Great Movies of the Golden Age – Part 9

Posted on 29 May 00:00


Great movies of the Golden age shed light on exciting American movies that elevate the spirit and have deeply informed accounts of technological developments, economics, censorship restraints, genres, and style. Even the greatest movie buffs will find these movies exhilarating and thrilling. The movies have a good and simple plot leaving the audience satisfied.

1.  Strange Cargo (1940)

'Strange Cargo' is a romantic film that was directed by Frank Borzage in 1940. The movie is about a group of fugitive prisoners from a French penal colony. Julie (Joan Crawford) is a café entertainer and prostitute in the French Guiana penal colony. She meets Verne (Clark Gable), a prisoner who has escaped but he is reported and taken back to prison. Julie is also arrested. Cambreau (Ian Hunter) exhibits the qualities of a mysterious, supernatural character in jail. Moll (Albert Dekker) plans a jailbreak among the prisoners and Verne joins the escapees. The trek through the jungle is brutal and they suffer from thirst and exhaustion. Only Verne, Julie, Hessler (Paul Lukas), and Cambreau survive the ordeal as the others die. 

2.  China Seas (1935)

'China Seas' (1935) is an adventure film. The movie features Alan Gaskell (Clark Gable) an abrasive gambler and sea captain chugging between Singapore and Hong Kong. Dolly Portland (Jean Harlow) is Alan’s ex-girlfriend described as a professional entertainer. Sybil Barclay (Rosalind Russell) is also a former lover of Alan's. Sybil and Alan plan to marry but Dolly tries to win him back. Jamesy McArdle (Wallace Beery) is a corrupt passenger in league with a gang of pirates disguised as women passengers planning to steal a gold shipment on board the steamer. Dolly discovers the plot and warns Captain Gaskell who ignores her warnings. The ship is then damaged by a typhoon, and the robbers are able to steal personal possessions but cannot find the gold which Captain Gaskell has replaced with sand. McArdle commits suicide for failing to get the gold. Dolly and Captain Gaskell later marry and the gold remains safe hidden in the ship’s cargo. The movie was directed by Tay Garnett

3.  Wife vs. Secretary (1936)

'Wife vs. Secretary' is a 1936 movie starring Van Stanhope (Clark Gable) a successful businessman and his wife Linda (Myrna Loy) who are very much in love. Van’s secretary Helen “Whitney” Wilson (Jean Harlow) is seen as a temptation to Van although the wife trusts him. Dave (James Stewart), Whitey’s boyfriend is uncomfortable about her relationship with Van. Van spends a day with Whitney preparing for a meeting.  Linda hears that Van and Whitney are most likely having an affair, she fights with Whitney and she asks Van to move her to another employer but Van ignores her request. Van plans to take Linda for a trip which he cancels and takes Whitney instead to close a business deal. Linda assumes they are having an affair and asked for a divorce. Whitney has fallen in love with Van, however, she realizes that Van will never love her as he loves Linda so she convinces Linda to go back to Van. Linda and Van make up, and Dave and Whitney make up as well. The movie was directed by Clarence Brown.

4.  Hold Your Man (1933)

'Hold Your Man'  (1933) is a romance drama. The movie stars Eddie Hall (Clark Gable) a small-time conman. As Eddie runs from his latest victim and a policeman, he bumps into a nearby unlocked apartment occupied by Ruby Adams (Jean Harlow) a cynical woman with a string of boyfriends. Eddie wants to become acquainted with the pretty rescuer, Ruby, who refuses but later falls in love with him. Eddie protects Ruby from his friend Slim who wants to catch one of Ruby’s secret admirers for the purpose of blackmail. Eddie attempts to thwart Slim's plan by breaking into Ruby’s apartment and punching out the man she is engaging, which accidently kills him. Eddie escapes while Ruby is arrested and sentenced to two years. Ruby meets Gypsy (Dorothy Burgess) in jail. Gypsy is Eddie’s ex-girlfriend. When Gypsy is released, she informs Eddie that Ruby is pregnant with his child. Although Eddie is a fugitive, he is determined to marry Ruby, so he requests a visiting to marry them. However, Eddie is later arrested and sent to prison. Ruby and their young son welcome him when he gets out and Al Simpson (Stuart Erwin) gets him a legitimate job. The movie was directed by Sam Wood.

