October 2008

There are so many obscure classics on YouTube. I barely scratched the surface with my posts. I figured that with so many, it might be tough to figure out where to begin. So I decided to do a weekly article focusing on one film to watch on YouTube each week.

Cast: Joan Crawford, Pauline Frederick, Neil Hamilton, Monroe Owsley, Hobart Bosworth, Emma Dunn, Albert Conti

In this pre-code soaper, Joan Crawford plays Valentine, a 19 year old girl whose father has just died. She goes to Paris to find her mother Diane (Frederick), who she hasn’t seen since she was five. Mother and daughter quickly bond and straightlaced Val is introduced into her mother’s world of partying, drinking, and frivolity. Diane tries desperately to hide the fact that she is the mistress of wealthy Andre (Conti) from her daughter. Val is persued by the drunken Tony (Owsley) who claims to love her but has no intention of marrying her. When the pair is in a car accident, they are helped by Harvard man Bob (Hamilton) and he and Val fall in love.

This movie has a relatively low rating on IMDb, which surprises me. It’s quite unlike a lot of movies being made at the time. While the romance is very prominant in the film, it’s the mother/daughter relationship that takes center stage. The mother/daughter relationship was rarely explored in 1930s film. Father/daughter was the usual familial relationship in films. Sometimes father/son. And mother/son, generally in a negative light. You didn’t see a lot of mother/daughter relationships explored, and that’s the main element to This Modern Age that really makes it worth watching. Crawford and Frederick share a wonderful chemistry, and from the get-go their relationship seems extremely genuine. It’s the most emotionally engaging part of the film. I found myself not really caring whether Val and Bob remained together or not. What I really cared about was seeing Val and Diane maintain a strong relationship.

Outside of that aspect of the film, This Modern Age is quite amusing. It’s a melodrama, but it has a definite sense of humor. There are good joke throughout the film, and even the atmosphere of the free and easy crowd Diane and Val run with allows for a certain humorous atmosphere. Monroe Owsley’s Tony is a lovable ne’er-do-well. He’s one of the bright spots of the film. You know he’ll never win over Val, and you don’t really want him to, but you still love him while he’s making a fool of himself.

The only real weak link in the film is Hamilton, and that’s not really his fault. With so many colorful characters surrounding him, and with an extremely strong mother/daughter relationship, his Harvard footballer, and his relationship with Val, seem somewhat bland in comparison. Hamilton plays the role as well as he can, but he just seems rather boring in the world of the film. If Crawford was a lesser actress, being shackled to the character of Bob might drag down the character of Val. But Crawford has so much charm and talent. Val always seems like the same person throughout the film, whether she’s drinking and partying with Tony, spending time with her mother, or having a romantic moment with Bob.

All in all, This Modern Age is a very good pre-code melodrama, with a very unique relationship at its core.

This is also one that you really should check out. I saw it once on television years ago, and haven’t been able to find it anywhere since. So getting it on YouTube is certainly a find.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

By Katie Richardson

Here are some more obscure classics on YouTube. Again, there are so many, many more…

Sorry, Wrong Number

Ball of Fire

The Manxman

The Threepenny Opera


Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Diary of a Lost Girl


The Little Foxes

Marie Antoinette

Twentieth Century

State of the Union

Baby Face

Les Vampires

The Hitchhiker

The Red House

Dishonored Lady


Little Lord Fauntleroy


Seven Chances

Pandora’s Box

The Lost World



Tol’able David

The Lodger


Beyond the Rocks

Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Waltzes From Vienna

A Royal Scandal

Hearts In Bondage

Our Town

Speak Easily

The Black Pirate

The Citadel

The Animal Kingdom

The Scarlet Letter (1934)


Becky Sharp

A Matter of Life and Death


Beyond Tomorrow

All Quiet On the Western Front

Mystery of the Wax Museum

Sherlock Jr.

The Racketeer

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

The Greeks Had a Word For Them

Or at least I think it’s Nosferatu. There’s some nomenclature confusion at the moment.

Every Halloween season, there’s this big wonderful celebration downtown called “Fright Night”. Lots of stuff goes on, it’s always very fun. There’s a magic show, a coffin race, a tour of haunted downtown spots, a showing of Rocky Horror Picture show (which I sadly have to miss to go to a friend’s Halloween party), a zombie walk (which I also have to miss because of work).

