1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

Caproni

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Any fan of classic film will typically know that 1939 is generally regarded as the finest year of Hollywood cinema. That year is cluttered with a host of good movies, from GONE WITH THE WIND to THE WIZARD OF OZ. There are many, many other movies that came out that year that are regarded as classics and standout films of the golden era of film.

Some of the movies:
GONE WITH THE WIND
THE WIZARD OF OZ
THE LITTLE PRINCESS
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON
WUTHERING HEIGHTS
GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS
STAGECOACH
NINOTCHKA
SON OF FRANKENSTEIN
DODGE CITY
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
THE WOMEN
ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS
DESTRY RIDES AGAIN
DARK VICTORY
MADE FOR EACH OTHER
YOUNG MR. LINCOLN
GUNGA DIN
BABES IN ARMS


And the list could go on and on.

You've got to have some favorites, and you've got to have a place to discuss them. So lets do it here.

1603896961379.png
 

jcroy

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I strongly suspect something like this is with 20/20 hindsight.

If one was an actual young adult or middle aged person living in 1939, would one have foreseen the brilliance of the films released that year in real time?
 
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Ejanss

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1982 was horribly underestimated in some of our own lifetimes, with Blade Runner, The Thing, The Dark Crystal and Tron flopping in theaters.

Despite the year of:
- E.T.
- Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan
- Poltergeist
- Tootsie
- Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
- 48 Hrs.
- Victor/Victoria
- Das Boot
- First Blood
- The Road Warrior
- Conan the Barbarian
- My Favorite Year
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High
- The Last Unicorn
- Pink Floyd: the Wall

(Most of the Oscars were obsessed with Gandhi, The Verdict, Missing and The World According to Garp, but what did they know?)
 

Caproni

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I strongly suspect something like this is with 20/20 hindsight.

If one was an actual young adult or middle aged person living in 1939, would one have foreseen the brilliance of the films released that year in real time?
I doubt it. If you were a true film buff, then maybe, but it still isn't too likely.

At least in my mind.
 

Caproni

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1982 was horribly underestimated in some of our own lifetimes, with Blade Runner, The Thing, The Dark Crystal and Tron flopping in theaters.

Despite the year of:
- E.T.
- Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan
- Poltergeist
- Tootsie
- Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
- 48 Hrs.
- Victor/Victoria
- Das Boot
- First Blood
- The Road Warrior
- Conan the Barbarian
- My Favorite Year
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High
- The Last Unicorn
- Pink Floyd: the Wall

(Most of the Oscars were obsessed with Gandhi, The Verdict, Missing and The World According to Garp, but what did they know?)
Detouring a little off topic, but you left out SOPHIE'S CHOICE, the Academy Award-winning Meryl Streep vehicle.

But let's gear it back to 1939.
 

Robert Crawford

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Hey, just saying, History is Never Appreciated in Its Own Lifetime...
So, I'm guessing we're not mentioning 1984, either?
If you don't want to discuss the movies from 1939 then perhaps you should start your own thread to discuss whatever year of movies you desire.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Any fan of classic film will typically know that 1939 is generally regarded as the finest year of Hollywood cinema. That year is cluttered with a host of good movies, from GONE WITH THE WIND to THE WIZARD OF OZ. There are many, many other movies that came out that year that are regarded as classics and standout films of the golden era of film.

Some of the movies:
GONE WITH THE WIND
THE WIZARD OF OZ
THE LITTLE PRINCESS
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON
WUTHERING HEIGHTS
GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS
STAGECOACH
NINOTCHKA
SON OF FRANKENSTEIN
DODGE CITY
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
THE WOMEN
ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS
DESTRY RIDES AGAIN
DARK VICTORY
MADE FOR EACH OTHER
YOUNG MR. LINCOLN
GUNGA DIN
BABES IN ARMS


And the list could go on and on.

You've got to have some favorites, and you've got to have a place to discuss them. So lets do it here.

Yeah, it's one of my favorite years for movies. I think I have all of those movies on disc and/or digitally as far too many of them haven't been released on Blu-ray yet.
 

jcroy

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I don't know what exactly made Gone With The Wind an evergreen classic.

My father mentioned many times it was one of those films which would play every once in a while at theaters when he was a teenager and young adult. Typically a matinee or sleepy evening during the weekdays, where it would be frequently be almost sold out in a non-prime market. Also for a long time, one of few films which was in color.
 

Caproni

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Hey, just saying, History is Never Appreciated in Its Own Lifetime...
So, I'm guessing we're not mentioning 1984, either?
I don't mind discussing other years, just not here. I don't really want this thread cluttered with off topic discussions that have nothing to do with films from 1939. That's the whole purpose of this thread.

Now, if you want to start your own thread about Underrated Years at the Movies, then I'd be more than happy to follow you there and discuss those movies in their own area.

I've just initiated this as a discussion about what is typically viewed as the pivotal year of Classic Hollywood, and I don't want to go off topic really.

