Best Picture Nominees: 1933

The dark clouds rolled in faster and faster, as Frankin Roosevelt began his term as President. In Germany, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor and all political parties, except the Nazi Party, were banned. The Reichstag (German Parliament) was burned down, the Gestapo was established, and Germany and Japan withdrew from the League of Nations. More foreboding, the Dachau concentration camp was opened. On top of the Great Depression, this added up to a dark decade--one which Hollywood would concentrate on helping us to escape for awhile.

For more information about 1933, see The Learning Network's Fact Monster.

Cavalcade (Frank Lloyd)
Won Best Picture
From the stage play by Noel Coward, this is English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot (Diana Wynyard and Clive Brook). Their family story is told, as they are affected by the Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic and the Great War.

State Fair (Henry King)
Nominated Best Picture
Farm family Frake, with discontented daughter Margy (Janet Gaynor), head for the Iowa State Fair. On the first day, both Margy and brother Wayne (Norman Foster) meet attractive new flames (Lew Ayres and Sally Eilers); so does father's prize hog, Blue Boy. The father is played by Will Rogers.

Little Women (George Cukor)
Nominated Best Picture
One of the best adaptations of the novel by Louisa May Alcott, this is a "coming of age" drama tracing the lives of four sisters: Meg (Frances Dee), Jo (Katharine Hepburn), Beth (Jean Parker) and Amy (Joan Bennett). During the Civil War, their father is away serving as a minister to the troops. The family, headed by their beloved Marmee (Spring Byington), must struggle to make ends meet, with the help of their kind and wealthy neighbor, Mr. Laurence (Henry Stephenson), and his high spirited grandson Laurie (Douglass Montgomery.

The Private Life of Henry VIII (Alexander Korda)
Nominated Best Picture
This is the well-known historical drama of the life of the famous 16th century English King Henry VIII (Charles Laughton). Henry was known for his gluttony and frequent beheading of his wives. The film centers on his many wives and his battles over the creation of the Church of England.

42nd Street (Lloyd Bacon)
Nominated Best Picture
This is a classic, fast-paced, backstage movie musical that changed the film musical forever (and saved Warner Bros. from bankruptcy). Set during the Depression and about the Depression, this film is considered the backstage musical par excellence, the grand-daddy of them all. It was based on the 'putting-on-a-show' tradition stemming from MGM's first sound film, The Broadway Melody (1929). In contrast to the fantasy, escapist romantic dance musicals of the time, this film was an unglamorized look at the tough realities of backstage life behind the footlights. The film is filled with bitter dialogue and wisecracks, street-wise characters, and down-and-out references to the Depression.

As well as being one of the most commercially-successful films of its time, it was also the first major work of Busby Berkeley, a tremendously talented choreographer. He was particularly known for his overhead shots, freely-moving camera (dollies and pans), and for creating numbers especially-made for films that went far beyond conventional boundaries.


Lady for a Day (Frank Capra)
Nominated Best Picture
Apple Annie (May Robson) is an indigent woman who has always written to her daughter in Spain that she is a member of New York's high society. Now her daughter plans to return to America with her new fiance and his father, a member of Spain's aristocracy. Annie must pretend to be wealthy or the count will not give his blessing. She gets the help of Dave the Dude (Warren William), who considers Annie a good luck charm, to obtain a luxury apartment and entertain the visitors, but things don't always go quite as planned.

She Done Him Wrong (Lowell Sherman)
Nominated Best Picture
This is Mae West's star-making, most famous film role as a liberated, racy woman who enjoys her sexuality. The character she plays is a recreation of the title character of her 1928 Diamond Lil Broadway stage play. This is West's first starring role, and it is filled with lots of clever innuendo, witty one-liners, and bold carnality, as she spouts irreverent one-liners (the oft-misquoted 'Why don't you come up sometime 'n see me?'), seduces a unspecified mission worker/undercover cop (Cary Grant), and sings bawdy songs (including Frankie and Johnny, I Like A Guy What Takes His Time, and Easy Rider). It has been generally claimed that this film and West's other 1933 picture, I'm No Angel, both helped to spur the coming of stricter enforcement by the Hays Production Code one year later, and the development of the Catholic Legion of Decency.

Duck Soup (Leo McCarey)
IMDb Highest Rated
Solonor's Pick
The Marx Brothers' greatest and funniest masterpiece! This is a brilliant satire and lampooning of blundering dictatorial leaders, Fascism and authoritarian government. The film, prepared during the crisis period of the Depression, was the Marx Bros.' fifth film in a five-picture contract with Paramount Studios. The outrageous film was both a critical and commercial failure at the time of its release--audiences were taken aback by such preposterous political disrespect, buffoonery and cynicism at a time of political crisis. Fascist Italian dictator Mussolini banned the film in his country.

King Kong (Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack)
An expedition exploring remote Skull Island capture a gigantic ape and bring him back to New York for exhibition. A beautiful actress (Fay Wray) who accompanies them is menaced when the monster's love for her causes him to escape. This is one of the greatest adventure/monster movies of all time, featuring some of the best special effects of that era.

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Best Picture: 1933
What is the Best Picture of 1933?

State Fair
Little Women
The Private Life of Henry VIII
42nd Street
Lady for a Day
She Done Him Wrong
Duck Soup
King Kong

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1932 <- Main Menu -> 1934

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