Red Headed Woman (1932)

When I first started Journeys in Classic Film I was immediately drawn to the work of pre-Code star Jean Harlow. (It helped that I’d received a box set of her films for Christmas, too.) But, just five years ago, access to classic cinema was more limited than it is now, and I ended up having…

The Phantom of Crestwood (1932)

The Phantom of Crestwood is the equivalent of watching a radio serial play out on-screen. Maybe that’s because it was! As the film’s introduction states, the series was broadcast via radio with the final episode, solving the murder, revealed in the film. Call it deceptive or ingenious, The Phantom of Crestwood would attract just as…

Five Came Back (1939)

Hollywood wasn’t betting on the massive success of a piddly little RKO adventure film starring the likes of Chester Morris and Lucille Ball. But when director John Farrow’s measly $225,000 film amassed $262,000 in profits, Hollywood’s ears perked up. In 1939, Five Came Back became one of the most successful films created by an independent…

Satan Met a Lady (1936)

One of author Dashiell Hammett’s finest works, The Maltese Falcon has received the adaptation treatment three separate time, most famously in 1941 with Humphrey Bogart. But before John Huston directed that masterpiece of noir, there’d already been two previous passes on the material: a 1931 pre-Code titled Maltese Falcon with Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade,…