No hard feelings.
 

Caproni

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If you don't want to discuss the movies from 1939 then perhaps you should start your own thread to discuss whatever year of movies you desire.
And I'd be more than happy to follow the discussion about more underrated years for the movie industry over to another thread.
 

Caproni

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I don't know what exactly made Gone With The Wind an evergreen classic.

My father mentioned many times it was one of those films which would play every once in a while at theaters when he was a teenager and young adult. Typically a matinee or sleepy evening during the weekdays, where it would be frequently be almost sold out in a non-prime market. Also for a long time, one of few films which was in color.
I remember my father telling me similar stories. He remembered GONE WITH THE WIND being re-released when he was a teenager and practically his entire family going to see it in theaters. There was an intermission and everything. The whole nine yards.

Personally, GONE WITH THE WIND is one of my favorite films. I have the 75th Anniversary collector's set that came out a few years back. I have the DVD version. It's a beautiful set, and I got it for under $20.00 on Amazon when it went on sale.
 

David_B_K

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I don't know what exactly made Gone With The Wind an evergreen classic.

My father mentioned many times it was one of those films which would play every once in a while at theaters when he was a teenager and young adult. Typically a matinee or sleepy evening during the weekdays, where it would be frequently be almost sold out in a non-prime market. Also for a long time, one of few films which was in color.
GWTW has a unique history in comparison to films that had come before it. It was based on a hugely popular novel. EVERYBODY thought it should be filmed. EVERYBODY wanted to see Clark Gable as Rhett Butler. The film runs almost 4 hours, which was unheard of at the time; so they covered most of the novel. Several directors had a hand in it, yet all the elements fit seamlessly even with excessive interference from an independent producer (Selznick). It was an absolute fulfillment of EVERYBODY's expectations.

For me, when I watch Gone With the Wind, I marvel at how it came together so well. It's not that the story is all that great. The project has all the makings of a disaster; yet instead of a disaster it is a legendary film. It was the event of the year when it premiered, and that event aura has always surrounded it. I've said on other threads that the story of how the film was made is actually more interesting to me than the film itself. In the film The Bad and the Beautiful, the producer played by Kirk Douglas (based on Selznick, among others) tries to mount a huge epic production based on a popular best-seller. His production is a colossal failure, largely due to his interference (just as Sleznick interfered with GWTW). That is the fate that GWTW could easily have shared, and yet everything turned out perfectly and it now considered one of the great classic films and probably the most popular movie of all time.

I think it is best to watch the "Making of" documentary about GWTW before watching the actual film in order to transport one's self back to the time when everyone anticipated the film. GWTW may or may not be great in and of itself; but IMO its success is to be measured in how it totally delivered on everyone's expectations.
 

Caproni

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GWTW has a unique history in comparison to films that had come before it. It was based on a hugely popular novel. EVERYBODY thought it should be filmed. EVERYBODY wanted to see Clark Gable as Rhett Butler. The film runs almost 4 hours, which was unheard of at the time; so they covered most of the novel. Several directors had a hand in it, yet all the elements fit seamlessly even with excessive interference from an independent producer (Selznick). It was an absolute fulfillment of EVERYBODY's expectations.

For me, when I watch Gone With the Wind, I marvel at how it came together so well. It's not that the story is all that great. The project has all the makings of a disaster; yet instead of a disaster it is a legendary film. It was the event of the year when it premiered, and that event aura has always surrounded it. I've said on other threads that the story of how the film was made is actually more interesting to me than the film itself. In the film The Bad and the Beautiful, the producer played by Kirk Douglas (based on Selznick, among others) tries to mount a huge epic production based on a popular best-seller. His production is a colossal failure, largely due to his interference (just as Sleznick interfered with GWTW). That is the fate that GWTW could easily have shared, and yet everything turned out perfectly and it now considered one of the great classic films and probably the most popular movie of all time.

I think it is best to watch the "Making of" documentary about GWTW before watching the actual film in order to transport one's self back to the time when everyone anticipated the film. GWTW may or may not be great in and of itself; but IMO its success is to be measured in how it totally delivered on everyone's expectations.
The MAKING OF A LEGEND documentary detailing the creation of GONE WITH THE WIND as a motion picture is flawless. One of the best "making of" documentaries I've ever seen.
 

Caproni

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I didn’t realize Son of Franky was so highly regarded as to make the 1939 list.
I've actually never seen it, but I know a lot of people find it to be a standout of the original FRANKENSTEIN Universal franchise. I know some that find SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN as superior to the original FRANKENSTEIN from 1931.
 

Caproni

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That was the last Universal horror movie to have an A-list budget. After that, they were all B-movies.
Yeah, all of the Frankenstein movies became cheaper after that. The run times got shortened, budgets were slashed, and they remained in B-movie territory until they were revived by Hammer in the late 1950s.
 
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