ⓘ 1931 in film

Dracula (1931 English-language film)

Dracula is a 1931 American pre-Code supernatural horror film directed and co-produced by Tod Browning from a screenplay written by Garrett Fort. It is based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, which in turn is adapted from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The film stars Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, a vampire who emigrates from Transylvania to England and preys upon the blood of living victims, including a young mans fiancee. Produced and distributed by Universal Pictures, Dracula is thought to be the first sound film adaptation of the Stoker nove ...

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931 film)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1931 American pre-Code horror film, directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March, who plays a possessed doctor who tests his new formula that can unleash peoples inner demons. The film is an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson tale of a man who takes a potion which turns him from a mild-mannered man of science into a homicidal maniac. Marchs performance has been much lauded, and earned him his first Academy Award.

Dracula (film)

Dracula is a 1931 American Spanish-language pre-Code horror film directed by George Melford. It is an adaptation of the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker and the 1924 stage play. It was filmed at night on the same sets that were being used during the day for the 1931 English-language film of the same title. In the early days of sound film, it was common for Hollywood studios to produce foreign-language versions of their films using the same sets and costumes. Of the cast, only Carlos Villarias playing Dracula was permitted to see rushes of the English-language film, and he was encouraged to imitat ...

M (1931 film)

M is a 1931 German thriller film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre. The film was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou and was the directors first sound film. The film revolves around the actions of a serial killer of children and the manhunt for him, conducted by both the police and the criminal underworld. Now considered a timeless classic, the film was deemed by Lang to be his magnum opus.

Alone (1931 film)

Alone is a Soviet film released in 1931. It was written and directed by Leonid Trauberg and Grigori Kozintsev. It was originally planned as a silent film, but it was eventually released with a soundtrack comprising sound effects, some dialogue and a full orchestral score by Dmitri Shostakovich. The film, about a young teacher sent to work in Siberia, is in a realist mode and addresses three political topics then current: education, technology, and the elimination of the kulaks.

Cimarron (1931 film)

Cimarron is a 1931 Pre-Code Western film directed by Wesley Ruggles, starring Richard Dix and Irene Dunne, and featuring Estelle Taylor and Roscoe Ates. The Oscar-winning script was written by Howard Estabrook based on the Edna Ferber novel Cimarron. It would be RKOs most expensive production up to that date, and its winning of the top Oscar for Best Production would be only one of two ever won by that studio. It is also one of the few Westerns to ever win the top honor at the Academy Awards. Epic in scope, spanning forty years from 1889 to 1929, it was a critical success, although it did ...

                                     

ⓘ 1931 in film

  • November 17: E. R. Tinker elected president of Fox Films replacing Harley L. Clarke.
  • December 14: RKO refinancing plan approved.
  • July 7: Anti-competitive practices disclosed about certain distributors and producers in Canada.
  • June 20: Monogram Pictures releases its first film, Ships of Hate.
  • January 5: RKO acquires the producing and distribution arm of Pathe for $4.6 million.
                                     

1. Best money stars

Variety reported the following as the biggest male stars in the U.S. in alphabetical order although grouped George Arliss and Ronald Colman together as having equal ranking.

The following were the biggest women names in the U.S. in alphabetical order but again grouped two actresses together to denote they were ranked the same.

                                     

2. Academy Awards

The 4th Academy Awards were awarded to films completed and screened released between August 1, 1930, and July 31, 1931, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Most Nominations: Cimarron RKO Pictures – 7

Major Awards

  • Best Actor: Lionel Barrymore – A Free Soul
  • Best Director: Norman Taurog – Skippy
  • Best Actress: Marie Dressler – Min and Bill
  • Best Picture: Cimarron – RKO

Most Awards: Cimarron – 3 Best Picture; Best Adaptation and Best Art Direction

Cimarron was the first Western to win Best Picture, and would remain the only one to do so for 59 years until Dances with Wolves won in 1991. It received a then-record seven nominations, and was the first film to win more than two awards.

The 5th Academy Awards were conducted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on November 18, 1932, at a ceremony held at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony was hosted by Conrad Nagel. Films screened in Los Angeles between August 1, 1931, and July 31, 1932, were eligible to receive awards.

