Best Drama Movies of 1932
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
A World War I veteran’s dreams of becoming a master architect evaporate in the cold light of economic realities. Things get even worse when he’s falsely convicted of a crime and sent to work on a chain gang.
A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.
A murderous thug shoots his way to the top of the mobs while trying to protect his sister from the criminal life.
Guests at a posh Berlin hotel struggle through worry, scandal, and heartache.
A beautiful temptress re-kindles an old romance while trying to escape her past during a tension-packed train journey.
One Way Passage
A terminally ill woman and a debonair murderer facing execution meet and fall in love on a trans-Pacific crossing, each without knowing the other's secret.
A young French soldier in World War I is overcome with guilt when he kills a German soldier who, like himself, is a musically gifted conscript, each having attended the same musical conservatory in France. The fact that the incident occurred in war does not assuage his guilt. He travels to Germany to meet the man's family.
Socially-conscious banker Thomas Dickson faces a crisis when his protégé is wrongly accused of robbing the bank, gossip of the robbery starts a bank run, and evidence suggests Dickson's wife had an affair... all in the same day.
Europa is a 12-minute anti-fascist film made in 1931 in Warsaw, Poland by surrealists Stefan and Franciszka Themerson. The film is based on Anatol Stern's 1925 futurist poem Europa. It uses collages and photograms, and articulates the sense of horror and moral decline its makers were witnessing. The film, while long thought to have been lost, is considered an avant-garde masterpiece.
Dennis, owner of a rubber plantation in Cochinchina, is involved with Vantine, who left Saigon to evade the police; but when his new surveyor, Gary, arrives along with his refined but sensual wife, Barbara, Dennis gets infatuated by her.
The Man Who Played God
While giving a private performance for a visiting monarch, concert pianist Montgomery Royale is deafened when a bomb is detonated in an attempt to assassinate the foreign ruler. With his career over as a result of his injury, Royale returns to New York City with his sister Florence, close friend Mildred Miller, and considerably younger fiancée Grace Blair. After abandoning thoughts of suicide, Montgomery discovers he can lip read, and he spends his days observing people in Central Park from his apartment window. As he learns of people's problems, he tries to help them anonymously. He becomes absorbed in his game of "playing God" but his actions are without sincerity.
Due to a possible cholera epidemic onboard, passengers on a ship are forced to disembark at Pago Pago, a small village on a Pacific island where it incessantly rains. Among the stranded passengers are Sadie Thompson, a prostitute, and Alfred Davidson, a fanatic missionary who will try to redeem her.
American chemist Ned Faraday marries a German entertainer and starts a family. However, he becomes poisoned with Radium and needs an expensive treatment in Germany to have any chance at being cured. Wife Helen returns to night club work to attempt to raise the money and becomes popular as the Blonde Venus. In an effort to get enough money sooner, she prostitutes herself to millionaire Nick Townsend.
In the Austrian manor of Baron and Baroness von Burgen, the relationship between the upstairs aristocracy and the downstairs staff is quite positive. The servants seem to enjoy their time together, and some even fall in love, as head butler Albert and maid Anna have done. But when lecherous new chauffeur Karl Schneider enters the house, affairs and blackmail follow, and the harmony of the home is slowly destroyed.
On the day of his wedding, Sir John Carteret's fiancée, Moonyeen, is killed by a jealous rival named Jeremy, leaving him emotionally devastated. Carteret spends three decades in seclusion, mostly communing with the spirit of Moonyeen, until he learns that her niece, Kathleen, has become an orphan. He adopts and raises the child as his own but is alarmed when, as a young woman, she falls in love with the son of Moonyeen's murderer.
What Price Hollywood?
Sassy and ambitious waitress Mary Evans amuses and befriends amiable seldom-sober Hollywood film director Max Carey when he stumbles into her restaurant. Max invites Mary to his film premiere and, after a night of drinking and carousing, Mary is granted a screen test. A studio contract follows. Just as Mary finds her dreams coming true, Carey’s life and career begins its descent.
A prince betrothed to a mad queen falls in love with an orphan girl from a convent.
On a cruise to Cuba, Lulu Smith falls in love with Bob Grover. Back home, she breaks off the romance when he tells her he is married. Lulu has a baby, but doesn't tell Bob, who turns out to be a rising politician. She passes herself off as the baby's nanny. When Bob learns what is going on, he adopts the little girl, not telling his wife or anyone else where she came from. Lulu gets a job at a newspaper. Things get complicated when the editor gets the dirt on Grover, but also wants to marry Lulu
Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district attorney dedicated to closing down such houses. When her underling Dutton proposes killing the DA, she kills the underling and must face execution.
If I Had a Million
An elderly business tycoon, believed to be dying, decides to give a million dollars each to eight strangers chosen at random from the phone directory.
Merrily We Go to Hell
A drunken newspaperman, Jerry Corbett, is rescued from his alcoholic haze by an heiress, Joan Prentice, whose love sobers him up and encourages him to write a play, but he lapses back into dipsomania.
Three on a Match
Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.
A condemned murderer, in the process of being executed, relives the events that led to his being sentenced to die in the electric chair. Told in flashback, we witness a sleazy dancehall girl (Vivienne Osborne) dupe a high rise riveter (Edward G. Robinson) into marriage so she can live off of him. But when he loses his job and his marbles, she ends up supporting him with money from her side man--and misses no opportunity to rub it in Robinson's face that she's now supporting him in his emasculated state. As the animosity grows and things get more and more unbearable for Robinson, he is eventually driven to desperate measures.
20,000 Years in Sing Sing
Brash hoodlum Tom Connors enters Sing Sing cocksure of himself and disrespectful toward authority, but his tough but compassionate warden changes him.