Every year they show a silent classic in the beautiful old Embassy theater. The Embassy is well known around these parts for its beautiful, pristine antique organ. So every Halloween, they show an silent horror film with organ accompaniment.  It’s always a really great experience. This year, they’re showing Nosferatu.

The historic embassy theater is a really beautiful place. (And yay excitement! My brother’s getting married in the Embassy theater in November.) It was built in the late 1920s as a movie palace and a vaudeville theater. Before it was the Embassy, it was the Emboyd.

So, if you’re around Fort Wayne, IN on Oct. 25, you should head downtown for Fright Night. Admission is $7 for adult and $4 for children. I think they should totally try to recreate the silent film experience and charge what would have been the ticket prices in the 1920s. 😀

As you’ve probably noticed, we changed our layout and design this week. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. With the impending arrival of the new members of the Obscure Classics team, some changes will be made to certain parts of the site. So you may notice a few pages disappear, appear, or just be in total disaray for the next few days. We’ll have it all taken care of and complete soon.

Ah, Youtube. You glorious, glorious thing. So much I can watch on you. Fan made music videos based on my favorite couples from tv shows. Humorous movie clips. I can rewatch movie and tv kisses over and over and over. I can find hilarious random things (like my favorite clip, the Wicker Man comedy trailer made by RT’s wonderfully creative JRSly… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_mW8mBzmHo)

And there are also a number of classic movies available to view.

So here’s a list of some of the obscure classics I’ve found on youtube. All these movies are broken up into several parts. I’ll just give the link to the first part. Usually, you can find the links to the rest of the parts in the “Related Videos” column, or simply by click on the username.

Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Letty Lynton

Forsaking All Others

Our Blushing Brides



I’ll Be Seeing You

Primrose Path

Bachelor Mother (unfortunately colorized)

The Major and the Minor

A Shriek in the Night

Affair in Trinidad

Letter From an Unknown Woman



Lloyds of London

Dead End

Three On a Match

The Big Chance

Little Annie Rooney

The Valley of Decision

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Gay Falcon

Dangerous Curves

As You Desire Me



The Temptress

A Woman of Affairs

The Mysterious Lady

Stella Dallas

The Merry Widow

Wife vs. Secretary

Born to Be Bad

Christmas In Connecticut

Love Crazy

Anna Christie

The Painted Veil

Seventh Heaven

Beau Geste

The Ring

City Girl

Cause For Alarm

Fire Over England

The Amazing Adventure

Hell’s House

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Of Human Bondage

A Star Is Born

A Farewell to Arms

Royal Wedding

Sadie McKee

Every Girl Should Be Married

His Butler’s Sister

Christmas Holiday

Marked Woman

Sudden Fear

I Live My Life

This Modern Age

Dancing Lady

Our Dancing Daughters


The Man on the Eiffel Tower

Girl o’ My Dreams

Made For Each Other

And that’s barely even scratching the surface. I’ll post some more later when I have a little more time.

If you find any  movies on youtube that you want to share, or if you find that any of these movies are incomplete, be a dear and drop us a line.

I just wanted to make a little post to celebrate the fact that Obscure Classics has reached 10,000 views! This is really wonderful. When I started this site, I never thought it would get the attention it does. I’m so happy and grateful to all of our readers who follow our site. You guys are really, really great.

100 years ago today, the great Carole Lombard, the queen of screwball comedy was born. She ruled the comedies of the 1930s with her wonderful, unique comedic talent. She wasn’t just one of the funniest actresses working at the time. She was one of the funniest star, peiod, of either gender. She only recieved one Oscar nomination, for her performance in the 1936 film My Man Godfrey. But who knows what other awards and accolades she might have received had she not died in a plane crash in 1942.

As I’ve mentioned before on this site, I have a very special love for Carole Lombard because she was born in my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I drive past the house she was born in almost every day. I spend a huge amount of time in the neighboorhood where she spent her childhood. Lombard was born in 1908, the same year as on of Ft. Wayne’s great floods. The same year as the massive fire at the Aveline Hotel.

The Peters home (Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters) was at the end of Rockhill street in the West Central neighborhood of Downtown Fort Wayne, right in the heart of the city, just a few miles away from most of the city’s major landmarks (including the historic courthouse, which was built in 1902, just a few years before Lombard was born).  The house overlooks the St. Mary’s river. It sets on a high point above the rive, and the Peters family used their home to house refugees during the flood of 1913.