Most nominations: Arrowsmith Samuel Goldwyn Productions and The Champ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer – 4

Major Awards

  • Best Director: Frank Borzage – Bad Girl
  • Best Actor: Wallace Beery – The Champ and Fredric March – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Best Actress: Helen Hayes – The Sin of Madelon Claudet

Most Awards: Bad Girl Best Director and Best Adaptation and The Champ Best Actor and Best Original Story – 2 Note: The Academy Award for Best Picture went to 1932s Grand Hotel.

                                     

3.1. 1931 film releases January–March

  • The Criminal Code
  • January 1931
  • 3 January
  • 9 January
  • Little Caesar
  • 16 January
  • Hell Divers
  • Other Mens Women
  • 17 January
  • 30 January
  • City Lights
  • Cimarron
  • 9 February
  • February 1931
  • 14 February
  • Dracula
  • The Speckled Band
  • 5 March
  • March 1931
  • 6 March
  • Ten Cents a Dance
  • Kiki
  • 14 March
  • 20 March
  • The Sleeping Cardinal
  • 21 March
  • Honor Among Lovers
  • 29 March
  • Bad Sister
                                     

3.2. 1931 film releases April–June

  • April 1931
  • 4 April
  • The Front Page
  • 6 April
  • A Connecticut Yankee
  • 15 April
  • Bachelor Apartment
  • The Secret Six
  • City Streets
  • 18 April
  • 23 April
  • The Public Enemy
  • Iron Man
  • 30 April
  • 1 May
  • May 1931
  • The Millionaire
  • 11 May
  • M
  • 16 May
  • Indiscreet
  • Svengali
  • 22 May
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • June 1931
  • 13 June
  • 20 June
  • A Free Soul
  • 21 June
  • The Black Camel
  • 27 June
  • I Take This Woman
  • 28 June
  • Goldie
                                     

3.3. 1931 film releases July–September

  • 11 July
  • July 1931
  • Smart Money
  • 1 August
  • The Smiling Lieutenant
  • Tabu
  • August 1931
  • The Miracle Woman
  • Huckleberry Finn
  • 7 August
  • Bought!
  • Night Nurse
  • 8 August
  • Bad Girl
  • 13 August
  • Pardon Us
  • 15 August
  • An American Tragedy
  • 22 August
  • Guilty Hands
  • 29 August
  • This Modern Age
  • The Last Flight
  • September 1931
  • 1 September
  • Waterloo Bridge
  • The Squaw Man
  • 5 September
  • Daughter of the Dragon
  • Secrets of a Secretary
  • Street Scene
  • 12 September
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • 18 September
  • Peludopolis Argentina
  • Monkey Business
  • 19 September
  • Five Star Final
  • 26 September
  • Sidewalks of New York
  • 30 September
  • Alice in Wonderland


                                     

3.4. 1931 film releases October–December

  • Palmy Days
  • 3 October
  • October 1931
  • 24 Hours
  • 10 October
  • 21 October
  • Possessed
  • The Sin of Madelon Claudet
  • 24 October
  • 31 October
  • Platinum Blonde
  • 7 November
  • November 1931
  • The Mad Genius
  • 9 November
  • The Champ
  • 10 November
  • Secret Service
  • 21 November
  • Frankenstein
  • 28 November
  • Battling with Buffalo Bill
  • Blonde Crazy
  • December 1931
  • 3 December
  • The Struggle
  • 10 December
  • Private Lives
  • 12 December
  • 17 December
  • Tonight or Never
  • Arrowsmith
  • 26 December
  • Mata Hari
  • 31 December
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


                                     

