Books, movies and records of the year

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:20 pm

My favorite record of 1923:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:08 pm

1924



Book of 1924 | A Passage to India | E.M. Forster | UK | all time #57
"A Passage to India is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. The story revolves around four characters: Dr. Aziz, his British friend Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested. During a trip to the Marabar Caves, Adela accuses Aziz of attempting to rape her. Aziz's trial, and its run-up and aftermath, bring out all the racial tensions and prejudices between indigenous Indians and the British colonists who rule India. In A Passage to India, Forster employs his first-hand knowledge of India." (Publisher)

Movie of 1924 | Greed | Erich von Stroheim | USA | Austria | all time #93
"Originally planned to run around ten hours but hacked to just over two by Thalberg's MGM, von Stroheim's greatest film still survives as a true masterpiece of cinema. Even now its relentlessly cynical portrait of physical and moral squalor retains the ability to shock, while the Von's obsessive attention to realist detail - both in terms of the San Francisco and Death Valley locations, and the minutely observed characters - is never prosaic: as the two men and a woman fall out over filthy lucre (a surprise lottery win), their motivations are explored with a remarkably powerful visual poetry, and Frank Norris' novel is translated into the cinematic equivalent of, say, Zola at the peak of his powers." (Geoff Andrew, Time Out)

Record of 1924 | Rhapsody in Blue | Paul Whiteman & His Concert Orchestra with George Gershwin | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1697
"From its famous opening clarinet wail to the gorgeous melody that provides its romantic climax, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is an iconic part of American music. Commissioned by bandleader Paul Whiteman (the self-proclaimed 'King of Jazz'), its 1924 premiere caused a sensation with its audacious mix of jaunty syncopation, infectious tunes and sophisticated piano virtuosity. The Rhapsody's crossover triumph affirmed its 25-year-old composer's belief that "jazz is an idiom not to be limited to a mere song and chorus," and it has remained a staple of the concerto repertoire ever since, with recordings pouring out unabated." (Freya Parr, Classical-music. com)


Books of 1924:
1 | A Passage to India | E.M. Forster | UK | #57
2 | Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain) | Thomas Mann | Germany | #61
3 | Parade's End | Ford Madox Ford | UK | #253


Movies of 1924:
1 | Greed | Erich von Stroheim | USA | Austria | #93
2 | Sherlock Jr. | Buster Keaton | USA | #118
3 | Der letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) | F.W. Murnau | Germany | #178


Songs of 1924:
1 | Rhapsody in Blue | Paul Whiteman & His Concert Orchestra with George Gershwin | USA | #1697
2 | The Prisoner's Song | Vernon Dalhart | USA | #4985
3 | Copenhagen | Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra | USA | #6505


Classical works of 1924:
1 | Rhapsody in Blue | George Gershwin | USA | #3
2 | Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome) | Ottorino Respighi | Italy | #64
3 | Sinfonia nro 7 C-duuri (Symphony No. 7 in C major) | Jean Sibelius | Sweden | Finland | #94

Note:
For the first and last time we have the same piece of music at the top of the Pop and Classical lists. Only Gershwin ("a master at blending sophisticated musical structures with pop-song accessibility" according to Martin Chilton) could have done that.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:32 pm

1925



Book of 1925 | The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | all time #4
"The novel chronicles an era that Fitzgerald himself dubbed the "Jazz Age." Following the shock and chaos of World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers and led to an increase in organized crime, for example the Jewish mafia. Although Fitzgerald, like Nick Carraway in his novel, idolized the riches and glamor of the age, he was uncomfortable with the unrestrained materialism and the lack of morality that went with it, a kind of decadence." (Publisher)

Movie of 1925 | Bronenosets Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin) | S.M. Eisenstein | USSR | all time #14
"The Battleship Potemkin has been so famous for so long that it is almost impossible to come to it with a fresh eye. It is one of the fundamental landmarks of cinema. Its famous massacre on the Odessa Steps has been quoted so many times in other films (notably in The Untouchables) that it's likely many viewers will have seen the parody before they see the original. The film once had such power that it was banned in many nations, including its native Soviet Union. Governments actually believed it could incite audiences to action. Battleship Potemkin is no longer considered the greatest film ever made, but it is obligatory for anyone interested in film history." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Record of 1925 | The St. Louis Blues | Bessie Smith | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #937
"Recorded just 9 years after the song's original publication, St. Louis Blues was already considered a classic of the repertoire and Bessie Smith gives the song a stately and dignified performance. The tempo is extremely slow and they only get through one full AABA chorus in the three minutes of recording time. Smith's vocal includes several expressive slides, but she leaves the vocalized effects to Louis Armstrong. It sounds like Armstrong is playing with a straight mute and his accompaniment is restrained, so not to take the listener's attention from Smith and the composition. The wheezy reed organ sounds like it belongs in an old southern church, which ties the sacred harmony of hymns to the secular feeling of the blues." (Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online)


Books of 1925:
1 | The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | #4
2 | Der Process (The Trial) | Franz Kafka | Germany | Czechoslovakia | #35
3 | Mrs Dalloway | Virginia Woolf | UK | #37


Movies of 1925:
1 | Bronenosets Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin) | S.M. Eisenstein | USSR | #14
2 | The Gold Rush | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #71
3 | Seven Chances | Buster Keaton | USA | #604


Songs of 1925:
1 | The St. Louis Blues | Bessie Smith | USA | #937
2 | See See Rider Blues | Ma Rainey Acc. by Her Georgia Jazz Band | USA | #1825
3 | South | Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra | USA | #8263


Classical work of 1925 | Concerto in F | George Gershwin | USA | #77

Note:
Splendid year for books, with the Top 3 on the Top 50 of all time.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:32 pm

Okay, my favorite records of 1924 and 1925:






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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:41 pm

1926



Movie of 1926 | The General | Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman | USA | all time #40
"Keaton displays extraordinary and insouciant athleticism as a train driver during the American Civil War, who rescues both his beloved engine The General and the woman he adores from enemy forces. His stunts and sight gags, perfectly framed and presented for maximum clarity and comic impact, fit perfectly into an ambitious action epic. Spectacular chases, fires and explosions are captured with fluid camerawork. There are no stunt doubles for Keaton and of course no digital effects. This is the real thing you're watching - in every sense. It has incidentally, one of the cleverest "sniper" sequences to be seen in any war movie." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)

Book of 1926 | The Sun Also Rises | Ernest Hemingway | USA | all time #46
"The novel explores the lives and values of the so-called "Lost Generation," chronicling the experiences of Jake Barnes and several acquaintances on their pilgrimage to Pamplona for the annual San Fermin festival and bull fights, known more commonly as the Running of the Bulls. Jake, a World War I veteran, is unable to consummate a sexual relationship with Brett Ashley because of a severe wound suffered when his fighter plane crashed on the Italian Front, leaving him emasculated. However, he is still attracted to and in love with her. The story follows Jake and his various companions across France and Spain." (Publisher)

Record of 1926 | Black Bottom Stomp | Jelly-Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #3823
"A bravura recording that still packs an emotional punch. The mood is upbeat, optimistic, bursting with energy and exuberance. This is music that makes you want to get up and dance. It rewards close, repeated listening. Whether appreciated architecturally or dramatically, Morton's accomplishment is remarkable. In this and other pieces, Morton achieved a remarkable integration of improvisation, spontaneity and variety. His 1920s recordings with the Red Hot Peppers reached the peak of the New Orleans style of group embellishment and collective improvisation, with its trademark heterophony and polyphony." (John Edward Hasse, Wall Street Journal)


Books of 1926:
1 | The Sun Also Rises | Ernest Hemingway | USA | #46
2 | Das Schloss (The Castle) | Franz Kafka | Germany | Czechoslovakia | #81
3 | Winnie-the-Pooh | A. A. Milne | UK | #257


Movies of 1926:
1 | The General | Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman | USA | #40
2 | Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage (Faust) | F.W. Murnau | Germany | #506
3 | Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed) | Lotte Reiniger | Germany | #1305


Songs of 1926:
1 | Black Bottom Stomp | Jelly-Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers | USA | #3823
2 | Fascinating Rhythm | Fred and Adele Astaire | USA | #5258
3 | Trouble in Mind | Bertha "Chippie" Hill | USA | #6958


Classical work of 1926 | Turandot | Giacomo Puccini | Italy | #52

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:49 pm

My favorite record of 1926:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:56 pm

