1933 Movies

With Plex's extensive archive of 1933 films, you can experience the cinema of that year like never before. Featuring an extensive variety of titles and convenient direct links, this database is crafted to enhance your passion for cinema. Experience the captivating world of timeless movies from 1933 with our 1933 Plex database.
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The Best Movies in 1933

King Kong

"King Kong," directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, stands out as a pioneering piece in the adventure, horror, and sci-fi genres. Its plot orbits around a film crew journeying to a tropical island for a location shoot, only to encounter and capture a colossal ape named Kong. Kong's fascination with the crew's blonde starlet and his subsequent capture and exploitation in New York City forms the crux of the narrative. The film was groundbreaking for its time, utilizing innovative special effects, miniature models, and real-life animal footage to bring Kong to life, setting a high benchmark for future endeavors in visual effects.

Duck Soup

Directed by Leo McCarey, "Duck Soup" is a comedy and musical film that does more than entertain. The narrative follows Rufus T. Firefly, played by Groucho Marx, who ascends to the position of dictator of the bankrupt nation of Freedonia. His declaration of war on the neighboring country Sylvania, as well as the antics of two confused spies, crafts a storyline ripe with satire, clever humor, and memorable musical numbers. The film critiques politics and society, employing the Marx Brothers' unique brand of comedy to challenge the viewer's perceptions, making it a timeless piece worth revisiting.

Dinner at Eight

"Dinner at Eight," directed by Archie Mayo and Michael Curtiz, provides an astute examination of class and societal norms through the lens of a dinner party. The hosts, affluent Millicent and Oliver Jordan, invite a mix of wealthy and well-born individuals, setting the stage for interactions that reveal personal ambitions, hidden vulnerabilities, and the complex social web of the era. Each character's story intertwines with others', offering a nuanced portrayal of human desires and societal pressures, all wrapped in the glamour and sophistication of the early 1930s.

The Invisible Man

James Whale's "The Invisible Man" offers a compelling blend of horror and science fiction. Based on 19th-century literature, the film stars Claude Rains as a scientist who discovers a way to become invisible, only to spiral into madness. Gloria Stuart and William Harrigan support the narrative, which explores themes of ambition, isolation, and the devastating consequences of unchecked power. The Invisible Man is notable for its special effects, which were revolutionary, seamlessly rendering the invisibility effect and immersing viewers in the unfolding horror.

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

Fritz Lang's "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse" is a crime, foreign language, and horror film that depicts the mind of a criminal mastermind. Starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Otto Wernicke, and Oscar Beregi Sr, the film continues Lang's exploration of crime and punishment, weaving a tense narrative filled with psychological intrigue. Dr. Mabuse's manipulation from within an asylum, directing a network of criminals, serves as a chilling reflection on authority and manipulation. The film's atmospheric tension, coupled with Lang's direction, crafts a psychological thriller that remains engaging and thought-provoking.

Film & Industry Highlights of 1933

Shifts in the Industry

1933 marked a year of transition for the film industry, not just in the stories told on screen but also behind the scenes. Financial instability was a pervasive theme, with the Great Depression's effects felt strongly across various sectors. The film industry was no exception. This period saw the implementation of the National Recovery Administration code, which aimed to stabilize businesses and employment rates. However, it led to a series of consequences for those working in Hollywood. Several major studios, including Paramount Publix, RKO, and Fox Theatres, faced financial turmoil, resulting in receivers being appointed to manage their affairs. These maneuvers, unfortunately, led to widespread dissatisfaction among creatives in Hollywood. Allegations surfaced that studios were exploiting the banking crisis to impose salary reductions. This unrest spurred the creation of guilds. In April 1933, the Screen Writers Guild emerged, followed by the Screen Actors Guild. These organizations were foundational in advocating for the rights and fair compensation of Hollywood's creatives.

Notable Releases and Achievements

Despite the industry's challenges, 1933 was a landmark year for cinematic contributions. Among the top-grossing films in North America were "Roman Scandals," "I'm No Angel," "Gold Diggers of 1933," "She Done Him Wrong," and "Tugboat Annie." These films not only captivated audiences but also offered a respite from the difficulties of daily life during the Depression era. Moreover, 1933 gifted the world with films that would go on to become cinematic classics. "King Kong" stood out as a marvel of special effects and storytelling, captivating audiences and setting new precedents for the adventure genre. "Duck Soup" delivered sharp satire and comedy, featuring the iconic Marx Brothers in one of their most celebrated roles. "Dinner at Eight" combined star power with sophisticated storytelling, weaving together the lives of its characters in an ensemble drama that remains influential.

The 6th Academy Awards

The 6th Academy Awards, held on March 16, 1934, recognized films released between August 1, 1932, and December 31, 1933. "Cavalcade" emerged as a standout, clinching the Best Picture award. This film, alongside "A Farewell to Arms" and "Lady for a Day," received the most nominations, highlighting their critical and artistic achievements during this period. The awards ceremony not only celebrated these achievements but also underscored the film industry's resilience and creativity in the face of economic adversity.

Industry-Wide Impact

The inclusion of the film industry's struggle and adaptation to the National Recovery Administration code as one of the year's ten leading news events underscored the sector's significance. The financial restructurings and shifts in control, with figures like William Fox and Universal's Carl Laemmle facing losses, reflected broader trends of change and adaptation within the industry. These developments had lasting impacts, paving the way for new governance structures and economic models within Hollywood. The formation of the Screen Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild marked the beginning of a new era in Hollywood, where creatives began to have a more powerful voice and bargaining power.