Drink Hard & Speak Easy
September 17, 2012 9:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm throwing a speakeasy themed Prohibition party. What are some fun movies from the 1920s—that are readily available through Netflix—that I can project onto the walls to create ambiance?

Ideally, the movies would feature nightclub goers carousing in a speakeasy or cabaret. I also like the idea of there being intertitles. But these things aren't graven in stone. The main thing I'm looking for is atmosphere.

Bonus points if you can come up with an appropriate Garbo film.
posted by Lieber Frau to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Movies made in the 1920s or movies set in the 1920s? Or both?
posted by elizardbits at 9:33 PM on September 17, 2012

Response by poster: Movies filmed in the 1920s or early 30s at latest.
posted by Lieber Frau at 9:36 PM on September 17, 2012

Best answer: Clara Bow (the "It" girl) and Louise Brooks for silents. Jean Harlow for pre-code talkies.
posted by brujita at 10:06 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Gold Diggers of 1933. Features "We're In The Money."
posted by infinitewindow at 10:13 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Our Dancing Daughters with Joan Crawford. 1928. Includes a speakeasy scene, iirc.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:23 PM on September 17, 2012

She Done Him Wrong with Mae West and Cary Grant was made in 1933, and takes place in a cabaret/saloon. There's plenty of people carousing with drinks if I remember correctly. Possible snag that it's supposed to be set in the 1890's, but it doesn't really feel like a period piece.
posted by katyggls at 11:16 PM on September 17, 2012

Netflix streaming or DVDs? If streaming, would other sites acceptable? YouTube has a lot of great old content these days.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:14 AM on September 18, 2012

The party might end with a breathless newsreel about the repeal of prohibition.

If you were taking movies about directly after the repeal (or ending with a movie like that) I would heartily recommend The Thin Man (1934), which is absolutely awesome and has characters that are impossible to not love. And they do love their drink.
posted by Houstonian at 5:03 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I prefer DVDs as the network connection can be spotty.
posted by Lieber Frau at 5:05 AM on September 18, 2012

Sunrise by F.W. Murnau from 1927 is one of the most amazing silent films from the end of the era and has a great carnival scene about an hour in.
posted by mediareport at 6:01 AM on September 18, 2012

Are you planning on listening to the movies as well as having them on screen or are you just gonna watch with the sound off and party music playing? Re: Garbo, I'd recommend Queen Christina for visual sumptuousness, but it's from 1933. Grand Hotel would be fun if you were actually hearing it because the dialogue is snappy. Your best bet if probably her first US film, the 1926 silent The Torrent; it's a ridiculous globe-spanning love story with lots of sexy Garbo entrances, a bullwhip fight between her two rivals and a great climactic flood at the end. I haven't seen Flesh and the Devil but it's probably as good for this purpose.
posted by mediareport at 6:12 AM on September 18, 2012

Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel is about a love affair with a cabaret headliner played by Marlene Dietrich.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:38 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I might be wrong, but I think Metropolis is in the public domain and while it isn't about speakeasies, its view of the future (now) is somehow hilarious and shocking at the same time.
posted by Sphinx at 10:40 AM on September 18, 2012

I think you should show Reefer Madness just because you CAN.
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:26 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Consider The Thin Man movies: glamor, cocktails, murder, wit.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:54 PM on September 18, 2012

The Sting is a movie produced in 1973, but is set in the 1930's. It is in color and has fantastic music.
posted by JujuB at 1:09 PM on September 18, 2012

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