1939: 70 Year Old Movies we still love today

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Lzcutter
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1939: 70 Year Old Movies we still love today

Post by Lzcutter »

Well, it's time to salute 1939, that magical year of film making when some of the greatest films of the studio era were released.

The films released in 1939 will be 70 years old this year.

Here are some of my favorites (in no particular order):

Gone With the Wind
The Wizard of Oz (not a box-office bonanza upon its initial release)
Beau Geste
Gunga Din
The Rains Came
Babes in Arms
Destry Rides Again
Drums Along the Mohawk
Stagecoach
Only Angels Have Wings
The Roaring Twenties
Angels with Dirty Faces


Maybe we'll get lucky and TCM will run a month long tribute to the films released in 1939.

You've seen some of mine (and I just started to scratch the surface), what are some of yours?
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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Lzcutter
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Post by Lzcutter »

What is it about the films you choose that still resonates with you after all these years?

For me and Stagecoach it's that John Ford teams with John Wayne and goes to Monument Valley and the American western would never be the same.

For Wizard of Oz it's the yearly showing on CBS when I was kid (the only way you could see it in those pre-VCR days) and the idea that one can have a grand adventure but there is no place like home.

For Gone With the Wind it's the love story set against an epic background and no matter how many times you watch it, you will always watch it again.

That's just some of my choices, how about you?
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

I've gone on record enough to bore the lot of
you about my love for Gone with the Wind,
but my second favorite movie of the year is
Young Mr. Lincoln. I find it the most emotionally
moving film about a president I've seen. It made
me curious about Lincoln and so I read about him
and came to admire the man quite apart from anything
political---and that's the beauty of this film, it's not
about Abe the president, but Abe the young man who's
future is still undetermined, at least in his own mind,
and how that future is born in the story of his youthful past.

There are so many other wonderful movies from that year
that are favorites of mine as well:

Made for Each Other - A bittersweet and at times very
funny look at newlywed life starring Carole Lombard
and Jimmy Stewart---and Lucille Watson who brilliantly
portrays the difficult mother-in-law.

Love Affair - Leo McCarey's first go-round of his classic
love story about two very different people who find each
other on board an ocean liner. I love An Affair to Remember
but this one has its own charm that I think comes from when
it was made.

Ninotchka and Midnight - two of my favorite comedies ever!
These two films sparkle like vintage champagne and though not
shot on location in Paris, like Lubitsch said, Paris-at-Paramount
was in many ways just as enchanting.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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Moraldo Rubini
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Re: 1939: 70 Year Old Movies we still love today

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

Lzcutter wrote:The films released in 1939 will be 70 years old this year. Here are some of my favorites (in no particular order):
Gone With the Wind
The Wizard of Oz (not a box-office bonanza upon its initial release)
Beau Geste
Gunga Din
The Rains Came
Babes in Arms
Destry Rides Again
Drums Along the Mohawk
Stagecoach
Only Angels Have Wings
The Roaring Twenties
Angels with Dirty Faces

Maybe we'll get lucky and TCM will run a month long tribute to the films released in 1939.
Devoting a month to the golden movie year of 1939 is swell idea for TCM!

It was an extraordinary year for so many genres. I love the comedies The Women, Midnight, Idiot's Delight and It's a Wonderful World; the romance of Wuthering Heights, Dark Victory and Love Affair; the adventures of Beau Geste and Gunga Din. Classic books brought to life included The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Of Mice and Men, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It was a great year for kids. When I was a mere boy this version of Huck Finn captured my imagination, along with The Wizard of Oz and Dave Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels. Later I was inspired by the idealism of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Jean Arthur struck it rich with Smith and Only Angels Have Wings. Bette Davis played an Old Maid and Empress (Juarez) and a Queen (Elizabeth and Essex). Busy gal! For years, I considered Gone with the Wind to be my favorite movie. [Now I can't imagine choosing one.] Considering Selznick's obsession with his treasure, it's amazing he was also able to release Ingrid Bergman's US debut Intermezzo and the glossy Made for Each Other in the same year. The man did not sleep. Jeez, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Drums Along the Mohawk and Stagecoach! I want to point out that this was also the year of the legendarily bad Ice Follies of 1939, which was said to have planted the seed for Joan Crawford's departure from MGM a few years later.
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Post by mrsl »

I can't say much more than everybody else has said. Out of my top 10 favorite movies of all time, 4 are from 1939. They are also the main reason I hate re-makes and sequels. You cannot beat, and rarely come close to matching the magic of some of these originals like The Women, and Stagecoach. They hit bottom when they tried to make Scarlett, the sequel to GWTW, so enough said about that. For years I thought I was one of the few people in the world who had seen Drums Along the Mohawk until I got online at a couple of classic movie sites. Suddenly there were people to discuss it with. From the color and scenic panoramas I found it hard to believe it was made in 1939.

