Welcome to 1931. We are at the height of the Great Depression. Over 2,000 banks are failing. Prices are dropping. Things generally suck.
The Empire State Building is completed meaning we now have a significant film landmark for everything from King Kong to Sleepless in Seattle to take advantage of. The Star-Spangled Banner becomes the national anthem (providing a rousing, but melancholy song for Bane to blow up Gotham City's stadium to). Ten cents gets you a gallon of gas, and eight cents, a loaf of bread.
In movies, a couple of mainstay genres take root. The gangster film takes off with James Cagney in The Public Enemy. Universal kicks off its popular monster movies with Dracula and Frankenstein. We also get Fritz Lang's suspenseful M.
Sadly, we lose a couple of important figures in film. Thomas Edison, whose inventions powered the industry, died at the age of 84. More tragically, F. W. Murnau was killed in a car crash. He's been my favorite classic director so far. It will be bittersweet to watch 1931's Tabu (his final film).
So what are watching? Honestly, looking at 1931, I am salivating. Clearly, all of the films I mentioned above. In addition, there's Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, an early version of The Maltese Falcon, a well-regarded Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde... and the Academy Award winner Cimarron. All that and some surprises along the way to be sure.