List of science fiction films of the 1930s

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This is a list of science fiction films that premiered between 1 January 1930 and 31 December 1939. In Phil Hardy's book Science Fiction (1983), the 1930s were described as a period where both science fiction literature and cinema were "in turmoil" and that by examining films of decade that "it is clear that Science Fiction, in no sense, can be seen as an ongoing genre in the thirties".[1]

In the United States, films would use a science fiction plot device or character such as a mad scientist, but more closely resembled contemporary genres like horror, thriller and detective films.[1] The films enhanced other genres such as melodrama (Six Hours to Live), Westerns (The Phantom Empire) and most predominantly horror films such as Frankenstein or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.[1][2] Towards the middle of the decade, science fiction was prominent in low budget Poverty Row films and film series.[1] European films such as End of the World and F.P.1 antwortet nicht and Things to Come continued the line of prophetic speculation of Fritz Lang's film Metropolis.[1] Towards the end of the 1930s as political climate was changing in Europe, films such as Bila Nemoc used science fiction elements to imagine the horrors of World War II.[1]

Few films from the era have been nominated or won awards, these include Frederic March winning an Academy Award for Best actor for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde while the film received nominations for best writing and cinematography.[3] Gilbert Kurland was nominated for Best Sound Recording for The Bride of Frankenstein.[3]