5)  Possessed (1947)

'Possessed' (1947) was directed by Curtis Bernhardt. The movie stars Joan Crawford (Louise Howell) dazed and wandering in Los Angeles. She is unable to say anything other than “David’. When she is admitted to the hospital, she is coaxed into recounting her life and she reveals herself as Louise Howell. She was previously working as a nurse for Dean Graham (Raymond Massey). However, the emotionally unstable woman fell in love with David Sutton (Van Heflin) who loathes her smothering obsession with him, and he ends the relationship and leaves the area. Graham’s wife dies and David gets a job with him as an engineer where he finds Louise with the family. Louise is still obsessed with David. Graham proposes marriage to Louise and she accepts although she is obsessed with David. Louise begins to have hallucinations, believing her husband’s wife is alive. David and Carol (Geraldine Brooks) consider marriage, but Louise tries to end their relationship. She kills David in his apartment during a schizophrenic episode. Although she is pronounced as insane, the psychiatrist and Graham pledge to help her back to sanity no matter how difficult it will be. 

6.  Boom Town (1940)

'Boom Town' is a 1940 movie starring “Big John” McMasters (Clark Gable) and “Square John” Sand (Spencer Tracy). The two are oil wildcatters who resort to stealing drilling equipment from Luther Aldrich (Frank Morgan) due to a lack of  money. They eventually make enough money from oil and strike it rich. McMasters sweeps Elizabeth “Betsy” Bartlett (Claudette Colbert) off her feet and marries her without knowing that Sand considers her his girl. Sandy accepts the marriage however, he quarrels with McMasters and they go separate ways after Sand finds him dancing with the barroom floozy. Betsy also leaves but returns when she learns that McMasters has lost everything to Sand and he desperately needs her.  However, McMasters is able to rebuild business as a wildcatter and he moves to New York to expand into refineries and distribution with the help of Karen Vanmeer (Hedy Lamarr) a former advisor to Harry Compton (Lionel Atwill) his rival. Later, Sands loses everything and when he finally, again, meets up with McMasters, they reconcile and they go back to working together. Sand suspects McMasters of having an affair with Karen and tries to save Betsy’s marriage by bankrupting McMasters. Sand loses the battle to do this, and he, himself, goes broke. McMasters is prosecuted by the government for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act and loses his business. In the end, Sand and McMasters team up again, Aldrich supplies them with equipment and they begin business again. The movie was directed by Jack Conway.

7.  The Hucksters (1947)

'The Huckster's is a 1947 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie starring Victor Norman (Clark Gable) a radio advertising executive who has just returned from World War II. Victor is looking for a job and he gets an appointment at the Kimberly Advertising Agency with Mr. Kimberly (Adolphe Menjou). The meeting is interrupted by a phone call from Evan Llewellyn Evans (Sydney Greenstreet) the bountiful chief of the Beautee Soap Company, the agency’s largest account. But the interview is cut short.  The office is thrusted into turmoil and Victor convinces Mr. Kimberly that he can recruits Mrs. Kay Dorrance (Deborah Kerr) widow of a WWII U.S. general for a Beautee soap campaign featuring Manhattan socialites. He is successful. Victor and Kimberly are summoned to the Beautees office, where they are confronted by Mr. Evans. He confronts Victor about a change he made to the his Dorrance Ad. When Victor plays the radio commercial he has produced, Evans likes it and orders Kim to hire Victor. Victor is attracted to Kay (Deborah Kerr) and they double date with Mr. and Mrs. Kimberly and due to drunkenness, Mr. Kimberly confesses that he started his company by stealing the Beautee soap account. Evans summons Victor and Kimberly and reveals that he wants a new radio variety show that focuses on C-list ex-burlesque comedian Buddy Hare (Keenan Wynn). Victor recruits Jean Ogilvie (Ava Gardner) for his plan to sign Hare. However, Hare is banned  from the show proceedings because he is obnoxious and his jokes are off-key. Kay and Victor plan to wed. Later, Victor and Kimberly are summoned again to a 2 AM meeting with Evans, but, at the meeting Victor tells-off Evans for his imperious and belittling behavior and walks out of the room. The wedding has to wait until Victor gets another job but Kay says the money is not important and they begin from nothing.  The movie was directed by Jack Conway.


The Great movies of the Golden age are entertaining whether they are viewed at the cinema or at home. The films feature intriguing characters with excellent plots and scripts. And, best of all, they usually have happy endings.

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