1927



Movie of 1927 | Sunrise | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | all time #8
"The best foreign film ever made in the United States. German director F.W. Murnau was given a free hand by William Fox for his first Hollywood production; it's breathtaking to see the full range of American technology and American budgets in the service of a great artist's personal vision. The story is essentially An American Tragedy with a happy ending—it would be hard to imagine anything more elemental and more potentially pompous. The miracle of Murnau's mise-en-scene is to fill the simple plot and characters with complex, piercing emotions, all evoked visually through a dense style that embraces not only spectacular expressionism but a subtle and delicate naturalism. Released in 1927, the last year of silent film, it's a pinnacle of that lost art." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Book of 1927 | To the Lighthouse | Virginia Woolf | UK | all time #22
"A landmark novel of high modernism, the text, centering on the Ramsay family and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920, skillfully manipulates temporality and psychological exploration. To the Lighthouse follows and extends the tradition of modernist novelists like Marcel Proust and James Joyce, where the plot is secondary to philosophical introspection, and the prose can be winding and hard to follow. The novel includes little dialogue and almost no action; most of it is written as thoughts and observations. The novel recalls the power of childhood emotions and highlights the impermanence of adult relationships. Among the book's many tropes and themes are those of loss, subjectivity, and the problem of perception." (Publisher)

Record of 1927 | Black and Tan Fantasy | Duke Ellington & His Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1692
"The Duke" was fascinated by the distinctive textures of individual instruments and would contrast them, but he was more interested in finding tones that would blend to form new, holistic effects. Black and Tan Fantasy illustrates this technique magnificently: a growling trumpet expands upon the main theme before a secondary – more ethereal – theme is stated. Dissonant piano interludes are followed by muted trombone ruminations before a conclusion that quotes liberally from Chopin's Funeral March. The diversity of multiple voices wailing, growling or praying while each expresses a fullness of heart and heaviness of mind is what gives the piece its beauty." (Geoff Ecker, Phish Net)


Books of 1927:
1 | To the Lighthouse | Virginia Woolf | UK | #22
2 | Der Steppenwolf (Steppenwolf)) | Hermann Hesse | Germany | Switzerland | #258
3 | Death Comes for the Archbishop | Willa Cather | USA | #416


Movies of 1927:
1 | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | #8
2 | Metropolis (Metropolis) | Fritz Lang | Germany | #59
3 | Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (Napoleon) | Abel Gance | France | #172


Songs of 1927:
1 | Black and Tan Fantasy | Duke Ellington & His Orchestra | USA | #1692
2 | Singin' the Blues | Frank Trumbauer & His Orchestra with Bix and Lang | USA | #1840
3 | Match Box Blues | Blind Lemon Jefferson | USA | #2225

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:30 pm

My favorite record of 1927:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:17 pm

1928



Movie of 1928 | La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) | Carl Th. Dreyer | France | Denmark | all time #17
"Stunning in its power, uncompromising in its severity and seriousness, Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent masterpiece from 1928 all but scorches a hole in the screen. The martyrdom of Joan of Arc is represented in what is almost a series of painterly close-ups, most compellingly on Joan's face as she is taunted and tormented by an ecclesiastical court. It could almost have been made at any time; there is nothing the least bit creaky about it technically. On the contrary, it transcends the limitations of early cinema, and its simplicity and procedural asceticism are inspired." (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)

Book of 1928 | Orlando: A Biography | Virginia Woolf | UK | all time #136
"In her most exuberant, most fanciful novel, Woolf has created a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, Orlando is a young nobleman at the beginning of the story-and a modern woman three centuries later. "A poetic masterpiece of the first rank" (Rebecca West). The source of a critically acclaimed 1993 feature film directed by Sally Potter. A fictional biography – spanning three centuries in the life of an Elizabethan nobleman who becomes a woman." (Publisher)

Record of 1928 | West End Blues | Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #634
"Armstrong's reading of West End Blues must have come as quite a shock, since it begins with a multi-layered, complex solo introduction from "Satchmo" that essentially set the standard for jazz musicians. Not just for trumpeters, either, although many strived to emulate what he achieved here. No, the lyrical phrases that Armstrong played were so wildly influential, fiercely musical, and technically devastating that it remains a hallmark for jazz musicians of all stripes. That's because it's not just a dazzling display of technique, although that's certainly part of it. It's because he applies his technique in tremendously innovative ways" (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide)


Books of 1928:
1 | Orlando: A Biography | Virginia Woolf | UK | #136
2 | Lady Chatterley's Lover | D. H. Lawrence | Italy | UK | #278
3 | Romancero gitano (Gypsy Ballads) | Federico García Lorca | Spain | #458


Movies of 1928:
1 | La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) | Carl Th. Dreyer | France | Denmark | #17
2 | Un chien andalou (Un Chien Andalou) | Luis Buñuel | France | Spain | #139
3 | The Crowd | King Vidor | USA | #234


Songs of 1928:
1 | West End Blues | Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five | USA | #634
2 | Blue Yodel (T for Texas) | Jimmie Rodgers | USA | #980
3 | Dark Was the Night - Cold Was the Ground | Blind Willie Johnson | USA | #1385


Classical works of 1928:
1 | Boléro | Maurice Ravel | France | #20
2 | An American in Paris | George Gershwin | USA | #72
3 | Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) | Kurt Weill | Germany | #85

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:46 pm

My favorite record of 1928:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:34 pm

1929



Book of 1929 | The Sound and the Fury | William Faulkner | USA | all time #21
"The Sound and the Fury is a novel written by the American author William Faulkner. It employs a number of narrative styles, including stream of consciousness. The Sound and the Fury is set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. The novel centers on the Compson family, former Southern aristocrats who are struggling to deal with the dissolution of their family and its reputation. Over the course of the 30 years or so related in the novel, the family falls into financial ruin, loses its religious faith and the respect of the town of Jefferson, and many of them die tragically." (Publisher)

Movie of 1929 | Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box) | G.W. Pabst | Germany | Austria | all time #279
"One of the masters of early German cinema, G. W. Pabst had an innate talent for discovering actresses (including Greta Garbo). And perhaps none of his female stars shone brighter than Kansas native and onetime Ziegfeld girl Louise Brooks, whose legendary persona was defined by Pabst's lurid, controversial melodrama Pandora's Box. Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with. Daring and stylish, Pandora's Box is one of silent cinema's great masterworks and a testament to Brooks's dazzling individuality." (The Criterion Collection)

Record of 1929 | Ain't Misbehavin' | Fats Waller | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1405
"The song was inspired by Waller's desire to answer quips regarding his reputation for overindulging in wine, women, and song. He was known for keeping two bottles of gin on the table during rehearsals, one for himself, the other for the band, and regular toasts for all kept the music flowing. The stride piano and ragtime master combined a sure sense of "ragged" syncopation on this song that was written while he was still in his twenties. It remains one of five jazz standards written by Fats Waller that is still played by stride pianists and students of ragtime in the 21st century." (Paula Edelstein, All Music Guide)


Books of 1929:
1 | The Sound and the Fury | William Faulkner | USA | #21
2 | A Farewell to Arms | Ernest Hemingway | USA | #73
3 | Berlin Alexanderplatz (Berlin Alexanderplatz) | Alfred Döblin | Germany | #223


Movies of 1929:
1 | Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man with a Movie Camera) | Dziga Vertov | USSR | documentary | #21
2 | Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box) | G.W. Pabst | Germany | Austria | #279
3 | Hallelujah | King Vidor | USA | #1133
4 | Queen Kelly | Erich Von Stroheim | USA | #1377


Songs of 1929:
1 | Ain't Misbehavin' | Thomas Waller | USA | #1405
2 | Pony Blues | Charley Patton | USA | #1583
3 | Wildwood Flower | Carter Family | USA | #1742


Classical work of 1929 | Sir John in Love (Fantasia on Greensleeves) | Ralph Vaughan Williams | UK | #86

Note:
First case (apart of the early Lumière works) of a documentary as movie of the year, even if I showcased the first fiction movie. There will be three more cases.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:55 pm

My favorite record of 1929, and I have a copy of the original 78 hanging on the wall here:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:51 pm