Science fiction films of the 1930s
Title Director Release Primary cast Production country Notes Ref(s)
The Voice from the Sky Wilson, Ben F.Ben F. Wilson 1 January 1930 Wally Wales, Neva Gerber, Robert D. Walker United States Film serial with 10 chapters [4][5]
Alraune Oswald, RichardRichard Oswald 2 March 1930 Brigitte Helm, Albert Bassermann, Harald Paulsen Germany [6][7][1]
Just Imagine Butler, DavidDavid Butler 21 November 1930 El Brendel, Maureen O'Sullivan, Marjorie White United States [8][9][10]
End of the World Gance, AbelAbel Gance 23 January 1931 Colette Darfeuil, Abel Gance, Victor Francen France [11][12][10]
Frankenstein Whale, JamesJames Whale 21 November 1931 Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, Mae Clarke United States [13][10][4]
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Mamoulian, RoubenRouben Mamoulian 31 December 1931 Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart United States [14][15]
L'Atlantide Pabst, G. W.G. W. Pabst 8 June 1932 Brigitte Helm Germany, France [16][17]
Chandu the Magician Varnel, MarcelMarcel Varnel, William C. Menzies 18 September 1932 Edmund Lowe, Irene Ware, Bela Lugosi United States [18][19][15][20]
6 Hours to Live Dieterle, WilliamWilliam Dieterle 16 October 1932 Warner Baxter, Miriam Jordan, John Boles United States [21][22]
Island of Lost Souls Kenton, Erle C.Erle C. Kenton December 1932 Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams United States [23][24]
F.P.1 Antwortet Nicht Hartl, KarlKarl Hartl 22 December 1932 Hans Albers, Sybille Schmitz, Paul Hartmann Germany [15][25]
Men Must Fight Selwyn, EdgarEdgar Selwyn 17 February 1933 Diana Wynyard, Lewis Stone, Phillips Holmes United States [26][27]
It's Great to Be Alive Werker, Alfred L.Alfred L. Werker 2 June 1933 Raúl Roulien, Gloria Stuart, Edna May Oliver United States [28][29][30]
Deluge Feist, Felix E.Felix E. Feist 18 August 1933 Peggy Shannon, Sidney Blackmer, Lois Wilson United States [28][31]
Ein Unsichtbarer geht durch die Stadt Piel, HarryHarry Piel 29 September 1933 Harry Piel, Fritz Odemar, Lissy Arna Germany [32][33][34]
The Tunnel Bernhardt, KurtKurt Bernhardt 27 October 1933 Paul Hartmann, Olly von Flint, Gustaf Gründgens France, Germany [26][35][36]
The Invisible Man Whale, JamesJames Whale 13 November 1933 Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan United States [28][37]
Die Welt ohne Maske Piel, HarryHarry Piel 9 March 1934 Harry Piel, Kurt Vespermann, Annie Markart Germany [38][39]
Gold Hartl, KarlKarl Hartl 29 March 1934 Hans Albers, Brigitte Helm, Michael Bohnen Germany [32][40]
The Vanishing Shadow Landers, LewLew Landers July 1934 Onslow Stevens, Ada Ince, Walter Miller United States Film serial with 12 chapters [38][41][42]
Master of the World Piel, HarryHarry Piel 11 August 1934 Walter Janssen, Sybille Schmitz, Walter Franck Germany [32][43]
Once in a New Moon Kimmins, AnthonyAnthony Kimmins December 1934 Derrick de Marney, Vernon Kelso, John Clements United Kingdom [44][45][46]
The Lost City Revier, HarryHarry Revier 14 February 1935 William "Stage" Boyd, Kane Richmond, Claudia Dell United States Film serial with 12 chapters [47][48][49][50]
The Phantom Empire Brower, OttoOtto Brower, B. Reeves Eason 23 February 1935 Gene Autry, Frankie Darro, Betsy King Ross United States Film serial with 12 chapters [51][52][53][54]
Loss of Sensation Andriyevsky, AlexandrAlexandr Andriyevsky April 17, 1935 Sergey Vecheslov, Vladimir Gardin Soviet Union [55][56][57][58][59]
Bride of Frankenstein Whale, JamesJames Whale 22 April 1935 Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson United States [38][60][61]
Air Hawks Rogell, Albert S.Albert S. Rogell 7 May 1935 Ralph Bellamy, Tala Birell, Wiley Post United States [38][62][63]
The Tunnel Elvey, MauriceMaurice Elvey 25 October 1935 Richard Dix, Leslie Banks, Madge Evans United Kingdom [64][51]
The Invisible Ray Hillyer, LambertLambert Hillyer 20 January 1936 Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake United States [65][66]
Kosmicheskiy reys Jouravlev, VassiliVassili Jouravlev 21 January 1936 Soviet Union [47][67]
Things to Come Menzies, William CameronWilliam Cameron Menzies February 1936 Raymond Massey, Cedric Hardwicke, Edward Chapman United Kingdom [68][69]
Flash Gordon Stephani, FrederickFrederick Stephani 6 April 1936 Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles B. Middleton United States Film serial with 13 chapters [51][70]
The Walking Dead Curtiz, MichaelMichael Curtiz 14 March 1936 Boris Karloff, Ricardo Cortez, Edmund Gwenn United States [71][72][73]
Undersea Kingdom Eason, B. ReevesB. Reeves Eason, Joseph Kane 30 May 1936 Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Lois Wilde United States Film serial with 12 chapters [74][75]
Ghost Patrol Newfield, SamSam Newfield 3 August 1936 Tim McCoy, Claudia Dell, Walter Miller United States [65][76]
The Man Who Changed His Mind Stevenson, RobertRobert Stevenson September 1936 Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, John Loder United Kingdom [65][77]
Non-Stop New York Stevenson, RobertRobert Stevenson September 1937 John Loder, Anna Lee, Francis L. Sullivan United Kingdom [78][79]
Skeleton on Horseback Haas, HugoHugo Haas 21 December 1937 Hugo Haas, Bedrich Karen, Zdenek Stephanek Czechoslovakia [71][80]
Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars Beebe, FordFord Beebe, Robert F. Hill 31 March 1938 Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles B. Middleton United States Film serial with 15 chapters [71][81]
Flight to Fame Coleman Jr., C. C.C. C. Coleman Jr. 12 October 1938 Charles Farrell, Jacqueline Wells, Hugh Sothern United States [82][83][84]
Son of Frankenstein Lee, Rowland V.Rowland V. Lee 13 January 1939 Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi United States [85][86][87]
Buck Rogers Beebe, FordFord Beebe, Saul A. Goodkind 11 April 1939 Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Constance Moore, Jackie Moran United States Film serial with 12 chapters [88][89]
The Man They Could Not Hang Grinde, NickNick Grinde 17 August 1939 Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox United States [90][91][92]
The Phantom Creeps Beebe, FordFord Beebe August 1939 Bela Lugosi, Robert Kent, Dorothy Arnold United States Film serial with 12 chapters [90][93][94]
The Return of Doctor X Sherman, VincentVincent Sherman 23 November 1939 Humphrey Bogart, Rosemary Lane, Wayne Morris United States [95][96]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Hardy 1984, p. 82.
  2. ^ Johnston 2013, p. 127.
  3. ^ a b Hardy 1984, p. 391.
  4. ^ a b Hardy 1984, p. 84.
  5. ^ Bradley 2005, p. 462.
  6. ^ "Alraune". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Alraune". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Just Imagine". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  9. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Just Imagine". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Hardy 1984, p. 83.
  11. ^ "La Fin du monde". Bifi.fr. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "La Fin Du Monde". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "Frankenstein". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c Hardy 1984, p. 86.
  16. ^ "L'Atlantide". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  17. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 87.
  18. ^ "Chandu the Magician". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  19. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 85.
  20. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Chandu the Magician". AllMovie. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  21. ^ "6 Hours to Live". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  22. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 88.
  23. ^ "Island of Lost Souls". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  24. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Island of Lost Souls". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  25. ^ "F.P. 1 antwortet nicht". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  26. ^ a b Hardy 1984, p. 90.
  27. ^ "Men Must Fight". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  28. ^ a b c Hardy 1984, p. 89.
  29. ^ "It's Great to Be Alive". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  30. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "It's Great to Be Alive". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  31. ^ "Deluge". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  32. ^ a b c Hardy 1984, p. 91.
  33. ^ "Ein Unsichtbarer geht durch die Stadt". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  34. ^ "Ein Unsichtbarer geht durch die Stadt". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  35. ^ "Der Tunnel". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  36. ^ Bock 2009, p. 41.
  37. ^ "The Invisible Man". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  38. ^ a b c d Hardy 1984, p. 92.
  39. ^ "Die Welt ohne Maske". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  40. ^ "Gold". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  41. ^ Rainey 2005, p. 706.
  42. ^ Kinnard, p. 11.
  43. ^ "Der Herr der Welt". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  44. ^ Hunter, I. Q. (2002). British Science Fiction Cinema. Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 0-203-00977-0. 
  45. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Once in a New Moon (1935)". AllMovie. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  46. ^ This was released in December 1934, and is frequently listed as a 1935 film. See: Low, Rachael; Manvell, Roger; Richards, Jeffrey (2005). History of British Film. Routledge. p. 367. ISBN 0-415-15652-1. 
  47. ^ a b Hardy 1984, p. 94.
  48. ^ Kinnard, p. 14.
  49. ^ Kinnard, p. 16.
  50. ^ "The Lost City". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  51. ^ a b c Hardy 1984, p. 95.
  52. ^ Kinnard, p. 22.
  53. ^ Kinnard, p. 27.
  54. ^ Cusic, p. 50.
  55. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 93.
  56. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Gibel Sensatsii". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  57. ^ Johnston 2013, p. 60.
  58. ^ Johnston 2013, p. 61.
  59. ^ "Гибель сенсации" (in Russian). KinoPoisk. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  60. ^ "Bride of Frankenstein". American Film Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  61. ^ Erickson, Hal. "The Bride of Frankenstein". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  62. ^ "Air Hawks". American Film Institute. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  63. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Air Hawks". AllMovie. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  64. ^ "Transatlantic Tunnel". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  65. ^ a b c Hardy 1984, p. 96.
  66. ^ "The Invisible Ray". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  67. ^ "Космический рейс" (in Russian). KinoPoisk. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  68. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 97.
  69. ^ Hochscherf, p. 17.
  70. ^ Kinnard 2008, p. 25.
  71. ^ a b c Hardy 1984, p. 98.
  72. ^ "The Walking Dead". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  73. ^ Betzold, Michael. "The Walking Dead". AllMovie. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  74. ^ Cline 1997, p. 215.
  75. ^ Wollstein, Hans J. "Undersea Kingdom". AllMovie. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  76. ^ "Ghost Patrol". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  77. ^ "The Man Who Lived Again". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  78. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 99.
  79. ^ "Non-Stop New York". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  80. ^ "Bílá nemoc". CSFD. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  81. ^ Kinnard 2008, p. 86.
  82. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 100.
  83. ^ "Flight to Fame". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  84. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Flight to Fame". AllMovie. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  85. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 103.
  86. ^ "Son of Frankenstein". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  87. ^ Soister 2005, p. 153.
  88. ^ Hardy 1984, p. 101.
  89. ^ Kinnard 2008, p. 161.
  90. ^ a b Hardy 1984, p. 102.
  91. ^ "The Man They Could Not Hang". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  92. ^ Johnston 2013, p. 57.
  93. ^ Rhodes 1997, p. 151.
  94. ^ Erickson, Hal. "The Phantom Creeps". AllMovie. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  95. ^ "The Return of Doctor X". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  96. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "The Return of Doctor X". AllMovie. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 

