Celebrating the History of Motion Pictures from 1890 to 1960

1932 Timelines: 1930 to 1939

Harry Cohn becomes Columbia Pictures’ president, and head of the studio, when Joe Brandt sells his interest in the company to Harry and his brother Jack.


The director, Cecil B. DeMille, leaves MGM and returns to Paramount.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences adopts an aspect ratio for pictures on sound film stock of 1.37:1, very close to the familiar 1.33:1 aspect ratio of the picture on a silent film. Because the new sound strip takes up part of the picture area, this is achieved by adding two black strips on the top and the bottom of the frame, a “hard matte”. This new aspect ratio becomes known as the “Academy ratio”, and becomes a standard for all commercial film production until the 1950s.


Significant Films:

Paramount releases, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. It stars Fredric March who wins an Academy Award for his performance.

The release of George Cukor’s, “A Bill of Divorcement”, starring John Barrymore, is the screen debut of the stage actress, Katharine Hepburn.

MGM releases, “Tarzan the Ape Man”, starring Maureen O’Sullivan and the Olympic swimmer, Johnny Weissmuller.

MGM releases the star–studded, “Grand Hotel”. The cast includes Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, and Wallace Beery among others. The New York Times calls it “the most important film since the arrival of talking pictures”. It wins the Academy Award for “Outstanding Production”.

Disney releases the cartoon, “Flowers and Trees” . It is the first film to use Technicolor’s new three–color process.

Tower Productions releases, “Red Haired Alibi”. It is the four–year–old Shirley Temple’s first film.

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