1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

filmnoirguy

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Love Affair with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer received an Oscar nod for Best Pic of 1939. Far superior than either of its remakes. Other 1939 films I've enjoyed are: Of Mice and Men, Bachelor Mother, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Rains Came, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Beau Geste, Golden Boy, The Four Feathers, Midnight, The Old Maid. The Lady Vanishes was released in Britain in 1938, but in the U.S. in 1939.
 

Waldo Lydecker

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And actors appearing in more than one 1939 classics...Thomas Mitchell in “Stagecoach” and GWTW...Joan Fontaine’s star ascension appearing in “The Women”, “Damsel in Distress” and starting on “Rebecca”...
 

Aaron Silverman

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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.
To be honest, I initially misinterpreted this line in your original post to refer to years, not movies: "You've got to have some favorites, and you've got to have a place to discuss them. So lets do it here." :)

On topic, I FINALLY watched Gunga Din a few weeks ago. That movie is CRYING OUT for a remake! It was tons of fun, and its influence on countless later films was quite obvious, but I had to consciously force myself to not think about the racist (by modern standards) casting. For those unfamiliar with it, most of the South & Central Asian characters who have more than one line are portrayed by white actors in dark-skin makeup. It was very distracting.
 
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OLDTIMER

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I own all but 3 of the films in Caproni's list plus a lot more from that same year. That either says something about my tastes, or the quality of the movies from 1939. I'm not called Oldtimer for nothing!
Incidentally, I first saw GWTW in the cinema in about 1946 and I seem to remember that public opinion at that time was that it was a masterpiece
 

Robert Crawford

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On topic, I FINALLY watched Gunga Din a few weeks ago. That movie is CRYING OUT for a remake! It was tons of fun, and its influence on countless later films was quite obvious, but I had to consciously force myself to not think about the racist (by modern standards) casting. For those unfamiliar with it, most of the South & Central Asian characters who have more than one line are portrayed by white actors in dark-skin makeup. It was very distracting.
Then you must get distracted by many movies from that film era as it was unfortunately a common practice.
 
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Robert Crawford

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And actors appearing in more than one 1939 classics...Thomas Mitchell in “Stagecoach” and GWTW...Joan Fontaine’s star ascension appearing in “The Women”, “Damsel in Distress” and starting on “Rebecca”...
Those two films weren't released in 1939, "Damsel in Distress" was released in 1937 and "Rebecca" won BP for the movies released in 1940. Fontaine did appear in "Gunga Din" which was released in 1939.
 
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Ejanss

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It's one of my favorites with a terrific cast in which Karloff plays Franky for the last time. Lugosi as Igor is memorable.
It was meant to be a two-part finale (yes, they made them back then, too) with Ghost of Frankenstein, but--like Black Widow and Dobby in Infinity War and Deathly Hallows Pt. 1--Karloff gives the Monster one last great sendoff performance.

On topic, I FINALLY watched Gunga Din a few weeks ago. That movie is CRYING OUT for a remake! It was tons of fun, and its influence on countless later films was quite obvious, but I had to consciously force myself to not think about the racist (by modern standards) casting. For those unfamiliar with it, most of the South & Central Asian characters who have more than one line are portrayed by white actors in dark-skin makeup. It was very distracting.
I had never seen it until last year: The "racism" didn't bother me, so much as I'd always thought it was a Michael Curtiz epic, before sitting down to discover it was a George Stevens--
Stevens had started out unit-directing the slapstick in Laurel & Hardy films, so I was...not prepared for the amount of Cary Grant humor we were meant to get in this. Good, but like North By Northwest, just needed a little warning.
 

B-ROLL

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Then you must get distracted by many movies from that film era as it was unfortunately a common practice.
Ditto for Anthony Quinn and Sir Alec Guiness in Lawrence of Arabia ... at least most of the British people were played by British people ...
Also Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Tony Randall in The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao ... Don't even get me started on movies featuring the character of Baghdad-born Sinbad (The Sailor) ...
 

Caproni

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Love Affair with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer received an Oscar nod for Best Pic of 1939. Far superior than either of its remakes. Other 1939 films I've enjoyed are: Of Mice and Men, Bachelor Mother, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Rains Came, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Beau Geste, Golden Boy, The Four Feathers, Midnight, The Old Maid. The Lady Vanishes was released in Britain in 1938, but in the U.S. in 1939.
A host of gems.
 

moviebuff75

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Other than WIND, Oz, and Mr. Smith, I love Dark Victory, The Women, Of Mice and Men, The Great Man Votes, etc. I like almost every film I own from that glorious year.
 

jcroy

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I doubt it. If you were a true film buff, then maybe, but it still isn't too likely.

At least in my mind.
I have to wonder how extensive film criticism was in the 1930s.

I've been reading a college thesis written about the history of film criticism, and how it has evolved over the past century.



Film criticsm in the 1930s might not have been much more than the writers regurgitating what the studios and/or their editors wanted to be written. So unless a proto-filmcritic kept a diary and/or extensive set of notes, there isn't much to go by in determining what films of 1939 would be brilliant.

If there existed hardcore film buffs in 1939 who had a lot of disposable income (during the great depression) to see tons of films, I suspect the "foresight" would consists of the "gut feelings" of such filmbuffs'.
 

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