References[edit]

  • Bock, Hans-Michael, ed. (2009). The Concise Cinegraph. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-57181-655-9. 
  • Bradley, Edwin M. (2005). The First Hollywood Sound Shorts, 1926-1931. McFarland. ISBN 1476606846. 
  • Cline, William C., ed. (1997). In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials. McFarland. ISBN 078640471X. 
  • Cusic, Don (2007). Gene Autry: His Life and Career. McFarland. ISBN 0786430613. 
  • Hardy, Phil, ed. (1984). Science Fiction. New York : Morrow. ISBN 0-688-00842-9. 
  • Hochscherf, Tobias, ed. (2011). British Science Fiction Film and Television: Critical Essays. McFarland. ISBN 0786484837. 
  • Johnston, Keith M. (2013). Science Fiction Film. Berg. ISBN 1847884784. 
  • Kinnard, Roy (1998). Science Fiction Serials. McFarland. ISBN 0786437456. 
  • Kinnard, Roy; Crnkovich, Tony; Vitone, R. J. (2008). The Flash Gordon Serials, 1936-1940. McFarland. ISBN 0786455004. 
  • Rainey, Buck (2015). Serials and Series: A World Filmography, 1912-1956. McFarland. ISBN 1476604487. 
  • Rhodes, Gary Don (1997). Lugosi: His Life in Films, on Stage, and in the Hearts of Horror Lovers. McFarland. ISBN 0786402571. 
  • Soister, John T. (2005). Of Gods and Monsters: A Critical Guide to Universal Studios' Science Fiction, Horror and Mystery Films, 1929-1939. McFarland. ISBN 1476604991. 
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