The Art of Pretending

by clevecheng | created - 28 Jul 2013 | updated - 28 Jul 2013 | Public

Mistaken identities, masked men, Mata Haris, putting on airs, lying low on the lam - I guess it was only natural that so many 1930s movies featured characters pretending to be something they're not.

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1. Monte Carlo (1930)

Passed | 90 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

6.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A countess flees to Monte Carlo on the day of her wedding, where she is courted by a count posing as a hairdresser.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Buchanan, Claud Allister, Zasu Pitts

Votes: 941

2. Mata Hari (1931)

Passed | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

6.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A semi-fictionalized account of the life of Mata Hari, an exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I.

Director: George Fitzmaurice | Stars: Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone

Votes: 2,721 | Gross: $0.93M

3. City Lights (1931)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

8.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers

Votes: 126,941 | Gross: $0.02M

4. À Nous la Liberté (1931)

Approved | 97 min | Comedy, Musical

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Seeking better life, two convicts escape from prison.

Director: René Clair | Stars: Raymond Cordy, Henri Marchand, Rolla France, Paul Ollivier

Votes: 3,388

5. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson, Noel Francis

Votes: 9,797

6. Love Me Tonight (1932)

Passed | 104 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

7.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A Parisian tailor finds himself posing as a baron in order to collect a sizeable bill from an aristocrat, only to fall in love with an aloof young princess.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian | Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles, Charles Butterworth

Votes: 3,015

7. Trouble in Paradise (1932)

Passed | 83 min | Comedy, Crime, Romance

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Romantic entanglements and jealousies confuse the scheme.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall, Charles Ruggles

Votes: 10,680

8. Lady for a Day (1933)

TV-G | 96 min | Comedy

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A gangster tries to make Apple Annie, the Times Square apple seller, a lady for a day.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Warren William, May Robson, Guy Kibbee, Glenda Farrell

Votes: 3,044

9. Imitation of Life (1934)

Approved | 111 min | Drama, Romance

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A struggling widow and her daughter take in a black housekeeper and her fair-skinned daughter; the two women start a successful business, but face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way.

Director: John M. Stahl | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson, Ned Sparks

Votes: 3,264

10. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Votes: 74,067

11. The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)

Not Rated | 97 min | Adventure, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A noblewoman discovers her husband is The Scarlet Pimpernel, a vigilante who rescues aristocrats from the blade of the guillotine.

Director: Harold Young | Stars: Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 3,219

12. The Gay Divorcee (1934)

Approved | 107 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An American woman travels to England to seek a divorce from her absentee husband, where she meets - and falls for - a dashing performer.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton

Votes: 5,763

13. Top Hat (1935)

Not Rated | 101 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

7.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An American dancer comes to Britain and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes

Votes: 14,607 | Gross: $1.78M

14. Sylvia Scarlett (1935)

Approved | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who, to avoid detection, "disguises" herself as a boy, "Sylvester." They are ... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Brian Aherne, Edmund Gwenn

Votes: 2,929

15. Naughty Marietta (1935)

G | 105 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

7.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In order to avoid a prearranged marriage, a rebellious French princess sheds her identity and escapes to colonial New Orleans, where she finds an unlikely true love.

Directors: Robert Z. Leonard, W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Frank Morgan, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 885

16. My Man Godfrey (1936)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as a family butler...but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye.

Director: Gregory La Cava | Stars: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick

Votes: 17,087

17. Libeled Lady (1936)

Not Rated | 98 min | Comedy, Romance

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee, a down on his luck reporter, hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth in order to prevent a high-society woman from suing for libel.

Director: Jack Conway | Stars: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy

Votes: 5,881

18. Shall We Dance (1937)

Approved | 109 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A budding romance between a ballet master and a tap dancer becomes complicated when rumors surface that they're already married.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore

Votes: 5,526

19. The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

7.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped.

Directors: John Cromwell, W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: Ronald Colman, Madeleine Carroll, C. Aubrey Smith, Raymond Massey

Votes: 3,583

20. The Girl Was Young (1937)

Not Rated | 83 min | Crime, Mystery, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Man on the run from a murder charge enlists a beautiful stranger who must put herself at risk for his cause.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney, Percy Marmont, Edward Rigby

Votes: 7,157

21. Nothing Sacred (1937)

Approved | 77 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An eccentric woman learns she is not dying of radium poisoning as earlier assumed, but when she meets a reporter looking for a story, she feigns sickness again for her own profit.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Charles Winninger, Walter Connolly

Votes: 4,932

22. Pygmalion (1938)

Not Rated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A Victorian dialect expert makes a bet that he can teach a cockney flower girl to speak proper English and pass as a lady in high society.

Directors: Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard | Stars: Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson, Marie Lohr

Votes: 6,488

23. Carefree (1938)

Passed | 83 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

7.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A psychiatrist agrees to hypnotize his friend's girlfriend in order to convince her to accept his proposals of marriage, but she ends up falling for the psychiatrist instead.

Director: Mark Sandrich | Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy, Luella Gear

Votes: 2,729

24. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
100 Metascore

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home in Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 323,455 | Gross: $22.20M