbilly musical comedy,
          bordering  on  the screwball, set  in  Arkansas, starring  Martha
          Raye--most notable because  it  was Paramount's top grossing film
          for  the summer of 1937. It  will certainly give  you  a contrast
          between what is remembered now and what was popular at the time.
          Brian Taves, Library of Congress