The Peters were a relatively wealthy, well to do family, very prominent in Fort Wayne society, and their house was one of the biggest in the neighborhood. Lombard’s grandfather, John, was a respected businessman who started and ran several companies in town, including washing machine company that supplied half the machines in the country.

West Central really is a beautiful place. In the mid-1900s, when people were moving away from the city, the beautiful houses were neglected. But in recent decades, the neighboorhood has been fixed up and is once again one of the most beautiful places in the city. Now the large houses are mostly divided into apartments. It’s really one of the nicest places in the city to live. The rent of most of the apartments is also really cheap. Which is a plus.

The Carole Lombard house was declared a historical landmark in the 1930s and is now a bed and breakfast. If you’re ever around Ft. Wayne, you should really come downtown and take a look around the neighborhood.

The plaque on the front of the house reads:
In this house on October 6, 1908 was born Jane Alice Peters. Daughter of Fredrick C. and Elizabeth Knight Peters. She took the professional name of Carole Lombard and became one of the most important figures in the motion picture industry. Erected by the city of Fort Wayne, IN under the direction of Mayor Harry. W. Baals, Jan 1, 1938 on the occasion of her appearance in David O. Selznick’s technicolor production “Nothing Sacred”

Yes. Our mayor’s name was Harry Baals.

Yes, in the Robert Montgomery podcast we said that our next one would be Obscure Hitchcock. But that was recorded a month ago, and in that span of time we decided to take a little bit more time to think about our Obscure Hitchcock list, so we decided that our next podcast would be on Kay Francis, who just had a whole month dedicated to her on TCM.

Help us out by going to the Podcast page and filling out the survey and sending it to obscure_classics@yahoo.com. If you watched her films last month, we’d love your input. If you missed them, there are a few playing on TCM throughout October.

Direct Download

Yes, it’s finally here. We recorded this a month ago, but there were so many fracking technical difficulties. But now our third podcast (yes, posted after our fourth) on Robert Montgomery is finally here.

I’m one of those people who likes to celebrate a holiday for a whole month (or, if it’s Christmas, like….. 3 months). So once October hits, I like to break out my good ol’ Halloween movies. I’ve always tried to add one more to the list every year, but I think I’ve kind of added everything I can think of. I’m a big fan of scary movies that keep things more in the imagination rather that blatantly showing all the scares. Usually, the mind can create something much, much scarier than any director can put on the screen. So, naturally, that leads me to the classics.

The Uninvited
This is probably my favorite horror film. I think it’s the best of the haunted house films, because the ,ystery of the haunting isn’t just random, it’s closely tied to the characters. It makes the story a lot more interesting and you can become more emotionally invested. It’s also a really wonderful combination of ghost story and love story. The Uninvited really is more about the characters than anything else, and it’s how they connect and react to the haunting that makes this movie so great. And it has Theresa Russell, who was a beautiful actress with quite a lot of talent and a unique, kind of serene aura. Unfortunately, personal life drama kept her from achieving the huge success she could have had.

The Haunting
There was a remake of this movie in the 1990s. And it blows. Hard. The original is so good and scary because it’s very ambiguous, and it’s left up to the imagination to decide if the haunting is real, or just in the imagination of the main character. Director Robert Wise creates one of the creepiest and most unsettling atmospheres I’ve ever seen in a film by showing pretty much nothing at all and completely leaving it to our imaginations. It’s really very, very scary. And so much better than the remake, which showed EVERYTHING and left nothing to the imagination.

I Walked With a Zombie
Jane Eyre with zombies. That’s pretty much what this movie is. An updated Jane Eyre with zombies. I don’t like the classic voodoo zombie as much as I like the flesh eating zombies of modern day film, but zombies are cool no matter what. This movie is completely an exercise in atmosphere. That’s what this movie really is. It’s all about the creepy and unusual atmosphere. We, the viewer, really feels like Frances Dee’s character, in this new, unfamiliar, completely strange and frightening world. She gives a really good performance in this, mixing the character’s strength with a palpable fear.

The Old Dark House
This is a light chiller, which at times has a somewhat comedic tone to it. However, even with that lighter tone, it still manages to be incredibly eerie. Director James Whale knew how to direct scary movies (he directed Frankenstein). The house of the title is big, ominous, empty, and genuinely frightening. And Whale knows how to compose shadows and how to light moments and characters for the maximum effect. The house’s story is actually interesting and unfolds in a surprising way that makes things ever creepier. This is a just a really good movie.

All right, I’ve got a lot more movies to go. To Be Continued!

By Katie Richardson

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