Mamoulian. Armenian-born Rouben Mamoulian is best remembered as an innovative voice in the early talkie-era of Hollywood. He took some big swings in the 1930’s. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an important special effects film, Love Me Tonight is the first real Hollywood musical, and Becky Sharp is often cited as the first technicolor film. Love Me Tonight is the main reason Mamoulian is on this list- not too many directors left with a top 500 film of all-time.

Best film: Love Me Tonight. With the talkies still in their adolescence (and often struggling a little artistically having the camera tethered to archaic sound recording equipment) this snapped narrative conventions of the time in half by breaking out into song right in the middle of a sentence. It is pleasurable and a pioneering film in the musical genre.

total archiveable films: 6

top 100 films:  0

top 500 films:  1 (Love Me Tonight)

snapped narrative conventions of the time in half by breaking out into song right in the middle of a sentence. It is pleasurable and a pioneering film in the musical genre.

top 100 films of the decade:  1 (Love Me Tonight)

most overrated: Mamoulian doesn’t have one. Love Me Tonight is underrated at #603 on the TSPDT consensus list and the only other film of his mentioned is Dr. Jekyll way down at #1821—a good spot for it.

most underrated Becky Sharp. The first feature-length three-strip technicolor film is more than just a gimmick—worth seeking out for sure.

Becky Sharp. The first feature-length three-strip technicolor film is more than just a gimmick—worth seeking out for sure.

gem I want to spotlight : Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You know Mamoulian is a good director when his version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella is superior to the 1941 Victor Fleming version with a cast as talented as Spencer Tracey and Ingrid Bergman.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You know Mamoulian is a good director when his version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella is superior to the 1941 Victor Fleming version with a cast as talented as Spencer Tracey and Ingrid Bergman.

stylistic innovations/traits:

  • Gothic horror, adventure films, musical, drama—in a 10 year stretch from 1931-1940 Mamoulian mastered all the Hollywood genres.
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Gothic horror, adventure films, musical, drama—in a 10 year stretch from 1931-1940 Mamoulian mastered all the Hollywood genres.
  • A bold visionary— his films are often cited for the groundbreaking special effects, narrative/genre bending choices, and color/technical firsts  
  • This was a rough stretch in Hollywood as filmmakers made the change to sound films— it’s certainly notable that Mamoulian thrived in this stretch

top 10

  1. Love Me Tonight
  2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  3. Becky Sharp
  4. The Mark of Zorro
  5. Silk Stockings
  6. Golden Boy

By year and grades

1931- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde R
1932- Love Me Tonight MP
1935- Becky Sharp R
1939- Golden Boy R
1940- The Mark of Zorro R
1957- Silk Stockings R

*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film

MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film

HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film

R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives