Female Drifters and Grifters

Films about hobos have always been predominantly about male characters, with few exceptions such as Veronica Lake donning a male hobo disguise and tagging along with Hollywood producer-turned-drifter Joel McCrea in Sullivan’s Travels [1941]. So, it’s particularly unexpected and refreshing to see a Depression era based film like Girls of the Road (1940), in which almost all of the central characters are women, playing runaways, vagrants and other homeless cases, fending for themselves on the margins of society.  Continue reading

The Crime Astrologer

Every amateur detective has his own approach to crime solving but Mary Lee Ling consults the stars and birth dates to narrow down the list of suspects. When Were You Born? (1938) has a terrific premise for a detective thriller and was quite unusual in its day. Its offbeat approach to the genre is further enhanced by the casting of Anna May Wong in the central role of an astrologist whose connection to a murder victim implicates her in the police investigation.      Continue reading