The 1920s



Book of the 1920s | Ulysses | James Joyce | France | UK | 1922 | all time #3
"Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, 16 June 1904 (the day of Joyce's first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle). The title alludes to Odysseus (Latinised into Ulysses), the hero of Homer's Odyssey, and establishes a series of parallels between characters and events in Homer's poem and Joyce's novel (e.g., the correspondence of Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, Molly Bloom to Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus). Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday." (Publisher)

Movie of the 1920s | Sunrise | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | 1927 | all time #8
"The best foreign film ever made in the United States. German director F.W. Murnau was given a free hand by William Fox for his first Hollywood production; it's breathtaking to see the full range of American technology and American budgets in the service of a great artist's personal vision. The story is essentially An American Tragedy with a happy ending—it would be hard to imagine anything more elemental and more potentially pompous. The miracle of Murnau's mise-en-scene is to fill the simple plot and characters with complex, piercing emotions, all evoked visually through a dense style that embraces not only spectacular expressionism but a subtle and delicate naturalism. Released in 1927, the last year of silent film, it's a pinnacle of that lost art." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Record of the 1920s | West End Blues | Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five | USA | 78 rpm single | 1928 | all time #634
"Armstrong's reading of West End Blues must have come as quite a shock, since it begins with a multi-layered, complex solo introduction from "Satchmo" that essentially set the standard for jazz musicians. Not just for trumpeters, either, although many strived to emulate what he achieved here. No, the lyrical phrases that Armstrong played were so wildly influential, fiercely musical, and technically devastating that it remains a hallmark for jazz musicians of all stripes. That's because it's not just a dazzling display of technique, although that's certainly part of it. It's because he applies his technique in tremendously innovative ways" (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide)


Books of the 1920s:
1 | Ulysses | James Joyce | France | UK | 1922 | #3
2 | The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | 1925 | #4
3 | The Sound and the Fury | William Faulkner | USA | 1929 | #21
4 | To the Lighthouse | Virginia Woolf | UK | 1927 | #22
5 | Der Process (The Trial) | Franz Kafka | Germany | Czechoslovakia | 1925 | #35


Movies of the 1920s:
1 | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | 1927 | #8
2 | Bronenosets Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin) | S.M. Eisenstein | USSR | 1925 | #14
3 | La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) | Carl Th. Dreyer | France | Denmark | 1928 | #16
4 | Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man with a Movie Camera) | Dziga Vertov | USSR | 1929 | documentary | #22
5 | The General | Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman | USA | 1926 | #38
6 | Metropolis (Metropolis) | Fritz Lang | Germany | 1927 | #57


Songs of the 1920s:
1 | West End Blues | Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five | USA | 1928 | #634
2 | The St. Louis Blues | Bessie Smith | USA | 1925 | #937
3 | Blue Yodel (T for Texas) | Jimmie Rodgers | USA | 1928 | #980
4 | Dark Was the Night - Cold Was the Ground | Blind Willie Johnson | USA | 1928 | #1385
5 | Ain't Misbehavin' | Thomas Waller | USA | 1929 | #1405


Classical works of the 1920s:
1 | Rhapsody in Blue | George Gershwin | USA | 1924 | #3
2 | Boléro | Maurice Ravel | France | 1928 | #20
3 | Turandot | Giacomo Puccini | Italy | 1926 | #52
4 | Antiche danze et arie per liuto (Ancient Airs and Dances) | Ottorino Respighi | Italy | 1923 | #53
5 | Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome) | Ottorino Respighi | Italy | 1924 | #64

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:57 pm

1930



Book of 1930 | As I Lay Dying | William Faulkner | USA | all time #52
"As I Lay Dying is told in stream of consciousness writing style by 15 different narrators in 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's quest—noble or selfish—to honor her wish to be buried in the town of Jefferson. Narrated in turn by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others, the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. The novel was written in six weeks while Faulkner was working at a power plant, published in 1930, and described by Faulkner as a "tour de force." Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic." (Publisher)

Movie of 1930 | L'âge d'or (L'Age d'Or) | Luis Buñuel | France | Spain | all time #126
"Luis Buñuel's first and most radical feature was banned for decades, and it continues to pack a jolt. Forsaking consecutive plot, the film is more like an anarchist bomb, starting off as a documentary before assaulting church, state, and society—particularly high society—in the name of eros. Funny, blasphemous, sexy, strange, subtle, and evocative in its use of sound, it's also thoroughly Buñuelian, though without the bittersweet sense of resigned acceptance that characterizes some of his later works. Except for his 1932 documentary Las Hurdes, this ferocious act of revolt kept Buñuel virtually unemployed as a director for 17 years." (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)

Record of 1930 | Mood Indigo | Duke Ellington | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1484
"Taking a melody by Barney Bigard and Lorenzo Tio and composing a song of his own on top of it, Ellington created Mood Indigo. It wasn't the elegance of the composition alone, however, that made the song Ellington's first big hit. It was the completely unexpected voicing of the horns in Ellington's original arrangement of the song. The clarinet, trumpet and trombone were generally arranged, in that order, from highest pitch to lowest in jazz music. But Ellington turned the typical structure upside down on Mood Indigo, using the clarinet near the bottom of its register and the muted trombone near the top of its—an arrangement that also produced interesting overtones with the electronic microphones of the day." (History.com)


Books of 1930:
1 | As I Lay Dying | William Faulkner | USA | #52
2 | Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften: Eine Art Einleitung (The Man Without Qualities: A Sort of Introduction) | Robert Musil | Germany | Austria | #189
3 | The 42nd Parallel | John Dos Passos | USA | #274


Movies of 1930:
1 | L'âge d'or (L'Age d'Or) | Luis Buñuel | France | Spain | #126
2 | Zemlya (Earth) | Aleksandr Dovzhenko | USSR | #167
3 | Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) | Josef von Sternberg | Germany | Austria | #615


Songs of 1930:
1 | Mood Indigo | The Harlem Footwarmers | USA | #1484
2 | The Peanut Vender (El manicero) | Don Azpiazú and His Havana Casino Orchestra | USA | Cuba | #2433
3 | Weather Bird | Louis Armstrong | USA | #2999


Classical work of 1930 | Chants d'Auvergne (Songs from the Auvergne) | Joseph Canteloube | France | #55

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:50 pm

My favorite record of 1930:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:45 pm

1931



Movie of 1931 | City Lights | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | all time #26
"If only one of Charles Chaplin's films could be preserved, City Lights would come the closest to representing all the different notes of his genius. It contains the slapstick, the pathos, the pantomime, the effortless physical coordination, the melodrama, the bawdiness, the grace, and, of course, the Little Tramp—the character said, at one time, to be the most famous image on earth. The movie contains some of Chaplin's great comic sequences, including the famous prize fight in which the Tramp uses his nimble footwork to always keep the referee between himself and his opponent. There's the opening scene, where a statue is unveiled to find the Tramp asleep in the lap of a heroic Greco-Roman stone figure." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Book of 1931 | The Waves | Virginia Woolf | UK | all time #148
"The Waves is Virginia Woolf's most experimental novel. It consists of soliloquies spoken by the book's six characters: Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny, and Louis. Also important is Percival, the seventh character, though readers never hear him speak in his own voice. The soliloquies that span the characters' lives are broken up by nine brief third-person interludes detailing a coastal scene at varying stages in a day from sunrise to sunset. As the six characters or "voices" speak Woolf explores concepts of individuality, self and community. Each character is distinct, yet together they compose a gestalt about a silent central consciousness." (Publisher)

Record of 1931 | Minnie the Moocher (The Ho De Ho Song) | Cab Calloway and His Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #895
"From one of the best all-around entertainers of the first half of the century, Cab Calloway's jive anthem Minnie the Moocher is one of the greatest novelty songs in history, surprisingly popular considering its taboo subject matter. In fact, if it wasn't for the jive slang he used to connote drug use in lines like "He took her down to Chinatown/And showed her how to kick the gong around," the song probably would have been censored. A former law student, Calloway began recording in 1930 and hit the big time just one year later with his show at the legendary Cotton Club and his best-known single, Minnie the Moocher." (John Bush, All Music Guide)


Books of 1931:
1 | The Waves | Virginia Woolf | UK | #148
2 | The Good Earth | Pearl S. Buck | USA | #262
3 | Mourning Becomes Electra | Eugene O'Neill | USA | #274


Movies of 1931:
1 | City Lights | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #26
2 | M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (M) | Fritz Lang | Germany | #56
3 | Tabu: A Story of the South Seas | F.W. Murnau | USA | Germany | #244


