Friday, March 23, 2007

Films set in 1927

For Goatdog's 1927 Blog-A-Thon, I'm departing from my established formula. I'll resume discussing movies of 1937 after today's brief return to 1927.

Since I've already blogged about the movies of 1927 throughout the month of February (see all my posts here), I decided to list some films from other years that were set in 1927.

Events of 1927

May 20-21, Charles Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1957, Jimmy Stewart portrayed Lucky Lindy in The Spirit of St. Louis, which focused on this historic event.

August 23, Anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed in Massachusetts after being in convicted of murder and robbery in a controversial and highly publicized case. Their case was dramatized in the 1971 Italian film Sacco and Vanzetti.

October 6, The Jazz Singer opens and becomes a sensation. The motion picture industry has to transition to this new standard of synchronized sound with unforeseen consequences. This was memorably demonstrated in 1952's Singin' In The Rain.

The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a flourishing of African American art and culture centered in Harlem, New York. The movement produced an expansive list of inspiring and influential artists, one of whom is the innovative dancer Josephine Baker whose life story was made into the movie The Josephine Baker Story in 1991. Harlem in the 20s was also the setting for Francis Ford Coppola's 1984 classic The Cotton Club.

Prohibition, Speakeasies and Gangsters

Prohibition led to speakeasies, the covert establishments that served liquor. Organized crime prospered by running these clubs and by supplying the bootlegged booze. Al Capone became the most notorious of these gangsters. This provided a rich source of inspiration for movies (The Untouchables, Road To Perdition, Scarface, Some Like it Hot, Miller's Crossing, Idlewild, etc.), but most of these take place after Capone's Valentine's Day massacre in 1929, or during the Depression in the early 30s. Two notable examples of this genre that span the time before the Depression are Sergio Leone's epic Once Upon A Time In America (1984), and Cagny/Bogart crime thriller The Roaring Twenties (1939).


Damian said...

Great topic. I myself chose to write about how Singin' in the Rain depicted the year 1927 for this blog-a-thon! Good job!

Steve Krizman said...

I followed the link to the Saco Venzetti review. Have you seen it? What's your recommendation?