Sunday, January 3, 2010

Two Ways To Cross The Pond





My apologies for not having updated this blog in nearly 3 weeks, a family medical crisis (which remains ongoing) has taken me away from my regular blogging duties.


Today, a couple of enjoyable, although somewhat obscure movies from the 1930s.


Both are about futuristic ways  to travel from New York to London, and both are examples of British futuristic film making of the 1930s. Both films are available from the Internet Archive.


First on Tap is Transatlantic Tunnel from 1935, which stars American Actor Richard Dix as an engineer who gives eventually loses his family in his quest to build the greatest construction project in man’s history – a tunnel from New York to London.


The acting is – even by 1935 standards – a bit stilted, but the art direction and special effects are superb for its time.  


As you watch, remember this was made 75 years ago.  


Other cast members include C. Aubrey Smith, the quintessential Britisher with the stiff upper lip of the 1930’s and 1940’s, along with Walter Huston as the President of the United States and George (Disraeli) Arliss as the Prime Minister of England.




The Transatlantic Tunnel 1935

It's the story of an engineer who takes on the most ambitious project ever - excavating a tunnel under the Atlantic Ocean from England to America - and the obstacles and sacrifices he makes while doing so. Stars Richard Dix and Leslie Banks with special appearances by George Arliss and Walter Huston. Directed by Maurice Elvey. AKA "The Tunnel".



Next on tap is the 1937, and rarely seen,  Non-Stop New York, starring a young Anna Lee as a woman who must stow away aboard a futuristic luxury `flying boat’ to travel back to New York to clear a man of murder before his execution.


Two years makes a heck of a difference as far as dialog and acting styles, with a welcome infusion of British wit in this tidy thriller.





Non Stop New York 1937

Anna Lee is a stowaway on a futuristic airliner. The plane looks like it just flew off the cover of a vintage scifi magazine. It even has outdoor observation decks so you can go outside while the plane is in flight!



Anna Lee, quite remarkably, began her movie career in 1932, appeared in many notable films of the 1940’s (How Green Was My Valley, Two Rode Together, Fort Apache), transitioned to TV anthology series during the 1950’s, and acted in TV Soaps (General Hospital and Port Charles) for more than 25 years.

Anna Lee died in 2004, at the age of 91.   She worked almost up to the time of her death.

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