Songs of 1931:
1 | Minnie the Moocher (The Ho De Ho Song) | Cab Calloway and His Orchestra | USA | #895
2 | Devil Got My Woman | Skip James | USA | #2924
3 | Star Dust | Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra | USA | #4074

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:02 pm

My favorite record of 1931:


Last edited by Hymie on Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:03 pm

And a very good version from a few years ago:


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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:45 pm

1932



Book of 1932 | Brave New World | Aldous Huxley | UK | all time #84
"Brave New World is a novel by Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in the London of AD 2540 (632 A.F. in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of futurism. Huxley answered this book with a reassessment in an essay, Brave New World Revisited (1958), and with his final work, a novel titled Island (1962). In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century." (Publisher)

Movie of 1932 | Trouble in Paradise | Ernst Lubitsch | USA | Germany | all time #152
"When thief Gaston Monescu (Marshall) meets his true love in pickpocket Lily (Hopkins), they embark on a scam to rob lovely perfume company executive Mariette Colet (Francis). But when Gaston becomes romantically entangled with Mme. Colet, their larcenous ruse is jeopardized and Gaston is forced to choose between two beautiful women. Legendary director Ernst Lubitsch’s masterful touch is in full flower in Trouble in Paradise, a pinnacle of the sophisticated romantic comedy, loaded with sparkling dialogue, witty innuendo, and elegant comic invention." (The Criterion Collection)

Record of 1932 | Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? | Bing Crosby | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2572
"When Bing recorded this song in October, 1932, one out of every four Americans who wanted work could not find work. The banking system was near collapse. Record sales had plummeted because Americans did not have the money for such luxuries. No song captures the dark spirit of the Great Depression more than Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?. Both Bing and Rudy Vallee each recorded the song shortly before President Roosevelt's election. Both versions went to No. 1 in the charts. Bing's interpretation, with his ominous baritone, proved to be the one that would stand the test of time." (fixbutte, RateYourMusic)


Books of 1932:
1 | Brave New World | Aldous Huxley | UK | #84
2 | Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) | Louis-Ferdinand Céline | France | #85
3 | Light in August | William Faulkner | USA | #192


Movies of 1932:
1 | Trouble in Paradise | Ernst Lubitsch | USA | Germany | #152
2 | Vampyr (Vampyr) | Carl Th. Dreyer | Germany | Denmark | #229
3 | Freaks | Tod Browning | USA | #258


Songs of 1932:
1 | Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? | Bing Crosby | USA | #2572
2 | It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) | Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra | USA | #4590
3 | Maple Leaf Rag | New Orleans Feetwarmers | USA | #6398


Classical work of 1932 | Concerto en sol majeur (Piano Concerto in G major) | Maurice Ravel | France | #55

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:25 pm

My favorite record of 1932:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:07 pm

1933



Movie of 1933 | Duck Soup | Leo McCarey | USA | all time #147
"When the gang hooked up with a distinguished director, Leo McCarey, for the first and last time of their careers, their talents were perfectly channeled into 1933's Duck Soup, arguably the funniest movie ever made. The brothers claim that the film's story—about a leader (Groucho) who arbitrarily takes his country to war—was never intended as satire, but only Dr. Strangelove matches its audacity in sending up the follies of nationalism and conflict. The buildup to Groucho's fight with a neighboring country, triggered by an ambassador calling him an "upstart," leads to a joyous musical setpiece in which the prospect of war sends the nation into a state of perverse ecstasy." (Scott Tobias, A.V. Club)

Book of 1933 | La condition humaine (Man's Fate) | André Malraux | France | all time #481
"As explosive and immediate today as when it was originally published in 1933, Man's Fate (La Condition Humaine), an account of a crucial episode in the early days of the Chinese Revolution, foreshadows the contemporary world and brings to life the profound meaning of the revolutionary impulse for the individuals involved. As a study of conspiracy and conspirators, of men caught in the desperate clash of ideologies, betrayal, expediency, and free will, Andre Malraux's novel remains unequaled." (Publisher)

Record of 1933 | Night and Day | Leo Reisman & His Orchestra with Fred Astaire | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #3122
"According to David Ewen, "The idea of using a persistent note in the verse (B flat) came to Cole Porter during a visit to Morocco where he heard the steady, even beat on a tom-tom from a distance." Porter even alludes to the origin in the opening lyrics, "Like the beat, beat, beat, of the tom-tom; When the jungle shadows fall…" Will Friedwald gives a very different account. Porter was visiting friends in Newport. On a rainy night, the hostess, Mrs. Vincent Astor, exclaimed about a broken drainpipe, "…This drip-drip-drip is driving me mad." Porter raced to the piano to finish his song. And in the verse Porter also alludes to this origin, "Like the drip, drip, drip, of the rain drops…" (Jeremy Wilson, Jazz Standards)


Books of 1933:
1 | Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats | W. B. Yeats | UK | Ireland | collection | #112
2 | La condition humaine (Man's Fate) | André Malraux | France | #481
3 | Residencia en la tierra (Residence on Earth) | Pablo Neruda | Chile | #600
4 | Miss Lonelyhearts | Nathanael West | USA | #1106


Movies of 1933:
1 | Duck Soup | Leo McCarey | USA | #147
2 | King Kong | Merian C. Cooper/Ernest B. Schoedsack | USA | #161
3 | Zéro de conduite: Jeunes diables au college (Zero for Conduct) | Jean Vigo | France | #238


Songs of 1933:
1 | Night and Day | Leo Reisman & His Orchestra with Fred Astaire | USA | #3122
2 | Moten's Swing | Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra | USA | #3835
3 | Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time) | Ethel Waters | USA | #4586

Note:
First case of a collection as book of the year, even if I showcased the first fiction book. There will be ten more cases.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:35 am

My favorite record of 1933:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:28 pm

1934



Movie of 1934 | L'Atalante (L'Atalante) | Jean Vigo | France | all time #18
"In Jean Vigo's hands, an unassuming tale of conjugal love becomes an achingly romantic reverie of desire and hope. Jean (Dasté), a barge captain, marries Juliette (Parlo), an innocent country girl, and the two climb aboard Jean's boat, the L'Atalante—otherwise populated by an earthy first mate (Simon) and a multitude of mangy cats—and embark on their new life together. Both a surprisingly erotic idyll and a clear-eyed meditation on love, L’Atalante, Vigo's only feature-length work, is a film like no other." (The Criterion Collection)

Book of 1934 | Tender Is the Night | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | all time #187
"The story is that of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychoanalyst and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients. It would be Fitzgerald's first novel in nine years, and the last that he would complete. While working on the book he several times ran out of cash and had to borrow from his editor and agent, and write short stories for commercial magazines. The early 1930s, when Fitzgerald was conceiving and working on the book, were certainly the darkest years of his life, and accordingly, the novel has its bleak elements." (Publisher)

Record of 1934 | Mal hombre | Lidya Mendoza | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2175
"Apparently Lydia learnt the lyrics to Mal Hombre (Cold-Hearted Man) from a chewing gum wrapper sold in Monterey, Mexico in 1926; it seems astonishing that such bitter, astringent lyrics could be thought to be a chewing gum marketing tool. Her performance of the song is magnificent, with her superb, vigorous 12-string guitar providing a perfect setting for her crystal-clear narration of the brutality of this man who had ruined her life and treated her abominably, yet she now has the strength and belief in herself to tell him in no uncertain terms what a low-life he is." (bayard, RateYourMusic)


Books of 1934:
1 | Tender Is the Night | F. Scott Fitzgerald | USA | #187
2 | Sjálfstætt folk (Independent People) | Halldór Laxness | Iceland | #211
3 | I, Claudius | Robert Graves | UK | #221


Movies of 1934:
1 | L'Atalante (L'Atalante) | Jean Vigo | France | #18
2 | It Happened One Night | Frank Capra | USA | #331
3 | Man of Aran | Robert J. Flaherty | UK | USA | documentary | #415
4 | The Scarlet Empress | Josef von Sternberg | USA | Austria | #450


Songs of 1934:
1 | Mal hombre | Lidya Mendoza con Guitarra | USA | #2175
2 | Tumbling Tumbleweeds | The Sons of the Pioneers | USA | #3714
3 | Honeysuckle Rose | "Fats" Waller and His Rhythm | USA | #4274


