Cinema 1931: You Must Remember This…..Events, Trends, Movies, Stars

Research in Progress (May 12, 2021)

Cineliteracy: What You Need to Know about the Movie Year of 1931

Oscar: Best Picture Nominees 1931

The 4th Academy Awards honored films released between August 1, 1930, and July 31, 1931.

Cimarron (RKO) (Winner)

East Lynne (Fox)

The Front Page (UA)

Skippy (Par)

Trader Horn (MGM)


If you want to k now more about the Oscars, please read my book:


Top-Grossing Films of 1931 (in rentals)

1. City Lights, United Artists $2,000,000

city lights | Emanuel Levy

2. Trader Horn, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $1,642,000

3 Palmy Days, United Artists/Samuel Goldwyn Productions $1,601,000

4 The Man Who Came Back, Fox Film Corporation $1,400,000

5 Merely Mary Ann, Fox Film Corporation $1,300,000

6 Arrowsmith, United Artists/Samuel Goldwyn Productions $1,250,000

7 A Connecticut Yankee Fox Film Corporation $1,200,000

8 Cimarron, RKO Radio Pictures $1,122,000

9 Bad Girl, Fox Film Corporation $1,100,000

10 Possessed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $1,030,000


Significant Films



Forgotten Frontier

Free Soul

Night Nurse

Public Enemy

Squaw Man



Trader Horn


Top Stars (rank ordered)

George Arliss

Wallace Beery

Maurice Chevalier

Clark Gable

Edward G. Robinson

Will Rogers

Constance Bennett

Joan Crawford

Greta Garbo

Norma Shearer

The top stars are rank-ordered. Note that of the ten, four are female star, but they occupy the low positions, seventh to tenth.


January 5:

RKO acquires the producing and distribution arm of Pathé for $4.6 million.

March 3:

The “Star Spangled Banner” is officially adopted as the national anthem of the U.S.

The song’s lyrics were from a poem written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 during the War of 1812 while the music was taken from song “To Anacreon in Heaven” which was written in the late 1700s by British composer John Stafford Smith.

The Congress passed a resolution and President Hoover signed it into law.

George Washington Bridge

March 19

George Washington Bridge opens connecting New York and New Jersey

June 20:

Monogram Pictures releases its first film, Ships of Hate.

July 7:

Anti-competitive practices disclosed about certain distributors and producers in Canada.

November 17:

E. R. Tinker elected president of Fox Films replacing Harley L. Clarke.

December 14:

RKO refinancing plan approved


Release Date of Popular Movies

January 9: Little Caesar

January 16: Hell Divers

January 30: City Lights

February 9: Cimarron

February 14: Dracula

April 4: The Front Page

April 17: City Streets

April 23: The Public Enemy

May 11:  M

June 13: The Maltese Falcon

August 1: The Smiling Lieutenant; Tabu

August 13: Bad Girl; Street Scene

September 26: Five Star Final

October 24: The Sin of Madelon Claudet

November 9: The Champ

November 21: Frankenstein

December 26: Arrowsmith; Mata Hari