4. Notable films released in 1931

United States unless stated

  • Berlin-Alexanderplatz film of the novel by Alfred Doblin – Germany
  • Bad Sister, starring Bette Davis
  • Little Caesar, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, starring Edward G. Robinson and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
  • Her Grace Commands Ihre Hoheit befiehlt – Germany
  • Sally in Our Alley, starring Gracie Fields – GB
  • The Sin of Madelon Claudet, starring Helen Hayes
  • The Neighbors Wife and Mine Madamu to nyōbō – Japan
  • Revenge on the Brother, directed Ebrahim Moradi Iran
  • Its a Wise Child, directed by Robert Z. Leonard; starring Marion Davies and Polly Moran
  • The Mad Genius, starring John Barrymore
  • The Criminal Code, directed by Howard Hawks, starring Walter Huston
  • Svengali, starring John Barrymore
  • Bachelor Apartment, starring Irene Dunne and Lowell Sherman
  • Der KongreS tanzt Congress Dances, starring Lilian Harvey – Germany
  • Platinum Blonde, starring Loretta Young, Robert Williams and Jean Harlow
  • Alone Odna – USSR
  • Alibi directed by Leslie S. Hiscott Britain
  • Mata Hari, starring Greta Garbo and Lionel Barrymore
  • Ten Cents a Dance, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Ricardo Cortez
  • The Struggle, directed by D.W. Griffith
  • Sidewalks of New York, starring Buster Keaton
  • M, directed by Fritz Lang, starring Peter Lorre and Otto Wernicke – Germany
  • Tokyo Chorus Tokyo no korasu, directed by Yasujirō Ozu – Japan
  • Battling with Buffalo Bill, starring Tom Tyler
  • Huckleberry Finn, starring Jackie Coogan
  • Street Scene, directed by King Vidor, starring Sylvia Sidney
  • Peludopolis Argentina
  • Le Million, directed by Rene Clair – France
  • Guilty Hands, starring Lionel Barrymore and Kay Francis
  • The Bachelor Father, directed by Robert Z. Leonard; starring Marion Davies and Ray Milland
  • Elisabeth of Austria starring Lil Dagover and Paul Otto – Germany
  • Cimarron, starring Richard Dix and Irene Dunne
  • Limite – Brazil
  • The Front Page, directed by Lewis Milestone, starring Adolphe Menjou and Pat OBrien
  • Arrowsmith, directed by John Ford, starring Ronald Colman and Helen Hayes
  • Private Lives, starring Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery
  • Quick Millions, starring Spencer Tracy
  • Five and Ten, directed by Robert Z. Leonard, starring Marion Davies and Leslie Howard
  • Goldie, starring Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy
  • The Sleeping Cardinal, starring Arthur Wontner
  • A Connecticut Yankee, starring Will Rogers
  • Tommi, directed by Yakov Protazanov – USSR
  • An American Tragedy, directed by Josef von Sternberg, starring Sylvia Sydney
  • Just a Gigolo, starring William Haines and Irene Purcell
  • The Stolen Jools, starring Gary Cooper, Laurel and Hardy, and Norma Shearer
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, starring Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins
  • City Streets, starring Gary Cooper and Sylvia Sidney
  • City Lights, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin
  • The Maltese Falcon, starring Ricardo Cortez
  • Expensive Women, starring Dolores Costello and H. B. Warner
  • The Black Camel, a Charlie Chan mystery starring Warner Oland
  • Secrets of a Secretary, starring Claudette Colbert and Herbert Marshall
  • Frankenstein, directed by James Whale, starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and Mae Clarke
  • Hobsons Choice, directed by Thomas Bentley Britain
  • David Golder, directed by Julien Duvivier – France
  • The Miracle Woman, directed by Frank Capra, starring Barbara Stanwyck
  • The Last Flight, starring Richard Barthelmess
  • Night in Montmartre, directed by Leslie S. Hiscott Britain
  • The Public Enemy, directed by William A. Wellman, starring James Cagney, Jean Harlow and Joan Blondell