Classical works of 1934:
1 | Rapsodiya na temu Paganini (Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | USA | Russia | #22
2 | Poruchik Kizhe (Lieutenant Kijé) | Sergei Prokofiev | France | USSR | #98

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:43 pm

My favorite record of 1934 (it's also in the unacclaimed contest now)



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:19 pm

1935



Movie of 1935 | Bride of Frankenstein | James Whale | USA | UK | all time #328
"The best of the Frankenstein movies, a sly, subversive work that smuggled shocking material past the censors by disguising it in the trappings of horror. Some movies age; others ripen. Seen today, Whale's masterpiece is more surprising than when it was made because today's audiences are more alert to its buried hints of homosexuality, necrophilia and sacrilege. But you don't have to deconstruct it to enjoy it; it's satirical, exciting, funny, and an influential masterpiece of art direction." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Book of 1935 | Studs Lonigan | James T. Farrell | USA | all time #472
"Studs Lonigan, the story of an Irish-American youth growing to adulthood in Chicago, is considered by many to be one of the finest American novels from the first half of the twentieth century, and its author was widely regarded as the voice of urban Irish America. In this relentlessly naturalistic portrait, Studs starts out his life full of vigor and ambition, qualities that are crushed by the Chicago youth's limited social and economic environment. Studs's swaggering and vicious comrades, his narrow family, and his educational and religious background lead him to a life of futile dissipation." (Publisher)

Record of 1935 | Can the Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye) | Carter Family | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #1881
"Told from the point of view of someone whose mother has just died, the song captures the grief of the situation. However, it also expresses hope for a heavenly afterlife in the chorus. As always, Sara’s weary-yet-strong vocals are top-notch, and A.P. and Maybelle do a fine job on harmony during the catchy chorus. It is Maybelle’s guitar work, though, that stands out the most in this performance. After a hesitating, slow start, her playing begins to gain speed and confidence. By the end of the first chorus, the guitar has taken control of the melody and assertively drives the song forward." (Bryan Mangum, Three Perfect Minutes)


Books of 1935:
1 | Studs Lonigan | James T. Farrell | USA | #472
2 | Of Time and the River: A Legend of Man's Hunger in His Youth | Thomas Wolfe | UK | #710
3 | Nässlorna blomma (Flowering Nettle) | Harry Martinson | Sweden | #1042


Movies of 1935:
1 | Bride of Frankenstein | James Whale | USA | UK | #328
2 | A Night at the Opera | Sam Wood | USA | #476
3 | Top Hat | Mark Sandrich | USA | #501


Songs of 1935:
1 | Can the Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye) | Carter Family | USA | #1881
2 | I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart | Patsy Montana | USA | #3532
3 | El día que me quieras | Carlos Gardel | Argentina | #3784


Classical work of 1935 | Porgy and Bess | George Gershwin | USA | #24

Notes
According to The Greatest Books .org the first book of 1935 is "Collected Fictions" by Jorge Luis Borges, a collection of Borges short stories, included in this year because the first collection included here ("The Universal History of Iniquity") was published in 1935. I'll include this collection in 1998, when "Collected Fictions" was first published.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:17 pm

My favorite record of 1935:


Last edited by Hymie on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:26 pm

1936



Book of 1936 | Absalom, Absalom! | William Faulkner | USA | all time #33
"Absalom, Absalom! is considered by many to be William Faulkner's masterpiece. Although the novel's complex and fragmented structure poses considerable difficulty to readers, the book's literary merits place it squarely in the ranks of America's finest novels. The story concerns Thomas Sutpen, a poor man who finds wealth and then marries into a respectable family. His ambition and extreme need for control bring about his ruin and the ruin of his family. Sutpen's story is told by several narrators, allowing the reader to observe variations in the saga as it is recounted by different speakers." (Publisher)

Movie of 1936 | Modern Times | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | all time #45
"Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin's last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times —though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!)— is a timeless showcase of Chaplin's untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy." (The Criterion Collection)

Record of 1936 | I Can't Get Started | Bunny Berigan and His Boys | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2206
"The contrasting low-register and high-register playing for which Bunny Berigan was renowned, and which is on full display in this classic performance of I Can’t Get Started, is something that was facilitated by his uncommon control of the trumpet's lowest range. Berigan's frequent vaults into the highest register of the trumpet were very often "set-up," both technically and musically, by his playing in the lowest range of the horn immediately before. This allowed his chops to receive maximum blood circulation so that when he went upstairs, his sound would remain full and rich, not pinched or piercing." (Mike Zirpolo, Swing & Beyond)


Books of 1936:
1 | Absalom, Absalom! | William Faulkner | USA | #33
2 | Gone With the Wind | Margaret Mitchell | USA | #92
2 | The Big Money | John Dos Passos | USA | #274


Movies of 1936:
1 | Modern Times | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | #45
2 | Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country) | Jean Renoir | France | #125
3 | Le crime de Monsieur Lange (The Crime of Monsieur Lange) | Jean Renoir | France | #350


Songs of 1936:
1 | I Can't Get Started | Bunny Berigan and His Boys | USA | #2206
2 | I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You | Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra | USA | #4155
3 | Pennies From Heaven | Bing Crosby | USA | #5462


Classical work of 1936 | Pétya i volk (Peter and the Wolf) | Sergei Prokofiev | USSR | #38

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:47 pm

My favorite record of 1936:


Last edited by Hymie on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:31 pm

1937



Movie of 1937 | La grande illusion (The Grand Illusion) | Jean Renoir | France | all time #42
"Not only hugely important in film history — it was the first foreign-language movie ever to be Oscar-nominated for Best Picture — but a sorrowful, acutely thoughtful, and wholly imperishable masterpiece, Renoir's drama about First World War fortunes and the demise of Old Europe holds up sublimely: better, even, than La Règle du jeu (1939), which is more often called his crowning achievement. The friendship forged between Pierre Fresnay's French captain and Erich von Stroheim's refined German commandant lends a core of humanity as vulnerable as it is profound." (Tim Robey, The Telegraph)

Book of 1937 | Their Eyes Were Watching God | Zora Neale Hurston | USA | all time #134
"The main character, an African American woman in her early forties named Janie Crawford, tells the story of her life and journey via an extended flashback to her best friend, Pheoby, so that Pheoby can tell Janie's story to the nosy community on her behalf. Her life has three major periods corresponding to her marriages to three very different men. Though beautiful and engaging, this novel is challenging because of the strong southern dialect Hurston uses to convey her story." (Publisher)

Record of 1937 | Cross Road Blues | Robert Johnson | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #492
"Robert Johnson's 1936 recording of Cross Road Blues has become a central element in the story–real, imagined, or fabricated–of Johnson selling his soul to devil at the crossroads, as depicted on the big screen in the 1986 film Crossroads. Among the many problems with the tale, however, is the fact that in the lyrics to Cross Road Blues, Johnson falls to his knees and asks the Lord for mercy, he sings nary a word about devil-dealing. Regardless of mythology Johnson's record was indeed a powerful one, a song that would stand the test of time on its own." (Jim O’Neal, The Blues Foundation)


Books of 1937:
1 | Their Eyes Were Watching God | Zora Neale Hurston | USA | #134
2 | Of Mice and Men | John Steinbeck | USA | #181
2 | The Hobbit | J. R. R. Tolkien | UK | #365


Movies of 1937:
1 | La grande illusion (The Grand Illusion) | Jean Renoir | France | #42
2 | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | David Hand | USA | #312
3 | Make Way for Tomorrow | Leo McCarey | USA | #319


Songs of 1937:
1 | Cross Road Blues | Robert Johnson | USA | #492
2 | Hell Hound on My Trail | Robert Johnson | USA | #1023
3 | One O'Clock Jump | Count Basie and His Orchestra | USA | #5462


Classical works of 1937:
1 | Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanae cantoribus et choris cantandae comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis | Carl Orff | Germany | #8
2 | Simfonija № 5 re minor (Symphony No. 5 in D minor) | Dmitri Shostakovich | USSR | #31

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Henrik » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:58 pm

Honorio, you discussed this ambitious project with me before your roll out and I loved your idea. It gives a very interesting perspective on different art forms. Educational and wonderful in every way. I’m sure there will be a lot more discussion when the rock era begins.

