UC Berkeley Library

Films Set in the 1920's

A Passage to India (1984)

Director, David Lean. Cast: Peggy Ashcroft, Judy Davis, James Fox, Alec Guinness, Nigel Havers, Victor Banerjee. While on a trip in 1928 to visit her son, Mrs. Moore, accompanied by her son's fiancee, becomes appalled at the treatment of the Indians by the ruling British government. Later, they befriend a native Indian who, over-stepping the accepted norms of his culture, invites the two ladies on an excursion. In a strange turn of events, he is accused of attempting to rape the young woman. Based on the novel by E. M. Forster and the play by Santha Rama Rau.

Anastasia (1956)

Directed by Anatole Litvak. Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Yul Brynner, Helen Hayes, Akim Tamiroff, Martita Hunt, Felix Aylmer, Sacha Pitoeff, Ivan Desny, Natalie Schafer, Gregoire Gromoff, Karel Stepanek, Ina de la Haye, Katherine Kath. An expatriate White Russian general sets in motion a grand hoax after he meets a destitute woman on the banks of the Seine River in Paris. He is amazed at her resemblance to Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas of Russia, rumored to have somehow survived the Bolsheviks' execution of the Romanoff family in 1918.

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Directed by Joan Micklin Silver. Cast: Shelley Duvall, Veronica Cartwright. It's the hot summer of 1919. While visiting her cousin Marjorie, sweet-but-dull Bernice is transformed into a smooth-talking man-trap by her vampish cousin. However, the "make-over" works too well, as Bernice becomes the belle of the ball, captivating every boy's interest. . .even Marjorie's boyfriend Warren. The now worldly Bernice has the last laugh. Based on the story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Broadcast as part of the PBS television series The American short story in 1977. 48 min. ;

Billy Bathgate (1991)

Directed by Robert Benton. Screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, Steven Hill, Loren Dean, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi. An action-packed gangster epic detailing the rise and fall of notorious mobster Dutch Schultz as seen through the eyes of his young protege, Billy Bathgate. Billy, an ambitious streetwise kid seduced by the power, money and glamour of crime, soon begins to seriously question if his passport to the good life is going to come from the fiery Dutch and his gang!Based on the book by E.L. Doctorow. 107 min.

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Directed by Woody Allen, Cast: Jim Broadbent, John Cusack, Harvey Fierstein, Chazz Palminteri, Mary-Louise Parker, Rob Reiner, Jennifer Tilly, Tracey Ullman, Joe Viterelli, Jack Warden, Dianne Wiest. David Shayne is an idealistic young writer who'll do anything to get his first Broadway play off the ground -- even if it means teaming up with the mob! Surrounded by a wacky cast of characters, including a gangster's ditzy girlfriend, a tipsy actress and a mob hit man, Shayne's got to pull it all off before the curtain falls, and the bullets start to fly. 95 min.

Chicago (2002)

Directed by Rob Marshall. Cast: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reily, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs, Christine Baranski. Music, John Kander: lyrics, Fred Ebb: original score music, Danny Elfman. In this dazzling musical set at a time when crimes of passion result in celebrity headlines, nightclub sensation Velma Kelly and spotlight-seeking Roxie Hart both find themselves on Chicago's famed Murderess Row. They also share Billy Flynn, the town's slickest lawyer with a talent for turning notorious defendants into local legends.

Coco Before Chanel (Coco avant Chanel) (France, 2009)

Directed by Anne Fontaine. Cast: Alessandro Nivola, Audrey Tautou, Emmanuelle Devos, Marie Gillain. Years after being abandoned at an orphanage by her father, Gabrielle Chanel finds a job in a tailor shop where she meets, and soon begins an affair with French millionaire Etienne Balsan. Through Baron Balsan she is introduced into French society and given the opportunity to design her own style of hats. Though her career takes off, her personal life becomes more complicated when she falls in love with Balsan's former best friend Arthur Capel.

Elmer Gantry (1994)

Director, Richard Brooks. Cast: Cast: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Dean Jagger, Arthur Kennedy, Shirley Jones, Patti Page. One man's fervent pursuit of wealth and power leads him to religion for profit in the evangelist tents of the 1920's Midwestern Corn Belt. 147 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Hansel and Gretel, An Appalachian Version (1984)

Producer, director, and narrator, Tom Davenport. Cast: Scott Honeycutt (Hansel), Aaron Mack (Gretel), Marlene Elbin (witch). In this adaptation of the Grimm's folktale "Hansel and Gretel" filmed in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, a poor Depression-era father and stepmother can no longer afford to feed their children so they walk them into the forest and "lose" them.

Hay Fever (UK, TV, 1984)

Directed by Cecilia Brereton. Cast: Penelope Keith, Paul Eddington, Patricia Hodge, Joan Sims. Set in an early 1920's British country house, follows the outlandish behaviour of the Bliss family when they each invite a guest to spend the weekend. Based on the play by Noël Coward. 91 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

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