Down and Dirty in Gower Gulch: Poverty Row Films Preserved by UCLA
Screening Dates
  • April 11, 2019 8:15
  • April 15, 2019 6:30
New Restoration

Has the cracked logic of a dream, with subjectivity and chronology shifting underfoot … One of the most formally daring films to come out of Hollywood in the early sound era.”

Imogen Sara Smith, Film Comment

A head-spinning highlight of our Poverty Row series, this lurid melodrama has a feverish, surprisingly complex narrative structure that allegedly influenced Citizen Kane! The film relates the tawdry, told-in-flashback tale of fallen woman Nora (Zita Johann), a circus performer who becomes the lover of an ambitious politician, then winds up on death row for a murder she didn’t commit. The movie may be best known for its risqué theatrical poster, featuring art by Alberto Vargas, later famous for his Vargas Girls” pin-ups for Esquire and Playboy.

Haunting, hallucinatory, artistic, exploitative—this may be the best B‑film of the 1930s.” UCLA Film & Television Archive

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the Packard Humanities Institute

preceded by

Hearst Metrotone News, Vol. 4, No. 269 • USA 1933 • 9 min. Short newsreel

Balloon Land • USA 1935 • Ub Iwerks • 7 min. ComiColor Cartoons short