Just one minor thing: one of the images for ”Night and Day” shows Billie Holiday’ ”God Bless the Child”.
Everyone you meet fights a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:24 pm

Thank you very much for your kind words, Henrik!
Mistake corrected...

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:38 pm

My favorite record of 1937:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Cold Butterfly » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:48 pm

Wow! I didn't see this thread until today, but now i'm wishing I participated earlier. I value all art forms regardless of their time period, and it's wonderful Honorio that you're being woke about early 20th-century entertainment. Here's my list if you don't mind, we seem to have a lot in common on this year :mrgreen:

Movie Of 1937 - La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, France)
"It is a film of surpassing melancholy, this tragic chamber drama of prison camp life and death in World War I. Released in 1938, with the world once again at war's edge, The Grand Illusion was a quiet plea to a self-destructive Europe not to commit suicide again. Europe did not listen. Two French flyers, de Boeldieu and Maréchal have been downed. They are ushered into the mess of the German squadron responsible for shooting them down, where they are toasted by the aristocratic ace, von Rauffenstein, in an episode taken intact from the archaic courtliness of the air war that so contrasted with the anonymous slaughter of the trenches below. De Boeldieu and Maréchal find themselves in a prison camp, deep within German lines, presided over by a now-badly injured von Rauffenstein. The comradeship he had once felt for them remains, now filtered through his regretful responsibilities as commandant. The French have a duty to escape, and von Rauffenstein has a duty to kill them when they try." (University At Albany)

Book Of 1937 - Of Mice And Men (John Steinbeck, United States)
"The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream--a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes such as the friendship of a shared vision, and giving voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men has proved one of Steinbeck’s most popular works, achieving success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films." (Goodreads)

Song Of 1937 - Cross Road Blues (Robert Johnson, United States)
"The story has more than one beginning, but the ending's always the same: the young bluesman died at 27 under mysterious circumstances, probably poisoned to death at a juke joint in rural Mississippi. He'd become one of the most talented guitar players who ever lived, but he was also known for chasing after women, getting into fights, and changing his name in every new town. These days, Robert Johnson is a key figure in the history of blues, but to understand the myths surrounding "Cross Road Blues," we have to follow a road almost as twisted as the satanic pact that supposedly started it all. Though he died in 1938, Johnson didn’t gain widespread fame until the 1960s, when hippies got into blues music. It was in that folksy, psychedelic age that the strangest stories of Robert Johnson took flight. That he sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads. That he was poisoned to death by a jealous ex, or ex's boyfriend, or ex's father. Or maybe that he was shot or stabbed. And that he spent his life pursued by hellhounds. People said he had a funny eye, a travel bug, and a drinking problem, and that before he died he was seen on all fours, foaming at the mouth and growling like a dog. "Cross Road Blues" is tagged as Johnson's own account of the devilish dealings that led to all this Hollywood-worthy mystery and intrigue. But even that might just be a piece of lore." (Shmoop)

Movies Of 1937:
1. La Grande Illusion - Jean Renoir (France)
2. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs - David Hand (United States)
3. Pepe le Moko - Julien Duvivier (France)

Books of 1937:
1. Of Mice And Men - John Steinbeck (USA)
2. Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston (USA)
3. Ferdydurke - Witold Gombrowicz (Poland)

Songs Of 1937:
1. Cross Road Blues - Robert Johnson (USA)
2. Hellhound On My Trail - Robert Johnson (USA)
3. Marie - Tommy Dorsey (USA)

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:08 pm

Cold Butterfly wrote:Wow! I didn't see this thread until today, but now i'm wishing I participated earlier. I value all art forms regardless of their time period, and it's wonderful Honorio that you're being woke about early 20th-century entertainment. Here's my list if you don't mind, we seem to have a lot in common on this year :mrgreen:

Thanks a lot for your comments and your list, Cold Butterfly! Anyway the lists on this thread are not my personal lists, the choices are taken from three meta-lists sites, The Greatest Books.org, They Shoot Pictures Don't They and Acclaimed Music (as you can see on the first post on this thread), so these are more or less the 'official' best books, films and records of every year according to the critics.


1938



Movie of 1938 | Bringing Up Baby | Howard Hawks | USA | all time #120
"Though it's almost impossible, try to sit back sometime and enjoy this 1938 Howard Hawks masterpiece not only for its gags, but for the grace of its construction, the assurance of its style, and the richness of its themes. Cary Grant's adventures with Katharine Hepburn lead from day into night, tameness into wildness, order into chaos; needless to say, it's a deeply pessimistic film, though it draws its grim conclusions in a searingly bright and chipper way. Amazingly, the film was a failure when first released, but time has revealed its brilliance, as well as the apparent impossibility of its like ever being seen again (What's Up, Doc? notwithstanding)." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)

Book of 1938 | Rebecca | Daphne du Maurier | UK | all time #131
"Rebecca is a novel by Daphne du Maurier. When Rebecca was published in 1938, du Maurier became —to her great surprise— one of the most popular authors of the day. Rebecca is considered to be one of her best works. Some observers have noted parallels with Jane Eyre. Much of the novel was written while she was staying in Alexandria, Egypt, where her husband was posted at the time. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" is the book's often quoted opening line, and from here its unnamed narrator recollects her past as a naïve, middle-class woman in her early twenties." (Publisher)

Record of 1938 | Begin the Beguine | Art Shaw and His Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #2241
"So why is Begin the Beguine one of the best records of the Swing Era? Because it is simply one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded. It's the perfectly sculpted fox trot tempo that coaxed people on the dance floor. It's also the crisp call and response between the reeds and horns and Shaw's sublime solo. In short, Begin the Beguine sums up all that was great about the Swing Era, all from a song that wasn't even supposed to be a big hit. But Beguine quickly overshadowed every hit from that year. It sold millions of copies, was featured on jukeboxes around the world and, as Shaw said, "that recording of that one little tune was the real turning point in my life." (David Rickert, All About Jazz)


Books of 1938:
1 | Rebecca | Daphne du Maurier | UK | #131
2 | Brighton Rock | Graham Greene | UK | #302
2 | La Nausée (Nausea) | Jean-Paul Sartre | France | #342


Movies of 1938:
1 | Bringing Up Baby | Howard Hawks | USA | #120
2 | Aleksandr Nevskiy (Alexander Nevsky) | Sergei M. Eisenstein/ Dmitriy Vasilev | USSR | #475
3 | The Lady Vanishes | Alfred Hitchcock | UK | #618


Songs of 1938:
1 | Begin the Beguine | Art Shaw and His Orchestra | USA | #2241
2 | Wabash Cannon Ball | Roy Acuff and His Crazy Tennesseeans | USA | #2803
3 | A-Tisket A-Tasket | Chick Webb & His Orchestra with Ella Fitzgerald | USA | #3385


Classical works of 1938:
1 | Adagio for Strings | Samuel Barber | USA | #7
2 | Romeo i Džulʹetta (Romeo and Juliet) | Sergei Prokofiev | USSR | #10

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Cold Butterfly » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:25 pm

Honorio wrote:
Cold Butterfly wrote:Wow! I didn't see this thread until today, but now i'm wishing I participated earlier. I value all art forms regardless of their time period, and it's wonderful Honorio that you're being woke about early 20th-century entertainment. Here's my list if you don't mind, we seem to have a lot in common on this year :mrgreen:

Thanks a lot for your comments and your list, Cold Butterfly! Anyway the lists on this thread are not my personal lists, the choices are taken from three meta-lists sites, The Greatest Books.org, They Shoot Pictures Don't They and Acclaimed Music (as you can see on the first post on this thread), so these are more or less the 'official' best books, films and records of every year according to the critics.

Ohhh I didn't notice that until right now. But anyways interesting presentation, it's still nice to see someone regard early-20th century art with reverence, which is something you don't see that much anymore. I can't wait to see the rest of the rollout, and i'll still contribute my personal lists if it's ok.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:41 am

My favorite record of 1938:



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:29 pm

Cold Butterfly wrote:i'll still contribute my personal lists if it's ok.

Of course, Cold Butterfly! Your personal lists (and anyone else's) will be welcome!