  • Five Star Final, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, starring Edward G. Robinson
  • Possessed, starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable
  • Honor Among Lovers, starring Claudette Colbert and Fredric March
  • Blonde Crazy, starring James Cagney and Joan Blondell
  • The Speckled Band, directed by Jack Raymond, starring Raymond Massey – GB
  • Smart Money, starring Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney
  • Other Mens Women, starring Regis Toomey and Mary Astor
  • Girls About Town, directed by George Cukor, starring Kay Francis and Joel McCrea
  • Anna Christie, directed by Jacques Feyder, starring Greta Garbo – Germany
  • Madchen in Uniform, directed by Carl Froelich, starring Hertha Thiele – Germany
  • Palmy Days, starring Eddie Cantor
  • My Sin, starring Tallulah Bankhead and Fredric March
  • Alexander Hamilton, starring George Arliss
  • The Smiling Lieutenant, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins
  • A Free Soul, starring Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore and Clark Gable
  • The Theft of the Mona Lisa Der Raub der Mona Lisa – Germany
  • Kiki, starring Mary Pickford
  • Hyppolit, the Butler Hyppolit, a lakaj – Hungary
  • Kameradschaft Comradeship, directed by G.W. Pabst – Germany
  • La Chienne The Bitch, directed by Jean Renoir, starring Michel Simon – France
  • Dracula, directed by Tod Browning, starring Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye
  • Secret Service, starring Richard Dix
  • Daughter of the Dragon, starring Anna May Wong
  • Iron Man, starring Lew Ayres and Jean Harlow
  • This Modern Age, starring Joan Crawford
  • À nous la liberte Freedom for Us, directed by Rene Clair – France
  • Emil und die Detektive, starring Rolf Wenkhaus, Kathe Haack and Fritz Rasp – Germany
  • Indiscreet, directed by Leo McCarey, starring Gloria Swanson and Ben Lyon
  • Waterloo Bridge, directed by James Whale
  • Alice in Wonderland, the first sound version
  • Bad Girl, directed by Frank Borzage
  • Tell England, directed by Anthony Asquith – GB
  • The Threepenny Opera Die 3 groschen-oper, starring Lotte Lenya – Germany
  • The Champ, starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper
  • From Saturday to Sunday Ze soboty na nedeli – Czechoslovakia
  • The Secret Six, starring Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, Johnny Mack Brown, Jean Harlow and Clark Gable
  • 24 Hours, starring Clive Brook and Kay Francis
  • Pardon Us, starring Laurel and Hardy
  • Marius, directed by Alexander Korda, starring Raimu and Pierre Fresnay – France
  • Dishonored, directed by Josef von Sternberg, starring Marlene Dietrich and Victor McLaglen
  • Tonight or Never, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, starring Gloria Swanson and Melvyn Douglas
  • Bought!, starring Constance Bennett
  • Hell Divers, starring Wallace Beery and Clark Gable
  • A Spray of Plum Blossoms Yi jian mei – China
  • Alam Ara The Light of the World, directed by Ardeshir Irani – the first Indian talkie
  • The Squaw Man directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Warner Baxter
  • Tabu, directed by F. W. Murnau
  • I Take This Woman, starring Gary Cooper and Carole Lombard
  • Kalidas, the first Tamil sound film, directed by H.M. Reddy Tamil
  • Night Nurse starring Barbara Stanwyck and Ben Lyon
  • Business Under Distress To neznate Hadimrsku – Czechoslovakia
  • The Guardsman, starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne
  • The Peach Girl Tao hua qi xue ji – China
  • Monkey Business, starring Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx
  • The Millionaire, starring George Arliss
  • Down River, starring Charles Laughton – GB
  • Tilly of Bloomsbury, directed by Jack Raymond, starring Sydney Howard, Phyllis Konstam Britain