A farmer's widow takes on the land and her late husband's tempestuous son.
The Sign of the Cross
After burning Rome, Emperor Nero decides to blame the Christians, and issues the edict that they are all to be caught and sent to the arena. Two old Christians are caught, and about to be hauled off, when Marcus, the highest military official in Rome, comes upon them. When he sees their stepdaughter Mercia, he instantly falls in love with her and frees them. Marcus pursues Mercia, which gets him into trouble with Emperor (for being easy on Christians) and with the Empress, who loves him and is jealous.
No Man of Her Own
An on-the-lam New York card shark marries a small-town librarian who thinks he's a businessman.
The Cabin in the Cotton
Sharecropper's son Marvin tries to help his community overcome poverty and ignorance.
Blondie of the Follies
New York City tenement dwelling neighbors Blondie and Lottie are longtime best friends. When Lottie makes the cast of the Follies and moves up in the world, she arranges for Blondie, as well, to join the cast and gain the advantages. But the friendship goes awry when Lottie's sweetheart, wealthy Larry Belmont, falls for Blondie and she for him.
Penguin Pool Murder
New York schoolmarm Hildegarde Withers assists a detective when a body of unscrupulous stockbroker Gerald Parker suddenly appears in the penguin tank at the aquarium.
A pretty but virtuous small-town bank clerk is the victim of a vicious rumor from an unsuccessful suitor that she spent the night with a notorious womanizer.
The Purchase Price
Nightclub singer Joan Gordon runs away from her gangster boyfriend to become a mail-order bride to a struggling North Dakota farmer. Their relationship has a rocky start, but just as Joan realizes she's developing feelings for her husband, her old boyfriend arrives to win her back.
A Bill of Divorcement
Hilary Fairfield returns home after fifteen years in an asylum with his sanity restored. But he is disturbed to find that everything has changed: his daughter grown and about to marry; his wife divorced and also about to marry.
The Beast of the City
Police Chief Jim Fitzpatrick is after gangster Sam Belmonte. He uses his corrupt brother Ed to watch over Daisy who was associated with Belmonte.
The Animal Kingdom
Tom Collier has had a great relationship with Daisy, but when he decides to marry, it is not Daisy whom he asks, it is Cecelia. After the marriage, Tom is bored with the social scene and the obligations of his life. He publishes books that will sell, not books that he wants to write. Even worse, he has his old friend working as a butler and Cecelia wants him fired. When Tom tries to get back together with Daisy to renew the feelings that he once felt, Daisy turns the tables on him and leaves to protect both of them.
A Farewell to Arms
A tale of the World War I love affair, begun in Italy, between American ambulance driver Lt. Frederic Henry and British nurse Catherine Barkley. Eventually separated by Frederic's transfer, tremendous challenges and difficult decisions face each as the war rages on.
Thirteen women who were schoolmates ask a swami to cast their horoscopes. The news they receive are not good for any of them.
Rasputin and the Empress
The story of corrupt, power-hungry, manipulative Grigori Rasputin's influence on members of the Russian Imperial family and others, and what resulted.
The Crowd Roars
Famous auto racing champion Joe Greer returns to his hometown to compete in a local race, discovering that his younger brother has aspirations to become a racing champion.
The World and the Flesh
During the 1917 Russian revolution, a group of artistocrats find themselves in the custody of a brutal Communist revolutionary. He lusts after one of them, a ballerina, and gives her an ultimatum: give in to him or her friends will face the firing squad.
Bird of Paradise
When a young South Seas sailor falls overboard, the beautiful daughter of a Polynesian king dives in and saves his life. Thus begins the romance of Johnny and Luana. Though Luana is promised to another man, Johnny whisks her away, and for a brief time the lovers live very happily together. But, when a local volcano threatens their lives, Luana knows that she must sacrifice herself to the volcanic gods in order to save her island.
The Rich Are Always with Us
A wealthy couple's marriage is falling apart due to the man's infidelity. The wife's male friend has long loved her and sees his big opportunity.
Polly of the Circus
When Polly Fisher, a circus aerialist, is hurt while performing, she is taken to the house of a nearby minister, John Hartley. As she recuperates, they fall in love with each other and secretly marry. But when the truth leaks out , John's congregation rebels at having a circus woman as their minister's wife, and he is fired. Polly decides to leave John in hopes of giving back to him the calling that means so much to him. But fate steps in and rearranges all plans.
When Fred Smith's wife dies in childbirth, Emma Thatcher, who has been nanny to the couple's three children, cares also for the family's new addition. Fred becomes rich and successful, then he and Emma marry. When Fred dies, his will becomes a source of trouble between the children and Emma.
A corrupt night court judge tears an innocent young family apart in his efforts to elude a special prosecutor.
A teenager lands in a brutal reform school for refusing to squeal on his bootlegger boss.
Among the travelers of varied backgrounds that meet and interact on one night at Union Depot, a metropolitan train station, are Chick and his friend Scrap Iron, both newly released from prison after serving time for vagrancy. Hungry and desperate for a break, Chick fortuitously comes across across a valise abandoned by a drunken traveler. In it he finds a shaving kit and a suit of clothes with a bankroll, which help transform the affable tramp into a dashing gent. After buying himself a meal, Chick seeks some female companionship among the many hustlers who walk the station. He propositions Ruth Collins, a stranded, out-of-work showgirl and takes her to the station's hotel.
South of the Rio Grande
Sergeant Carlos Olivarez (Buck Jones) becomes entangled in the machinations of an oil baron, havoc-wreaking bandits, and the femme fatale who ruined his brother.
Wallace Beery and Clark Gable star as two rowdy Naval crewmen who work hard at sea and play harder on land.
A New York gossip columnist feuds with a singer and enjoys the power of the press.