1939



Movie of 1939 | La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) | Jean Renoir | France | all time #4
"Banned on its original release as 'too demoralising', and only made available again in its original form in 1956, Renoir's brilliant social comedy is epitomised by the phrase "everyone has their reasons." The film effects audacious slides from melodrama into farce, from realism into fantasy, and from comedy into tragedy. Romantic intrigues, social rivalries, and human foibles are all observed with an unblinking eye that nevertheless refuses to judge. Embracing every level of French society, from the aristocratic hosts to a poacher turned servant, the film presents a hilarious yet melancholic picture of a nation riven by petty class distinctions." (Nigel Floyd, Time Out)

Book of 1939 | The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck | USA | all time #31
"The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath at his home, 16250 Greenwood Lane, in what is now Monte Sereno, California. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a nearly hopeless situation, they set out for California's Central Valley along with thousands of other "Okies" in search of land, jobs, and dignity." (Publisher)

Record of 1939 | Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | all time #75
"In an early example of the short-sighted corporate attitudes of major labels, Holiday bypassed the system, recorded the arresting song, and the record became one of her most successful. And people started to flock to Cafe Society in droves just to see her perform this one song. Even though the song became sort of an act, Holiday would break down after every performance of it. The impact of the song has not lessened with time. If anything, it has grown more intense within the context of history. The controversy of the song continues as well, with some jazz radio programmers still refusing to play it, as it stirs up such "negative" feelings as deep sadness, anger, and guilt." (Bill Janovitz, All Music Guide)


Books of 1939:
1 | The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck | USA | #31
2 | Finnegans Wake | James Joyce | UK | #234
2 | The Big Sleep | Raymond Chandler | USA | #256


Movies of 1939:
1 | La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) | Jean Renoir | France | #4
2 | The Wizard of Oz | Victor Fleming | USA | #105
3 | Gone with the Wind | Victor Fleming | USA | #109


Songs of 1939:
1 | Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra | USA | #75
2 | Over the Rainbow | Judy Garland with Victor Young and His Orchestra | USA | #379
3 | Body and Soul | Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra | USA | #713


Classical work of 1939 | Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 | Heitor Villa-Lobos | Brazil | #84

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Cold Butterfly » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:20 pm

1938:

Movie Of 1938 - The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, United Kingdom)
"Hitchcock and railways go together like a locomotive and tender. He loved them, they figure significantly in his work and never more so than in The Lady Vanishes. Much of what happens could only take place on a railway line – passengers delayed together by an avalanche; classes compartmentalised; strangers trapped together as they're transported across a continent; an engine driver killed in crossfire; a carriage disconnected and shunted on to a branch line; an intrepid hero struggling from one carriage to another outside a fast-moving train as other locomotives rush by; clues in the form of a name traced in the steam on a window, and the label on a tea packet briefly adhering to another window; and above all the enforced intimacy on this rhythmically seductive transport moving on its own tracks, independent of the changing landscape around it." (The Guardian)

Book Of 1938 - A Night Of Serious Drinking (Rene Daumal, France)
"A Night of Serious Drinking is among Rene Daumal's most important literary works. Like Daumal's Mount Analogue it is a classic work of symbolic fiction. An unnamed narrator spends an evening getting drunk with a group of friends.; as the party becomes intoxicated and exuberant, the narrator embarks on a journey that ranges from seeming paradises to the depths of pure hell. The fantastic world depicted in A Night of Serious Drinking is actually the ordinary world turned upside down. The characters are called the Anthographers, Fabricators of useless objects, Scienters, Nibblists, Clarificators, and other absurd titles. Yet the inhabitants of these strange realms are only too familiar: scientists dissecting an animal in their laboratory, a wise man surrounded by his devotees, politicians, poets expounding their rhetoric. These characters perform hilarious antics and intellectual games, which they see as serious attempts to find meaning and freedom." (Goodreads)

Song Of 1938 - When The Saints Go Marching In (Louis Armstrong, United States)
"The task of discovering the actual origin of “When the Saints Go Marching In” is a difficult one. The song’s history has sometimes been confused with the origin of “When the Saints ARE Marching In,” written by James M. Black and Katherine Purvis. They are totally different songs. Louis Armstrong’s recording of “When the Saints Go Marching In” (Decca Records, 1938) is credited with the launch of it’s popularity and with bringing Armstrong to the forefront of the music world. It was a song that Armstrong had sung as a child. He was born in New Orleans on Aug. 4, 1901, in a ghetto at Uptown New Orleans, better known as the “Back of the Town.” His childhood was spent in abjection and hardship. Over time, many other artists have recorded the song, but with far less success than the “Satchmo” rendition. It seems to appeal to age groups from teens through senior adults. It was recorded in 2013 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was a New Orleans-style celebration in the White House Monday, Aug. 9, 2010 as the President hosted the 2009 Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints. The team entered the East Room, crowded with members of the media while the U.S. Marine Band appropriately played “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The length of the title has caused some New Orleans residents to simply refer to the song as “Saints.” (The St. Augustine Record)

Movies Of 1938:
1. The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, United Kingdom)
2. Angels With Dirty Faces (Michael Curtiz, United States)
3. Jezebel (William Wyler, United States)

Books Of 1938:
1. A Night Of Serious Drinking (Rene Daumal, France)
2. Nausea (Jean-Paul Sartre, France)
3. The Black Jacobins (C.L.R. James, United Kingdom)

Songs Of 1938:
1. When The Saints Go Marching In (Louis Armstrong, United States)
2. Rock My Soul (The Golden Gate Quartet, United States)
3. Me And The Devil Blues (Robert Johnson, United States)

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:38 pm

My favorite record of 1939 (and of the decade).



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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Cold Butterfly » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:45 pm

1939: (gotta agree with the critics on here!)

Movie Of 1939 - The Rules Of The Game (Jean Renoir, France)
"I've seen Jean Renoir's "The Rules of the Game" in a campus film society, at a repertory theater and on laserdisc, and I've even taught it in a film class -- but now I realize I've never really seen it at all. This magical and elusive work, which always seems to place second behind "Citizen Kane" in polls of great films, is so simple and so labyrinthine, so guileless and so angry, so innocent and so dangerous, that you can't simply watch it, you have to absorb it." (Roger Ebert)

Book Of 1939 - The Grapes Of Wrath (John Steinbeck, United States)
"John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is not merely a great American novel. It is also a significant event in our national history. Capturing the plight of millions of Americans whose lives had been crushed by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Steinbeck awakened the nation's comprehension and compassion. Written in a style of peculiarly democratic majesty, The Grapes of Wrath evokes quintessentially American themes of hard work, self-determination, and reasoned dissent. It speaks from assumptions common to most Americans whether their ancestors came over in a stateroom, in steerage, or were already here to greet the migrants. Can a book top the bestseller list, win a Pulitzer Prize, save lives, and still be underrated? If that book is The Grapes of Wrath (1939), the answer is most definitely yes. For too long, Steinbeck's masterpiece has been taught as social history, or dismissed as an "issue novel." It's both these things, of course, but before all that, it's a terrific story. The characters fall in love, go hungry, lose faith, kill, live, and die with an immediacy that makes most contemporary novels look somehow dated by comparison." (The National Endowment For The Arts)

Song Of 1939 - Strange Fruit (Billie Holiday, United States)
"Written by a Jewish communist called Abel Meeropol, Strange Fruit was not by any means the first protest song, but it was the first to shoulder an explicit political message into the arena of entertainment. Unlike the robust workers' anthems of the union movement, it did not stir the blood; it chilled it. "That is about the ugliest song I have ever heard," Nina Simone would later marvel. "Ugly in the sense that it is violent and tears at the guts of what white people have done to my people in this country." For all these reasons, it was something entirely new. Up to this point, protest songs functioned as propaganda, but Strange Fruit proved they could be art. It is a song so good that dozens of singers have since tried to put their stamp on it, and Holiday's performance is so strong that none of them have come close to outclassing her – in 1999, Time magazine named her first studio version the "song of the century"." (The Guardian)

Movies Of 1939:
1. The Rules Of The Game (Jean Renoir, France)
2. Gone With The Wind (Victor Fleming, United States)
3. The Story Of The Last Chrysanthemum (Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan)

Books Of 1939:
1. The Grapes Of Wrath (John Steinbeck, United States)
2. Finnegans Wake (James Joyce, United Kingdom)
3. The Day Of The Locust (Nathanael West, United States)

Songs Of 1939:
1. Strange Fruit (Billie Holiday, United States)
2. Body And Soul (Coleman Hawkins, United States)
3. Tea For Two (Art Tatum, United States)

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:51 pm

Forget about the critics and the elitists, the REAL song of 1939 is "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Honorio » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:02 pm

Hymie wrote:Forget about the critics and the elitists, the REAL song of 1939 is "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller.