                                     

5. Serials

  • The Sign of the Wolf
  • The Lightning Warrior, starring Rin Tin
  • Finger Prints
  • King of the Wild
  • The Spell of the Circus
  • Heroes of the Flames
  • The Vanishing Legion
  • The Phantom of the West
  • The Mystery Trooper
  • Danger Island
  • The Galloping Ghost, starring Harold Grange
  • Battling with Buffalo Bill
                                     

6. Animated short film series

  • The Moose Hunt
  • Mickeys Orphans
  • Mickey Mouse
  • The Barnyard Broadcast
  • Blue Rhythm
  • The Delivery Boy
  • Traffic Troubles
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit 1927–1938
  • The Birthday Party
  • Mickey Cuts Up
  • Mickey Steps Out
  • The Castaway
  • Fishin Around
  • The Beach Party
  • Aesops Film Fables 1921–1933
  • Krazy Kat 1925–1940
  • Birds of a Feather
  • The Spider and the Fly
  • Egyptian Melodies
  • The Clock Store
  • Mother Goose Melodies
  • The Cats Out
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The China Plate
  • The Busy Beavers
  • The Fox Hunt
  • Silly Symphonies
  • Talkartoons 1929–1932
  • Screen Songs 1929–1938
  • Mask a Raid featuring Betty Boop
  • Scrappy 1931–1941
  • Looney Tunes 1930–1969
  • Terrytoons 1930–1964
  • Toby the Pup 1930-1931
  • Merrie Melodies 1931–1969
  • Tom and Jerry Van Beuren 1931–1933
  • Flip the Frog 1930–1933
                                     

7. Births

  • January 3 – Conrad Brooks, ne Biedrzycki, American actor and producer died 2017
  • February 6
  • Rip Torn, American actor and director died 2019
  • January 5 – Robert Duvall, American actor and director
  • January 17 – James Earl Jones, American actor
  • Mamie Van Doren, American actress and sex symbol
  • January 14 – Caterina Valente, French singer and actress
  • July 1 – Leslie Caron, French actress and dancer
  • April 1 – Ita Ever, Estonian actress
  • October 10 – Roman Chalbaud, Venezuelan director
  • December 11 – Rita Moreno, Puerto Rican actress
  • April 8 – John Gavin, American actor and diplomat died 2018
  • September 21 – Larry Hagman, American actor and director died 2012
  • March 26 – Leonard Nimoy, American actor and director died 2015
  • July 24 – Ermanno Olmi, Italian director and screenwriter died 2018
  • September 17 – Anne Bancroft, American actress died 2005
  • July 5 – Antonio de Macedo, Portuguese filmmaker, writer, university professor and lecturer died 2017
  • September 12 – Ian Holm, English actor
  • November 6 – Mike Nichols, German-born director died 2014
  • July 11 – Tab Hunter, American actor and singer died 2018
  • February 8 – James Dean, American actor died 1955
  • May 10 – Ettore Scola, Italian director and screenwriter died 2016
  • September 30 – Angie Dickinson, American actress
  • September 10 – Philip Baker Hall, American actor
  • September 29 – Anita Ekberg, Swedish actress and sex symbol died 2015
  • November 10 – Don Henderson, English actor of stage, television and screen died 1997
  • August 12 – William Goldman, American screenwriter and novelist died 2018
  • May 28 – Carroll Baker, American actress
  • February 15 – Claire Bloom, English actress
  • August 31 – Noble Willingham, American actor died 2004
  • March 22 – William Shatner, Canadian actor
  • February 24 – Dominic Chianese, American actor
  • July 4 – Stephen Boyd, Irish actor died 1977
  • June 20 – Olympia Dukakis, Greek-American actress
  • August 23 – Barbara Eden, American actress


                                     

8. Deaths

  • March 11 – F. W. Murnau, German director born 1888
  • Robert Edeson, stage and screen actor born 1868
  • Charles Clary, silent film actor born 1873
  • March 24
  • December 23 – Tyrone Power, Sr., stage and film veteran, father of movie star Tyrone Power born 1869
  • September 13 – Lawrence DOrsay, English actor born 1853
  • August 14 – Janie Marese, French actress born 1908
  • June 7 – Viktor Schwanneke, German actor born 1880
  • November 27 – Lya De Putti, Hungarian actress born 1899
                                     

9. Film debuts

  • Melvyn Douglas – Tonight or Never
  • Robert Young – The Black Camel
  • Bette Davis – Bad Sister
  • Eric Linden – Are These Our Children?
  • Alexander Knox – The Ringer
  • Simone Simon – Durand contre Durand
  • Otto Preminger director, producer – The Great Love
  • Ralph Richardson – Dreyfus
  • Bruce Cabot – Heroes of the Flames
  • Ralph Bellamy – The Secret Six
  • Lotte Lenya – The Threepenny Opera
  • Gene Raymond – Personal Maid
  • Helen Mack – The Struggle
  • Ida Lupino – The Love Race