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History

Around 1918, during the heyday of the Model T, and the beginning of the film boom, Jesse D. Hampton built a simple film studio at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue.

Little did he know that his small studio would be passed to some of the greatest influences in film.

1930s

Mary Pickford stars in her last film, the talkie “Secrets” (‘33). The Writers Building is constructed (‘34). Douglas Fairbanks dies (‘39). 

Puttin' On The Ritz

1930

A vaudeville and nightclub performer becomes successful and forgets who his friends really are.

Starring: Harry Richman, Joan Bennett, James Gleason, Aileen Pringle

Director: Edward Sloman

Genre: Musical

IMDB

Mr. Robinson Crusoe

1932

Yachtsman Steve Drexel bets his friends that he can swim ashore on a remote south-seas island with nothing but a toothbrush and be 'living the life of Riley' when they return. With handmade implements the lighthearted, athletic Steve improbably builds a comfortable home with all amenities...and local fauna trained to help him! Meanwhile, a grass-skirted young lady flees an unwelcome wedding on a nearby island. Steve calls her Saturday, but what is he to do with her?

Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, William Farnum, Earle Browne, Maria Alba

Director: A. Edward Sutherland

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

IMDB

Roman Scandals

1933

A kind-hearted young man is thrown out of his corrupt home town of West Rome, Oklahoma. He falls asleep and dreams that he is back in the days of olden Rome, where he gets mixed up with court intrigue and a murder plot against the Emperor.

Starring: Eddie Cantor, The Goldwyn Girls, Ruth Etting, Gloria Stuart

Director: Frank Tuttle

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Musical

IMDB

The Count of Monte Cristo

1934

Edmond Dantes is imprisoned in the Chateau d'If without trial, for carrying a message from Napoleon in exile on Elba. After being told that he died in prison, his fiancé Mercedes is forced to marry his rival Count Mondego. Twenty years later, Dantes escapes with the help of the Abbe Faria, who leaves him the treasure of Monte Cristo. Dantes, now called the Count of Monte Cristo, plans his revenge on the three who framed him.

Starring: Robert Donat, Elissa Landi, Louis Calhern, Sidney Blackmer

Director: Rowland V. Lee

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

IMDB

Call of the Wild

1935

Jack Thornton has trouble winning enough at cards for the stake he needs to get to the Alaska gold fields. His luck changes when he pays $250 for Buck, a sled dog that is part wolf to keep ...

Starring: Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Jack Oakie, Reginald Owen

Director: William A. Wellman

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

IMDB

Les Misérables

1935

Jean Valjean, a Frenchman of good character and great strength, is convicted of stealing a loaf of bread, an act that sets in motion a lifetime of misery for Valjean, as he is pursued by the uncompromising and brutal lawman Javert.

Starring: Fredric March, Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Rochelle Hudson

Director: Richard Boleslawski

Genre: Drama, History, Romance

IMDB

Dead End

1937

The Dead End Kids, an unemployed architect, and gangster Baby Face Martin interact with an East Side neighborhood over one day and night.

Starring: Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart, Wendy Barrie

Director: William Wyler

Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

IMDB

The Adventures of Marco Polo

1938

Marco Polo travels from Venice to Peking, where he quickly discovers spaghetti and gunpowder and falls in love with the Emperor's daughter. The Emperor Kublai Khan is a kindly fellow, but his evil aide Ahmed wants to get rid of Kublai Khan so he can be emperor, and to get rid of Marco Polo so he can marry the princess. Ahmed sends Marco Polo to the West to fight barbarians, but he returns just in time to save the day.

Starring: Gary Cooper, Sigrid Gurie, Basil Rathbone, George Barbier

Director: Archie Mayo, John Cromwell

Genre: Adventure, Biography, Romance

IMDB

Wuthering Heights

1939

The story of unfortunate lovers Heathcliff and Cathy who, despite a deep affection for one another, are forced by circumstance and prejudice to live their apart. Heathcliff and Cathy first meet as children when her father brings the abandoned boy to live with them. When the old man dies several years later Cathy's brother, now the master of the estate, turns Heathcliff out forcing him to live with the servants and working as a stable boy. The barrier of class comes between them and she eventually marries a rich neighbor, Mr. Edgar Linton, at which point Heathcliff disappears. He returns several years later, now a rich man but little can be done.

Starring: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson

Director: William Wyler

Genre: Drama, Romance

IMDB

Stagecoach

1939

A simple stagecoach trip is complicated by the fact that Geronimo is on the warpath in the area. The passengers on the coach include a drunken doctor, two women, a bank manager who has taken off with his client's money, and the famous Ringo Kid, among others.

Starring: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John Carradine

Director: John Ford

Genre: Adventure, Romance, Western

IMDB