Mmm, "In the Mood" is great and era-defining, that’s true. A truly vibrant and energetic track, probably the culmination of the Big Band Era, something acknowledged by critics, in fact it's #7 of the 1930s on Acclaimed Music (although my personal choice among the Glenn Miller brilliant repertoire would be the dreamy "Moonlight Serenade").
But I can't help but (mostly) agree with the critics on the choices for 1939, as summarized on Acclaimed Music, the three songs ranked higher than "In the Mood" are not only milestones on pop music history but songs truly enjoyable for anyone, not only for elitist listeners:
- "Strange Fruit" is undoubtedly one of the highest (and turning) points on African American music, introducing racial issues on the jazz world and almost creating from scratch the modern protest song (it's the first song on the Dorian Lynskey's book "33 Revolutions per Minute"). But, regardless of the historical importance, what I get from this song is an impressive and haunting performance that never fails in putting me goose-bumps and a lump in my throat.
- "Over the Rainbow" is one of the most popular melodies ever (hummable by any causal listener across generations, see the huge hit obtained by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole) but also one of the most perfectly constructed melodies ever, with these two initial notes separated by a whole octave (a trick repeated later by David Bowie on "Starman").
- "Body and Soul" as performed by Coleman Hawkins is another landmark on music history, in his cover of this standard he performed a three-minutes solo without playing a single note of the tune, improvising over the chords changes of the song. Revolutionary but also really enjoyable, predating the complex harmonies of bebop but also the relaxed vibes of the cool jazz.
Having said that I wouldn't mind to see the Miller song over the Hawkins one on the main AM list…

The 1930s



Movie of the 1930s | La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) | Jean Renoir | France | 1939 | all time #4
"Banned on its original release as 'too demoralising', and only made available again in its original form in 1956, Renoir's brilliant social comedy is epitomised by the phrase "everyone has their reasons." The film effects audacious slides from melodrama into farce, from realism into fantasy, and from comedy into tragedy. Romantic intrigues, social rivalries, and human foibles are all observed with an unblinking eye that nevertheless refuses to judge. Embracing every level of French society, from the aristocratic hosts to a poacher turned servant, the film presents a hilarious yet melancholic picture of a nation riven by petty class distinctions." (Nigel Floyd, Time Out)

Book of the 1930s | The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck | USA | 1939 | all time #31
"The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath at his home, 16250 Greenwood Lane, in what is now Monte Sereno, California. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a nearly hopeless situation, they set out for California's Central Valley along with thousands of other "Okies" in search of land, jobs, and dignity." (Publisher)

Record of the 1930s | Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra | USA | 78 rpm single | 1939 | all time #75
"In an early example of the short-sighted corporate attitudes of major labels, Holiday bypassed the system, recorded the arresting song, and the record became one of her most successful. And people started to flock to Cafe Society in droves just to see her perform this one song. Even though the song became sort of an act, Holiday would break down after every performance of it. The impact of the song has not lessened with time. If anything, it has grown more intense within the context of history. The controversy of the song continues as well, with some jazz radio programmers still refusing to play it, as it stirs up such "negative" feelings as deep sadness, anger, and guilt." (Bill Janovitz, All Music Guide)


Books of the 1930s:
1 | The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck | USA | 1939 | #31
2 | Absalom, Absalom! | William Faulkner | USA | 1936 | #33
3 | As I Lay Dying | William Faulkner | USA | 1930 | #52
4 | Brave New World | Aldous Huxley | UK | 1932 | #84
5 | Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) | Louis-Ferdinand Céline | France | 1932 | #85


Movies of the 1930s:
1 | La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) | Jean Renoir | France | 1939 | #4
2 | L'Atalante (L'Atalante) | Jean Vigo | France | 1934 | #18
3 | City Lights | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | 1931 | #26
4 | La grande illusion (The Grand Illusion) | Jean Renoir | France | 1937 | #42
5 | Modern Times | Charles Chaplin | USA | UK | 1936 | #45


Songs of the 1930s:
1 | Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra | USA | 1939 | #75
2 | Over the Rainbow | Judy Garland with Victor Young and His Orchestra | USA | 1939 | #379
3 | Cross Road Blues | Robert Johnson | USA | 1937 | #492
4 | Body and Soul | Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra | USA | 1939 | #713
5 | Minnie the Moocher (The Ho De Ho Song) | Cab Calloway and His Orchestra | USA | 1931 | #895


Classical works of the 1930s:
1 | Adagio for Strings | Samuel Barber | USA | 1938 | #7
2 | Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanae cantoribus et choris cantandae comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis | Carl Orff | Germany | 1937 | #8
3 | Romeo i Džulʹetta (Romeo and Juliet) | Sergei Prokofiev | USSR | 1938 | #10
4 | Rapsodiya na temu Paganini (Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini) | Sergei Rachmaninoff | USA | Russia | #22
5 | Porgy and Bess | George Gershwin | USA | 1935 | #24

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Hymie » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:21 pm

Honorio wrote:But I can't help but (mostly) agree with the critics on the choices for 1939, as summarized on Acclaimed Music, the three songs ranked higher than "In the Mood" are not only milestones on pop music history but songs truly enjoyable for anyone, not only for elitist listeners:


Most people have never heard of "Strange Fruit" or "Tea For Two" and if you played "Strange Fruit" for someone they most likely will not like it. The lyrics aside, it's depressing and dark and not the kind of sound that most people would respond well too. "In The Mood" on the other hand is still really popular 80 years later, and is likely to pack the dance floor if played at a wedding or some other function.

In my 45 years in the record business selling records and DJing I have never once had someone ask for "Strange Fruit" either to buy it or to hear it. I've sold thousands of copies of "In The Mood" over the years, and played it hundreds of times when I was DJing.

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Re: Books, movies and records of the year

Postby Cold Butterfly » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:16 am

Hymie wrote:
Honorio wrote:But I can't help but (mostly) agree with the critics on the choices for 1939, as summarized on Acclaimed Music, the three songs ranked higher than "In the Mood" are not only milestones on pop music history but songs truly enjoyable for anyone, not only for elitist listeners:


Most people have never heard of "Strange Fruit" or "Tea For Two" and if you played "Strange Fruit" for someone they most likely will not like it. The lyrics aside, it's depressing and dark and not the kind of sound that most people would respond well too. "In The Mood" on the other hand is still really popular 80 years later, and is likely to pack the dance floor if played at a wedding or some other function.

In my 45 years in the record business selling records and DJing I have never once had someone ask for "Strange Fruit" either to buy it or to hear it. I've sold thousands of copies of "In The Mood" over the years, and played it hundreds of times when I was DJing.


While I do agree that "In The Mood" is era-defining and probably the epitome of the swing genre, "Strange Fruit' really is a song that speaks to the history of America. At the time of the song's release, it still wasn't uncommon in the United States to see casual photographs of lynchings, and maybe even witness one in your town or city. Desegregation was still light years ahead, alongside with visions of a country where blacks and other minorities weren't second-class citizens. Ahmet Ertegun even referred to the song as "a declaration of war" and "the beginning of the civil rights movement". Think about it! This was a time where in some places, if you spoke out against racial issues the way Holiday did on this track, you probably would've been killed. "Strange Fruit" speaks to the struggles and plight of a people that were victimized and oppressed, due to the evil of racism that dominated America in 1939, and is still around in 2019. And that's another thing to realize. "Strange Fruit" is sadly still relevant today, in a country and world where white supremacy has faced a resurgence, with some of our leaders even refusing to recognize it. It is a song that transcends the listener and makes the person think of his or her surroundings, and it's probably the only song that can still do that nearly a century after it came out.

"Strange Fruit" was also revolutionary and extraordinary for it's time. Before that song, the idea of the typical pop song was that of an innocent little ditty, where you weren't supposed to be conscious or thoughtful, but you were supposed to satisfy the average record-buyer. Virtually all political songs up to this point had functioned as propaganda, to cater to the United States. "Strange Fruit" changed all that by challenging American customs and beliefs, while also showing that popular music could be a vehicle for expressing the condition of the society around you. All the protest songs that came after "Strange Fruit" owe a debt to it, as there was nothing like that in music beforehand.


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