It was a magic year for movie making and TCM would have plenty to choose from if they did do a tribute month. Seventy years seems like a pretty good anniversary year and they would probably have to wait until seventy-five years if they pass it up now.

Anne
Anne


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vallo
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Post by vallo »

Here a short list of mine:
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Charles Laughton, The King of fools.....never)
Gunga Din (Action.Comedy and a great cast)
Destry Rides Again (See what the boys in the back room will have)
The Roaring Twenties Cagney and Raoul Walsh's at their best)
Of Mice and Men Lon Chaney Jr. proves he can act)
And of course all the films previously mentioned

Happy New Year...All

Bill
"We're all forgotten sooner or later. But not films. That's all the memorial we should need or hope for."
-Burt Lancaster
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Post by moira finnie »

In looking over the list of each of your favorites, I think that TCM might devote an evening to the work of a couple of character actors in just 1939, for instance:

Thomas Mitchell
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) .... Clopin
Gone with the Wind (1939) .... Gerald O'Hara
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) .... Diz Moore
Only Angels Have Wings (1939) .... Kid Dabb
Stagecoach (1939) .... Doc Boone
Image
Was '39 the personal annus mirabilis for Mitchell as well as the studio era?
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Post by Garbomaniac »

Here is one thread I have to comment on since 1939 was the Golden Year. This really is just another list thread, and I can’t resist a list thread! Here are some of my favorites:

Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz – because they are GWTW and TWOO

Midnight – One of my favorite Colbert movies and the costumes were over-the-top! And, any film with John Barrymore as the lead, has got my vote.

Dark Victory – Queen of the Warner weepers, Bette Davis made this role forever her own, even though Garbo was considered.

Goodbye, Mr Chips – My introduction to Donat, and the film that cemented him as one of my all time favorites. And, I might add, I can never watch this film without crying.

The Old Maid – Davis and Hopkins at odds in period costumes, what more can I say?

The Women – For the cast and the color fashion show.

On Borrowed Time – THE greatest fantasy! Death caught in a tree by an old pismire hater? Brilliant.

Son of Frankenstein – My thanks to Lionel Atwill for his unforgettable mechanical arm!

The Tower of London – On of the greatest horror casts put together in a real life horror as Richard III tortures and murders his way to the throne.

Wuthering Heights – Camille’s only competition.

Interestingly enough:
Ninotchka has never been a favorite of mine, even with Lubitsch.
Destry Rides Again is another nix, even though Dietrich is in my top four.
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Post by Garbomaniac »

Image

Claudette Colbert in Midnight
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Post by moira finnie »

Hi Garbomaniac,
It's great to see your posts again. I'm so glad that you mentioned the wildly entertaining Son of Frankenstein as well as the simple and moving On Borrowed Time (1939). Neither of those films receive their due when people talk about that year. Thanks for dropping in.
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Post by Garbomaniac »

Thanks for the friendly hello! And, it is good to be back around.

I mentioned both of those because, 1) few people today who are learning about film know that On Borrow Time exists, 2) after sharing it with them, they are so appreciative, and 3) its concept is truly unusual. Also, I do my best to introduce the Trilogy of Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Son of Frankenstein to as many people as I can around Holloween. Young Frankenstein makes little sense without knowlege of the three.
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Post by srowley75 »

Well, I worked for about an hour listing favorites with some commentary, but lost my post. After reconsidering, I thought I'd just spare everyone the chore of plodding through adjectives about each film when I know it's already been said by cinephiles more articulate than I.

So, for the merely curious, here's my own list of top twenty films from this golden year:

20 - The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
19 - Love Affair
18 - The Hound of the Baskervilles
17 - The Wizard of Oz
16 - Five Came Back
15 - Ninotchka
14 - Dark Victory
13 - Wuthering Heights
12 - Son of Frankenstein
11 - The Cat and the Canary
10 - Stagecoach
9 - The Four Feathers
8 - Each Dawn I Die
7 - Goodbye, Mr. Chips
6 - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
5 - The Women
4 - The Roaring Twenties
3 - Only Angels Have Wings
2 - The Rules of the Game
1 - Gone With the Wind - meh, who am I to throw cold water on popular opinion.

-Stephen
Last edited by srowley75 on January 5th, 2009, 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

It was a great year for Westerns, more so than just "Stagecoach." "Dodge City," "Union Pacific" and "Jesse James" are all very good, and "Destry Rides Again" is wonderful.
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Post by coopsgirl »

Another Thin Man
Beau Geste
Gone With the Wind
In Name Only
Midnight
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
The Wizard of Oz


I also like the cheesy serial The Phantom Creeps
“I never really thought of myself as an actor. But I’d learned to ride on my dad’s ranch and I could do some roping stunts and working as an extra was better than starving as an artist nobody wanted on the West Coast.” - Gary Cooper
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